Top Environmental Engineering Graduate Schools

Learn about graduate degree options available in environmental engineering. Find out which top schools offer these programs and the kinds of research facilities and specialization options are available. Schools offering Energy Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Environmental Engineering Graduate School?

Since meeting licensure standards is crucial in engineering fields, you'll want to identify schools with good reputations that are fully accredited in civil and environmental engineering. The best schools will have faculty strength in your proposed sub-discipline and appropriate laboratory facilities. Look for student and faculty distinctions and awards. Are the faculty active scholars? Do you meet the school's prerequisites, and if not, is there a 'bridge' program to help you qualify?

Your sub-field choice may narrow your options geographically. If you need to be near a particular type of natural or urban environment to study it, some schools may be better located for you than others.

What Are Three Top Environmental Engineering Graduate Schools?

University of California at Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley) ranked eighth among the top research universities in the world in the 2016 Times Higher Education University Rankings. In a report released in September 2010, the U.S. National Research Council placed 43 of Berkeley's 52 ranked doctoral programs in the top five nationally. Forty-eight were in the top ten. Sixteen were in first place, second the largest first-place showing for an educational institution in the United States after Harvard. The U.S. News & World Report ranked its civil engineering program first in 2016. Its environmental engineering program also ranked first in 2016.

Environmental engineering programs at Berkeley are housed within the College of Engineering's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In 2010, an emeritus professor received the International Water Association's Global Water Award, recognizing a lifetime of excellence in the field ( Also in 2010, a student environmental engineering team placed third in the Water Environment Federation (WEF)'s Wastewater Challenge, an annual national water treatment competition.

Graduate coursework and research are focused on three areas; these include air quality engineering, environmental fluid mechanics and hydrology, and water quality engineering. The environmental engineering programs require prerequisites beyond those required for the civil engineering program.

Environmental engineering students have access to laboratories and research institutes, including the Berkeley Environmental Fluids Laboratory, environmental water resource laboratories, environmental quality laboratories, the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering and the Consortium on Green Design and Manufacturing. Graduate degrees include:

  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (UM) is a public research university. It placed 21st among world universities in 2016 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Its nearly 44,000 students have access to an eight-million-volume university library system. Nine of the UM College of Engineering's 11 programs ranked in U.S. News & World Reports top ten for their respective disciplines in 2016. The environmental engineering program also ranked sixth in 2016.

The Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (EWRE) program is one of four within the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE). Areas of study include fluid mechanics, environmental chemistry, hazardous substance treatment and control, pollution microbiology, water quality engineering, atmospheric modeling, and resource development and management.

In 2010, a UM professor won first place for a paper on advances in system simulation at an international conference. A recent doctoral graduate was one of two winners of the annual CH2M Hill/EESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award for a dissertation advancing environmental science and engineering. This is an award jointly sponsored by a major consulting firm and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AAESP).

UM offers two master's degrees and a doctorate in environmental engineering. The doctoral program offers six areas of specialization. Graduate degrees include:

  • Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) in Environmental Engineering
  • M.S.E. in Environmental Engineering /M.S. in Natural Resources and Environment
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas (UT) at Austin is a public university with nearly 40,000 students in 18 colleges and schools. UT was ranked 16th among U.S. News & World Report's best public colleges for 2015-2016. The UT library system is the seventh largest academic library in the U.S. and a top national research library, according to the American Library Association.

U.S. News & World Report ranked the Cockrell School of Engineering tenth among graduate engineering schools and fifth place for environmental engineering program in 2016. The environmental engineering program is housed within the Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering. Environmental and water resources engineering (EWRE) is one of six available disciplines in the department.

EWRE graduate degree candidates can focus on any of the following research areas: water quality management, treatment processes, water resources, fluid mechanics and ocean engineering, air resource, and environmental engineering science. Air resources students can use facilities at the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources. Students also have access to a computation hydrodynamic laboratory, the Center for Research in Water Resources, to support experimental research in water resources and over 20,000 square feet of laboratory and office space. Graduate degrees include:

  • M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil Engineering (with an emphasis in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering)

Ten Other Top Schools for Environmental Engineering Majors

College/University Institution TypeLocation
Stanford University 4-year, Private Stanford, CA
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 4-year, Public Champaign, IL
Georgia Institute of Technology 4-year, Public Atlanta, GA
Johns Hopkins University4-year, Private Baltimore, MD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA
Carnegie Mellon University 4-year, Private Pittsburgh, PA
Cornell University 4-year, Public Ithaca, NY
Virginia Tech 4- year, Public Blacksburg, VA
California Institute of Technology 4-year, Private Pasadena, CA
Purdue University-West Lafayette 4-year, Public West Lafayette, IN

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools