What Are the Courses in a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering?

An environmental engineer works to improve the quality of resources, like air, water and soil, in order to protect the environment and its inhabitants. A master's degree program in environmental engineering can teach you to test natural resources, as well as to design the facilities to treat these resources. Continue reading to find out about coursework offered at three schools with this type of program. Schools offering Energy Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering Overview

A master's degree program in environmental engineering has ample flexibility. Although there is often a core curriculum that all students complete, you can usually choose a concentration to become an expert in a particular facet of the industry, like water quality resources engineering or air resources. So, your coursework choices are often based on your educational goals, and offerings vary from school to school.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Texas at Austin were all ranked in the top ten schools in the U.S. News and World Report's 2015 best environmental engineering graduate degree programs category. These schools are profiled below to give you examples of what to expect in an environmental engineering curriculum.

Important Facts About Master's Degrees in Environmental Engineering

Prerequisites Undergraduate degree
Online Availability Yes
Continuing Education Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering
Possible Careers Environmental scientist, hydrologist, natural sciences manager

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

An M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UIUC combines core courses with a specialty concentration. Specializations include watershed management, environmental chemistry, and hazardous waste science. Students can choose whether or not they would like to complete a thesis. Subjects of study, depending on specialization, may include:

  • Air quality control
  • Environmental systems
  • Atmospheric physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Chemical kinetics
  • Statistical computing

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor offers an Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) in Environmental Engineering. Required courses of this M.S.E. degree program at U of M include environmental microbiology, aquatic chemistry and environmental fluid mechanics. The rest of the coursework taken depends on one's specialization, which could be in sustainable energy systems, water quality resources engineering, water quality processes engineering or ecohydrology. Here is a list of courses that are offered in environmental engineering:

  • Groundwater hydrology
  • Sediment transport
  • Environmental soil physics
  • Electrochemical engineering
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Alternative energy grids
  • Hydraulic systems design
  • Sustainable systems design

The University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin offers an M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. The program has six major research areas, including environmental engineering science, air resources, water resources, water quality management, ocean engineering and treatment processes, and the school has four related research centers, including the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources and the Center for Research in Water Resources. Subjects that may be covered in the curriculum include drinking water treatments, waste water treatments and air quality. Below you can see an example list of environmental engineering classes available:

  • Groundwater pollution
  • Particles in water
  • Industrial wastewater treatment
  • Offshore structure design
  • Air pollution chemistry
  • Energy efficient building design
  • Geoenvironmental engineering

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:

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