Top Environmental Engineering Schools in the US

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Image courtesy of soilbedust at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of soilbedust at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Modernisation in our society has created a lot of pollution (air, water, noise) and waste, and environmental engineers are the professionals who aid in minimizing and managing these pollutants to protect the earth and society.

What is Environmental Engineering?

Environment engineering is the process of applying mathematics and science to come up with sustainable solutions to solve existing environment challenges and prevent further degradation of our world.

For example, environmental engineers have to figure how to clean up toxic waste that seeped into the ground or correct improper hazardous materials disposal situations.

They have to design systems and develop solutions to protect our environment from the effects of human activity while preserving  natural resources in our increasing urbanised world.

Why Choose a Environmental Engineering Career?

With more technological advances and population growth, there is a demand for food, new farming methods and housing. All these require proper management to prevent pollution or ecological damage, thus a need for more environmental engineers to deal with these potential problems.

The job prospects of an environmental engineer is bright therefore one can easily commence a higher salary in this field.

How Do You Become a Environmental Engineer?

You need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (B.S.) or a degree in environmental engineering (BS EnvE). Some universities offers civil engineering program concentrating in environmental engineering while some colleges offer a 5-year combined program for both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

Students in this field need to have a flair for problem solving, good communication and writing skills, an eye for detail while enjoy working in a team.

Students usually take courses in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering principles during the first two years. Advanced engineering courses like solid and fluid mechanics, thermodynamics etc are introduced in the third year.

Students is likely to take a design course  to learn all aspects of executing a project, from writing a proposal and calculate budget, to managing work schedule and dealing with legal issues.

What Do Environmental Engineers Do?

They come up with solutions or design systems to improve waste disposal, wastewater management, recycling, industrial hygiene and environmental sustainability. They have to make sure the waste is treated and disposed properly in accordance with all environmental and health regulations.

Environment engineers advise companies the effects of construction projects, fill out permits, incorporate regulations and make sure projects are compliance to the law. They also write reports about their findings and often act as a liaison between companies and the federal, states or local agencies.

Top Environmental Engineering Schools in US

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing a school:

  • Does the school have a distinct program? Or is it combined with another major like civil engineering?
  • Is there an opportunity for research? What types of research facilities are available?
  • Does the school have an internship program for the students so they can get work experience?
  • Are there areas of emphasis like air-pollution control, sanitation engineering or solid-waste management?

These are the top environmental engineering undergraduate schools in the US (source: U.S.News)

Rank School Tuition Fees Total Enrolment Acceptance  Retention  Graduation 
1
(Tied)
Stanford University
Stanford, CA
$46,320/yr 16,795 5.1% 98% 95%
2
(Tied)
University of California—​Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

$13,432/yr
(in-state)$38,140/yr
(out-of-state)
37,581 16% 97% 91%
3 University of Michigan—​AnnArbor

AnnArbor, MI

$14,336/yr
(in-state)
$43,377/yr
(out-of-state)
43,625 32.2% 97% 91%
4 University of Illinois—​Urbana-​Champaign

Champaign, IL

$15,626/yr
(in-state)
$30,786/yr
(out-of-state)
45,140 59% 94% 84%
5 University of Texas—​Austin

Austin, TX

$9,830/yr
(in-state)
$34,836/yr
(out-of-state)
51,313 39.7% 94% 81%
6 Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

$12,204/yr
(in-state)
$32,396/yr
(out-of-state)
23,109 33.4% 96% 82%
7
(Tied)
Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

$48,710 /yr 21,484 15% 97% 94%
8
(Tied)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

$46,704/yr 11,319 7.9% 98% 91%
9 Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

$50,410/yr 13,285 24.6% 95% 88%
10 Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

$49,116/yr 21,850 14.2% 97% 93%

These are the top environmental engineering graduate schools in the US (source: U.S.News)

Rank School name Score Tuition Graduate Engineering Enrolment
1 University of California—​Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
4.6 $11,220/yr(in-state, full-time)$26,322/yr(out-of-state, full-time) 1,936
2 Stanford University
Stanford, CA
4.5 $47,073/yr(full-time) 3,558
3 University of Illinois—​Urbana-​Champaign
Urbana, IL
4.2 $17,126/yr(in-state, full-time); $30,848/yr (out-of-state, full-time) 3,316
4
(Tied)
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA
4.1 $12,344/yr(in-state, full-time); $27,600/yr(out-of-state, full-time) 6,136
4
(Tied)
University of Michigan—​AnnArbor
AnnArbor, MI
4.1 $22,868/yr(in-state, full-time); $43,024/yr(out-of-state, full-time) 3,212
6 University of Texas—​Austin (Cockrell)
Austin, TX
4.0 $9,564/yr(in-state, full-time); $17,506/yr(out-of-state, full-time) 2,374
7 Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA
3.9 $41,000/yr(full-time) 3,400
8
(Tied)
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
3.8 $41,790/yr(full-time) 537
8
(Tied)
Johns Hopkins University (Whiting)
Baltimore, MD
3.8 $47,060/yr(full-time) 3,234
10
(Tied)
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
3.7 $29,500/yr(full-time) 1,966
10
(Tied)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA
3.7 $44,720/yr(full-time) 3,143
10
(Tied)
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
3.7 $14,545/yr(in-state, full-time); $26,754/yr(out-of-state, full-time) 2,045

 

The topics usually covered in the program are air pollution control, water and wastewater treatment, environmental law, sustainable energy solutions, energy and water conservation etc.

Professional Organisations

There are many societies and professional organisations for environment engineers like The American Academy of Environment Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), The National Society of Professional Engineers or The Association of Environment Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP).

Salary and Prospects of Petroleum Engineers

According to payscale.com, the mean annual wage for environmental engineers at $86,340. Though it is lesser than the other engineering degrees, it is consider a high paying job compare to other industries.

There are so many career options for environmental engineers, from designing waste treatment plants and developing management strategies, to conducting research and creating predictive model of human impact on environment.

A degree in environmental engineering can bring you to power industry, engineering consultancy firms or the government.

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