Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability Program

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In Brief

The program in Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability (EWES) is a new cross-cutting program focused on providing and supporting sustainable solutions for the exploration, production, delivery and use of energy, and their intersection with water and the natural and built environment.

The EWES program enables students interested in a cross-disciplinary civil and environmental engineering education to earn a degree that focuses on integrating scientific principles, engineered processes, and systems analyses to address diverse challenges related to society's growing energy needs and their nexus with water and the environment. The program also seeks to stimulate research among traditional areas of civil and environmental engineering with students working in multi-disciplinary teams to develop sustainable solutions to meet the present and future energy and water needs of society.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering (primary or secondary) (Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability)
  • M.S. Degree in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering (Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability)
  • College of Engineering EaSE Certificate
  • Ph.D. Degree in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering (Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability)

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Learn More About the EWES Program

The cross-cutting nature of the EWES program serves as bridge to other programs addressing energy, water, and sustainability issues within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), across the College of Engineering, and to other academic units on campus. A flexible graduate degree curriculum leading to MS and PhD degrees has been designed to accommodate students with backgrounds in various sub-disciplines within civil and environmental engineering as well as other engineering disciplines. The graduate program has also been designed so that students meeting the degree requirements of the EWES program will have also completed the requirements of the College of Engineering's graduate option program certificate in Energy and Sustainability Engineering (EaSE). Undergraduate CEE students can also choose a program in EWES as a primary or secondary area of specialization. 

Some areas that the new EWES program addresses include the interface of water and the environment with:

  • Energy Sustainability: life cycle environmental impacts and water/ecological footprints of energy systems, life cycle costs of energy systems, incremental and transformational improvements in energy systems, climate change causes and consequences, climate change adaptation and mitigation (including carbon sequestration), energy- and water-efficient (green) buildings and infrastructure, materials for improved energy sustainability, environmental and economic stressors on energy/water/environmental systems
  • Energy Exploration: geotechnical, marine morphodynamics
  • Energy Production: bioenergy, 3rd generation bioenergy (e.g., algae, lignocellulosic conversion), waste-to-energy conversion, coal, shale gas (fracking), unconventional petroleum deposits (e.g., tar sands), hydro kinetics (rivers, waves), wind, solar, tidal, nuclear energy systems
  • Energy Delivery: systems for emerging energy markets (e.g., transportation systems for emerging bioenergy market), physical infrastructure for energy delivery, accessibility of energy, smart grids
  • Energy Use and Water: energy footprint assessment for engineered water cycle (water supply management, water treatment and delivery, wastewater management), water reuse/resource recovery from waste streams, changes in demand (due to increase in frequency of heat waves, demographic shifts, etc.), energy efficient materials for water purification


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