Environmental Engineering B.S. degree program introduced

10/5/2022 11:01:55 AM

A student works in one of CEE's environmental engineering laboratories.
A student works in one of CEE's environmental engineering laboratories.

For many years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked CEE at Illinois among the top schools for undergraduate environmental engineering. Even so, up until now the department has offered only a concentration in environmental engineering within its undergraduate program, with all graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering. Now a new undergraduate degree program is in the works that will enable students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering.

Pending final approval by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the B.S. in Environmental Engineering degree program (B.S. in EnvE) will provide rigorous and focused training at the intersection of the natural sciences and engineering fundamentals. The degree program is expected to be completed in eight semesters of full-time study.

The program will be unique in its integration of atmospheric sciences with infrastructure planning and design; the development of computational skills including mathematical techniques to work with environmental and temporal datasets; the incorporation of engineering design experience distributed across the curriculum; and the provision of concentration areas and coursework in emerging areas of critical importance in the 21st century. Students will gain core knowledge in math, science and engineering and select a primary concentration within the B.S. EnvE program from among the following five alternatives: Public Health Engineering; One Water; Energy and Environmental Sustainability; Climate and Environmental Sustainability; and Water Systems and Sustainability.

“Students receiving a B.S. degree in EnvE will be uniquely trained in environmental engineering and the natural sciences, and will be skilled in computational tools, climate adaptation and mitigation, and the design and advancement of environmental infrastructure and technologies,” said Professor John Popovics, Associate Head for Undergraduate Studies. “They will also gain the analytical and computational skills necessary for the analysis, planning and design of environmental infrastructure and technologies to meet the rapidly evolving needs of communities and to guide societal development along more sustainable trajectories.

“Graduates will thus be well positioned to pursue professional degree programs in engineering as well as diverse programs related to environmental policy, public health and the natural sciences. They will also be equally prepared to enter industry as environmental or water resources engineers, or to pursue a diversity of emerging careers related to sustainable design and sustainable development.”

The first graduates of the program are expected in spring 2025. Current undergraduates may transfer into the program starting in fall 2023, and new incoming students may apply to begin in fall 2024.