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Monday, April 27, 2020

15 Best Colleges to Pursue an Environmental Engineering Degree

In honor of recent holidays like Earth Day and National Arbor Day, and with the issue of global warming top of mind for many, careers in environmental engineering are becoming increasingly popular and crucial for the future of the planet. 

Environmental engineers help solve global problems related to air, land, and earth pollution and work to keep both human beings and the earth healthy. This is why quality college programs in environmental engineering are so important.

Students interested in environmental engineering degrees have a variety of college programs available to them; however, below are 15 of the very best colleges for pursuing an environmental engineering degree.

To help fund these programs, students can look for specific scholarships like the NSHSS STEAM Scholarship, focused on helping students interested in subjects like engineering afford college tuition.

For now, here is a list of those 15 programs, along with some information on each one’s mission and focus.

1. University of California - Berkeley

UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a minor program in environmental engineering to be combined with a major in a corresponding program like civil engineering or biological sciences.



Since 2002, NSHSS has supported young academics on their journey to college and beyond as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow. The mission behind NSHSS is to recognize academic excellence and honor high-achieving students, providing them with the resources and network to excel in college, career and community. In doing so, NSHSS connects members with global events, scholarships, college fairs, internships, career and leadership programs, partner discounts, and more. Discover what makes NSHSS worth it to student members and how you can get involved. 

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The minor allows students to learn quantitative methods in environmental engineering and prepares them for a graduate program at Berkeley or elsewhere. Though UC Berkeley only offers a minor, it is the top ranked school in environmental engineering studies.

2. Stanford University

Stanford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering similarly offers a comprehensive program for undergraduates to prepare them for a professional career. The program focuses heavily on sustainability and protecting the necessities of human life.

As a private research university located near the tech and start-up scene in Silicon Valley, Stanford is a top-notch university for any field but especially engineering. Students can choose an undergraduate program in civil engineering or environmental systems engineering, both of which prepare students for a career in the environmental engineering field. 

3. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Undergraduates at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor can major in civil or environmental engineering. Students also have the option to minor in environmental engineering. All programs prepare students for careers in the engineering field with a focus on water and atmospheric systems. 

Students who perform well in this program are encouraged to continue with graduate study in environmental engineering a t Ann Arbor, where it remains a top-ranked option in the field. 

4. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Tech’s bachelor of science program in environmental engineering prepares students for a career working with sustainability of land, air, and water resources; human health; and the restoration of the environment.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia Tech is a top-ranked public engineering school that sets students up well for their professional careers and has connections to various companies looking to hire Georgia Tech graduates.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s civil and environmental engineering undergraduate degree trains students to address global challenges like food shortages and climate change and explores the ways artificial intelligence and machine learning can provide solutions to those problems. 

As a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT is highly-rated and will prepare students to become well-rounded in the field of engineering and ready to help tackle the world’s engineering challenges. 

6. University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

UIUC’s Grainger College of Engineering focuses its Civil and Environmental Engineering program on preparing students to address water, land, and air pollution by following sustainable engineering practices. 

Since UIUC is a trusted university for engineering, students will be well prepared for any engineering challenge they may be asked to help tackle. UIUC’s professors in environmental engineering also focus on giving students a global perspective by partnering with colleagues from around the world.

7. University of Texas - Austin

The University of Texas in Austin focuses its environmental engineering program on mitigating the effects the human race has on the earth’s physical landscape. Students in the program learn how instrumental they are as engineers in addressing the problems facing the environment. 

8. Cornell University

At this private Ivy league research institution, students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program can choose to major in either civil or environmental engineering. The program focuses heavily on research and innovation within these fields and boasts world class facilities and professors.

9. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has designed its Civil Engineering curriculum to cater to students’ personal goals. Students can design the curriculum to suit their individual needs and hopes for their future career. 

Undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon can also work toward their MS when they enroll in the Integrated MS/BS Program. 

10. Virginia Tech

The Civil and Environmental Engineering program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia requires all undergraduate students to get their degree in civil engineering, which covers important aspects of environmental engineering as well.

In fact, all engineering students are admitted first into the general engineering program and apply for the civil engineering program after freshman year.

11. Purdue University - West Lafayette

First year engineering students at Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana also go through a year of foundational engineering curriculum before choosing their specialty major.

Then, students can pursue the Environmental and Ecological Engineering major at Purdue, in which they learn cross-disciplinary problem solving skills from an integrated systems perspective to help solve global environmental issues.

12. Pennsylvania State University - University Park

At Penn State University, University Park, undergraduate students pursue a BS in civil engineering, which includes the technical areas of: environmental engineering, geotechnical and materials engineering, structural engineering and mechanics, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering. Penn State then offers a graduate degree program in environmental engineering. 

13. Yale University

The undergraduate environmental engineering program at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut takes a broad view of environmental engineering and is working to integrate the discipline with human health, green design and pollution prevention, carbon sequestration and climate changes, and the development of alternative energy. 

Undergraduate environmental engineering students are also encouraged to be involved in related extracurricular activities and faculty research.  

14. Duke University

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina offers an environmental engineering undergraduate program that focuses on hands-on design, data science, computing, research, and entrepreneurship to prepare students to solve complex societal problems.

Students at Duke can also earn their BSE and Master’s degrees in five years by enrolling in the 4+1: BSE+master’s degree program.

15. Rice University

At Rice University in Houston, Texas, undergraduate students interested in environmental engineering have the option to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Civil Engineering, or a Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability.

These programs allow students to study environmental engineering within challenging and flexible programs while following the track of their choice and integrating engineering studies with their other interests.