Environmental Engineering

The Environmental Engineering Program offers two graduate degrees, Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The M.S. degree is awarded in Environmental Engineering and may be either research-based, Plan A, or coursework-based, Plan B. Plan A students often pursue further Ph.D. studies or careers in research and development in government and private institutes. The Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering prepares students for research and teaching careers in environmental engineering, including higher education, private foundations, and state, local, or federal government agencies. Both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in three areas of specialization: atmospheric processes, hydrogeosciences and water resources management, and contaminant fate and resource recovery.

Environmental Engineering Requirements. The M.S. and the Ph.D. requirements in Environmental Engineering conform to Graduate School requirements. The specific requirements for coursework and research are described below. The Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering does not have a related area or foreign language requirement, unless one is specified by the advisory committee.

Environmental Engineering M.S. Plan A Requirements. A total of 30 credits are required for graduation, with a minimum of 21 credits of coursework in Environmental Engineering or related area and a minimum of nine credits of GRAD 5950. A student may enroll in GRAD 5950 credits at any time during the M.S. degree and it is their responsibility to coordinate with their research advisor and secondarily, with their research committee, on the research plan and requirements for graduation.

All M.S. students are required to take ENVE 5310 and 5320.

The remaining courses may be related to one of the three areas of specialization in consultation with the advisor.

A plan A M.S. requires the submission of an M.S. thesis, in the form of a submission-ready paper manuscript, and an oral defense for graduation. The oral defense fulfills the role of the final examination for the M.S. degree. The scope, content and length of the M.S. thesis results from the agreement between the research advisor and the student. An advisory committee of at least two additional faculty members will also weigh in on the originality and quality of the thesis prior to graduation. In general, the thesis should present the methodology and results of novel, independent research conducted by the student. Thus, plan A M.S. theses cannot be solely literature reviews or replicate research already published in the scientific literature. As a standard, the M.S. thesis should constitute the basis for a journal paper submission and may be structured as such.

Environmental Engineering M.S. Plan B Requirements. A total of 30 credits are required for plan B Master’s, with a minimum of 27 credits of coursework in Environmental Engineering or related area. The remaining credits may be used towards additional courses or towards a research project by taking ENVE 5020.

All M.S. students are required to take ENVE 5310 and 5320.

The remaining courses may be related to one of the three areas of specialization in consultation with the advisor.

The final examination for a plan B Master’s is an oral or written exam on three core courses of Environmental Engineering: ENVE 5310 and two additional ENVE courses selected by the student. The exam will take place in the final semester before graduation and it will be administered by the advisory committee that will sign the Plan of Study and the Report on the Final Examination.

Environmental Engineering Ph.D. Requirements

If a student is admitted to the Ph.D. program with only a B.S. degree, at least 30 credits of coursework are required. If the student has a M.S. degree, the minimum requirement is 15 credits. However, if the M.S. degree is in a field other than Environmental Engineering, the Environmental Engineering Graduate Admissions committee will determine the minimum number of credits required for coursework.

All Ph.D. students are required to take or demonstrate proficiency in the following courses prior to taking the General Examination: ENVE 5210, 5310, 5320, and 5810.

The advisory committee may substitute the above with equivalent courses. The remaining credits may be taken in one of the three areas of specialization with courses selected in consultation with the advisory committee.

The General Examination is taken after the student has completed at least 12 credits of coursework (with a M.S.) or 18 credits of coursework (with a B.S.). The program administers the examination twice a year, in January and in May. An approved Plan of Study must be filed with the Graduate School before the general examination can be taken. The Environmental Engineering Program administers the General Examination as an oral examination to test student mastery of core environmental engineering concepts and student ability to integrate concepts across disciplinary areas.

The Dissertation Proposal is a document that outlines the proposed research for the dissertation and has to be compiled and approved before the research is well underway. It is recommended that the dissertation proposal is submitted for approval in the following semester after a student passes their General Examination, but the maximum time is one year after the General Examination.

In addition to Graduate School requirements, the Environmental Engineering Program requires that a Ph.D. student must have three journal papers. One published or accepted for publication, one under review and one in the final stages of preparation. However, it is important that the three papers address a larger, coherent research question as outlined in the Dissertation Proposal and they are not isolated bodies of work.

The programs are offered by the School of Engineering.