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Best Environmental Engineering Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Environmental Engineering Programs

Medinah Aina - June 27, 2022


Environmental engineering is a branch of engineering that studies the impact of technological advancement on the environment. Attending one of the best environmental engineering colleges can be advantageous to your career in the field. You will get a high-quality education and build the technical and non-technical skills that potential employers will covet.

This article will teach you about the best environmental engineering schools, programs, and career opportunities. You will learn how to choose the right university and how to fund your graduate study path. We’ll also show you how the best environmental engineering universities made our list.

Best Environmental Engineering College and University Rankings: Top 10 Environmental Engineering Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
Arizona State University AZ In-person #117
Clemson University SC In-person #75
Columbia University NY In-person, online #2
Cornell University NY In-person #17 (tie)
North Carolina State University NC In-person, online #79
Northwestern University IL In-person #9
Purdue University IN In-person #49
Rice University TX In-person #17 (tie)
University of Cincinnati OH In-person #148
University of Houston TX In-person #179

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Environmental Engineering School Rankings: Best Environmental Engineering Colleges and Universities

This section covers the best environmental engineering colleges and universities. It includes reliable information on the school and the programs, such as the graduation rate, accreditation, ranking, curriculum, and degrees offered. Be sure to check each school’s website to find information about letters of recommendation, most popular major, application fee policies, and even campus life if you’re planning on attending in person.

1

Arizona State University

Graduation Rate: 66%

Arizona State University is a public university founded in 1886. It offers over 400 undergraduate degrees and over 450 graduate degrees through 16 colleges and schools. It has a total of 135,729 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The school is ranked highly for offering some of the best online bachelor’s degree programs in the nation and has been named the top school for innovation.

Arizona State University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #117
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #132

Best Arizona State University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program is designed to prepare students to begin successful careers in environmental engineering. It requires students to complete 120 credit hours, which can be completed in four years.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program is designed for students with a background in agricultural, biological, chemical, civil, or environmental engineering. The program requires 30 credit hours with a thesis, comprehensive exam, or an applied project. It has an accelerated degree option that allows students to complete it along with the bachelor's program.
  • Master of Science in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering . Students of this program can choose to specialize in environmental engineering. They must complete 30 credit hours, and they have a choice of the thesis, applied project, or coursework-only options.
  • PhD in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering . This PhD program requires 84 credit hours and can be completed alongside the master’s degree program. The doctorate program requires an approved graduate interactive plan of study, approved coursework, a comprehensive qualifying exam, an approved dissertation proposal, and a successful dissertation defense.

Arizona State University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Arizona State University offers one of the best first-year experiences in the country, including unique programs, peer coaching, an interactive chatbot, and welcome week activities.

2

Clemson University

Graduation Rate: 85%

Clemson University is a public college founded in 1889. It offers various academic programs, including over 80 majors, 90 minors, and 130 graduate degree programs. With 21,653 undergraduate students and 5,688 graduate students, it has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. It is the second-largest university by student enrollment in South Carolina.

Clemson University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #75
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #801-1,000

Best Clemson University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program requires students to complete courses in four areas: basic sciences, engineering sciences, environmental engineering, and applied sciences. The program requires students to complete 127 credit hours, which should be completed in about four years.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and Science . This program includes five specialization areas: environmental chemistry, surface and subsurface processes, nuclear environmental engineering and sciences, process engineering, and sustainable systems and environmental assessment. Students must complete 24 credit hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of research.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences . This program prepares students for a career in the field by combining biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics, and engineering principles. The program requirements are 30 credit hours post MS and 60 credit hours post BS, including coursework and doctoral research.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)/Master of Science (MS) in Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Engineering . This program allows students to start their Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering while completing their Bachelor's Degree in Biosystems Engineering. Students are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and at least 90 credit hours to be eligible for this program. The MS program requires 24 credit hours for the thesis option and 30 credit hours for the non-thesis option.
  • BS/MS in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering and Science . Students can start their Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and Science while getting their Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Students must have an overall minimum GPA of 3.4 and a minimum of 90 credit hours to apply for the graduate program. The graduate program has two options: thesis and non-thesis.
  • BS/MS in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering and Science . Students need to have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and 90 credit hours before they can be accepted into this program. The graduate program focuses on process engineering, sustainable systems, environmental assessment, fate and transport, environmental health physics, environmental radiochemistry, and environmental chemistry.
  • BS/MS in Environmental Engineering and Science . This program requires undergraduate students to have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and 90 credit hours. The graduate program has six focus areas: process engineering, sustainable systems and environmental assessment, fate and transport, environmental health physics, environmental radiochemistry, and environmental chemistry.
  • BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering and Science . This program allows students to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering and Science. They will need to have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and a minimum of 90 credit hours in their undergraduate degree program to participate in this program.
  • BS/MS in Environmental Engineering and Civil Engineering . Like other dual degree programs this school offers, this one also requires students to have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and 90 credit hours in their bachelor's work to be eligible. They will then proceed to the graduate program, where they can choose between the thesis and non-thesis options, which each have six focus areas.

Clemson University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Clemson University offers personalized education and allows upper-level students to assume mentorship roles for undergraduate students.

3

Columbia University

Graduation Rate: 96%

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university founded in 1754. It has over 100 academic programs with 6,000 undergraduates and a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1. It has over 250 faculty in the National Academy of Engineering, Academy of Science, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It is a university of high achievers, having produced multiple presidents, Olympians, Nobel Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Columbia University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #2
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #11

Best Columbia University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering . This degree will prepare students to start careers in primary materials (water, minerals, fuels) and the environment. The first two years of the program will help build students' foundation in basic science and math, while the last two years will include courses in engineering and other relevant areas.
  • Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering . For this program, students can choose an area of focus, including climate risk assessment and management, environmental health engineering, and sustainable waste management. The program is also available to students with a bachelor's degree in non-engineering fields.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Earth and Environmental Engineering . Students will be required to pass a qualifying exam, submit a research proposal, and complete a thesis and defense for this program .
  • Doctor of Engineering Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering . This program has the same requirements as the PhD, except that graduates are awarded an EngScD degree.

Columbia University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Students attending Columbia University can be a part of groundbreaking research and benefit from an in-depth curriculum that teaches students beyond the limits of their program.

4

Cornell University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Cornell University is a private Ivy League research university established in 1865. The school offers nearly 80 formal major programs and 122 minor programs, as well as dual degree and interdisciplinary programs through its 16 colleges and schools. In 2021, it had a total of 25,582 students enrolled, including 15,503 undergraduate students, 7,101 graduate students, and 2,978 professional students.

Cornell University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #22

Best Cornell University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program is offered jointly by the College of Engineering and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Students have to complete a minimum of 125 credit hours and take courses such as math, chemistry, physics, computer programming, and biological sciences.
  • Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering . This program is designed to give students an in-depth knowledge of engineering and enhance their technical abilities. Students can select an area of focus from four options: structural mechanics and materials, transportation systems engineering, environmental engineering, and engineering management. The program can be completed in two semesters.
  • Master of Engineering in Biological and Environmental Engineering . This program is for those with a bachelor's degree in an engineering field or a related field. It consists of coursework and a problem-solving project. Students can choose to specialize in systems engineering and modeling, molecular engineering, or soil and water engineering.
  • Master of Science in Biological and Environmental Engineering . The specific requirements that need to be met before students can graduate from this program include setting up their own special committee, completing independent thesis research, passing their exams, and completing two semesters.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biological and Environmental Engineering . Students have similar requirements as those in the MS program but they need to complete six semesters instead of two.

Cornell University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Cornell University allows students to choose their own special committee of faculty members that represent their academic interests.

5

North Carolina State University

Graduation Rate: 84%

North Carolina State University is a public land-grant research university established in 1887. The school has a student body of over 37,500 and over 2,500 faculty. It offers online and in-person programs for over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 12 colleges and 68 departments. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 and serves citizens in all 100 North Carolina counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians via its extensions.

North Carolina State University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 46%
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s
  • US News Ranking: #79
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #301-350

Best North Carolina State University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for the field using laboratory investigation, computational analysis, and environmental systems design.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program is for students who intend to pursue careers in environmental engineering and want to gain advanced knowledge. The program requires a thesis and oral examination, and students need to complete 30 or 31 credit hours to graduate.
  • Master of Environmental Engineering . This program is a non-thesis program offered both online and in person. Students can choose from seven areas of specialization, including subjects such as air pollution engineering, coastal engineering, energy systems analysis, water resources engineering, and modeling and systems analysis.
  • Online Master of Environmental Engineering . This online program requires 30 credit hours of coursework without a thesis or research component. Prospective students must have a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering. The program is designed for those with an interest in pursuing a career in environmental engineering.
  • Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering . This program allows students to complete their master's program within two to three semesters. To be eligible, students will have to have completed 75 credit hours and still be enrolled in the bachelor's program.

North Carolina State University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

North Carolina State University’s graduate engineering programs have been ranked among the best of those offered by public universities.

6

Northwestern University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Northwestern University is a private school founded in 1851. It is a renowned university with over 8,000 undergraduate students, 13,000 graduate students, and a 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It has three campuses and offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs online and in person in various fields of study.

Northwestern University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #9
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #24

Best Northwestern University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program is designed to prepare students for careers in environmental engineering. The program requires students to complete a minimum of 48 credit hours via courses in subjects like mathematics, engineering analysis, and design and communication.
  • Environmental Engineering Minor . This minor program includes core courses in subjects such as engineering possibilities, biological and ecological principles, earth and Anthropocene, environmental systems and processes, ecohydrology, and sustainable water systems. Students will also have to choose two electives.
  • Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering . This program has five different areas of specialization that students can choose from. It requires nine credit hours and can be completed in two to three quarters.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering . This program prepares students for careers in research, academic, corporate, and public service settings. It has five areas of focus, and its requirements are coursework, candidacy, committee, and dissertation and defense.

Northwestern University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Northwestern University is a research institution with 90 school-based centers and over 50 university research centers.

7

Purdue University

Graduation Rate: 83%

Purdue University is a public research university founded in 1869. This school is Indiana's land-grant university and offers online and on-campus programs in various fields of study from the undergraduate to graduate level. It also offers youth programs in engineering, technology, science and math, and sports and athletics.

In 2021, Purdue recorded a student body of 49,639 students, with 37,101 undergraduates, 11,613 graduates, and 925 professional students. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 for undergraduates, and a ratio of less than 1:1 for graduate students.

Purdue University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #49
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #105

Best Purdue University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Minor in Environmental and Ecological Engineering . This program is designed to equip students with expertise and qualifications in the engineering field. Students interested in this program must meet the required prerequisites and will complete six courses during the program. It doesn't require an application to join.
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Ecological Engineering . This program is designed to educate students and prepare them for immediate employment in the field soon after graduation. Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours at Purdue and earn a minimum GPA of 2.0 to graduate.
  • Master of Science in Environmental and Ecological Engineering . This master's program has thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis program requires 21 hours of coursework and nine hours of research, and the non-thesis program requires 30 hours of coursework. The program has two areas of focus and students can choose from modern environmental engineering or sustainable industrial systems.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Ecological Engineering . In this program, students must complete 48 hours of coursework, 42 hours of research, and a minimum of eight credit hours per semester, with six hours in the summer session. It can be completed in a minimum of three years beyond the master's degree.

Purdue University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Purdue University offers excellent engineering and mathematics programs and solid career services.

8

Rice University

Graduation Rate: 94%

Rice University is a private school established in 1912. It offers online and on-campus programs in over 50 undergraduate majors in six fields of study, including architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences, and social sciences. It also offers minors as well as interdisciplinary, professional, and graduate programs. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1.

Rice University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #136

Best Rice University Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Engineering . This program requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. Students will take courses in subjects such as energy and environment, urban water systems, and hydrology.
  • Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering . This program will make students adept in the field of civil and environmental engineering and strengthen their research and communication skills. It is a non-thesis degree that requires students to complete 30 credit hours and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to graduate.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program will give students a solid foundation in environmental engineering, train them to conduct independent research, and build their communication skills. It requires students to complete 30 credit hours of study, a research thesis, and an oral examination.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering . This program requires students to complete 90 credit hours past their bachelor's degree, complete six core courses, and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students will also have to take a preliminary examination and a qualifying examination and complete a thesis and oral examination.

Rice University Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

Rice University is similar to Ivy League universities in that it includes high-quality programs, a strong alumni network, and solid research facilities and results.

9

University of Cincinnati

Graduation Rate: 73%

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university founded in 1819. It is the oldest university in Cincinnati and the second-largest university in Ohio by enrollment. It has a total enrollment of over 46,000 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. The school offers 414 degree programs and 262 minors and certificates in various fields of study.

University of Cincinnati Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #148
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #251-300

Best University of Cincinnati Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Minor in Environmental Engineering . This program focuses on water quality and air quality in environmental engineering. The program requires a minimum of 18 to 24 credit hours and can be completed in one and a half years.
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering . This course will help students build the technical and non-technical skills needed to solve pollution problems and maintain resources to benefit society. The curriculum includes a minimum of 127 credit hours in five years to complete the program.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering . This program offers specializations in areas such as air pollution control and air quality, water quality processes, hazardous waste engineering and management, and environmental hydrology and environmental engineering management. It requires a minimum of 34 credit hours and can be completed in two years.
  • Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering . The curriculum of this program is designed to equip students with the skills and expertise required to join the technical workforce. It doesn't include a thesis or research option and focuses more on building students' skills. It requires a minimum of 30 credit hours and can be completed in a year.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science . This program has two focus areas: air quality and water quality. It requires a minimum of 94 credit hours post BS and 60 credit hours post MS. It can be completed in five years and includes coursework and research.

University of Cincinnati Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

The University of Cincinnati is highly ranked among the most innovative schools in the nation.

10

University of Houston

Graduation Rate: 62%

The University of Houston is a public research university established in 1927. It offers graduate, doctoral, distance learning, and continuing education programs. It has a total enrollment of over 47,000, with 37,833 undergraduates, 866 post-baccalaureate students, 6,689 graduates, and 1,643 professional students.

University of Houston Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Degrees Offered: Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: #179
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #601-800

Best University of Houston Environmental Engineering Programs

  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (with thesis) . This program requires students to complete 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of thesis. Its core courses are Engineering Hydrology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Modeling, and Environmental Engineering Microbiology.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (without thesis) . This program requires 30 credit hours of organized courses without a thesis. Core courses are the same as the ones for the thesis option.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering . This program requires students to have completed a master's degree before enrolling, but students with a bachelor's degree may also be considered. It requires 52 credit hours of approved study beyond the MS degree. This means 24 credit hours of organized coursework and 28 credit hours of research and dissertation.

University of Houston Environmental Engineering Key Takeaway

The University of Houston provides students with practically unlimited research opportunities.

The Best Schools for Environmental Engineering: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

There are different degrees that you can get in environmental engineering, including a community college certificate, an associate degree , a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a graduate certificate or professional certificate, and a doctoral degree . Following is a brief explanation of each program.

1

Environmental Engineering Community College Certificate

An environmental engineering community college certificate is a postsecondary certificate designed for those with a high school diploma. The program is a short-term program that typically takes several months or a year to complete and includes courses to prepare students for immediate employment after graduation.

2

Environmental Engineering Associate Degree

An environmental engineering associate degree is an undergraduate degree or a postsecondary degree available to students with a high school diploma. It is a two-year program that equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to join the workforce and achieve their academic and professional goals.

The program is typically offered via a community college but can also be pursued at a four-year university. Students can earn an Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), or Associate of Arts (AA) degree. Each of these degrees will cover the basics of environmental engineering and prepare students for a career in the field.

3

Environmental Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering is an undergraduate program designed to give students the in-depth knowledge and skills required to achieve their academic and career goals. The program typically lasts for four to five years, depending on the school and learning format.

Students who enroll in this program will take core courses, electives, and a thesis or capstone project. The core courses may include biology, chemistry, math, geometry, environmental biology, fluid mechanics, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Engineering in this field.

4

Environmental Engineering Master’s Degree

An environmental engineering master’s degree is a postgraduate degree awarded to students that have completed a higher level of education and demonstrate some expertise in the field. It is taken after completion of a bachelor’s degree program. The program lasts two to three years, depending on the school and the learning format.

Students in this program can choose an area of specialization and may have to complete a thesis if they have chosen the thesis option. Otherwise, they may have to complete a research project. The program will require students to complete core courses, electives, and a few general education courses. An oral defense may be required at the end of the program.

5

Environmental Engineering Graduate Certificate

An environmental engineering graduate certificate program is also known as a professional certificate. It is an educational credential awarded upon completing a training program at an institution of higher education. This certification training program is different from a certificate and gives students specialized knowledge and skills to make them professionals in the field.

6

Environmental Engineering Doctorate

An environmental engineering doctoral degree is the highest academic degree that can be earned in this field. It can be acquired after a master’s degree and, in some cases, after a bachelor’s degree. It is evidence of mastery and is only awarded after completing original research and multiple examinations.

The program typically takes three to seven years to complete and requires students to complete coursework, independent research, a preliminary examination, a qualifying examination, a candidacy examination, a comprehensive examination, and an oral examination.

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Best Environmental Engineering Schools: Other Environmental Engineering University Rankings

The following are the best environmental engineering schools at different academic levels. These environmental engineering university rankings are based on several factors, including the curriculum, graduation rate, and cost.

Best Online Environmental Engineering Schools

  1. Old Dominion University. Old Dominion University is a public research institution founded in 1930. It is one of the largest universities by enrollment in Virginia. It is ranked by US News as having some of the best online bachelor’s degree programs in the US.
  2. Southern New Hampshire University. Southern New Hampshire University is a private nonprofit institution founded in 1932. It offers over 200 online programs, from associate to doctoral levels. The BS in Environmental Science program offers hands-on experience to help the students hone their skills.
  3. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a public land-grant research institution and the flagship university of the University of Illinois system. It was founded in 1867 and offers on-campus and online programs in various fields of study through its 15 colleges. The school’s online civil engineering MS program is ranked number one in the US.

Best Community Colleges for Environmental Engineering

  1. Delaware Technical Community College. DTCC is a public school founded in 1966. It offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificate programs in various fields. The AS in Environmental Engineering program will equip students with the skills needed to join the workforce, and the credit hours earned can be transferred to a university for a BS degree.
  2. Delta College. Delta College is a public community college in Michigan that offers associate, certificate, transfer, and job training programs. The AAS in Environmental Technology program will prepare students to start a career in the field or enhance their skills.
  3. Western Dakota Technical Institute. This institution is the only technical college in western South Dakota. It offers online and in-person programs in different fields of study. The AAS program will prepare students to become greenhouse professionals in residential, farm, and commercial-scale operations.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Environmental Engineering

  1. Oregon State University. Oregon State University is a public college that offers undergraduate to doctoral degree programs in various fields. It is the largest university in Oregon. The BS program allows students to participate in a capstone project that will help them understand how to solve real-world problems.
  2. University of California-Berkeley. This institution is a public land-grant school in California founded in 1868. The school offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering that prepares students for a career in the field.
  3. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a public research university founded in 1817. It is a top-ranking school that provides high-quality research, learning, and instruction for students. The school offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Best Graduate Schools for Environmental Engineering

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech is a public research university and institute of technology founded in 1885. It offers various programs in different fields of study, including business, liberal arts, and engineering. The environmental engineering program offers knowledge and research opportunities in air, land, and water science and engineering.
  2. Stanford University. Stanford University is a private research university founded in 1891. It is a world-renowned institution with a total enrollment of 16,937 and a relatively low acceptance rate. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil and environmental engineering that will give students the knowledge and skills to stand out among their peers.
  3. University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university founded in 1883. It is one of the highest-ranking public universities in the country. It has a total enrollment of 51,991 students and is one of the largest institutions in the country by enrollment. The school offers a graduate program in environmental and water resources engineering.

Best Environmental Engineering Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. Clemson University | BS/MS in Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Engineering. This program allows students to earn an MS in Environmental Engineering while pursuing a BS in Biosystems Engineering. The program is available to students who are already enrolled in the BS program, and both degrees can be earned in five years.
  2. Rutgers University | Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Master of Business Administration. This program allows students to earn a BS/BA and an MBA within five years. The program is available to undergraduate students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher through the first part of junior year and scored in at least the 80th percentile on their GMAT.
  3. University of Michigan | Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environment and Master of Science in Engineering. This program allows students to earn a master’s degree both in natural resources and environment and in engineering. The program requires 54 credit hours and can be completed in two-and-a-half years.

Best Schools With Accelerated Environmental Engineering Programs

  1. Michigan Technological University | Accelerated Master’s Program in Environmental Engineering. This program allows undergraduate students to transfer up to six senior-level credit hours earned in the program to their master’s degree. This allows them to earn their master’s degree faster. It includes coursework, a thesis, and report options.
  2. North Carolina State University | Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. This program allows students to complete their master’s degree two to three semesters after their bachelor’s degree. To be eligible, students must have completed at least 75 credit hours towards their bachelor’s degree and have an overall GPA of 3.5 or better and a major GPA of at least 3.25.
  3. The University of Arizona | Accelerated Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. This program allows students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. It is available to students with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, civil engineering, environmental science, or environmental engineering.

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Is Graduate School for Environmental Engineering Worth It?

Yes, it is worth going to graduate school for environmental engineering. Graduate school will give you the advanced and specialized knowledge and skills required to become an expert in the field. With this degree, you will be investing in your future as you will have a plethora of job opportunities to explore, gain a competitive edge, and have access to higher-paying jobs.

What Jobs Can You Do With an Environmental Engineering Degree?

The jobs you can do with an environmental engineering degree are environmental engineer, water project manager, green building engineer, urban and regional planner, or water quality engineer. Whether you’re in a big city like San Francisco or a small map-dot town, you can be a  land surveyor, water treatment plant operator, environmental remediation engineer, environmental compliance specialist, or environmental scientist.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Environmental Engineering?

You can earn an average of $74,000 yearly with an Associate Degree in Environmental Engineering, according to PayScale. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering, you can make an average salary of $66,000 . The average salary is $71,000 with a master’s degree, and those with a doctoral degree earn an annual average wage of $78,000 . Keep in mind that you have more flexibility and can be pickier about your job selection with higher degrees as well.

Highest-Paying Environmental Engineering Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Reservoir Engineer Bachelor’s degree $117,171
Environmental Health and Safety Engineer Bachelor’s degree $99,040
Construction Manager Bachelor’s degree $98,890
Environmental Engineer Bachelor’s degree $96,820
Water Resource Project Manager Bachelor’s degree $88,886
Agricultural Engineer Bachelor’s degree $82,640
Urban and Regional Planner Master’s degree $78,500
Environmental Scientist Bachelor’s degree $76,530
Conservation Scientist Bachelor’s degree $63,750
Environmental Remediation Engineer Bachelor’s degree $61,233

Best Jobs With an Environmental Engineering Degree

The best jobs with an environmental engineering degree are reservoir engineer, environmental health and safety engineer, construction manager, or water project manager. More top jobs include an agricultural engineer, environmental scientist, environmental engineer , and conservation scientist. The specific jobs you can do will differ depending on your education and degree level.

Best

2

Environmental Engineering Associate Degree

Jobs

Some of the best environmental engineering associate degree jobs are assistant construction manager, environmental consultant, and environmental engineering technician. These jobs are only available for those with an associate degree because they require skills taught at that level. They don’t need the in-depth knowledge and skills of bachelor’s degree holders.

Top Environmental Engineering Careers With an Associate Degree

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3

Environmental Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

Jobs

The best environmental engineering bachelor's degree jobs are reservoir engineer, environmental engineer, environmental health and safety engineer, and construction manager. These jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, as that is the education that provides the knowledge and skills relevant to excel at them.

Top Environmental Engineering Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree

Best

4

Environmental Engineering Master’s Degree

Jobs

The best environmental engineering master’s degree jobs are pollution control engineer, environmental engineering consultant, urban and regional planner, and agricultural engineer. These jobs require the advanced knowledge and skills provided by a master’s degree program, including research skills and specialized expertise.

Top Environmental Engineering Careers With a Master’s Degree

Best

6

Environmental Engineering Doctorate

Jobs

The best environmental engineering doctorate jobs are director of environmental health and safety, senior environmental engineer, civil engineering supervisor, and environmental research scientist. These high-ranking jobs require you to be highly skilled in the field so you can be a great asset to any team you join.

Those who take on these roles are expected to have advanced and in-depth knowledge of the industry to lead others. The doctoral degree prepares you for these roles, as it means you have attained the highest academic achievement and are well-versed in the field.

Top Environmental Engineering Careers With a PhD

5

Best Internships for Environmental Engineering Students

Various internship opportunities are available for environmental engineering students who want to get real-life experience before their program is over. These internship programs will give you the real-world experience that will help you kick off your career after graduation.

Some available internships in the environmental engineering field are through companies such as Jacobs Engineering Company, Parsons Corporation, and United States Steel. To land a spot in these programs, you will need to have outstanding academic records and be highly skilled in the field.

These internships are best pursued in the middle of your bachelor’s or master’s degree program for higher chances of selection.

Top Environmental Engineering Internships

How Can I Pay for Environmental Engineering School?

You can pay for environmental engineering school by applying for scholarships, grants, student loans, and work-study programs. These financial aid options are the most common and reliable way to fund your way through your higher education program. Below is a more comprehensive look at each financing option.

  • Scholarships. Scholarships are an excellent way to fund your environmental engineering degree. Several scholarship options are available to students, including scholarships funded by the school, private individuals, organizations, or the government. They may cover a certain percentage of the tuition or all, based on various factors.
  • Grants. Grants are awarded by public organizations or charity foundations to students to help them fund their education. Like scholarships, they are given as gifts and don’t require any form of repayment. They may differ in amount, based on the organization.
  • Student Loans. Student loans are given to students by the government or private organizations to fund their education. This loan covers tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses and will accumulate interest. Students get to choose their most preferred repayment plan.
  • Work-Study. A work-study program is a financial aid program provided by the federal or state government to help students fund their tuition by providing them with part-time jobs. These jobs allow students to earn money during their school program to pay for their education and other expenses and make college easier.

How to Pay for Your Chosen School Education Path

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Choosing the Best Environmental Engineering School for You

To choose the best environmental engineering school for you, you should consider the accreditation of the school and program, cost of the program, general graduation rate of the school, student-to-faculty ratio, and career services offered by the school. These factors help determine which program is best for you. Below is more information on them.

Accreditation

It is important for a school or program to be accredited, as accreditation proves that the education provided meets the standard quality for all educational institutions. It also gives students access to government funding and makes it easier to transfer credits. It guarantees you an opportunity in the job market as your degree will be recognized and respected.

Cost

The cost of the program is an important factor. While high-quality education is typically expensive, there are also more affordable programs that still offer an excellent education. It’s advisable to look for an affordable program and one that also offers financial aid options to help relieve you of the financial burden.

Graduation Rate

Graduation rates show what percentage of students actually complete their programs and graduate from the school. It also shows how long it takes for students to graduate. An environmental engineering program may take between four and five years, and the school’s graduation rate will show you how many students complete their program within that time or take longer.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The school’s student-to-faculty ratio ensures that students are in a better learning environment, have easier access to their instructors and resources, and have increased social engagement. A good institution will have between a 6:1 and 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio, giving students better access to high-quality education and personalized attention from the faculty.

Career Services

Career services help prepare students for life after college. A good institution should offer at least one type of career service to give students an insight into what to expect in the job market and have a competitive advantage. These career services may include, but are not limited to, job searches, resume writing, interview prep, career coaching, online branding, and workshop events.

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Environmental Engineering?

Yes, it matters what college you go to for environmental engineering. This is a promising field with numerous opportunities for a rewarding career. However, to excel at it, you need expertise. To get this expertise, you will need a high-quality education that will provide you with in-depth and relevant knowledge and skills. This requires a good school with a comprehensive curriculum, well-grounded faculty, and academic resources, making your college choice very important.

Environmental Engineering University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Environmental Engineering

We ranked the best environmental engineering schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our environmental engineering university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like school and program reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of environmental engineering degree program offerings.

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Best Environmental Engineering Schools FAQ

Which university is the best in the world for environmental engineering?

Columbia University could be considered the best school in the world for environmental engineering. The school currently ranks number two overall in the US , and its individual engineering programs are also highly ranked. Plus, many of its degree programs are available online, making them accessible from almost anywhere. A 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio also ensures a better education.

Is environmental engineering a good career?

Yes, environmental engineering is a good career. There are various job opportunities available in the field, many of which have impressive salaries. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of environmental engineers is $96,820 , which is relatively higher than most other occupations.

Where do environmental engineers get paid the most?

According to BLS, environmental engineers get paid the most in Texas, California, Idaho, Tennessee, and Connecticut. These are the highest-paying states for environmental engineers in the US.

Where are environmental engineers needed most?

Environmental engineers are needed the most in California, New York, Texas, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. According to BLS, these are the states with the highest employment levels for environmental engineers in the US.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Medinah Aina

About the author: Medinah is an expert copywriter and web designer, helping people learn more about education and careers in technology. She values in-depth research and providing accurate, helpful information. Medinah holds a BSc in Social Work from the University of Lagos and an Eduonix Certification in copywriting.

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