Masters in Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering makes one an expert in minimizing and managing waste, pollution in the air and harmful chemicals in water and soil. Environmental engineering is the study of the effect of human activity on the environment and involves the use of engineering principles to improve and maintain the environment. The US Environmental Protection Agency has identified 10 issues of concern in this matter. They are air, water, waste land clean up, health and safety, climate change, green living and sustainability, chemicals and toxins, pesticides, emergencies and agriculture. By focusing on these issues, environmental engineers improve and maintain the environment for the protection of human health and the ecosystem.
 Ever since man stopped living nomadic lifestyles and started building settlements, core issues like waste and sewage have had to be managed. The first environmental engineers were found in our own past, i.e., during the Harappan civilization, where engineers conceived of a perfect system of grids and canals to move wastewater and sludge out of the city to sewage dumps outside. 
In today’s world, a graduate with a Master’s degree in Environmental engineering grapples not only with sanitation systems but new world problems brought about by climate change, scarcity of water and pollution. New advances in renewable energy and ocean thermal energy conversion make the Masters in Environmental Engineering courses one of the most sought after today. 
You will have noticed that many companies nowadays make a huge effort to become “green.” From mobile providers asking you to stop printing your bills to governments banning plastics, all these are efforts to make the earth greener and more sustainable. Quoting from Forbes magazine on this trend – “Environmental engineers are well positioned to profit from this trend. Demand is predicted to grow more than 25% over the next eight years, and many of these engineers will make well over $100,000 a year. Many environmental engineers work as consultants, helping their clients find ways to decrease the environmental impact of their projects.”

Course Structure

A typical Masters in Environmental Engineering course takes two years to complete. The first year is normally dedicated to core engineering, while in the second year, you study the electives you want to specialize in. Most colleges demand at least 30 credit hours. 
The course structures of Masters in environmental engineering vary from college to college. The broad essentials which you will find in most colleges are:

  • Water resource management
  • Air quality and water chemistry
  • Environmental laws and policy
  • Environmental technology for sustainability
  • Sustainable Urban water systems 
  • In addition, many colleges offer varied courses in:
  • Energy Management
  • Renewable energy 
  • Ocean and Resources management
  • Marine Microbial Ecology
  • Solid Thermal and Biomass Engineering

It is best to choose that area of specialization which interests you and opt to go to that college which offers the course.

Eligibility

To be considered for a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering, you must have completed a four-year accredited Bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, and demonstrated strong academic achievement in an appropriate discipline. The degree must be either in Engineering, the physical sciences or applied mathematics. Other crucial requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
  • Minimum score on the General Aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume or curriculum vitae
  • A statement of purpose  

Appearing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for all international applicants not holding a degree from a United States post-secondary institution. The score requirements are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0.
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based test.

Please note that you must not take the resume, letters of recommendation and SOP (Statement of purpose) lightly. The letters of recommendation should preferably be given by your tutors in college, and many colleges specify that they be sent directly by the person giving the recommendation. You may use this tool of ours to review your SOP. It is automated and hassle- free!

You will notice as you go through the curricula of different colleges that there are myriad streams of specialization offered in MS in Environmental Engineering.  Some of the most popular ones are listed below:

1. Energy Systems 

The world today is facing a crisis in tackling the increasing number of challenges in harnessing energy. Climate change and the ever-increasing costs of the different modes of energy pose a huge threat. This course helps you identify innovative solutions and different perspectives in tackling the sustainable energy challenge. Job opportunities after this specialization are huge. You could be employed as a Solar Design Engineer, Solar Operations Engineer, Energy Analyst, or as a Power Systems Consultant.

2. Energy Management

The declining fossil energy resources, environmental pollution and climate change underscore the importance of this Master’s in Environmental Engineering specialization. The Master’s program in Energy Management helps you understand the different perspectives related to the global energy supply systems and their interrelationship with the environmental problems. This course allows you to understand and master the current technologies used and analyze the economics of converting them into sustainable energy sources. Finishing this course could fetch you jobs as an Operations Project Manager, Risk and Compliance Manager, Energy Process Manager and Energy Storage Developer.

3. Renewable and Clean Energy

The Renewable and Clean Energy program includes courses on the various types of alternative energy systems in addition to courses on fundamental concepts related to energy. Included in this program are courses on fuel cells, solar energy, wind power, hydrogen fuel, energy conversion, energy materials, energy efficiency, thermodynamics, etc. Finishing a major in this subject could get you employed as a Renewable Energy project manager, Energy policy analyst, Renewable energy consultant. 

4. Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric Sciences include the study of the circulation, composition, and physical and chemical processes of the atmosphere. Students pursuing this specialization can study the fundamental processes of the atmosphere as well as its interactions with the oceans, hydrological cycle and the role of the atmosphere in climate change. The program has courses in climate particularly connected to water resources and geochemistry as well as on engineering responses to the climate change problem. This major helps you understand air quality and its impact. Atmospheric scientists also identify patterns to mitigate drought. 
Atmospheric scientists are in a great demand by the US Government, particularly the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Many atmospheric scientists also go for academia. 

5. Energy Resources Engineering

Energy Resources Engineering is concerned with the production, transformation, and impacts of energy resources including renewables and fossil fuels. The course gives you a solid foundation in optimizing energy recovery from petroleum reservoirs, geothermal energy systems, energy storage, and contaminated groundwater systems. Finishing this specialization will get you employment in the automobile sector wherein you may have to help a unit meet the strict exhaust emission laws among many other responsibilities. Energy resource engineers are also employed as Research engineers developing alternative sources of energy and designing and testing energy equipment in large wind turbines and generators. 

6. Environmental Planning and Management

This course teaches you how to plan and implement programs to keep water pure and the air fresh and pollutant free. The environment-based specialization covers matters such as climate action plans, green infrastructure planning, and sustainability issues and plans.  It involves the study, learning and understanding of the environmental planning process; planning for sustainable public health (including air, water, waste, recycling); planning for natural areas (including landscapes, wildlife habitats, natural hazards and disasters); working landscapes (including farmlands, forestry and mining); the built environment (including energy and transport issues, cities and suburbs, green areas); local and international environmental planning.
Jobs associated with this specialization include Urban Planner, Geo environmental consultant, Environmental Manager and Consultant.

7. Renewable Energy Engineering

The demand for renewable energy engineers is expected to continue to grow as governments and companies look to diversify from hydrocarbons and reduce emissions. This programme teaches the advanced skills needed to design, build and optimize renewable energy infrastructure of the future.
With the expected global growth in the renewable energy sector, there will be a crucial need for qualified and skilled engineers with specialist knowledge of the relevant technology. This course focuses on viable, sustainable and renewable sources of energy conversion based on the systems using solar, wind and bio technologies. After graduating with a master’s degree in renewable energy, you will attain the ability to evaluate, appraise and provide solutions to the current energy crisis in the world. Some of the career opportunities in the field that are open to graduates are Energy consultant, Carbon sales adviser, Wind power equipment engineer, Solar panel equipment engineers and Energy auditor.

8. Ocean and Resource Engineering

Ocean and resource engineering considers the engineering systems needed to develop the ocean’s energy, mineral, and living resources, the potential use of the ocean for waste disposal, and the environmental and economic aspects of such activities. The course focuses on the study of coastal marine processes including dispersal of pollutants and nutrients and sediment transport. Job opportunities include careers as Marine Biologists, Marine Architects, Hydrologists, Ocean Engineers, Environmental engineer.

Global Rank

College Name Popularity Rank Global Rank Total Tuition Fees Deadline Annual RA+TA Unsecured Loan Offer Secured Loan Offer
The Johns Hopkins University 1 17 107480 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Florida 2 178 60260 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 3 69 68660 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
California State University, Fullerton 4 NA NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Columbia University 5 18 96864 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Georgia Institute of Technology 6 70 57136 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
New York Institute of Technology 7 NA NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Michigan 8 21 99016 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Southern California 9 132 61805 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 10 367 53648 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The University of Texas at Austin 11 67 37884 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Irvine 12 164 22884 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Missouri University of Science and Technology 13 651-700 50164 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
NYU Tandon School of Engineering 14 NA 53850 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Clemson University 15 701-750 45952 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Michigan Technological University 16 551-600 34290 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Purdue University 17 105 58264 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Stevens Institute of Technology 18 651-700 71920 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
North Carolina State University 19 263 50810 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Colorado Boulder 20 182 66276 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
New Jersey Institute of Technology 21 801-1000 59920 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Texas A&M University - Kingsville 22 NA NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Vanderbilt University 23 212 59010 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Syracuse University 24 501-550 48600 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Pennsylvania State University 25 93 76932 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Houston 26 601-650 36612 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 27 364 105100 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Cincinnati 28 501-550 49064 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Northeastern University 29 346 47070 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
California Institute of Technology 30 4 104466 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Ohio State University 31 86 68128 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University at Buffalo, SUNY 32 318 45300 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Iowa State University 33 471-480 51428 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Notre Dame 34 216 105492 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
San Diego State University 35 801-1000 28608 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 36 1 103040 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Wisconsin-Madison 37 55 48108 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science 38 NA 84200 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Illinois Institute of Technology 39 395 56700 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Source: GyanDhan's analysis, partner data & university's website. While deadlines are latest, other figures are as of 2018. Double-check deadlines from the university's website

1. Project Engineer

The environmental project engineer’s responsibilities include assisting and interpreting environmental plans and designs of the organization. He/she will be responsible for the required changes and preparing a final draft as per the specifications given. The Project Engineer is the liaison between the company and other environmental agencies to ensure that all plans and designs comply with state and federal laws. He/she oversees the superintendents, his staff and if necessary, subcontractors to ensure that there is proper compliance with all the environmental guidelines.

2. Environmental Engineer

The responsibilities of an Environmental Engineer include designing and providing outlines such that there is a negative impact on the environment. He /She will be a technical advisor to ensure that all policies and environmental standards comply with applicable laws. He should be adept at conducting technical audits, analyzing data and perform quality checks such that all environmental standards are met.

3. Environmental Consultant

Governments and organizations are aware of the growing need for renewable energy and for technologies to provide low emissions. Organizations are investing more and more in these new technologies. Environmental consultants are experts in these technologies and need to have about the environmental laws and regulations. He/ she will be responsible for conducting specific environmental audits and will advise the organization if regulations are being met, and if necessary, what changes will have to be done. For example, an environmental consultant can assist a company desirous of buying land or acquiring another asset if all regulations are being followed scrupulously. As consultants, they often assist organizations in complying with environmental regulations, which minimize health hazards for people and the environment.

4. Water Resources Engineer

There is a growing need in today’s world for the continuous supply of clean drinkable water. A water resources engineer is responsible for the design and maintenance of systems that manage water resources. He/she could be working on water treatment plants and sewage plants which recycle greywater. Desalination plants are a new rage, and a Water Resources Engineer can be employed there overseeing design, construction and maintenance.

5. Air Quality Engineer

An air quality engineer is responsible for assessing the quality of air such that it is safe for the environment and public safety. He/she conducts field studies and surveys to inspect the emission monitoring and ambient air monitoring. An Air quality engineer is responsible for the inspection of facilities which impact air quality. In a government position, he/she will also be responsible for the approval and licensing of the same. The engineer will research and analyze evolving technology and consult with equipment manufacturers, public contractors, Federal, State, and local agencies concerned with air quality.

Global Rank Employability Range Salary Range
1-10 Log in Log in
11-25 Log in Log in
26-50 Log in Log in
50-100 Log in Log in
101-200 Log in Log in
201-500 Log in Log in
500+ Log in Log in
Source: GyanDhan's proprietary analysis


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