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Master of Science (MS): Environmental Engineering Degree Overview

Master's degree programs in environmental engineering are designed to prepare students for careers that focus on creating a healthy environment. Find out what type of coursework you'll encounter in these programs, career stats, and how you can further your education.

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Essential Information

Students who want to enroll in an environmental engineering master's program are expected to have a bachelor's degree in engineering from a university accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET, Inc.). Students who majored in a physical science, natural science or in advanced mathematics may be considered for provisional admission, depending on the program.

Environmental engineering students learn to identify infrastructure and business model problems that can adversely affect the environment. Students also investigate how to fix such problems and implement solutions through design and practice, sometimes through working on real projects such as waste disposal or energy use. Topics covered in the curriculum could include water quality analysis, energy analysis and environmental hydrology, among others. Students in these programs are expected to complete a thesis.


Master of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering

It typically takes two years to fulfill degree requirements for these programs. Classroom learning can be paired with fieldwork, giving students hands-on experience in solving environmental problems. Coursework could include:

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Wastewater microbiology
  • Modeling environmental systems
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Solid waste treatment design

Popular Career Options

Employment can be in the field or providing consulting services to companies regarding the environmental impact of their industrial processes. Graduates can find work with the government, engineering consulting firms, industries, universities, international agencies or groups of public interest. Possible job titles could include:

  • Field engineer
  • Environmental analyst
  • Urban planner
  • Structural engineer
  • Environmental affairs consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Environmental engineers are expected to experience a faster than average employment growth of 12% in the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, in May 2015, environmental engineers earned an average annual salary of $88,040. Those working for pipeline transportation and crude oil industries earned the top wages during that time ($132,660), although this group made up less than 1% of environmental engineers.

Continuing Education

Graduates can further their learning and attain specialization qualifications by attending graduate certificate classes. Programs can include certificate courses in compatibility environmental studies, systems of renewable energy, processes in environmental studies and water quality engineering. Graduates interested in an advanced degree can pursue a PhD in Environmental Engineering or a doctorate in a sub-specialization of engineering, such as chemical or civil engineering.

Students interested in environmental engineering can pursue a master's degree to prepare for a doctorate or career in the public or private sectors. After completing your degree, job prospects look good with faster than average growth.

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