Online Environmental Engineering Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online environmental engineering school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, typical timeframes, and common courses offered for the field of study.

Students interested in studying environmental engineering online can typically find program options at the graduate level. Learn about some of the scheduling considerations for choosing a program as well as a few schools offering these graduate certificate and degree options.

How to Select an Online Environmental Engineering School

Students considering online environmental engineering schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Environmental engineering degree programs are available online through a few universities, but usually only as continuing education requirements for professionals who already work in the field. Students should choose a program based on what is available to meet their needs.

Program Availability and Degree Levels

Online degree programs in environmental engineering are generally only offered at the graduate certificate and degree levels. Students seeking entry-level training in environmental engineering must complete an undergraduate degree in engineering or take prerequisites and enroll in a graduate degree program.

Time Requirements

Most online environmental engineering education programs are designed for working adults. Many of these flexible, asynchronous programs allow students to work entirely at their own pace, with only a single due date for assignments and tests at the end of the class time. Students can communicate with the class asynchronously using discussion forums or unified education software that provides a message board for students to post class-related discussions on.

A few programs designed for accelerated study follow a more traditional schedule and even require students to be present at certain times for class discussion via video or voice conference. Students should choose a program that is suited to their scheduling needs.

Online Program Options for Environmental Engineering

Online Master of Science in Environmental Engineering

An online master's degree program in environmental engineering is designed for working professionals who wish to advance their careers through continuing education. These programs take between two and four years to complete and include courses in:

  • Advanced mathematics
  • Biosystems
  • Fluid mechanics

Online Graduate Certificate in Environmental Engineering

Graduate certificates in environmental engineering, like master's degrees, are designed to fulfill continuing education requirements, though these programs are also appropriate for professionals in other fields. Common subjects covered include:

  • Air quality
  • Groundwater
  • Advanced industrial waste treatment
  • Urban hydrology

Schools with Online Programs in Environmental Engineering

The University of North Dakota has an online graduate certificate program in environmental engineering that consists of nine credits and takes one year to complete. Students listen to recorded lectures as they learn how various engineering disciplines can be used to solve environmental issues. Applicants will need a bachelor's degree in a related engineering field or another area of study that includes intensive math and chemistry coursework.

Worchester Polytechnic Institute offers an online Master of Science in Environmental Engineering program that can be completed with 30 credits and a thesis or 33 credits and no thesis. Students can also enroll in up to three interdepartmental elective courses, which can be taken online or on-campus. Prospective students will need an engineering or science bachelor's degree that meets math, science and fluid mechanics course requirements.

The University of Wisconsin - Madison provides an online Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering program that can be completed in three years and consists of 30 credits. This program is ideal for engineers already working in the field and is designed to enhance their technical skills while also developing their managerial skills. Applicants will need a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program for admission, though graduates of some science and technology programs may also be considered.

Multiple institutions offer online graduate certificate or master's degree programs in environmental engineering. Students deciding which school to attend may want to keep in mind such factors as a program's time requirements and prerequisites.


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