Top Environmental Engineering Graduate Programs: List of Schools

Find out which top-ranked schools offer graduate degree programs in environmental engineering. See why these schools are distinctive, and decide if one of them is the right choice for you.

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When looking for a graduate school for environmental engineering, there are a lot of top schools in the nation. Here are three of the best schools along with a list of highlights for several other institutions that have programs in the field.

School Information

Environmental engineering utilizes science and engineering concepts to provide the world with a healthier environment. In America, there are a variety of schools that offer environmental engineering programs that allow specialization in water, air, and other fields of study. The three schools discussed below are all in the top five among schools offering master's and doctoral degree programs in the field, according to US News & World Report rankings from 2017. UC-Berkeley and Stanford are both located on the West Coast while Georgia Tech can be found in the Southeast.

University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: Berkeley's Civil and Environmental Engineering program is first place on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 list of top environmental and environmental health engineering programs.

Berkeley's College of Engineering offers a graduate level degree program that provides students with a basic education in environmental engineering, science, and design. It also develops their skills for the professional world and puts them on track to earn a doctoral degree.

UC Berkeley's Master of Engineering program entails an engineering project and additional coursework, while the Ph.D. program prepares students to become advanced engineers and scientists. The school's core curriculum focuses on air quality engineering, water quality engineering, environmental fluid mechanics, and hydrology. Overall, the environmental engineering program is meant to train students to deal with current and future environmental problems.

Stanford University in California

School Highlight: Stanford University is ranked 2nd on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 list of top schools in the United States that specialize in environmental engineering and environmental health engineering.

Stanford's environmental engineering and science program concentrates on the chemical and biological aspects of water quality engineering, environmental biotechnology, water and air contamination, human contact with pollutants, remediation and unsafe substance management, and environmental defense.

The school offers Master of Science, Engineer, and Ph.D. programs in environmental engineering and science. The master's program does not require a thesis and is usually completed in less time than an average program. The engineer program runs slightly longer than the master's program, and consists of study and a thesis project. The Ph.D. program is designed for students who plan on entering careers in environmental engineering education or research.

Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA

School Highlight: Students have access to a multimedia environmental research laboratory for environmental modeling and related work.

The Georgia Institute of Technology or Georgia Tech has been ranked by US News & World Report as tied for the number five graduate school in environmental/environmental health engineering in America. Georgia Tech offers environmental engineering students a BS/MS dual degree, a Master of Science and a PhD. The doctorate has no formal course requirements but does require 50-60 credit hours beyond the bachelor's and four to five years to acquire. Some focus areas at the institution can include environmental biotechnology, water quality and treatment,hazardous and solid waste engineering, air quality monitoring, and pollution control, among many others.

Top Environmental Engineering Graduate Schools

Below are several other top programs in environmental engineering.

  • Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, has a direct entry Ph.D. program allows students to complete an MA and begin Ph.D. program without a separate application.
  • In Ithaca, NY, is Cornell University which offers research-oriented MS and Ph.D. programs and a career-oriented M.Eng program.
  • Johns Hopkins University located in Baltimore, MD, has MA, MS, MSE, and PhD degree programs, plus several part-time options for working professionals.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, hosts the Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering, fostering study of topics like environmental mechanics and coastal engineering.
  • Houston, TX, is home to Rice University's five research centers, including the Brine Chemistry Consortium.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, offers joint degree programs in civil and environmental engineering plus MBA or MArch programs.
  • The University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, is ranked #18 for its environmental/environmental health engineering graduate program in 2017, according to US News & World Report.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering is home to five centers and labs; UNC has seven additional related centers.

UC-Berkeley, Stanford and Georgia Tech are three of the best environmental engineering programs in the United States. There are many other graduate schools across the nation with excellent master's and doctoral programs in the field.

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