Distance learning doctoral degree programs in environmental engineering are not available due to the intensive research demands of the program; however, distance learners can find entirely online programs offered at the master's level. Applicants will likely be required to hold a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or civil engineering in order to qualify for admittance to an online master's degree program. Students may also be admitted if they have a degree in a related field with an emphasis on mathematics as well as training in physics, chemistry and fluid mechanics.
Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering
Distance learning graduate programs in environmental engineering combine coursework and in-depth research to investigate current environmental issues such as water treatment, waste reclamation and pollution control. Students learn to develop solutions to environmental problems through the practical application of biology and chemistry principles. Like campus-based programs, online programs feature thesis and non-thesis tracks.
Online courses cover subjects such as water resources, air pollution and process design. Distance learners may also take independent study courses and electives in the following areas:
- Environmental engineering biosystems
- Stream and lake analysis
- Water chemistry
- Resource management
- Sustainable environment
- Special problems
- Multi-phase contaminants
- Sustainable solutions
- System hydraulics
Students may be assigned to a cohort with whom they will go through the entire program. While the curricula in distance and campus-based environmental engineering programs are identical, the delivery format is different. Assignments and coursework are uploaded and submitted using online learning platforms and interfaces. Lectures are viewed through interactive broadcasting and conferencing applications. Student and faculty interaction is fostered through e-mail, discussion boards and instant messenger.
Career and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), environmental engineers held 52,600 jobs in 2015. Master's degree holders in environmental engineering are qualified for mid-level engineering jobs in manufacturing, technical and scientific industries, as well as government agencies. Environmental engineers may also be self-employed consultants.
The BLS expected employment of environmental engineers to grow by 12% between 2014 and 2024. The growth was expected to stem from the need of companies to meet environmental regulations, as well as to prevent environmental hazards. According to BLS, environmental engineers earned a median annual salary of $84,560 in May 2015.
Online master's degree programs in environmental engineering focus on biosystems, water resources, pollution, and sustainable environments. These programs are available completely online, however they typically require a bachelor's degree in environmental or civil engineering.