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Environmental Engineering Major

Student Solar Oven
Joint Program Educational Objectives

Our Joint Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) are to prepare our students to:

  • Achieve excellence in engineering decision-making
  • Pursue leadership careers in engineering practice, and design,
  • Pursue graduate professional engineering education or advanced study and research in engineering, and
  • Have diverse, alternative career choices.

We live at a time when no part of the natural environment is untouched by human activities. Although we have made great strides in addressing many of the natural resources and environmental problems caused by societal activities, growth in the world population and rising standards of living continue to stress the natural environment and generate a spectrum of environmental problems that need to be solved. Environmental engineers are called upon to understand, arrange, and manipulate the biological, chemical, ecological, economic, hydrological, physical, and social processes that take place in our environment in an effort to balance our material needs with the desire for sustainable environmental quality.

Honduras Digging Pipes

At Cornell University, research and teaching activities related to environmental engineering are found in many of the traditional engineering fields. For example undergraduate majors in Biological Engineering and in Civil Engineering are offered by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) and by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), respectively. Both of these majors include concentrations related to environmental engineering. BEE and CEE also jointly offer a major leading to a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering. The Environmental Engineering major is structured to provide students with appropriate background in the physical, chemical and biological sciences together with the mathematical, planning, analysis and design tools necessary to address complex environmental engineering problems. The graduate and research programs in BEE and CEE focus on water and wastewater treatment processes, fate and transport of contaminants in natural aquatic systems, design and management of environmental and water resource systems, environmental fluid mechanics, and hydraulics and hydrology.

The collaborative undergraduate program in Environmental Engineering is supported by excellent teaching and research facilities including: laboratories for the analysis of water chemistry, physical/chemical/biological processes, biochemistry and microbiology. Cornell University is also the home of Cornell's Center for Advanced Computing, Institute for Biotechnology and Life Science Technologies, and the Center for Sustainable Future which oversees and supports many interdisciplinary environmental research programs. The wide variety of teaching and research activities, the world-class research facilities and the interdisciplinary centers at Cornell University provide students with excellent opportunities for study and research in Environmental Engineering.

Richardson and students
What do our graduates do?

Many graduates from the Environmental Engineering Program continue their education at the finest graduate schools around the world. They pursue Master of Engineering (M. Eng.), Master of Science (M.S.), or Doctoral (Ph.D.) programs in various related engineering disciplines, or they sometimes complement their engineering degrees with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Doctor of Law (LLD) degree. Because of the requirements for coursework in biology and chemistry, the undergraduate major in Environmental Engineering is also an excellent choice for students interested in medical school.

Career opportunities for Environmental Engineering graduates cover the spectrum of private industry, public agencies, educational institutions, and graduate and professional programs in engineering, science, medicine, and law. In recent years graduates have pursued careers in consulting, management and business, and international development.


See our current Environmental Engineering flyer