Environmental Engineering Major

The Environmental Engineering major is a program jointly offered by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Biological & Environmental Engineering.


As part of a world-class university, Cornell’s Environmental Engineering Program inspires students and provides opportunities to engage with the local community, the nation and global society. The focus of the undergraduate program is to educate the leaders of the next generation’s environmental engineering professionals working in industry and in government. However, we recognize the need for direct engagement in research and outreach to inform the undergraduate program, to help it to remain cutting edge and to provide those leaders with an appreciation of scientific and public issues.

The educational objectives are to produce graduates who assume leadership positions and contribute to understanding problems and the design, construction and operation of solutions of social problems involving environmental systems. Environmental Engineers design systems to provide energy from renewable and sustainable energy sources, and prevent, reduce, or repair environmental damage caused by human activities. They work to contain, reduce, or prevent hazardous waste, air pollution, or contaminated streams and groundwater. They may also design water treatment plants to deliver safe drinking water to municipal residents or design pollution control systems for industries and cities. They help in the reconstruction of stream channels, and wetlands and estuaries to preserve the environment and to maintain habitat for fish and wildlife.


silhouettes of ESW students on a bridge in Bolivia at sunset

Student Opportunites for Environmental Engineering Students

ENVE students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of student teams that engage them with projects around the world. CEE is also home to the Becker Global Education Fund, a scholarship that provides CEE undergraduate students an opportunity to "see the world"—to expand their world view and in turn enlarge the possibilities for civil and environmental engineering.

Environmental Engineers may work as researchers, designers, planners, operators of pollution control plants and water supply systems, educators, consultants to private and public businesses, government regulatory agency officials, or program managers in profession and technical engineering societies.

Many of our students are involved in Engineers for a Sustainable World, Engineers without Borders, and AguaClara. Students in the AguaClara Cornell program collaborate in small teams in an open-source maker-space to invent the next generation of community and climate-friendly water technologies. Student teams conduct research, build computer-controlled experimental systems, analyze results using python,  invent new technologies, design full-scale prototypes, create design algorithms, and create documentation and educational materials for technology transfer to global partners.  

Students are also involved in The American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE) Cornell Student Chapter, an organization that brings environmental engineers and engineers in related fields together to share experiences and interests and undertake projects. To learn more about student project teams, please visit our page on Student Organizations.

The Cornell B.S. in Environmental Engineering degree is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET