Environmental engineers play a vital role in maintaining the quality of both human environmental systems and the natural environment. Environmental engineering encompasses the scientific assessment and development of engineering solutions to environmental problems impacting the biosphere, land, water, and air quality. Environmental issues affect almost all commercial and industrial sectors, and are a central concern for the public, for all levels of government, and in international relations. These issues include safe drinking water, wastewater processing, solid and hazardous waste disposal, outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution and transfer of infectious diseases, human health and ecological risk management, prevention of pollution through product or process design, and renewable and sustainable energy sources.
To address these challenges, environmental engineers often encounter challenging problems that must be solved in data-poor situations as members of multidisciplinary teams. Environmental problems require creative solutions blended with contributions from scientists, lawyers, business people, and the public. Good communication skills, as well as technical proficiency, are essential for success in this arena. In addition, technology designed to address environmental problems is marketed globally, opening up increasing opportunities for international work in the environmental engineering field.
The faculty of the Environmental Engineering Program (EVEN) is drawn from the Departments of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Chemical and Biological Engineering; and Aerospace Engineering. The EVEN faculty, its Professional Advisory Board (representing prospective employers of its graduates), and EVEN alumni and current students have contributed to the creation of the program’s mission and the educational objectives of the EVEN BS degree.
The mission of the EVEN Program is to provide a multidisciplinary undergraduate environmental engineering education that emphasizes mastery of principles and practices, inspires service for the global public good, endows a desire for lifelong learning, and prepares students for broad and dynamic career paths in environmental engineering.
The educational objective of the environmental engineering bachelor of science degree is to produce graduates who reach the following achievements three to five years after graduation:
The Environmental Engineering Program demonstrates that its graduates:
Course code for this program is EVEN.
The bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering (EVEN) at the University of Colorado provides preparation for professional proficiency or graduate training in environmental engineering in a four-year curriculum. The curriculum includes courses in engineering fundamentals and applications, advanced mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, earth science, along with courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Courses specific to environmental engineering practice include water chemistry, microbiology, and air pollution control. In addition, environmental engineering requires hands-on laboratory experiences, up-to-date skills in the use of computers for modeling and data analysis, and experience in the design of environmental engineering systems. Many of the required engineering courses in the bachelor of science curriculum are culled from aerospace engineering sciences; chemical and biological engineering; civil, environmental, and architectural engineering; and mechanical engineering.
The curriculum also includes three technical electives, three option courses, and one free elective. Technical elective courses include a broad range of science and engineering courses, and must include an earth sciences course. The option courses represent an area of specialization in environmental engineering selected by the student beginning in the junior year. The curriculum includes six sets of options:
In addition to these prescribed options, students may also formulate their own sequence of option courses (referred to as a “special option”) representing an area of specialization not included in the six sets of option courses listed above. This selection must be done by petition to the Environmental Engineering Program.
Students in the program are also encouraged to participate in research through independent study or senior thesis projects, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), or as undergraduate research assistants in sponsored research programs. Students are required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam when they are within 32 credit hours of graduation.
Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours
A concurrent EVEN BS/CVEN MS degree program is available in cooperation with the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Students may apply to the program when they have completed 75–110 credit hours toward the undergraduate EVEN degree. Once accepted into the program, students are allowed to count 6 credit hours taken at the graduate level for both the environmental engineering BS and the civil engineering MS degrees, thus allowing them to obtain both degrees in a five-year curriculum.