Old MainThe Environmental Engineering (EVEN) program is delivered by a group of faculty drawn from four different departments in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. The educational mission of the Environmental Engineering Program is to provide a multi-disciplinary environmental engineering education that emphasizes mastery of principles and practices, inspires service for the global public good, endows a desire for life-long learning, and prepares students for broad and dynamic career paths in environmental engineering.

The Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science began in the fall of 1998. Before then, environmental engineering was offered in the college only as options in the Chemical EngineeringCivil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science degrees.

In the early 1990s, faculty teaching courses in the three environmental options reached a consensus that:

  1. Environmental engineering had matured into a full-fledged discipline of its own,
  2. Environmental engineering intersected with the traditional disciplines of chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering, but was not adequately covered by any of disciplines alone, and,
  3. Environmental engineering as an educational option was obscured from the view of incoming students by offering it only as options in the traditional engineering disciplines.

These faculty felt that students who intended to work in environmental engineering would benefit from a curriculum designed solely for environmental engineering rather than superimposing environmental engineering options on curricula of traditional engineering disciplines.

They discussed an environmental engineering curriculum drawn from the most appropriate courses available in each of the traditional engineering disciplines and supplemented by specific environmental engineering courses.

These faculty formed a College-wide committee chaired by Prof. John Daily of Mechanical Engineering that met during the 1993-1994 academic year to develop a proposal for a separate degree program in environmental engineering - the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering. The proposal included a multi-disciplinary curriculum that provided a strong foundation in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and the engineering fundamentals of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer and in-depth specialization in air quality, chemical processing, or water.

The proposed degree program was approved by the entire faculty of the College in the spring of 1994. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), the organization overseeing all of the state's higher education institutions, approved the new degree program in the spring of 1998.

Students entered the program in the fall of 1998 under the guidance of the first Director, Prof. Jana Milford of Mechanical Engineering. The first Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering was awarded in December 1999 to a student who transferred into the program as a junior. Prof. Milford initiated the formation of the Program's Advisory Board in 1999.

The second Director, Prof. Joseph Ryan of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, served from fall 2001 through summer 2006. Professor Ryan led the program through two successful accreditation cycles by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org in 2002/2003 and 2005/2006.

sunflowerDuring the 2001-2002 academic year, the Environmental Engineering Program developed a concurrent BS/MS degree with Civil Engineering - a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering.

For this concurrent degree program, the University allows students to count two graduate-level technical electives for both the BS and MS degrees, making it possible for students to earn both the EVEN BS and CVEN MS in five years.

The first "four-year" students in the program graduated at the end of the Fall 2002 semester. EVEN enrollment, inclusive of freshmen through seniors, was steady at about 40-50 students from 2001-2005. Since that time, the EVEN program has experienced tremendous growth, with  enrollment now over 300 students and alumni who are working in Colorado, across the USA, and around the world for consultants, industry, and the government. 

In fall 2006, Assoc. Professor Angela R. Bielefeldt became the third program director. Prof. Jana Milford returned to service as the director from 2010-2012. Joseph Ryan then served again as director for the 2012-2013 academic year before R. Scott Summers was elected as director in 2013.

On April 17, 2015, CU Board of Regents approved the creation of a master's degree and a doctoral degree in environmental engineering. Beginning in Fall 2015, students enrolled in the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science were able to earn an MS and a PhD in Environmental Engineering, following a 9-0 vote of the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

EVEN Professor Jana Millford presented the proposal to the board and explained that Environmental Engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the protection of human health from environmental factors, as well as the protection of environments from the effects of human activities.

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics projects strong growth in this field,” said Millford. “These focused degrees will help prepare students for careers in this demanding and rewarding part of the Colorado economy.”

Scott Summers served as director through the conclusion of the 2018-2019 academic year. He was succeeded by Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, who was director from 2019-2021. Joseph Ryan is now serving as interim director for the 2021-2022 academic year.

List of EVEN Program Directors

Program Directors Term
Jana Milford 1998-2001
Joseph Ryan 2001-2006
Angela Bielefeldt 2006-2010
Jana Milford 2010-2012
Joseph Ryan 2012-2013
R. Scott Summers 2013-2019
Fernando Rosario-Ortiz 2019-2021
Joseph Ryan (Interim) 2021-Present