The Environmental Engineering (EVEN) Bachelor of Science degree is delivered by a group of faculty drawn from four different departments in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (the College) at the University of Colorado Boulder (the University). This group of faculty, associated staff, and the students pursuing the Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science degree constitute the Environmental Engineering Program. The educational mission of the Environmental Engineering Program is to provide a multi-disciplinary undergraduate 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 is a relatively new degree in the College - the first students were admitted to the Environmental Engineering Program in the fall of 1998. Before then, environmental engineering was offered in the College only as options in the Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science degrees. The Chemical Engineering B.S. degree offers an environmental option that focuses on separation and process technology. The Civil Engineering B.S. degree formerly allowed students to select environmental or water resources engineering option that emphasizes water and wastewater treatment and hydrology. Due to curriculum redesign in 2006, this special option was removed and now students can select either environmental or water resources as areas of concentration (from among 5 potential concentrations in CVEN), requiring only 2 upper division courses on this topic. The Mechanical Engineering B.S. degree offers an environmental option that focuses on air pollution control and assessment. These options typically consist of specialization in a set of upper-division (junior and senior) courses following a common lower-division (freshman and sophomore) curriculum. The Environmental Engineering Program offers one degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering (the EVEN BS degree). The BS in Environmental Engineering is a four-year undergraduate program. Also available is a concurrent Bachelor of Science/Master of Science degree offered in cooperation with the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, the EVEN BS/CVEN MS degree. This degree allows qualified students to begin the graduate program while completing the undergraduate program.
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 a few specific environmental engineering courses that could be developed by current faculty. At the same time, they recognized the need to maintain the existing environmental engineering options in the traditional engineering curricula for students who wanted to pursue traditional Chemical, Civil, or Mechanical Engineering degrees.
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.
In approving the Environmental Engineering Program, CCHE relied on the College's intent to offer the new degree primarily with existing courses, faculty, and modest additional resources. To this end, the Program is administered by the College and operates through the participation of affiliated faculty from the Departments of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The Program is guided by a Director, a member of the faculty, a Program Coordinator, and an administrative assistant.
Students entered the Environmental Engineering 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 by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org cycles in 2002 / 2003 and 2005 / 2006. In fall 2006, Assoc. Professor Angela R. Bielefeldt became the third program director. Prof. Jana Milford returned to service as the director of the EVEN program on July 1, 2010.
During the 2000-2001 academic year, the Environmental Engineering Program reached formal agreements with the Chemical Engineering (CHEN) and Civil Engineering (CVEN) degree programs to provide dual Bachelor of Science degrees EVEN/CHEN and EVEN/CVEN. Many students wanted to earn an accredited degree in addition to the EVEN degree for which accreditation was anticipated. The College allowed the students to earn a second B.S. degree with only an additional 15 credit hours because of the substantial overlap between the two pairs of degree programs. Due to successful program accreditation, as of Fall 2006 these dual degree programs now require the standard 30 additional credit hours, as per typical College rules.
During 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.
In 2003, the Program's Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science degree was officially accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. This accreditation was renewed in 2006. Accreditation is required by registration, licensure, and certification boards.
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 an expected enrollment in fall 2014 of 225 students. In fall 2008 we added a new specialization option in ENERGY. We have more than 200 alumni from our program who are working locally, in Colorado, across the USA, and around the world for consultants, industry, and the government.
On April 17th 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.”