The air quality area of specialization includes both outdoor and indoor air quality. Outdoor air quality ranges in scale from localized, such as ozone in the Denver metro area, to global climate change, and the ozone hole in the upper atmosphere. Air quality is a concern both from a human health perspective and broader effects to the entire planet.

Indoor air quality is also of critical importance, particularly given that Americans spend the bulk of their time indoors. Indoor air pollutants can include radon (which seeps into the building from surrounding soil); bioaerosols (including airborne viruses, bacteria, mold spores, etc.); and volatile organic compounds that off-gas from paint, carpet, plastics of computers, etc.

  • Ensuring industries, regions, and cars are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations
  • Designing air pollution control devices for power plants, industries, and vehicles
  • Air quality monitoring in outdoor or indoor environments
  • Working with toxicologists, biologists, etc. to conduct human health impact evaluations
  • Develop new standards with regulatory agencies to ensure public health and overall environmental quality
  • Using modeling software to predict the fate and transport of contaminants in the air, including transformation reactions in sunlight, etc.
  • Designing indoor air treatment devices that can be placed in HVAC ducts such as UV lights and HEPA filters
  • Designing devices to sample and analyze air, for example real time monitors needed in the case of bioterrorism attacks.

Environmental Engineering Technical Electives (upper-division)

Students select at least Two courses from this list (or a second from list A, no double counting). Faculty can petition to add additional courses.

  • ATOC 3500/CHEM 3151 Air Chemistry and Pollution (3 credits, F/S; prerequisites: one semester college level chemistry [recommended].)
  • MCEN 3032 Thermodynamics 2 (3 credits, F/S; prerequisites: thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and Diffiq / Linear Alg all w/ min grade of C.)
  • MCEN 4141 Indoor Air Pollution (3 credits, I*; prerequisites: fluid mechanics and heat transfer, both w/ min grade of C.)
  • MCEN 4032 Sustainable Energy (3 credits, F; prerequisites: thermodynamics and heat transfer, both w/ min grade of C.)
  • MCEN 4152 Introduction to Combustion (3 credits, F; prerequisites: thermodynamics [required], fluid mechanics [recommended], and heat transfer [recommended], 87-180 credit hours, MCEN majors only.)
  • MCEN 4228 Household Energy Systems in the Global South (3 credits, S; prerequisites: heat transfer [pre/co-requisite].)
  • MCEN 4291/5291 Project Based Learning in Rural Schools (3 credits, 1 in Fall and 2 in Spring; prerequisites: none.)

*Note: "I" indicates a class on an intermittent schedule.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) Minor

The Air Quality area of specialization is highly compatible with a minor in ATOC.

Examples of Companies that Specialize in Air Quality Work:

Jacobs Engineering Group
Air and Waste Management Association
Indoor Air Quality Association, Inc.