Degrees & Programs

Through cooperation with colleagues in other US universities and countries, EE&S faculty members offer their students a global perspective on environmental engineering, as well as opportunities to travel and collaborate on research projects with national and international relevance. Collaborative programs are ongoing with colleagues in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

BS Environmental Engineering

The environmental engineering program comprises five focus areas (Public Health Engineering; One Water; Energy and Environmental Sustainability; Climate and Environmental Sustainability; and Water Systems and Sustainability). Although each area and program has its own special body of knowledge and engineering tools, environmental engineering projects often use knowledge and data from many of these topical areas together in order to address societal challenges. 

Aerial of north campus looking northeast including Beckman Institute, Coordinated Science Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Digital Computer Laboratory, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, Kenny Gym, Kenny Gym Annex.
Energy and Environmental Sustainability (ES2)

The E2S primary focuses on understanding, quantifying, and modeling the interdependencies between energy, water, and the environment. Students will gain fundamental and applied knowledge in thermodynamics and chemical principles, and expertise in water policy, renewable energy systems, and sustainable design. 

Climate and Environmental Sustainability (CES)

CES students will develop skills to quantify and manage the dynamic interactions among society and the built and natural environments, with an emphasis on environmental and water resources engineering to adapt to a changing global climate. Coursework will focus on atmospheric sciences (including physical climate and physical meteorology), natural resource economics, environmental systems analyses, decision and risk analysis, and data science to generate insight from large and complex datasets.

Water Systems & Sustainability (WS2)

The WS2 primary is focused on understanding, designing, and managing natural and engineered water systems. Students learn foundational knowledge of environmental hydrology and hydraulic engineering, and gain skills to develop sustainable solutions to urban water challenges such as flooding, to manage surface water and groundwater transport and pollution, and to design novel nature-based solutions and green and hybrid infrastructure to overcome the challenges imposed by a changing environment.

Public Health Engineering (PHE)

Students in the PHE primary will gain skills in monitoring and modeling air pollution, air quality management, air and water pollution control technologies, and physicochemical and toxicological analysis of environmental contaminants. Students will also learn the skills to analyze and evaluate the interconnections between environmental factors and the progression of human diseases through various designs of epidemiological studies and apply the principles.

OneWater (O Water)

The OneW primary centers on the safe and reliable provision of drinking water, sanitation, and storm water management for communities and households. Students in this primary will learn physical, chemical, and biological principles and how to apply them to design and develop innovative water quality control processes and systems. Students will also learn how to design resource (water, nutrient, energy) recovery systems to support circular economies.

Graduate Degrees & Curriculum

The Environmental Engineering & Science program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers Master of Science (MS) and doctorate (PhD) degrees in Environmental Engineering and Civil Engineering.  A student without a B.S. degree from an accredited Engineering program or a student who has not passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam preparatory to professional registration may need to take fundamental engineering courses that are prerequisites for graduate-level courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Graduation requirements depend on whether a student pursues the non-thesis or thesis MS degree.

Prerequisites for Graduate-Level Courses

General Chemistry I (equivalent to CHEM 102) 3 hours
General Chemistry II (equivalent to CHEM 104) 3 hours

General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, and Sound (equivalent to PHYS 101) 5 hours
General Physics: Heat, Electricity, Magnetism, and Modern Physics (equivalent to PHYS 102) 5 hours

Calculus (equivalent to MATH 220) 5 hours
Calculus II (equivalent to MATH 231) 3 hours
Calculus III (equivalent to MATH 241) 4 hours
* Introductory Matrix Theory (equivalent to MATH 225) 2 hours
* Intro Differential Equations (equivalent to MATH 285) 3 hours

Introduction to Computing, Eng. & Sci. (equivalent to CS 101) 3 hours

Introductory Fluid Mechanics (equivalent to TAM 335) 4 hours
Environmental Engineering (equivalent to CEE 330) 3 hours
* Systems Engineering and Economics (equivalent to CEE 201) 3 hours
Recommended: Water Quality Engineering (equivalent to CEE 437) 3 hours OR
Air Pollution Sources, Transport, and Control (equivalent to CEE 441) 4 hours

* Background in these courses may not be required for some areas of specialization.  It will be determined in consultation with the academic advisor.

Graduate-Level Courses Offered

CEE 442: Env Eng Principles, Physical (Fall, Espinosa-Marzal, 4 hours)
CEE 451: Environmental Fluid Mechanics (Fall, Garcia, 3 hours)

CEE 443: Env Eng Principles, Chemical (Fall, Cusick, 4 hours)
CEE 444: Env Eng Principles, Biological (Fall, Wei, 4 hours)
CEE 447: Atmospheric Chemistry (Spring, Horowitz, 4 hours)

CEE 434: Environmental Systems I (Fall, Cai, 4 hours)
CEE 435: Public Health Engineering (Fall – alternating years, Verma, 4 hours)
CEE 437: Water Quality Engineering (Fall & Spring Cusick & Marinas, 3 hours)
CEE 438: Science and Environmental Policy (Spring, Koloutsou-Vakakis, 3 hours)
CEE 440: Fate Cleanup and Environmental Pollutant (Spring, Espinosa-Marzal & Wei, 4 hours)
CEE 441: Air Pollution Sources, Transport and Control (Fall, Koloutsou-Vakakis, 4 hours) Replaces CEE 445 and 446
CEE 442: Env Eng Principles, Physical (Fall, Espinosa-Marzal, 4 hours)
CEE 443: Env Eng Principles, Chemical (Fall, Cusick, 4 hours)
CEE 444: Env Eng Principles, Biological (Fall, Wei, 4 hours)
CEE 447: Atmospheric Chemistry (Spring, Horowitz & Riemer, 4 hours)
CEE 449: Environmental Engineering Lab (Spring, Cusick & Verma, 3 hours)
CEE 450: Surface Water Hydrology (Fall, Sivapalan, 3 hours)
CEE 451: Environmental Fluid Mechanics (Fall, Garcia, 3 hours)
CEE 453: Urban Hydrology and Hydraulics (Spring, Schmidt, Talebpour & Solak, 4 hours)
CEE 492: Data Science for CEE (Fall, Tessum, 3-4 hours)
CEE 493: Sustainable Design & Eng Tech (Fall, Guest, 4 hours)

CEE 537: Water Quality Control Proc, I (Spring, Mariñas, 4 hours).
CEE 538: Water Quality Control Proc, II (Spring, Molitor, 4 hours).
CEE 544: Advanced Surface Science (Spring – alternating years, Espinosa-Marzal, 4 hours)
CEE 545: Aerosol Sampling and Analysis (Fall-alternating years, Verma, 4 hours)
CEE 592: Sustainable Urban Systems (Spring, Zhao, 4 hours)
CEE 598: Special Topics (typically 4 hours): Environmental Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Na, Spring, 4 hours)

The Course Explorer provides the schedule of classes by term and a browsable database of general education requirements in addition to other resources. Other courses within CEE and at departments on campus can be taken in consultation with the academic advisor.

MS Environmental Engineering Non-Thesis Option (possible in 11 months)

A total of 36 hours of coursework is required for all candidates who elect to pursue the non-thesis program. It is possible to complete this in three semesters (fall, spring, and summer). If adequate knowledge of the areas was not obtained during undergraduate studies or if an English course is required based on an English placement exam (for international students), additional time may be required. Courses are listed in the Graduate-Level Courses Offered dropdown list above.

Course Requirements (36 hours)

  • At least three core/principle courses.
  • A minimum of 16 hours of credit within the major field with 8 hours of graded 500 courses
  • A minimum of 12 hours at the 500 level overall
  • CEE 595G, Environmental Engineering Seminar, during the first fall and spring semesters (Fall & Spring, Wei, Koloutsou-Vakakis, 1 credit)

MS Environmental Engineering Thesis Option (possible in 18-24 months)

A total of 32 hours of coursework and thesis research credit are required for those who choose to prepare a thesis. Students who have had material comparable to that covered in the 400-level core courses may not be required to take all of these courses. Exact requirements will be determined in consultation with the advisor. Other graduate courses offered by the University may be selected to fulfill degree requirements in consultation with a faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor will help you plan your coursework to satisfy degree requirements. Courses are listed in the Graduate-Level Courses Offered dropdown list above.

Course Requirements (32 hours)

  • A minimum of 16 hours of credit within the major field with 8 hours of graded 500 courses
  • A minimum of 12 hours at the 500 level overall (may use 4 hours CEE 599 thesis credit)
  • CEE 599 Thesis Research (8 credits typical, no more than 12)
  • CEE 595G, Environmental Engineering Seminar, during the first fall and spring semesters (Fall & Spring, Wei, Koloutsou-Vakakis, 1 credit)
  • CEE 595AG Advanced Environmental Engineering Seminar from the third semester onward (Spring & Fall, Guest. 0 credits) MSE 492 Lab Safety Fundamentals

Thesis Research

Master’s candidates who expect to continue their graduate work for a PhD should complete a thesis demonstrating their ability to perform independent research. Research assistants normally write a thesis on the work conducted as part of the research project to which they are assigned. Credit for thesis research (CEE599) cannot be applied to a degree unless a thesis is submitted. The thesis must be the work of a single author.

MS Environmental Engineering Online (possible in 11 months)

The MSEE degree requires 36 credit hours, 12 of which must be at the 500-level. Course selection is flexible, and students are encouraged to individualize their program in coordination with their advisor. Students can complete the degree in as little as 11 months with a full-time course load, but may take up to five years to complete the degree. Students who work full time are advised to take one or two classes per semester. Courses are listed in the Graduate-Level Courses Offered dropdown list above.

Course Requirements (36 hours)

  • At least three core/principle courses
  • A minimum of 16 hours of credit within the major field with 8 hours of graded 500 courses
  • A minimum of 12 hours at the 500 level overall

PhD Environmental Engineering & Sciences

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Engineering is the most advanced degree offered by the Environmental Engineering and Science Program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Students who are nearing completion of the MS degree in our program at UIUC and who have determined, in consultation with their advisor, that their PhD program would be successful, may begin work on that degree prior to completion of the MS. With appropriate justification, students may be admitted to the Direct PhD program without having earned or being in the process of earning the MS degree.

The academic program for each doctoral candidate is planned on an individual basis. The formal requirements for the doctoral degree consist of a minimum of 64 hours beyond the master’s degree. This requirement is met with 32 hours of coursework or independent study beyond that normally taken for the master’s degree plus 32 hours of thesis credit. The doctoral program includes three stages. Stages two and three must be work-in-residence. The first stage ends when the candidate receives a master’s degree or earns the equivalent (32 or 36 semester hours); the second stage comprises a successful qualifying exam, 32 hours of coursework, fulfillment of departmental requirements, and a successful preliminary examination; the third stage comprises research and seminars (32 hours thesis credit), preparation of a dissertation, and the final examination, including a public presentation of research results. All doctoral students are expected to enroll in CEE 595AG, Advanced Environmental Engineering Seminar, each semester in residence. All PhD students are initially admitted on a provisional basis, pending successful completion of the PhD qualifying examination. This examination is administered approximately biannually and consists of written and oral portions. The examination committee is selected by the student in consultation with his or her advisor. Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student is officially admitted to the PhD candidacy.

The major areas of specialization often involve a selection of courses that are closely related to, but not necessarily offered within, the Environmental Engineering and Science Program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. With the aid of an advisor, students are encouraged to arrange their programs of study to encompass a reasonable number of courses that augment the major program of study.

No foreign language is required for the PhD in Environmental Engineering and Science unless the candidate’s selected research area requires knowledge of a foreign language. Language courses will not be counted towards 32 hours of PhD credit in CEE.

Interdisciplinary Option

MS Environmental Engineering – (EWES) Energy, Water, Environment Sustainability Non-Thesis (11 months)

Students will have the option of obtaining their graduate degrees in either Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering. The specific degree designation will be selected in consultation with the student’s adviser. Additional curriculum requirements for students choosing the environmental engineering degrees are outlined below. PhD students are also required to complete the interdisciplinary PhD qualification exam in CEE.

Elective Requirements for Environmental Engineering Degrees

Students interested in earning environmental engineering degrees instead of civil engineering degrees should select their electives in consultation with their academic adviser so that the electives also meet the following requirements.

Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering

  • Either CEE 442 (Env Eng Principles, Physical) or CEE 451 (Environmental Fluid Mechanics)
  • One of the following courses: CEE 443 (Env Eng Principles, Chemical), CEE 444 (Env Eng Principles, Biological), or CEE 447 (Atmospheric Chemistry)
  • At least one of the following additional principles courses: CEE 443, CEE 444, CEE 434 (Environmental Systems I), CEE 440 (Fate Cleanup Environ Pollut), CEE 441 (Air Pollution Sources, Transport and Control), CEE 447 (Atmospheric Chemistry), CEE 450 (Surface Water Hydrology), CEE 453 (Urban Hydrology and Hydraulics), CEE 457 (Groundwater)
  • At least one 500-level course selected from the EES or EHHE programs
  • CEE 595EWS Seminar Class (0 credits)

PhD Degree in Environmental Engineering

  • Student must meet the requirements of the MS program outlined above or have previously received the MS degree in environmental engineering
  • Student will take the CEE interdisciplinary qualifying exam
  • The student must include at least one EE faculty member on the qualifying exam committee and the PhD final exam committee
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