Environmental Engineering

Major: Environmental Engineering
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0 (MS); 90.0 (PhD)
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 14.1401
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 17-2081

About the Program

Programs in environmental engineering are available with specializations in air pollution, hazardous and solid waste, subsurface contaminant hydrology, water resources, water and wastewater, and sustainability treatment.

Environmental engineering is concerned with protecting human, animal, and plant populations from the effects of adverse environmental factors, including toxic chemicals and wastes, pathogenic bacteria, and global warming.

Environmental engineers also try to minimize the effect of human activities on the physical and living environment so that we can all live more healthy and sustainable lives. This field builds on other branches of engineering, especially civil, chemical, and mechanical engineering. It also builds on information from many of the sciences, such as chemistry, physics, hydrology, geology, atmospheric science, and several specializations of biology (ecology, microbiology) and public health. Students who elect to study environmental engineering will become familiar with many of these areas because maintaining and improving the environment requires that problems be evaluated and solutions found using a multidisciplinary approach.

Additional Information

For more information about this program, visit the MS in Environmental Engineering webpage.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general entrance requirements for all environmental engineering applicants, entrance to the MS in Environmental Engineering program requires an undergraduate engineering degree from an ABET-approved institution. Students lacking this credential will be required to complete additional undergraduate courses to incorporate related elements of the functional equivalent of the ABET engineering BS degree. Typically, courses must be taken in computer programming, differential equations, linear algebra and fluid mechanics.

Additional Information

For more information on how to apply, visit Drexel's Admissions page for Environmental Engineering.

Degree Requirements (MS)

The MS in Environmental Engineering program requires 45.0 credits of coursework. Both a theses and a non-thesis option are available. It is possible to finish the MS degree on either a part-time or full-basis. The degree consists of a set of core courses, a sequence in one of several areas of emphasis (treatment process, human risks, water resources, environmental modeling, and air quality) and completion of cognate and elective sequences. After the first term of study, a detailed plan of study is developed with the student's graduate advisor.

Students entering the program without an ABET accredited BS degree in engineering will be required to take additional undergraduate coursework depending on their background and their career objectives.

Core Courses (15.0 credits)
ENVE 660Chemical Kinetics in Environmental Engineering3.0
ENVS 501Chemistry of the Environment3.0
Approved Statistics course3.0-4.0
Biomedical Statistics
Data-based Engineering Modeling
Approved Policy course3.0
Sustainable Water Resource Engineering
Public Finance and Cost Benefit Analysis
Overview of Issues in Global Health
Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis
Methods of Policy Analysis
Approved Life Sciences course3.0
Fundamentals of Environmental Biotechnology
Evolutionary Ecology
Aquatic Ecology
Specialization Courses (select one area to complete) *9.0-12.0
Environmental Treatment Processes
Solid Waste Systems
and Env Engr Op-Chem & Phys
and Enviro Engr Unit Oper-Bio
and Hazardous Waste & Groundwater Treatment
Human Risks
Comfort Analysis and Indoor Air Quality
and Environmental Exposure Science
Risk Assessment **
Principles and Practice of Environmental and Occupational Health
Water Resources
Sustainable Water Resource Engineering
and Urban Ecohydraulics
and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment
Open Channel Hydraulics **
Analytical and Numerical Techniques in Hydrology
Environmental Modeling
Geographic Information Systems **
Environmental Life Cycle Assessment
Analytical and Numerical Techniques in Hydrology
and Data-based Engineering Modeling
Approved Advanced Math course:
Applied Engr Analy Methods I
Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering
Numerical Engineering Methods
Air Quality
Comfort Analysis and Indoor Air Quality
and Principles and Practice of Environmental and Occupational Health
and Fundamentals of Air Pollution Control
Cognate Discipline Track ***12.0
Electives or Thesis9.0-6.0
Total Credits45.0-46.0

Sample Plan of Study (MS)

First Year
ENVS 5013.0ENVE 6603.0Cognate Discipline course3.0VACATION
Cognate Discipline course3.0Cognate Discipline course3.0Life Science course3.0 
Statistics course3.0Environmental Policy course3.0Specialization Track course3.0 
 9 9 9 0
Second Year
Cognate Discipline course3.0Elective or Thesis courses6.0  
Specialization Track courses6.0Specialization Track course3.0  
 9 9  
Total Credits 45

Degree Requirements (PhD)

Applicants to the doctoral program are judged on the basis of academic excellence and the alignment of their research interests with those of the faculty in the School. To be awarded the PhD, students must complete a major research project publishable in peer-reviewed journals. The degree requires a total of 90.0 credits; credits earned toward a master's degree may apply toward the 90.0 credits. There is no prescribed coursework—students must take courses needed to complete their research under guidance of an academic advisor. There is a one-year residency requirement. Students must successfully pass the candidacy examination, the proposal defense, and a PhD dissertation and oral defense.

Prospective PhD student are welcome to contact the Department to discuss their research interests.

Dual MS Degrees

The university encourages students with broad interest to consider a dual-master's option. Students can simultaneously work on two master's degree, applying to both programs a limited number of credits (a maximum of 15.0 to each). Applicants interested in a dual degree should apply for just one program; once enrolled at Drexel, the student may then request admission to the second program. The graduate advisors from both degree programs must approve the student's enrollment, and they must approve the transfer of credits from one program to another. Applicants considering two degrees are encouraged to contact the appropriate academic departments.


The Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering is well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities:

  • Analytical instrumentation for measuring biological and chemical contaminants in air, water and land
  • Field sampling equipment for water and air measurements
  • Molecular biology capability
  • Computational facilities including access to multi-processor clusters, and advanced simulation and data analysis software

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Faculty

Abieyuwa Aghayere, PhD (University of Alberta). Professor. Structural design - concrete, steel and wood; structural failure analysis; retrofitting of existing structures; new structural systems and materials; engineering education.
Ivan Bartoli, PhD (University of California, San Diego). Associate Professor. Non-destructive evaluation and structural health monitoring; dynamic identification, stress wave propagation modeling.
Robert Brehm, PhD (Drexel University). Teaching Professor. International infrastructure delivery; response to natural catastrophes; risk assessment and mitigation strategies; project management techniques.
Shannon Capps, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Atmospheric chemistry; data assimilation; advanced sensitivity analysis; inverse modeling.
S.C. Jonathan Cheng, PhD (West Virginia University). Associate Professor. Soil mechanics; geosynthetics; geotechnical engineering; probabilistic design; landfill containments; engineering education.
Eugenia Ellis, PhD, AIA (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Natural and electric light sources and effects on biological rhythms and health outcomes; ecological strategies for smart, sustainable buildings of the nexus of health, energy and technology.
Yaghoob (Amir) Farnam, PhD (Purdue University). Assistant Professor. Advanced and sustainable infrastructure materials; multifunctional, self-responsive and bioinspired construction materials; advanced multiscale manufacturing; characterization, and evaluation of construction materials; durability of cement-based materials.
Patricia Gallagher, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; soil improvement; soil improvement; recycled materials in geotechnics.
Patrick Gurian, PhD (Carnegie-Mellon University). Professor. Risk analysis of environmental and infrastructure systems; novel adsorbent materials; environmental standard setting; Bayesian statistical modeling; community outreach and environmental health.
Charles N. Haas, PhD (University of Illinois-Urbana) L. D. Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Department Head, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering. Water treatment; risk assessment; bioterrorism; environmental modeling and statistics; microbiology; environmental health.
Ahmad Hamid, PhD (McMaster University). Professor. Engineered masonry; seismic behavior, design and retrofit of masonry structures; development of new materials and building systems.
Simi Hoque, PhD (University of California - Berkeley). Associate Professor. Computational methods to reduce building energy and environmental impacts, urban metabolism, thermal comfort, climate resilience.
Y. Grace Hsuan, PhD (Imperial College). Professor. Durability of polymeric construction materials; advanced construction materials; and performance of geosynthetics.
Joseph B. Hughes, PhD (University of Iowa). Distinguished University Professor. Biological processes and applications of nanotechnology in environmental systems.
L. James Lo, PhD (University of Texas at Austin). Assistant Professor. Architectural fluid mechanics; building automation and autonomy; implementation of natural and hybrid ventilation in buildings; airflow distribution in buildings; large-scale air movement in an urban built environment; building and urban informatics; data-enhanced sensing and control for optimal building operation and management; novel data gathering methods for building/urban problem solving; interdisciplinary research on occupant behaviors in the built environment.
Joseph P. Martin, PhD (Colorado State University). Professor. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; hydrology; transportation; waste management.
James E. Mitchell, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Architectural engineering design; building systems; engineering education.
Franco Montalto, PhD (Cornell University). Professor. Effects of built infrastructure on societal water needs, ecohydrologic patterns and processes, ecological restoration, green design, and water interventions.
Nariman Mostafavi, PhD (University of Massachusetts - Amherst). Assistant Teaching Professor. Simulation tools for analyzing urban metabolism; environmentally responsive design; urban resilience; engineering economics; industrial ecology.
Joseph V. Mullin, PhD (Pennsylvania State University) Associate Department Head. Teaching Professor. Structural engineering; failure analysis; experimental stress analysis; construction materials; marine structures.
Mira S. Olson, PhD (University of Virginia). Associate Professor. Peace engineering; source water quality protection and management; contaminant and bacterial fate and transport; community engagement.
Miguel A. Pando, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Assistant Professor. Laboratory testing of geomaterials; geotechnical aspects of natural hazards; soil-structure-interaction; geotechnical engineering.
Michael Ryan, PhD (Drexel University) Associate Department Head of Graduate Studies. Assistant Teaching Professor. Microbial Source Tracking (MST); Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA); dynamic engineering systems modeling; molecular microbial biology; phylogenetics; metagenomics; bioinformatics; environmental statistics; engineering economics; microbiology; potable and waste water quality; environmental management systems.
Christopher Sales, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Associate Professor. Environmental microbiology and biotechnology; biodegradation of environmental contaminants; microbial processes for energy and resource recovery from waste; application of molecular biology, analytical chemistry and bioinformatic techniques to study environmental biological systems.
Yared Shifferaw, PhD (Johns Hopkins University). Assistant Professor. Computational and experimental mechanics; structural stability; optimization; health monitoring and hazard mitigation; sustainable structures; emerging materials; thin-walled structures and metallic structures.
Kurt Sjoblom, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Laboratory testing of geomaterials, geotechnical engineering, foundation engineering.
Sabrina Spatari, PhD (University of Toronto). Associate Professor. Industrial ecology; development and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA) methods for guiding engineering and policy decisions; specific interest in biomass and bioenergy, biofuels, and urban infrastructure.
Robert Swan Associate Teaching Professor. Geotechnical and Geosynthetic Engineering; soil/geosynthetic interaction and performance; laboratory and field geotechnical/geosynthetic testing.
Michael Waring, PhD (University of Texas-Austin) Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Programs; Director of Architectural Engineering Program. Associate Professor. Indoor air quality and building sustainability; indoor particulate matter fate and transport; indoor chemistry and particle formation; secondary impacts of control technologies and strategies.
Jin Wen, PhD (University of Iowa). Associate Professor. Architectural engineering; Building Energy Efficiency; Intelligent Building; Net-zero Building; and Indoor Air Quality.
Aspasia Zerva, PhD (University of Illinois). Professor. Earthquake engineering; mechanics; seismology; structural reliability; system identification; advanced computational computational methods in structural analysis.

Emeritus Faculty

Harry G. Harris, PhD (Cornell University). Professor Emeritus. Structural models; dynamics of structures, plates and shells; industrialized building construction.
Richard Weggel, PhD (University of Illinois) Samuel S. Baxter Professor Emeritus; Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Emeritus. Coastal engineering; hydraulics engineering; hydrology.
Richard Woodring, PhD (University of Illinois) Dean of Engineering Emeritus. Professor Emeritus. Structural engineering, reinforced concrete.
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