Environmental engineering undergraduate degree program to begin in Fall 2022

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Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, department chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering, and student Spencer Perry discuss a wastewater sample from the Harper Schramm Smith residence halls.
Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, department chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering, and student Spencer Perry discuss a wastewater sample from the Harper Schramm Smith residence halls.

Expansion of our world population and our national and state economies, along with increased public concern for environmental quality, have created a burgeoning need for more environmental engineers.

To meet those workforce demands in Nebraska, across the U.S. and around the world, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are introducing a new Environmental Engineering undergraduate degree program.

"The department is excited about this new major. The B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in Environmental Engineering will attract new students to the College of Engineering who are interested in environmentally focused engineering careers and who may previously have left the state for other universities who offer this major," said Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

"Environmental engineering programs typically attract more women to engineering, and we are excited about the impact this degree program will have on our department's gender diversity."

The Environmental Engineering major, beginning in Fall 2022, will feature a strong foundation in the physical, chemical and biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering fundamentals. Upper-division courses will address engineering applications for the prevention and control of air, water, and land pollution, with required courses that include organic chemistry, biology, geology, statistics, hydrology, solid waste management, air pollution, water treatment, and sustainable design.

The department also offers a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and an undergraduate minor in Environmental Engineering.

Bruce Dvorak, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an authority on environmental fields such as adsorption processes, pollution prevention and environmental sustainability for industry, said regional employers have in recent years struggled to find enough applicants trained in environmental engineering and prepared to pass licensure exams.

Nebraska environmental engineering graduates will enter a field that the U.S. Department of Labor predicted would be among the fastest-growing in this decade and will be ready to address pressing environmental issues. Those include rebuilding the water and wastewater infrastructure, addressing storm water management challenges, assisting industry in reducing their environmental footprint, and helping communities become more sustainable.

"This is an exciting time in environmental engineering, as the profession evolves to help address critical global challenges, such as the need for clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities, responsible consumption and production, and climate action," said Dvorak. "The students in Nebraska's first Environmental Engineering cohort will be prepared to be on the leading edge of the generation that must address these issues."





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