MS in Environmental Engineering

MS in Environmental Engineering

Students in canoes on river

The graduate program in environmental engineering from Drexel University prepares professionals for applying expanded skills that will further careers in research or practice.

What is a MS in Environmental Engineering?

An environmental engineering master’s degree will help professionals prepare for tackling the work required of roles that control, reduce or eliminate impact on animals, plants, human populations and surroundings from the effects of adverse environmental factors. Environmental engineers also design systems, policies and processes to provide more healthful air, water and land for people and allow more sustainable existence. As a student you will address continuing needs relating to evolving environmental conditions, contaminants such as physical, chemical and biological, waste management, water and stormwater management.

An environmental engineering graduate degree program should provide an understanding of the forces governing industry, a global viewpoint, and the knowledge and entrepreneurial skills needed to advance careers in practice and research or to prepare for entry into a PhD program in related fields.


  • On-campus
  • Full-time or part-time
  • The program will take 15-18 months to complete on a full-time basis or can be completed on a part time basis in approximately 4 years.

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Areas of Specialization

The environmental engineering MS degree allows you to tailor study to your interests. The plan of study can encompass a broad range of technical knowledge or one that is more targeted to a specific specialization. The following are some examples of topical areas for technical electives:

  • Air pollution
  • Hazardous and solid waste
  • Human health risk assessment
  • Water resources
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Sustainability

The choice of courses available to students is not limited to those within the realms of environmental engineering. The program is interdisciplinary by nature and many students take classes from architectural and civil engineering, environmental science, mechanical engineering, environmental policy, and mathematics.

Dual graduate degrees are possible. Popular programs to combine with the MS in Environmental Engineering are the MS in Civil Engineering or MS in Chemical Engineering.

Why choose Drexel for your MS in Environmental Engineering?

Environmental engineers design systems, policies and processes to minimize the effect of human activities on the physical and living environment so that we can all live more healthful and sustainable lives. Drexel places a premium on a multidisciplinary approach, building on other branches of engineering – especially with civil, chemical, and mechanical engineering, as well as many of the sciences, such as chemistry, physics, biology, ecology and public health. You will emerge prepared to take on the demands of work in the field or to continue study in a doctoral program in environmental engineering or related subjects.

Students prepare equipment to monitor river

The Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) Department seeks to turn out a well-rounded engineer. Drexel students are encouraged to be innovative and imaginative in identifying a problem and analyzing potential approaches in the quest for a solution.  The focus of our programs is to equip you with the tools for finding sustainable and achievable outcomes to solve for society’s biggest challenges while making them relevant to your career goals.

Students have access to department lab and research facilities such as our 400 square foot clean room and other industry standard equipment and software. Learn more about our facilities.


The city of Philadelphia is our campus – a diverse urban environment with a variety of social, cultural, and learning opportunities that will enrich your educational experience. Philadelphia is also a draw for talented instructors and researchers, meaning you will engage with some of the best minds in engineering and other disciplines. Learn more.

Curriculum and Requirements

Core courses 15 credits
Specialization Courses 9-12 credits
Cognate discipline track 12 credits (four course sequence in an environmental engineering/science area)
Electives/ Thesis and alternatives 6-9 credits
  • The master’s degree requires a total of 45 credits, of which 15 credits must be in the major field of interest and 9-12 credits are for specialization and 12 credit are dedicated to a four-course cluster of environmental engineering or environmental science sequence coursework. The remaining credits are taken as electives or as a thesis.
  • Full time master’s students may opt to do a thesis consisting of six research credits and three thesis credits.
  • Graduate advisors will consult with you on the choice and scheduling of core and elective courses.

Visit the Drexel Catalog for more information or learn more about our admissions requirements.

Civil Engineering Graduate Certificates are available for additional engineering credentials or if you are not ready to take on a Master’s degree. The credits will transfer to the MS program should you continue study.


Students in the master’s in environmental engineering program may have the opportunity to engage in research as part of their degree or as extra-curricular participation. Full-time master’s degree candidates are encouraged to base their master’s thesis on some aspect of faculty research for an invaluable learning experience.

Current faculty research helps us to aid in the areas that are of great importance in our society, including transportation, building performance, clean environment and green energy, environmental health, indoor air quality and many others. Examples of current research in the CAEE department ranges from:

  • Restoration and repair of society's infrastructure
  • Indoor and outdoor air quality
  • Building energy efficiency
  • Water needs and quality
  • Green design
  • Sustainability in construction
  • Recycled materials in geotechnics
  • Biofuels
  • Human health risk assessment
  • Development and analysis of methods for treating water and wastewater
  • Evaluating impacts of energy strategies
  • Green infrastructure planning and modeling

Research is sponsored by grants from many organizations including the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Health (NIH), American Chemical Society (ACS), Pfizer, Inc., and a host of other institutions.

Visit research areas for more about research activity at the College of Engineering.

Career Opportunities in Environmental Engineering

Master’s in Environmental Engineering will prepare you for continuing your education in a PhD program or for pursuing advanced technical, research or management positions in organizations such as consulting firms, industrial corporations, government agencies or utilities.

Overall, employees with graduate degrees can earn up to 28 percent more than bachelor’s degree holders over their career. In environmental engineering, the outlook for jobs is good, with employment expected to grow with the average American job growth rate at 3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They further report that environmental science occupations enjoy a boost of up to 29 percent in salaries when earning a master’s degree. Strong salary projections and continued demand due to changing regulations and the impact of climate change will keep demand high for skilled workers in this field.


Drexel places a high value on industry connections and experience at every level. Teaching faculty in your program are experts with industry experience or are at the forefront of research and teaching. 

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