Undergraduate Program Environmental Engineering

group of PSU Environmental Engineering students working on a rooftop garden

Environmental Engineering Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

Our environmental engineering program prepares you to change the world for the better. You will study energy systems, water distribution systems, and infrastructure that support sustainability. You will learn practices that create a healthier and longer lasting world, such as mitigation and clean-up strategies for drinking water and wastewater.

Courses are in chemistry, mathematics, statistics, environmental science, physics, geology, and biology. Our environmental engineering program's curriculum is similar to the civil engineering program.

We offer:

  • Foundational environmental engineering courses in the main areas of the field. You will learn about water resources, air quality, environmental chemistry, and containment transport.
  • Access to internships in the Portland metro. Get real-world experience in paid positions to help you get a job after graduation.
  • Connections to local organizations and municipalities.
  • A degree tailored to your interests. In your senior year you will select from a variety of elective courses.
  • Faculty advisers who support student success. We have specialized elective courses with small class sizes.
  • Scholarships and grants for students majoring in environmental engineering.
  • An involved alumni network made up of leaders in the Oregon engineering community.
  • Student groups that engage in networking, career support, leadership, and team building.

There are about 350 students in the undergraduate civil and environmental engineering programs.

This program attracts students from diverse backgrounds and interests:

  • 34% women
  • 44% underrepresented minorities
  • 31% international
  • 45% first-generation college students

Many of our students are seeking a second bachelor’s degree. Half have transferred from another college or university.

Our quarter term system allows you to:

  • Meet ABET requirements
  • Gain foundational skills in civil engineering
  • Choose from a large list of elective courses

All admitted environmental engineering students receive a degree plan and guaranteed access to required courses.

PSU's environmental engineering curriculum is rigorous, supportive, and flexible. 85% of our students pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam the first time. We exceed the national average by 17%.

90% of our students have a job within six months of graduation.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
Online:
100% online
Flexible:
Combination of online and on campus
  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    187
    Start Term
    Any
  • m
    Minor
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    54
    Start Term
    Any

Environmental Engineering Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

The sustainability and environmental culture of the Pacific Northwest is part of the major. You will live and learn among the engineering systems we seek to improve. Many are within walking, biking, or transit distance to campus.

You will get the opportunity to work with professionals in the field on real projects. Most projects have immediate and lasting impacts on the community. Our students complete a senior capstone project in partnership with local organizations or municipalities.

Recently, our students modeled the impacts of a dam breaching for the city of Milwaukie. The students created models of what the breach would look like. They also described how they would deal with contamination after the breach.

With the city as the testing ground, faculty are able to thrive. They engage in their research and are attentive to their students' needs. Our faculty receive more than $3 million in research funding each year. Thus, environmental engineering students are able to experience research before they graduate. They also enjoy small class sizes and build connections with faculty.

The Portland metro region is home to some of the world’s top engineering employers. Our department has connections with leaders in private industry and government agencies. These organizations hire our students for internships and full-time positions.

PSU students can connect with practicing engineers and meet with guest lecturers. Our students can also work with engineers on their senior capstone projects.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or minor in Environmental Engineering?

Graduates of Portland State University’s environmental engineering program are analytical and critical thinkers. They learn skills to create solutions to problems that are sustainable and innovative. Environmental engineers make fast and lasting impacts on our communities.

PSU environmental engineering graduates can:

  • Design new stream channels and ecosystems to support improved fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Predict the quantity of water available for human use.
  • Improve the quality of surface water, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and groundwater systems.
  • Design new methods to clean up human pollution caused by industrial activity.
  • Develop methods to improve air quality after contamination by industrial and transportation sources.

Graduates of the program go on to pursue specialized or advanced degrees. They also earn their professional engineering licenses.

Environmental engineers are in high demand by employers. PSU's location in Portland, Oregon, gives you opportunities for internships and networking. You will graduate with an advantage over other candidates. Most of our alumni are working at consulting engineering firms or governmental agencies. The starting annual salaries are over $60,000.

Featured Courses

  • CE 364 Water Resources Engineering
  • CE 371 Environmental Engineering
  • CE 474 Unit Operations of Environmental Engineering
  • CE 480 Chemistry of Environmental Toxins

Electives

  • ESM 479 Toxins in the Environment
  • CE 486/Ch 486 Environmental Chemistry
  • CE 490 Soil and Groundwater Restoration
  • CE 481 The Columbia River as a System
  • CE 488/ESM 460 Air Quality

Accreditation

Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Our Bachelor's Degree is ABET Accredited.