Environmental engineers apply engineering principles to design systems that control pollution and protect public health. They restore air, soil, and water quality at previously contaminated sites and develop systems that convert waste into clean energy. Environmental engineering addresses the complex food, energy, and water issues of the 21st century.

A degree in environmental engineering allows you to work in any aspect of environmental protection, including air pollution control, industrial hygiene, radiation protection, hazardous waste management, toxic materials control, water supply, wastewater management, stormwater management, solid waste disposal, public health, and land management. 

Why Study at Iowa

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is committed to providing high-quality education and research experiences for students. Resources and efforts are focused on areas of unique strength, including water resources engineering, environmental solutions, and sustainability. 

Students choose to study engineering at Iowa because of the college's academic excellence, individual attention, small-college environment, camaraderie, and tremendous opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa's undergraduate program in the top 20 percent of engineering programs nationwide.

The BSE in environmental engineering is one of eight undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering, which offers excellent opportunities for students to participate in research, internships, study abroad, and student organizations. 

Iowa admits incoming first-year students directly into engineering. About 525 first-year students and 100 transfer students enroll each year. Women account for over 29 percent of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 20 percent. 

BSE/MS Fast-Track Degree Program

This program is for eligible students who seek to earn both the BSE and MS degrees in environmental engineering at Iowa. BSE/MS students may attend the departmental graduate seminar and work on a master's thesis or research project while they are still undergraduates. They may count a limited amount of course work toward both degrees. Once students complete the bachelor's degree requirements, they are granted the BSE and they normally complete the MS degree one year later. 

Course Work

Iowa's environmental engineering program provides graduates with scientific and technical knowledge and equips them with problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills that will serve them throughout their careers. The program emphasizes both a broad education in environmental engineering fundamentals and the opportunity for in-depth learning. 

In your first year at Iowa, you are exposed to current environmental issues in your first-year seminar. Many courses feature active and hands-on learning opportunities, including laboratory exercises that involve data collection on smartphones.

All students complete the BSE core requirements and the curriculum designed for the environmental engineering major, as well as general education courses and an elective focus area. 

The elective focus area enables students to gain depth of knowledge in a career path. Students may choose the environmental focus area or work with their adviser to develop an individualized focus area based on their interests and career goals. 

See Environmental Engineering in the UI General Catalog for details. 

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

Engineering student support services include free tutoring for your first two years of math, science, and engineering courses. 

Engineering fraternities and sororities, student organizations, and national honorary societies offer many opportunities to network and develop your leadership abilities.  

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple study abroad programs and undergraduate research opportunities

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

Iowa's nationally and internationally renowned faculty members, including physicians and practicing engineers, teach all of the college's engineering classes, including those for first-year students. No engineering classes are taught by teaching assistants. 

The college recently completed a $37 million, 65,000-square-foot addition to the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences to accommodate growth in enrollment and faculty research. The addition addresses multiple strategic needs that will enable the college to maintain its momentum and growth, including expanded classrooms, collaborative learning spaces, advances in teaching and conducting research in computer-aided design and simulation, sustainability, and fostering engineering and the arts.


On average, 93-98 percent of Iowa engineering graduates are employed in their field of study or pursuing advanced education within seven months of graduation.

The engineering profession is a foundation for a variety of careers in industry, medicine, law, government, and consulting. Engineering majors hold eight of the top ten spots on the list of top-paid majors for bachelor's degree graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). On average, 94 percent of Iowa engineering graduates are employed in their field of study or pursuing advanced education within seven months of graduation.

Engineering Professional Development (EPD) develops and promotes experiential education and professional opportunities for students. Professional staff coordinate the college's co-op and internship program, engage in employer outreach, and provide opportunities for students to network with employers, including an engineering career fair and other career-development programming each semester. 

EPD also offers individual advising and class presentations on resume and cover letter preparation, job and internship search strategies, interviewing skills, and job offer evaluation. 


Apply early for scholarships. The College offers Engineering First-Year Scholarships and many other scholarships for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. For more information, visit the College of Engineering Scholarships website. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid also are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs


Focus Areas
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan
Selective Admission