Created by the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (ESE) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, our one-year practice-based or two-year research-based Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MSEE) program provides students with the vital skills and training in air quality and sustainable water resources needed to solve today’s environmental engineering and public health problems.
The MSEE program goes beyond fundamental principles in air quality and sustainable water resources to address emerging developments both locally and globally. Students will have the opportunity (though it is not required) to collaborate on research with ESE faculty in a number of areas.
The MSEE program features:
- internationally recognized research aimed at finding solutions to our largest public health problems;
- experiential learning through a real-time simulation of humanitarian and environmental emergencies; and
- courses taught by world-renowned faculty in the top-ranked public school of public health.
Our alumni page profiles just a few of the successful alumni who have graduated from our program.
Want to learn more?
Ready to Apply?
To apply to our MSEE program, please visit UNC-Chapel Hill’s graduate admission information page for instructions.
The Master of Science in Environmental Engineering one- and two-year programs are based on 27 credit hours of coursework covering critical engineering competencies and a three-credit-hour experiential learning course led by a practicing professional. The programs begin in the fall semester.
The one-year program lasts two semesters, ending with a culminating experiential learning project and the submission of a technical report. The two-year program lasts four semesters and ends with the submission of a research-based technical report.
Public Health and Engineering Coursework
Essential coursework includes an introduction to public health (SPHG 600), Epidemiology for Environmental Scientists (ENVR 601), eight technical electives, and diverse seminars on environmental engineering and public health topics. The electives provide flexibility for students with different interests to customize their curriculum.
Engineering Public Health Solutions
Our curriculum includes exposure to technological innovations, predictive modeling for effective environmental decision-making, global WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) methods, and processes affecting air and water quality. See the Environmental Sciences and Engineering Research page for a summary of our department’s core research interests.
Experiential Learning Project
All MSEE students will engage in a culminating experience that features an interdisciplinary team navigating a real-time simulation of an environmental and humanitarian emergency, such as a train derailment, major chemical spill, disease outbreak or population displacement.
Application to this program is open to individuals who have completed undergraduate degrees in engineering or physical/natural sciences. Successful applicants typically will have taken calculus through differential equations, inorganic chemistry, and physics with calculus*. MSEE students must complete at least one course in biological sciences and one course in probability/statistics prior to enrolling or during the graduate program. Note that taking these courses during the program may extend time to graduation. Students who are interested in conducting research in addition to meeting the basic degree requirements should indicate their research interests in their personal statement.
*UNC programs of study that meet these requirements include the BSPH with Engineering for Environmental Change, Climate, and Health Minor; the BSPH with Environmental Physics Concentration; and the Applied Sciences and Engineering minor.
Financial aid is available through competitive and limited UNC Graduate School awards. Please contact our student services office at ESEStudentServices@unc.edu for more information.
All students are required to take 12 credits of electives labeled as “Engineering” electives (see Course Planning Worksheet). All students also are required to take Introduction to Public Health (SPHG 600), Epidemiology for Environmental Scientists ( ENVR 601), Global Environmental Crisis Management (ENVR 989), and the department seminar series (ENVR 400).
The remaining 12 credits in electives can be taken from this list or from departments across the Gillings School of Global Public Health. The wide choice in electives provides the flexibility to customize the curriculum to fit your interests. In the next tab, we provide some illustrative examples of courses of study focused on water quality and processes, international water, water planning and management, risk assessment and air quality.
Public Health and Engineering Coursework
Required coursework includes an introduction to public health, technical electives on a diverse range of environmental engineering and public health topics. The electives provide flexibility to focus on water quality and processes, international water, water planning and management, and air quality.
Through these courses, you will gain exposure to technological innovations, predictive modeling for effective environmental decision-making, global WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) methods, and processes affecting air and water quality.
We expect each MSEE graduate to achieve the following competencies by the completion of the program. By doing so, we believe that you will leave the School as a competitive candidate for employment in environmental engineering practice.
1. Define problems, needs and objectives for which environmental engineering is relevant.
2. Evaluate problems quantitatively using measurements and models (statistical, empirical and/or mechanistic) of engineered systems or impacted natural environments.
3. Develop and design appropriate solutions which use technologies, facilities, monitoring, controls or policies to solve environmental engineering problems.
4. Evaluate the success of environmental engineering designs and assess the uncertainty involved in environmental systems.
5. Obtain a broad exposure to contemporary issues in environmental sciences, environmental health and environmental engineering.