Explore our Graduate Program

The Water and the Environment graduate program focuses on both fundamental and applied aspects of environmental systems and processes across a range of scales.  The Water and the Environment program offers unique opportunities for students to participate actively in the research, analysis, and design aspects of real-world problems. Within Water and the Environment, there are three areas of specialization: Environmental Engineering and Science (EES), Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Water Resources (HWR), and Sustainable Water Development (SWD).  Click on each link above to learn about each focus area.

Environmental Engineering Science

Provides comprehensive course work and research in the areas of air- and water-quality management, environmental chemistry and microbiology, natural systems modeling, processes for water supply, pollution control, and solid and hazardous waste management.

Sustainable Water Development

Training interdisciplinary professional engineers, researchers, educators, and more to meet water resource challenges of communities most in need. Community service and professional development complement innovative research at food, energy, water nexus.

Hydraulics and Water Resources

Curriculum, in association with world-renowned research institute IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, provides opportunities in laboratory and field-scale experimentation as well as mathematical modeling with IIHR’s high-speed computer facilities.

Water and the Environment Curriculum

PhD (72 SH)

    14 classes = 4 Core + 1 communication + 1 semester hour ethics seminar + 9 electives = 43 SH
    Research = 29 SH

MS Thesis (30 SH)

    8 classes = 4 Core + 1 communication + 1 semester hour ethics seminar + 3 electives = 25 SH
    Research = 5 SH

MS Non-Thesis (31 SH)

    10 classes = 5 Core +  1 semester hour ethics seminar + 5 electives = 31 SH

Required Courses & Seminars

  • Technical Communication Course (CEE:5225, CEE:6225 or other approved 3 SH course).  Approved courses include Public Speaking for Academics (RHET 7940), Science Communication in the Digital Age (RHET:7500); Writing in the Disciplines (RHET 7930). Others will be considered and should be submitted to the CEE Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  Not required for MS non-thesis.
  • Engineering Ethics Seminar (ENGR:7270 – 1 SH).  First fall semester only.                                
  • Coaching Seminar on Communicating Water Science (CEE:5097 – 0 SH).  Students are required to take two semesters-one fall semester and one spring semester. Please note when student is taking this course they would not register for the Water, Energy, Food Nexus Seminar CEE:5096 that semester. We recommend MS thesis students take it during their second and third semesters and PhD students take it any semesters that work best for their schedules and research.  It is the student's responsibility to make sure these requirements are met before applying to graduate.  Not required for MS non-thesis.
  • Water, Energy, Food Nexus Seminar (CEE:5096 – 0 SH).  Required every semester unless registered for the Coaching Seminar on Communicating Water Science CEE:5097.

Core Classes

Pick 4 (offer every year, note NRT funded students and MS nonthesis required to do all 5)
  • Politics and Economics of FEWS (CEE:5410 / Spring)                                            
  • Fluid Flows in Environmental Systems (CEE:5380 / Fall)                                
  • Foundations of Env. Chem and Microbiology (CEE:5440 / Fall)                      
  • Informatics for Sustainable Systems (CEE:5310 / Spring)                               
  • Watershed Hydrology and Ecosystem Process (CEE:5350 /Spring)               

Water Electives

Three offered each year; students choose how many and which ones to take in consultation with their advisors.  Other courses accepted with prior approval.
  • Open Channel Flow & Sediment Transport (CEE:4370)                                                         
  • Advanced Hydrology                                                                                                                               
  • Physical & Chemical Processes (CEE:5156)                                                                           
  • Environmental Biotechnology
  • Water Quality & Flow (CEE:5460)