About the Program
Environmental and Ecological engineers use the principles of systems engineering, biology, and chemistry to develop strategies to protect human and environmental health, and design sustainable systems and technologies. Our unique name, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, was chosen to highlight our approach to managing complex problems with an integrated perspective that considers both environmental issues and ecological interactions. In the undergraduate curriculum there is an early focus on systems thinking and systems understanding with the inclusion of significant course requirements in ecology, sustainability, and industrial ecology. The EEE program strives for resilient design thinking that takes into account complexity and connectivity between systems.
Employment opportunities for EEE graduates are excellent. Most businesses, industries, all levels of government and many international organizations hire environmental and ecological engineers. Graduates are prepared to enter a wide-range of employment sectors in environmental and engineering fields including the industrial and construction, government, consulting, municipal and public service, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and education sectors. Common career pathways center around:
Water and Watershed Stewardship: Ensuring that engineered systems and ecological systems interact sustainably.
Pollution Control, Monitoring, Abatement and Remediation: Wastewater, soil and air treatment/control, industrial waste control and recycling.
Industrial Ecology: Optimize industrial resource use; analyze and control of complete life-cycles of materials; industrial system redesign; energy efficiency optimization.
Sustainability: Provide for current needs without sacrificing future ability to meet needs. Consider the whole system, including complex interactions of environmental, technological and societal systems.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor projects substantial growth in jobs for the foreseeable future. Starting salaries are comparable to other Engineering fields and opportunities for advancement to positions of responsibility are excellent. Among the 14 “Grand Challenges of Engineering” announced by the National Academy of Engineering six of the 14 are explicitly in the domain of Environmental and Ecological engineering. Environmental engineering has a clear impact on societies and quality of life. Students interested in engineering that can make a positive difference for people should consider Environmental and Ecological Engineering. Meet with an advisor or faculty member to craft an individualized plan of study to meet your career goals.
Research within Environmental and Ecological Engineering may be characterized as being multidisciplinary and focused on cutting edge issues. The EEE discovery mission is positioned to respond to society’s need to understand the world we live in, and to develop strategies for sustainably managing Earth’s limited resources and ecosystems so that they will be available for generations to come. Topics emphasized within the EEE research portfolio include: environmental fate of air, water, and soil contaminants; sustainable urban design; renewable energy and the water-energy nexus; water and wastewater treatment; sustainable industrial systems; water, air, and nutrient cycling; sustainability engineering education; bio-based materials and products; industrial ecology and industrial processes; air quality.
The Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) furthers the learning, discovery, and engagement missions of the Purdue College of Engineering with a focus on understanding the ways in which all engineering activities affect and are affected by the environment. EEE will help the College fulfill the responsibility of service to the state, the nation, and the world through innovative and comprehensive undergraduate and graduate education, collaborative and wide-reaching research and discovery, and the assumption of ever-greater levels of leadership in addressing global environmental and ecological problems.
Program Educational Objectives
Graduates of the EEE Undergraduate Program will:
• Be prepared to assume immediate employment in the fields of environmental and ecological engineering or to continue education in an advanced degree program;
• Participate fully and ethically in the advancement of the profession within five years of graduation, as measured by one or more of the following:
- Achievement of, or significant progress toward, professional licensure
- Achievement of, or significant progress toward, an advanced degree
- Publication of research results and/or field reports
- Advancement to leadership roles within an engineering organization
- Professional participation in international engineering activities
- Participation with organizations, agencies, or companies who offer solutions to major societal and environmental issues.
Upon graduation, graduates of EEE will show:
- An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering,
- An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data,
- An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
- An ability to function on multidisciplinary team
- An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
- An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
- An ability to communicate effectively
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
- A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
- A knowledge of contemporary issues
- An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
- A knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of public institutions and private organizations pertaining to environmental and ecological engineering
- A knowledge of sustainability tools used in all engineering thought, and an ability to use these tools in the design process