Skip Navigation
search: People | Departments | Penn State | Web
Penn State mark
Penn State mark

University Bulletin

Graduate Degree Programs

Environmental Engineering (ENVE)

Program Home Page

SHIRLEY E. CLARK, Program Chair, Environmental Programs
Penn State Harrisburg
W236 Olmsted Building
777 W. Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057-4898


Degree Conferred:



The Graduate Faculty


The Program

This program, offered at the Harrisburg campus, is intended for the engineer who wishes to pursue, either full-time or part-time, further training in the environmental field with a focus toward understanding the theory behind the design of environmental systems. Prospective students who do not have an undergraduate engineering degree, but rather hold a baccalaureate degree in a related scientific field (such as chemistry, microbiology, environmental science) may be admitted to the program but may need to take several prerequisite undergraduate engineering courses. This degree program builds on the Civil Engineering undergraduate program and complements the Environmental Pollution Control graduate programs (M.E.P.C. and M.S. in EPC) offered by the same faculty.

A variety of civil and environmental engineering courses are regularly offered, as well as specialty courses in environmental policy, other engineering areas, computer science, and other policy-related areas.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate Council requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to present an undergraduate degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program. ABET ( is the accrediting body for engineering programs. However, those who possess an undergraduate degree in a related scientific field or unaccredited engineering program may be considered for admission; those students will need to take additional engineering courses at the undergraduate level in order to be adequately prepared. Applicants must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

All students are expected to have an undergraduate junior/senior grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0-point system. Exceptions to this minimum may be made for students with special backgrounds or abilities, or other qualifications.

All applicants must provide two copies of all official transcripts of all their previous course work. In addition, applicants must supply a statement of objectives and three letters of recommendation.

All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires completion of specified remedial English courses ESL 114G (American Oral English for Academic Purposes) and/or ESL 116G (ESL/Composition for Academic Disciplines) and attainment of a grade of B or higher. The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

International applicants should be aware that processing of transcripts and other application-related information may take considerable time. While this program has a rolling admissions procedure, applicants must ensure that materials arrive at least three months prior to the start of the semester they first intend to begin studies. In addition, students who wish to be considered for a fellowship must submit their materials no later than January 30th.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 credits is required for the degree. Courses in the degree program may be taken at the 400 or 500 level, but a minimum of 18 credits must be at the 500 level.

All candidates are required to take core courses that provide a foundation and context for pursuing and successfully completing a master’s program in environmental engineering. The following are the required core courses.

EPC 590. Colloquium (1 cr)
ENVE 591. Research Methods in Environmental Engineering (1 cr)
C E 592. Environmental Engineering and Science Topics (1 cr)

ENVE 594. Master’s Paper Research (3 cr)

This program does require that all students complete a scholarly master's paper. The seminar and the paper count toward the 500-level requirement. It is expected that students will upload their master’s papers to be available publically via ScholarSphere:

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must take one course (3 or 4 credits per course) in each of the following five core areas of environmental engineering theory and design, and environmental policy: Chemistry; Process Engineering; Biology; Water Resources; and Environmental Policy. Students must take at least one course from each core area (as shown in the table below) for a total of 15-16 credits. All courses are 3 credits except for C E 475.

The remaining 8 or 9 credits may be used by the student to specialize in an area of environmental engineering by taking classes offered not only by the Environmental Engineering Program but also from Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering. (E.g., C E 578 - “Groundwater Remediation”; see links to lists under “Courses,” below.) In addition, certain courses from the Schools of Business and Public Administration may be approved on a course-by-course basis.

Core 1 (Chemistry)

C E 475 - Environmental Water Chemistry (4 cr) or C E 570 - Aquatic Chemistry

Core 2 (Process Engineering)

ENVE 411 - Water Supply and Pollution Control or ENVE 550 - Chemical Fate & Transport or C E 571 - Physical-Chemical Treatment or C E 572 - Biological Treatment Processes or C E 577 - Treatment Plant Design

Core 3 (Biology)

ENVE 540 - Environmental Biodegradation and Bioremediation or C E 572 - Biological Treatment Process or C E 579 - Envir. Pollution Microbiology

Core 4 (Water Resources)

ENVE 415 - Hydrology or C E 561 - Surface Water Hydrology or C E 462 - Open-Channel Hydraulics or C E 555 - Groundwater Hydrology or C E 580 - Hydrodynamic Mixing Processes

Core 5

ENVE 460 - Environmental Law or ENVE 569 - Risk Assessment or P ADM 531 - Environmental Policy

NOTE: C E 572 is listed as approved for both Cores 2 and 3. Once the course is successfully completed, the course may count for one of the two core areas. An additional course is required in either Core 2 or 3, depending on the student’s interest.

Course that meet the core area requirements include, but are not limited to, the courses in the table above. Courses that deviate from this tabulated list will require pre-approval from the student’s adviser. If these courses were taken to meet degree requirements for a baccalaureate degree, they cannot be counted toward the graduate degree.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 5699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.






Last Revised by the Department: Summer Session 2014

Blue Sheet Item #: 42-07-000

Review Date: 06/10/2014

UCA Revision #2: 7/30/07

Coordinator updated: 9/26/14

Faculty linked: 8/14/14