The Iowa Board of Regents has approved a new Bachelor’s of Science Engineering (BSE) degree in environmental engineering for the University of Iowa. The degree will be the first environmental engineering bachelor’s degree program in Iowa. The goal of program is to prepare the next generation of students to address the complex food, energy, water issues of the 21st century.
Starting in Fall 2017, the UI Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will offer the degree. Establishing the program is based, in part, on the continual high ranking of the college's environmental engineering graduate program by US News & World Report. For 2017, the graduate program was ranked 22nd in the nation in the environmental/environmental health category.
Environmental engineers apply engineering principles to design systems that control pollution and protect public health, as well as restore air, soil, and water quality at sites that have already been contaminated as well as work at the front lines of the clean energy economy by developing systems that convert waste into energy.
The engineers are in high demand within the state of Iowa and nationally. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s recent call for increased efforts and funding to improve water quality in Iowa highlights the need for innovative water quality solutions that can be provided by environmental engineers. Nationally, the occupational outlook for environmental engineers is excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 12% growth in Environmental Engineering, which is outpacing overall growth in all other occupations. Forbes Magazine concluded based on these statistics that Environmental Engineering is the 5th most valuable major.
"The environmental engineering degree program will produce students with a solid background in basic chemistry, physics, mathematics, and environmental sciences as well as quantitative problem solving skills necessary for designing complex solutions to environmental problems," Michelle Scherer, professor and departmental executive officer of civil and environmental engineering, said. "The students will be well positioned and marketable for obtaining employment in the growing field of environmental engineering both in Iowa and around the nation."