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Environmental Engineering

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Engineering

Freshmen applying to the Columbus campus must submit their complete admission application by November 1 to be considered for this major. 

Environmental engineering is the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of constructed facilities for the protection of human health and safety and the preservation of wildlife and the environment. It includes water supply and resources, environmental systems modeling, environmental chemistry, wastewater management, solid waste management, hazardous waste management and remediation, atmospheric systems and air pollution control, and environmental and occupational health. Graduates of environmental engineering programs are found in engineering and administrative posts in industry, construction, research, government and consulting firms. 

Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33 and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.

Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see

All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.

In addition to the college core, engineering students also take select core courses, major courses and general education courses.

Environmental engineering students can select courses from a variety of departments, including chemistry; environmental engineering; entomology; food, agricultural and biological engineering; earth sciences; mechanical engineering; industrial, systems and welding engineering; and environment and natural resources.

Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learningsemester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program

Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe. 

Students work with Engineering Career Services (ECS) to find both paid internships and co-op jobs across the United States and around the world. Nearly 90 percent of career-employed graduates complete at least one semester of engineering-related experience before they graduate. 

Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.

Engineering Honors

The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.

Engineering Scholars

Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:

  • Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building. 
  • Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems. 

At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.

Environmental engineering research topics:

  • drinking water membrane treatment
  • interactions between energy and environmental systems and policy
  • mitigation of acid mine drainage
  • coal combustion byproduct reuse
  • contaminant transport in groundwater and surface water
  • ecological engineering mechanisms that control the interaction between the atmosphere and the land surface
  • 3D modeling of coastal and ocean surfaces

Environmental engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including American Academy of Environmental Engineers, Bio-Environmental Design Team, EcoCAR 3, Engineers for a Sustainable World and Society of Environmental Engineers.

Environmental engineering graduates find employment in a variety of organizations, including engineering consulting firms, manufacturing companies, and federal, state and local governments. For those who wish to continue their education, multiple graduate programs leading to MS and/or PhD degrees in environmental engineering are offered in schools throughout the United States.

Some employers of environmental engineering graduates include ArcelorMittal, Beaver Creek Hydrology, Burgess & Niple, MWH Global Inc., Ohio EPA, and Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.