Environmental engineers are concerned with safeguarding life, health, and the environment while promoting society’s general welfare. They are the designers of the public and private works that affect all segments of the population. The responsibility of the environmental engineer extends beyond mere physical structures into the social, political, and economic welfare of this and other countries. In brief, the work of the environmental engineer has a significant impact on the quality of life in all areas of modern society.
Environmental engineers deal in environmental control and in the development or redevelopment of a geographic area through overall planning, as well as in the design, construction, and operation of structures and facilities for public and private use (infrastructure). The field includes water supply systems, waste disposal, air and water pollution, and environmental remediation. The environmental engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh is a new program with the first B.S. degree being awarded by the Department in 2017.
The program begins with studies in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics, and proceeds to the fundamental aspects of environmental engineering. The curriculum focuses on the electives available for designing individualized programs suited to the student’s career goals. Emphasis is placed on societal and environmental needs as well as ways of meeting those needs. Thus, the graduate is prepared to begin work in any of the several branches of environmental engineering or to continue his or her education at the graduate level.