Undergraduate Program

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Earth and Environmental Engineering prepares students for careers in the public and private sector concerned with primary materials (minerals, fuels, water) and the environment. Graduates are also prepared to continue with further studies in Earth/Environmental sciences and engineering, business, public policy, international studies, law, and medicine. The EEE program is accredited as an environmental engineering program by the Engineering Accreditation
Commission of ABET.

What Is Earth and Environmental Engineering?

It is now recognized by the U.S. and other nations that continuing economic development must be accompanied by intelligent use of Earth’s resources and that engineers can contribute much to the global efforts for sustainable development. The technologies that have been developed for identifying, extracting, and processing primary materials are also being applied to
the twenty-first-century problems of resource recovery from used materials, pollution prevention, and environmental remediation. The EEE undergraduate program encompasses these technologies.

Undergraduate Program Objectives

  1. Graduates equipped with the necessary tools (mathematics, chemistry, physics, Earth sciences, and engineering science) will understand and implement the underlying principles used in the engineering of processes and systems.
  1. Graduates will be able to pursue careers in industry, government agencies, and other organizations concerned with the environment and the provision of primary and secondary materials and energy, as well as continue their education
    as graduate students in related disciplines.
  1. Graduates will possess the basic skills needed for the practice of Earth and Environmental Engineering, including
    measurement and control of material flows through the environment; assessment of environmental impact of past, present, and future industrial activities; and analysis and design of processes for remediation, recycling, and disposal of used materials.
  1. Graduates will practice their profession with excellent written and communication skills and with professional ethics and responsibilities.

The Curriculum

The first two years of the EEE program are similar to those of other engineering programs. Students are provided with a strong foundation in basic sciences and mathematics, as well as the liberal arts core. Specific to the EEE program is an early and sustained introduction to Earth science and environmental engineering, and options for a number of science courses to meet the specific interests of each student. The junior and senior years of the program consist of a group of required courses in engineering science and a broad selection of technical electives organized into three distinct concentrations, representing major areas of focus within the department.

Several Columbia departments, such as Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Earth and Environmental Sciences (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), as well as the Mailman School of Public Health, contribute courses to the EEE program. EEE students are strongly encouraged to work as summer interns in industry or agencies on projects related to Earth and Environmental Engineering. The department helps students get summer internships.

Technical Elective Concentrations

Students majoring in Earth and Environmental Engineering select one of the following three preapproved technical elective concentrations. Note that the eight-course sequence for each preapproved concentration includes two science courses during sophomore year (fall semester) and six technical elective courses during junior and senior years.

Any deviations from a preapproved concentration must be approved by an undergraduate faculty adviser. Alternatives for junior/senior electives within each concentration are listed, and others may be considered among 3000- to 4000-level courses of any Columbia Engineering department, as well as courses listed in the section “Courses in Other Divisions” in this bulletin. However, at least four of the six junior/senior electives must consist of engineering topics. Alternatives for sophomore-year science courses are shown in the EEE program table.

A student may also choose to develop an individual concentration conforming to his/her specific interests, provided that it satisfies ABET engineering accreditation criteria. Therefore, this must be developed in close consultation with and approved by a faculty adviser.

Water Resources and Climate Risks Concentration

Preapproved course sequence:
   PHYS UN1403: Introduction to classical and quantum waves (SEM III)
   EESC UN2100: Climate system (SEM III)
   EAEE E4006: Field methods for environmental engineering (SEM VI)
   EAEE E4009: GIS for resource, environmental, and infrastructure management (SEM VII)
   EAEE E4350: Planning and management of urban hydrologic systems (SEM VII)
   EAEE E4257: Environmental data analysis and modeling (SEM VIII)
   ECIA W4100: Management and development of water systems (SEM VIII)
   CIEE E4257: Groundwater contaminant transport and remediation (SEM VIII)

Alternatives for junior/senior electives:
   EAEE E4001: Industrial ecology of Earth resources
   EESC GU4008: Introduction to atmospheric science
   CIEE E4163: Environmental engineering: wastewater
   APPH E4200: Physics of fluids
   CIEN E4250: Waste containment design and practice
   CIEN E4255: Flow in porous media
   EESC GU4401: Quantitative models of climate-sensitive natural and human systems
   EESC GU4404: Regional dynamics, climate and climate impacts

Sustainable Energy and Materials Concentration

Preapproved course sequence:
   CHEM UN3443: Organic chemistry (SEM III)
   EESC UN2200: Solid earth system (SEM III)
   EESC GU4001: Advanced general geology (SEM III)
   MECE E3311: Heat transfer (SEM VI)
   EAEE E4001: Industrial ecology of Earth resources (SEM VII)
   EAEE E4361: Economics of Earth resource industries (SEM VII)
   EAEE E4190:
Photovoltaic systems engineering and sustainability (SEM VII)
   MECE E4302: Advanced thermodynamics (SEM VIII)
   EESC UN3015: The Earth’s carbon cycle (SEM VIII)
   MECE E4211: Energy: sources and conversion (SEM VIII)
   CHEE E4140: Engineering separations processes

Alternatives for junior/senior electives:
   CHEM UN3071: Introduction to inorganic chemistry
   MSAE E3103: Elements of materials science
   CHEN E3110: Transport phenomena, I
   CHEN E3120: Transport phenomena, II
   EESC GU4008: Introduction to atmospheric science
   EAEE E4210: Thermal treatment of waste and biomass materials
   CHEM GU4230: Statistical thermodynamics
   EAEE E4550: Catalysis for emissions control
   EACE E4560: Particle technology

Environmental Health Engineering Concentration

Preapproved course sequence:
   CHEM UN3443: Organic chemistry (SEM III)
   EESC UN2100: Climate system (SEM III)
   EAEE E4006: Field methods for environmental engineering (SEM VI)
   EAEE E4009: GIS for resource, environmental and infrastructure management (SEM VII)
   EHSC P6300: Environmental health sciences (SEM VII)
   EAEE E4257: Environmental data analysis and modeling (SEM VIII)
   EAEE E4150: Air pollution prevention and control (SEM VIII)
   EHSC P6309: Biochemistry basic to environmental health (SEM VIII)

Alternatives for junior/senior electives:
   EAEE E4001: Industrial ecology of Earth resources
   CIEE E4163: Environmental engineering: wastewater
   CIEE E4257: Groundwater contaminant transport and remediation
   EAEE E4900: Applied transport and chemical rate phenomena
   EAEE E4950: Environmental biochemical processes