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Environmental Engineering MSE

Contact Environmental Engineering Admissions

CEE Logo
Anne Speigle

Senior Graduate Coordinator

Brian Ellis
Brian Ellis

Faculty Advisor

Civil & Environmental at Michigan Statistics

No. 3

in Environmental Engineering

6:1

student-to-faculty ratio

~100%

of department graduates employed directly out of school or pursue a higher education

180+

years as a department

$9M+

spent on research in 2019

39%

female
(CEE average, 2015-2019)

Why should you get your MSE degree in Environmental Engineering at Michigan?

By joining our top-ranked program, you will work with expert faculty who are leaders in their fields and collaborate with colleagues across the University on emerging topics related to ensuring public health, promoting sustainability, and addressing climate change. You will be part of our close-knit community working towards tackling urgent challenges facing our world.

What can you do with an MSE in Environmental Engineering?

We use engineering principles combined with the natural sciences to solve environmental problems, helping society meet the challenges of limited global resources and human environmental impacts.

Whether it’s reducing the effects of pollution on our resources, treating and recycling wastewater to keep our lakes and oceans healthy, improving sustainability, or curbing air emissions to reduce climate change, we are here to make our planet greener.

environmental engineering research at U-M
Environmental engineering research at U-M

Major Areas of Study

The Environmental MSE spans four major areas of study:

environmental engineering research at U-M
environmental engineering ecohydrology research at U-M

Ecohydrology

Environmental engineering sustainable systems research

Sustainable Energy Systems

Environmental Engineering Water Quality Process Engineering

Water Quality Process Engineering

Environmental engineering water quality research

Water Quality and Resources Engineering

Courses Offered

Individualized plans of study will be developed by students in consultation with an advisor. The Bulletin provides course descriptions.

environmental engineering water filter
Nancy Love research in environment engineering at U-M

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Current University of Michigan engineering students can complete both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years with SUGS by taking some graduate-level classes during your undergraduate years, so you can save yourself one semester and complete a master’s with only two additional semesters.

Urine fertilizer research environmental engineering

Practice Your Purpose

There is a rich variety of experiential learning opportunities to help you find your niche, connect with people who share your passion, and gain hands-on experience that’ll set your resumé apart from the stack.

Student Groups

GreenPeas student organization group photo
GrEENPEAS- Graduate Environmental Engineering Network of Professionals, Educators and Students

GrEENPEAS- Graduate Environmental Engineering Network of Professionals, Educators and Students

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Citizens climate lobby group of students
Citizens’ Climate Lobby at the University of Michigan

Citizens’ Climate Lobby at the University of Michigan

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climate action movement logo
The Climate Action Movement at the University of Michigan

The Climate Action Movement at the University of Michigan

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Climate blue logo
Climate Blue

Climate Blue

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composting cycle
Compost Michigan

Compost Michigan

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food recovery network logo
Food Recovery Network at the University of Michigan

Food Recovery Network at the University of Michigan

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Students for Clean Energy (SfCE)

Students for Clean Energy (SfCE)

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GRID Alternatives

GRID Alternatives

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Live Green

Live Green

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Graduate Student Advisory Council
Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)

Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)

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Professional Development

Network for Women in Civil Engineering group photo
Network for Women in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Network for Women in Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Graduate Society of Women Engineers (Grad SWE)

Graduate Society of Women Engineers (Grad SWE)

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students working on a project
Sustainability, Civil, and Environmental Engineering Minorities

Sustainability, Civil, and Environmental Engineering Minorities

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Examples of Current Research

Branko Kerkez, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Branko Kerkez

Branko Kerkez

Real-time water systems

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Herek Clack, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Herek Clack

Herek Clack

Environmental impacts of airborne aerosols

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Aline Cotel, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Aline Cotel

Aline Cotel

Environmental and biological fluid mechanics

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Glen Daigger, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Glen Daigger

Glen Daigger

Recovering resources from wastewater

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Brian Ellis, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Brian Ellis

Brian Ellis

Strategies to mitigate CO2 emissions

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Christian Lastoskie, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Christian Lastoskie

Christian Lastoskie

Environmental impacts of energy consumption

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Nancy Love, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Nancy Love

Nancy Love

Replenishing the world’s phosphorus by recycling and processing urine

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Terese Olson, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
Terese Olson

Terese Olson

Environmental chemistry

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Research Videos

Alumni Bios

Each of these alumni were once in your shoes, deciding on a master’s degree. Explore their educational path and how it set their life in motion.

Image of Adam Larky

Adam Larky

MSE Environmental Engineering, 1994; MSE Engineering Management, 1999 (incomplete)

Energy Development Ltd

Senior Project Manager

Image of Bryan VanDuinen

Bryan VanDuinen

MSE Environmental Engineering, 2012

Geosyntec Consultants

Project Engineer

Image of Lynn Williams Stephens

Lynn Williams Stephens

MSE Environmental Engineering, 2008

Brown and Caldwell

Principal Engineer

Image of Vidhya Ramalingam

Vidhya Ramalingam

MSE Environmental Engineering, 2013

Michigan State University

Graduate Assistant, Ph.D. Candidate

Image of Adam Larky

Adam Larky

University of Michigan, BSE Civil Engineering, 1992

University of Michigan, MSE Environmental Engineering, 1994

University of Michigan, MSE Engineering Management, 1999 (incomplete)

Energy Development Ltd

Senior Project Manager

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Career Summary

I started working in engineering consulting specializing in solid waste management. After graduation from UM, I moved to Kansas City to work for a large engineering firm, Burns & McDonnell. I worked on solid waste planning projects, groundwater monitoring and investigation projects, and ultimately landfill design and construction projects. I worked my way up from a project engineer to a project manager at BMcD. 

In 2001, my wife and I decided to move back to Michigan. I was recruited to work for another consulting firm in Livonia, Michigan to help manage their solid waste consulting practice. The firm was ultimately acquired by a company that went bankrupt and acquired another larger firm. In 2006, a group of us decided to start our own consulting firm, Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC. I started by managing our local Michigan office but over time I was promoted to Region Vice President and managed the entire midwest operation. I was working primarily on landfill and renewable energy projects. In 2016, we sold the firm to Tetra Tech. In 2019 I decided to move out of consulting and I started working at EDL and I am now part of the Project Delivery Team responsible for developing renewable energy projects.

Reflection on Time Spent at UM

I still have a lot of my friendships from UM and I especially value my time working on the concrete canoe.

Image of Bryan VanDuinen

Bryan VanDuinen

University of Michigan, BSE Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2011

University of Michigan, MSE Environmental Engineering, 2012

Geosyntec Consultants

Project Engineer

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Career Summary

As an undergraduate and Master’s student at Michigan, I had the opportunity to participate in a couple of research projects and to work as a grader, then as a GSI. One of my semesters grading, the class was taught by Erik Petrovskis who managed Geosyntec’s Ann Arbor office. Making that connection with Erik helped me land my current job at Geosyntec. At Geosyntec, I’ve gone from being out in the field collecting groundwater & soil samples and drafting reports to managing projects and helping clients figure out how best to address legacy contaminated sites. This past semester, I taught CEE 465 at Michigan, which is essentially the same class Erik had taught when I was a student. My professional life has come full circle.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

Geosyntec particularly values advanced degrees. I’m not sure I would have been hired without a Master’s degree. And while I am continually learning new things, the deeper technical understanding and critical thinking skills from a postgraduate education make the learning curve less steep.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

As a student, I enjoyed attending ASCE and Chi Epsilon speaker meetings (free food is always appreciated) and Michigan football games (despite my time as a student corresponding with the lowest point of Michigan football in the past 80 years). If I could go back in time, I would give myself two pieces of advice as a student: First, networking (along with getting a good education, exhibiting leadership, etc.) is important. A big part of why I got hired at Geosyntec was that the office manager had taught a course at Michigan, and I was his grader. Seeing it from the other side now, hiring someone is a big decision. The company is going to invest a lot of resources in a new hire’s professional development, particularly for entry-level hires. If it doesn’t work out, those resources are wasted. Knowing somebody and knowing that they do good work goes a long way. Second, as a student, I undervalued the technical communication side of things. Now, the main thing that I produce is reports. Technical understanding is important, but it’s not useful if you can’t convey that understanding effectively to clients and regulators.

Image of Lynn Williams Stephens

Lynn Williams Stephens

Michigan Technological University, BS Civil Engineering, 2007 

University of Michigan, MSE Environmental Engineering, 2008

Brown and Caldwell

Principal Engineer

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Career Summary

Following my graduate research and studies, I joined Brown and Caldwell (BC), where I served as a process engineer for both drinking water and wastewater. Within a year, I was able to leverage my UM research on biological filtration to a pilot-scale study for the cities of Lake Oswego and Tigard. Because of this experience, I was able to manage this pilot study investigating ballasted flocculation, ozonation, and high-rate biological filtration (the first pilot study for high-rate filtration in the state of Oregon). Operating this pilot equipment and informing the detailed design for a 38 million gallons per day (mgd) facility was an amazing experience!

Another cool project that I worked on early in my career was the process design for a sludge process where I was intimately involved in the secondary biological treatment process selection. This work also involved pilot testing an ammonium removal process. Following the pilot investigation, I led the detail design for the process, which was constructed and is in operation. My experience at UM made this project involvement possible.

Currently, I am a Principal Engineer for BC and our client service manager for the Water Research Foundation (WRF). In this role, I guide which WRF projects we pursue as a company. Over the past 5 years, I’ve been the Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on 8 WRF projects, and I’m currently a Co-PI on the Biofiltration Guidance Manual for Rapid-Rate Filtration Facilities.

I’ve also had the opportunity to expand my water quality/treatment knowledge and apply it to planning and climate change resiliency projects. For instance, I have worked with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply to assess climate change impacts to groundwater supplies and water infrastructure. I also published the Blueprint for One Water, which focuses on guidance for utility managers looking to embark on One Water or integrated water resources framework.

I also serve as BC’s One Water lead for the Pacific Northwest where I support strategy and projects in drinking water, reuse, and integrated water management. UM gave me the foundation for my career, but my project experience has launched my skillset and knowledge of what it is today.

Favorite Student Orgs

I got involved in Sa Nim√° Collaborative, which joined BLUElab. From 2002 until 2008, Sa Nim√° worked in Rancho al Medio, a small village of 1,400 people in the Dominican Republic (DR). During my trip to the DR, I focused on water quality testing and assessing drinking water systems. As a part of the student leadership, we decided that we had made sufficient progress in the DR and chose a rural community in Guatemala, Samox San Lucas, and a partnering NGO, CasaSito, to continue to help. In this new community, we built point-of-use bio-sand filters for the schools. It was an incredible experience! I learned so much about what true community is about and how the challenges with improving health and sanitation in the developing world are much less about the engineering hurdles, but more about the societal and social hurdles. It also taught me invaluable leadership skills. Brown and Caldwell also supported me to go down for another trip to Guatemala where I followed up on our projects. I am thankful that I got involved in this organization. I highly recommend finding a way to apply your talents and ambitions to give back to a community in need.

Image of Vidhya Ramalingam

Vidhya Ramalingam

Anna University, India, B.E Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering, 2011 

University of Michigan, MSE Environmental Engineering, 2013

Michigan State University, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, 2020

Michigan State University

Graduate Assistant, Ph.D. Candidate

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Career Summary

Graduated with M.S.E in Environmental Engineering in May 2013 (Ann Arbor). I worked on research over the summer at U of M and I also did an internship at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for 2 semesters. This internship led to a job offer from Detroit. I worked as a Project Engineer (Energy and Environment Division) in Detroit for 2 years with FutureNet Group. I worked on projects related to soil and sediment sampling in Indiana and Illinois for our client (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). I also worked on soil/groundwater remediation projects. In 2016, I started my Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University. I taught multiple courses here at MSU as a student instructor/TA. The aquatic chemistry course I took in U of M helped me teach a similar course here for graduate/undergraduate students. 

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

Some of the team projects I did during my master’s program has helped me develop better skills in team building and team management. 

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I liked the welcome meet and greet organized by the department in Arbor Brewing Company when we initially entered the program in fall 2011. I liked the course related to Geoenvironmental engineering taught by Dr. Zekkos Advice: Explore the campus and all that it has to offer. You can make connections in the unlikeliest places and it helps you in more ways than one. 

Herek Clack, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M

Industries & Occupations

Herek Clack, Professor Environmental Engineering at U-M
  • Design of Environmentally Sustainable Technological Solutions
  • Environmental Clean-up
  • Environmental Regulatory Compliance
  • Federal Government
  • Flood Control
  • Human Public Health Engineering
  • Pollution Control
  • Resource Management
  • Scientific Research
  • Waste Management
  • Wastewater Treatment
Environment Engineering research

Companies

Environment Engineering research
  • AECOM Technology Corporation
  • Arcadis
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • CDM Smith
  • CH2M Hill
  • Cummins
  • DTE
  • Environmental Consulting and Technology
  • Exxon-Mobil
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Geosyntec
  • HDR
  • Jacobs Engineering Group
  • LimnoTech
  • Los Angeles County Water District
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Prein and Newhof
  • Shell
  • Smith Group
  • Stantec
  • Tetra Tech
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Plasma research NERS

Salaries

Discover the value of a master’s degree!

On average, U-M graduates with a master’s degree in an engineering field can earn 15-25% more than those with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.  Use the link below to research average salaries based on a U-M engineering master’s degree, experience level, and desired work location.