Environmental Emphasis

This area of emphasis combines the natural and biological sciences with engineering in order to develop sustainable environmentally friendly processes and products. Taking advantage of UGA’s Odum School of Ecology, internationally known for its multidisciplinary approach to science of ecology, students learn how to use natural systems to cleanse water and reduce society’s impact on ecosystems.

The educational goal of this area of emphasis is to couple the students’ skills in microbiology, biochemistry and engineering so that they can design processes and products that prevent pollution formation or remediate polluted environments.

This research program allows the student to participate in a dual degree program with Environmental Health Science. This program fully integrates the two accredited degree programs, Environmental Health Science and Biological Engineering, into a 5-year course of study which culminates in the awarding of both degrees.


Faculty / Student Activities

Watershed Assessment. Watershed Assessment is the use of chemical, physical, and biological properties to determine the current health of a watershed. Also included in a watershed assessment are predicting future watershed conditions and suggesting management practices that will maintain and improve the health of watershed.

Modeling of Groundwater Flow: This program examines the interaction of groundwater with the environment. Researchers are developing mathematical models and implementing these models to understand the effects of wells on rivers and lakes, of sea water intrusion on coastal aquifers and the flow of leaky aquifer systems.

Systems and Engineering Ecology. This program is seeking to identify the fundamental principles that govern ecosystems, to model the organizing nature of ecosystems and their ability to adapt and to develop engineering science that can be used to design ecosystems for the benefit of the environment.

Pollution Prevention Program. This program is focused on identifying technologies that can prevent pollutants from entering the environment.

Career Opportunities

As engineers, graduates with this specialization are qualified to

  • Design water treatment systems,
  • Develop, operate and monitor solid waste facilities,
  • Design systems to handle and dispose of hazardous waste,
  • Maintain, restore and protect ecosystems and sustainable systems,
  • Analyze, predict and correct movement of contaminants in air, water and soil,
  • Design contaminated site remediation and restoration.