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Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Purdue University in West Lafayette

Environmental and Ecological engineers apply technical understanding of environmental systems, systems engineering, biology, and chemistry to develop strategies to protect human and environmental health, and design sustainable systems and technologies.  They can address issues at the local or global level, such as unsafe drinking water, air quality, and industrial sustainability.  Projects may focus on improvement of materials cycling, resource recovery, public health, and water and air pollution control.

Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) at Purdue is unique and cutting edge in that it educates students in a systems perspective that includes sustainability as it applies to natural and industrial processes. Rather than only considering conventional waste emission treatment, we train our students to approach problems from an integrated perspective that considers both environmental issues and ecological aspects. Our name highlights this modern approach of EEE relative to similar programs at peer institutions.

We seek a broad systems perspective for addressing environmental issues, with a focus on ecological interactions and resilient designs that take into account complexity and connectivity between systems. In the undergraduate curriculum, this philosophy drives the early focus on systems thinking and systems understanding and leads to the inclusion of significant course requirements in ecology, sustainability and environmental engineering. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Ecological Engineering is the only degree option in this discipline at Purdue, and the degree program is accredited in Environmental Engineering by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Note: The First-Year Engineering Program is the entry point for all beginning engineering students. They must complete the First-Year Engineering requirements before entering the engineering school of their choice. The mission of this student-oriented service program is to advise, teach and retain outstanding students for Purdue's College of Engineering. This core curriculum includes courses in math, chemistry, physics, computer programming, and communication skills, as well as introductory engineering coursework taught in the Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Learning Laboratory. The First-Year Engineering Program provides students with a firm foundation and initial understanding of engineering and career options to assist them in identifying which of Purdue's engineering disciplines is the right fit. Our professional academic advisors, faculty and student advisors are dedicated to assisting beginning engineers with the first-year experience.

Plan of Study

Environmental and Ecological Engineering Webpage

Transfer to Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Purdue admits to individual majors. Transfer students must meet Purdue's overall transfer criteria, as well as any major-specific requirements. Before you apply, check the closed programs page to confirm this major is open to transfer students. If it is, refer to the information below for major-specific transfer criteria.

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Additional Requirements: See the Engineering Transfer Criteria page for more detailed course requirements.

Summer entry is not recommended for most because of limited course options.

Contact Information

Environmental and Ecological Engineering
(765) 496-9697

College of Engineering

Careers in Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Most businesses, industries, all levels of government and many international organizations hire environmental and ecological engineers. Graduates are prepared to enter a wide-range of employment sectors in environmental and ecological engineering fields including the industrial and construction, government, consulting, municipal and public service, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and education sectors. Common career pathways center around:

  • Water and Watershed Stewardship: Ensuring that engineered systems and ecological systems interact sustainably.
  • Pollution Control, Monitoring, Abatement and Remediation: Wastewater, soil and air treatment/control, industrial waste control and recycling.
  • Industrial Systems: Optimize industrial resource use, analyze and manage the complete life-cycles of materials, industrial system redesign, and energy efficiency optimization in pursuit of a circular economy.
  • Sustainability: Provide for current needs without sacrificing future ability to meet needs. Consider the whole system, including complex interactions of environmental, technological and societal systems.

Specific examples of what environmental and ecological engineers do include:

  • water treatment
  • water quality control
  • air resources management
  • hazardous waste minimization
  • ground water protection
  • solid waste management
  • water resources protection 
  • risk assessment & management
  • ecosystem protection & restoration
  • environmental toxicology
  • public health engineering
  • environmental policy management
  • sustainability
  • life cycle assessment
  • industrial ecology
  • wastewater management
  • resource recovery
  • air pollution control
  • environmental impact assessment
  • regulatory compliance

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