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Civil and Environmental Engineering


Sustainable Environmental Engineering and Design Track

Breakneck human development and globalization have seriously damaged the physical environment and have led to unintended inequalities in global social structures. Engineers have a special responsibility to develop solutions for these dilemmas. We must ensure that in every sphere of business and industry, choices are guided by the principles of sustainable development. We must ensure that the life-cycle impact of those choices is correctly assessed and factored into the decisions made at every level. The Master in Civil & Environmental Engineering in the Sustainable Environmental Engineering and Design focus area at the George R. Brown School of Engineering will prepare you for any role, job or career in which awareness and understanding of the environmental impact of our actions will be an important factor in your success. 

We train you for a leadership role that goes beyond the historical norms of technical proficiency to include creative thinking, innovation, communication, and being adept with the tools and techniques that influence decision-making. This program is designed to help managers, practicing engineers and consultants in technical fields become more effective practitioners in environmental engineering. Our pedagogical approach is to: classroom_CEVE01 

  •  enhance your technical and problem-solving skills 
  •  understand and integrate the tenets of sustainable development in engineering, and  
  • develop leadership skills that foster the change process. 

 Program Advantages 

  1. Can be completed within one year (2 semesters) 
  2. Transfer up to 6 credits of relevant graduate-level courses (earned beyond B.S. requirements)  
  3. MCEE facilitates Professional Engineer registration (upcoming BS+30 credit requirement) 
  4. Regular professional seminars with industrial leaders and potential employers 
  5. Professional non-thesis orientation 
  6. Infusion of the latest concepts from leadership and sustainability 

Potential Benefits for Students 

This program is geared for students whose interests and abilities lie at the interface between traditional environmental engineering and a desire for enhanced skills necessary to tackle complex and multi-disciplinary challenges of the future, Sustainable development concepts and approaches are woven into the fabric of our program. After one year of study, you will gain the competitive edge of an industry-relevant Master’s degree and be positioned to benefit in many ways, including: 

  • Combination of technical strength, vision for sustainable development, and leadership skills 
  • Stronger and broader professional network 
  • Higher starting salary 

Admission criteria: Minimum 3.0 GPA, minimum 301 (verbal + quantitative) GRE (exempt from Rice graduates with a GPA of 3.2 or higher). 

Prerequisites: 2 years of calculus including differential equations, 1 year of chemistry, 1 semester of physics, and 1 semester of biology, fluid mechanics.  

Course Requirements: The MCEE with a focus on Sustainable Environmental Engineering will require ten 3-credit courses and a final project as well as attendance at a professional seminar series. Up to 6 credits (earned beyond the BS requirement) can be transferred from another school to replace some of the courses below. A total of 30 credits are required, achievable in one year. See handbook regarding degree requirements here.

Required Courses* (Total 19 credits) 

CEVE 501                              Chemistry for Environmental Engineering and Science 
CEVE 502                              Sustainable Engineering Design                        
CEVE 509                              Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering
CEVE 511                              Atmospheric Processes 
CEVE 534                              Fate and Transport of Contaminants in the Environment  
CEVE 536                              Environmental Biotechnology  
CEVE 601/602                      Professional Seminar (monthly lunch speaker on current topics) 

Electives. Four Courses from the list below (integration of sustainability and engineering): 

A. Engineering Science and Technology (choose at least 2) (all are 3 credits each) 

CEVE 450                               Remote Sensing
CEVE 504
                               Atmospheric Particulate Matter
CEVE 505                               Engineering Project Development & Management
CEVE 508                               Introduction to Air Pollution Control
CEVE 510                               Principals of Environmental Engineering
CEVE 518                               Contamination Hydrology
CEVE 520                               Environmental Remediation Restoration      
CEVE 533                               Nanoscience and Nanotechnology   
CEVE 535                               Physical Chemical Processes for Water Quality Control 
CEVE 544                               Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology
CEVE 550                               Environmental Organic Chemistry 
CEVE 592                               Analysis of Urban Systems 
STAT 485                               Quantitative Environmental Decision Making  

B. Sustainable Resource Management (choose 1) (all are 3 credits each) 
ANTH 532                                The Social Life of Clean Energy
CEVE 406                                Global Environmental Law and Sustainable Development
CEVE 507                                Energy and the Environment
CEVE 528                                Engineering Economics 
CEVE 529                                Engineering Leadership and Ethics
EBIO 580                                 Sustainability Development
ECON 437                                Energy Economics (pre-requisites ECON 301 OR ECON 370)
NSCI 511                                 Science Policy and Ethics
NSCI 610                                 Management for Science/Engineering  
Additional requirements: All MCEE students are required to take one semester of CEVE 601/602 Seminar

MCEE Final Project
All MCEE students must complete a 2-credit final project with a faculty member in the CEE department.  Through the final project, MCEE students must demonstrate professional written and oral communication skills:
A.    Students write-well organized, coherent papers with few grammatical errors
B.    Students demonstrate ability to describe scientific issues and techniques in writing and in presentation
C.    Students deliver a professional presentation on par with a solid conference presentation
Student responses to questions demonstrate a facility with the issues and techniques immediately relevant to the topic.

*If a required course or equivalent has been taken, it can be replaced with an Engineering Science and Technology elective.  

** Project experience is available in the form of research projects and industrial collaboration.