Environmental Engineering, Bachelor of Science


Environmental Engineering at Saint Francis University

Do good in the world, and do a good job at it: help humanity and the environment with an Environmental Engineering degree from Saint Francis University

The Environmental Engineering major is a clear choice for the entering freshman student who wants to protect human health and preserve ecosystems and natural resources. Environmental engineering is a rewarding and in-demand profession. Why? Because we help people and the environment stay healthy.


Click here for the minors associated with our Environmental Engineering program: Civil Engineering; Ecological Engineering; and Renewable Energy Engineering.

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compliment your ABET-accredited degree with a minor in Renewable Energy or Ecological Engineering
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92% of our environmental engineering graduates find employment in the field within 6 months of graduation

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tailor your education by pursuing undergraduate research alongside award-winning faculty or internships with local engineering firms or government agencies

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Our students prepare to be leaders in the environmental engineering profession by focusing on five transferable skill sets:

  • Field-scale design
  • Experimentation in the field and the laboratory
  • Computational modeling of complex environmental systems
  • Written and oral communication
  • Ethical decision making

We seek to develop these skills through extra-curricular activities, summer research and internships, service-learning, and, of course, classes.


At Saint Francis you will ;

  • Design solutions based on real-world problems while pursuing our ABET-accredited environmental engineering curriculum. 
  • Participate in real-world projects sit atop a foundation of math, science, and liberal arts with applied engineering coursework serving as a bridge between fundamentals and the applications.   
  • Have access to award-winning faculty, hands-on application, and an accredited curriculum that is carefully designed for your success.   
  • Graduate prepared for the high-demand needs of tomorrow's labor market.  

Environmental Engineering the Saint Francis Way

Engineering students performing research in a lab

The Environmental Engineering program at SFU strives to offer an innovative, high-quality education to our students. From constantly developing new projects to offer in our classrooms and laboratories, to providing research and service opportunities in collaboration with our Center for Watershed Research and Service, our faculty and staff have our students’ best educational interests in mind.


The SFU Environmental Engineering faculty and staff demonstrate a humble and generous attitude towards learning to our students through our own actions. The Environmental Engineering professors adhere to the following attitude toward our students: “We will meet your efforts.” In other words, if you are struggling, we will encourage you to come to us for help, and if and when you do, we will be there to help guide you through the challenging work until you find success. Faculty in Environmental Engineering at Saint Francis also seek to learn the most innovative and exciting ideas in the field so that we can best prepare our students for their professional futures.

In addition, our Environmental Engineering program has a reverence for life and a mission to care for creation. We strive to help our students see their own potential in cleaning up environmental problems, but also in helping to avoid environmental catastrophes and to make decisions with the good of public health in mind, guiding our society towards an environmentally-sustainable, socially-just future. 

Applying Skills into Practice

Translating your academic knowledge into applied practice is a key differentiator of our environmental engineering program.  You won't have to wait to apply your skills both here in Western Pennsylvania through our partnership with the Center for Watershed Research and Service and in developing countries like Bolivia and Peru.   

students performing research in field


Students also have opportunities to present and network with environmental engineering practitioners at national conferences such as the American Society of Reclamation Sciences.


Environmental Engineers Translate Service into Learning

Through service-learning, you'll help those in need while really learning what environmental engineering is all about. Below in an example of one of the service projects engineering majors take part in..


Acid Mine Drainage in Central PA: 

Thanks to the work of Dr. Travis Tasker and Mr. Jim Eckenrode, with our Center for Watershed Research and Service, Saint Francis University received $100,000 from the Woodard and Curran Foundation to study and implement a remediation project for the 2,240-acre Kittanning Run watershed.  This is the basin that sits above the Horseshoe Curve on the border between Cambria and Blair counties and drains into an Altoona Water Authority reservoir.

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What You’ll Learn in the Environmental Engineering Program

Our Environmental curriculum is comprehensive and our graduates are skilled in all facets of the profession. They master foundational content in the areas of math, chemistry, and engineering.   They then build strategic skills in Hydraulics, Hydrology, Pollution Control, Transport Processes, and Wastewater Treatment. 

students working with faculty member


Classrooms without walls:  look at all the places we go with our students!  Check out the map HERE

  • Degree Path
  • Learning Outcomes
  • ABET Accreditation
  • Environmental engineering involves the application of the principles of science and mathematics to the protection of human health, preservation of ecosystem function, and stewardship of natural resources. 

    Environmental Engineering, BS

    Plan of Study | Course Catalog - 23/24


    Our Civil Engineering minor is primarily for Environmental Engineering majors (though available to others!) who are interested in learning some of the ways in which engineered structures interact with the soil, water, and air; you’ll learn the fundamental properties of engineered and natural materials with applications for construction and geotechnical design. Course Catalog - 23/24 | Plan of Study


    Our Ecological Engineering minor is primarily for Environmental Engineering majors (though available to others!) who are interested in focusing on this niche but growing area of the field of environmental engineering. Study the ways in which engineered systems can incorporate facets of natural ecological systems to work more efficiently and effectively – including systems such as engineered wetlands, landscape restoration, sustainable systems, and green infrastructure. With this minor, you are set to be a leader in this fast-growing field. Course Catalog - 23/24 | Plan of Study


    Our Renewable Energy Engineering minor is primarily for Environmental Engineering majors (though available to others!) who are interested in focusing on this growing area from the focus of environmental engineering. Go into depth about the ways in which we convert from one form of energy to another form, including (but not limited to) solar and wind energy; tidal, wave, and other kinds of hydro-based energy; fuel cells; and bioenergy. Student-design projects within the specialized course work provide hands-on learning in designing renewable energy systems. Course Catalog - 23/24 | Plan of Study


    Our Environmental Engineering minor is for students in other majors who are interested in learning some of the skills and knowledge in this field. Course Catalog - 23/24



    By virtue of the environmental engineering program’s ABET accreditation, graduates of the environmental engineering program are able to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam which is the first step in pursuing licensure as a Professional Engineer.


  • Each graduate will have demonstrated proficiency in the following outcomes upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering:


    • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
    • an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
    • an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
    • an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
    • an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
    • an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
    • an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

    The Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) granted accreditation to the Saint Francis University Environmental Engineering program effective October 1, 2011, and most recently reaffirmed in 2019. ABET may be contacted at 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202; 410-347-7700; www.abet.org


    ABET accreditation is external proof that our environmental engineering program has met certain standards necessary to produce graduates who are ready to enter the environmental engineering profession. In order to maintain our status as an accredited program, we are focused on helping our students attain the Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes.

    As an environmental engineering major, you will benefit from small class sizes, individualized attention, and high retention rates. At the same time, graduating with an environmental engineering degree is an ideal way to enter the workforce after graduation.


    Recent program statistics:

    Total Program Enrollment (2023-2024): 16

    Number of Graduates (2012-2024): 90

    2022 Graduates Employed within 6 months: 96%

    Average ENVE Class Size (2024): 7

    Average Graduation Rate in Major: 70% 


    Program Educational Objectives

    Graduates of the Saint Francis University environmental engineering program are expected within a few years of graduation to have:

    • Attained the certifications, registrations, and/or licenses needed to work effectively as environmental engineers.
    • Established themselves as practicing professionals whether in the field of environmental engineering directly, or in related fields that draw on the knowledge, skills, and values of the environmental engineering profession.
    • Advanced to positions of greater responsibility in their workplace, their profession, and their community.
    • A Franciscan perspective as they shape culture in their workplace, their community, and civil society writ large.
    • Accomplished objectives 1-4 with a commitment to life-long learning and continuous professional development.


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Environmental Engineering Faculty

Benefit from our Experienced Faculty

Our faculty will be shoulder-to-shoulder with you in authentic field projects and research, ultimately translating to real-world skills.  More importantly,  from day one, your engineering faculty advisor will help you select courses, guide you towards internship or career placements, and help you celebrate your academic success.  This personalized attention results in our students graduating at a much higher rate than the national average. 


Program Chair: Dr. Rachel Wagner, 814.471.1215, rwagner@francis.edu

Career Outlook in Environmental Engineering

Strong Salary Potential: The median salary for environmental engineers is around $92,120 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus, job satisfaction ratings in the category of 'Upward Mobility' is rated as 'Above Average' for opportunities for advancements and salary growth.


Growth Industry: U.S. News & World Report ranks Environmental Engineers #7 out of the 'Best Engineering Jobs' category in 2021.  


SFU Grads: Graduates of our program have moved on to careers at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Geotech Engineering, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Veeder-Root, and Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Commands.



Frequently Asked Questions About Environmental Engineering and Saint Francis University

  • Am I able to pursue Environmental Engineering and Study Abroad?

    Of course!  Saint Francis University prides itself on supporting students in their pursuit to participate in immersive learning experiences. Working with your faculty advisor, together you can plan your courses with enough time to pursue study abroad opportunities.

  • What do the Environmental Engineering labs look like?

    The Environmental Engineering labs are housed in our Science Center. The 70,000 sq-foot facility has dedicated space for our environmental engineers purposefully placed to intersect with our dedicated faculty. Labs include:


    • An Instrumentation lab shared with our colleagues in chemistry so that our students can design, build, and test engineering systems.


    • Our Multidisciplinary Environmental Research Lab for studies in ecology, animal behavior, environmental degradation, and remediation shared with biology colleagues. The shared space leads to shared ideas!


    • Sometimes our "labs" are the natural and engineered environmental systems around us. 
  • What clubs are available to Environmental Engineering majors?

    Join our Engineers for a Sustainable World group! This student-led organization is connected to the national group; check them out here. We also have a Society for Women Engineers affiliate you can join here. In addition, our students are welcome to join many of the clubs at SFU, from our Environmental Action Society to our Gaming Club. 

  • Is there a senior capstone design requirement?

    Students in the Environmental Engineering program complete a year-long capstone design experience by completing all of the following courses:


    • ENVE 415  Senior Lab
    • ENVE 497  Capstone Design Proposal
    • ENVE 498  Capstone Design 


    Our students work in teams with local and regional industry and government partners on their capstone projects, defining the scope of the question, gathering and analyzing data, and developing a design proposal for our collaborator. 

  • What kind of projects and research can I do while I’m an Environmental Engineering student?

    The world is your oyster! We are happy to work with you on a project that interests you. Students have worked on projects such as converting a golf cart into an electric golf cart and all kinds of drone-based projects (from remodeling drones to change their payload capacity, to programming for managing drone-obtained data, to building and testing remotely-operated underwater vehicles). Students have studied acid mine drainage and treatment systems for AMD, as well as looked at microbial fuel cells as a source of renewable energy and waste management. Our faculty are eager to have student involvement in their research!

  • Are there other engineering options available at SFU?

    Yes!  We are proud of our engineering programs and the variety we offer. Check out our Engineering page for more information.


    Engineering at SFU