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Environmental engineering degree approved

Photo of Michael Kessler

Michael Kessler

The State Board of Higher Education has approved NDSU offering a new Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering degree. The new program is set to begin in fall 2020.

The goal of the program is to expand the STEM workforce pool for North Dakota and provide a skillset not available with current engineering degree offerings.

The new degree will provide in-depth technical training to enhance the students’ foundation of mathematics, chemistry and biology, with applications to soil, water, air and environmental health.

The program calls for graduates to complete at least 30 credit hours in mathematics and the sciences and 45 credit hours in engineering topics.

“Our new Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering degree is the first in the state of North Dakota,” said Michael Kessler, dean of engineering. “With this new program, the NDSU College of Engineering will be able to better meet the needs of students and employers. It also has the potential to enhance diversity in the college by attracting more women. Nationally, half of all B.S. environmental engineering degrees are conferred to women, the highest of any engineering discipline.”

Employment in the environmental engineering sector is growing by 8 percent per year. According to a study commissioned by the National Academy of Science, environmental engineers play a crucial role in addressing these challenges:

• Advancing sustainability for food, water and energy

• Addressing climate change and adapting to its impacts

• Designing a future without pollution and waste

• Creating efficient, health and resilient cities

• Fostering informed decisions and actions.

The program also will prepare students for advanced study and provide a pathway to NDSU’s Master of Science in Environmental Engineering degree.

The NDSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board supports the new program.

“The civil engineering graduates from NDSU are of significantly high quality and compete very well with graduates from other universities located outside of North Dakota. The board strongly believes that graduates from a BS degree in environmental engineering program would be of equal quality to the civil engineering students,” wrote board chair Nick Gludt in a letter of support. “The board also views the creation of the degree as a means to help diversify the department, which currently enrolls 19 percent female students at the undergraduate level.”

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