Water resources engineering focuses on the quantity of water, while environmental engineering focuses on issues of pollution and waste management. These fields deal with a wide range of natural and manmade problems that exist in both undeveloped countries and highly technological societies. A civil engineer that works in these areas must be technically competent and have the ability to analyze a problem, interpret the results, and synthesize a solution that is technically, economically, socially, and politically viable. Graduates that have specialized in water resources engineering and environmental engineering are employed by industry, public utilities, consulting engineering firms, and government. Due to the diversity of problems associated with environmental concerns, there are many possible sub-areas of specialization, such as watershed management; hydrology; water supply; stormwater management; toxic and hazardous waste management; water and wastewater treatment; solid waste management; air pollution; contaminant transport modeling; and radioactive waste disposal.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has chosen to emphasize at the undergraduate level all aspects of water resource development and water quality control. Courses within the department cover all aspects of water and wastewater treatment, water resources, water pollution abatement, hydrology, and hydraulics. In addition, courses from complementary programs, such as environmental sciences and urban and regional planning are encouraged to strengthen and broaden a civil engineers preparation to successfully address the challenges facing our environment.