Is Undergraduate Environmental Engineering Education Desirable—

by P. Walton Purdom, (F.ASCE), Dir.; Environmental Studies Inst., Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, Pa.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 2, Pg. 329-336

Document Type: Journal Paper


A feasible undergraduate curriculum in environmental engineering is presented, but the writer raises questions as to its desirability. Additional specialized courses are necessary to make the program worthwhile, but ECPD criteria require basic science and engineering which precludes very much specialization. Graduate work is necessary for adequate preparation for professional jobs even if indicated undergraduate preparation is obtained. At the Third National Conference on Environmental Engineering Education in 1973, a task force recommended a specialized undergraduate curriculum in environmental engineering. The advantages were: (1) More efficient use of the students' time by deleting unnecessary courses; and (2) better education for the field by including necessary courses. Opponents feel that a high degree of specialization at the undergraduate level is not desirable. The writer is chairman of the Education Committee of the Academy of Environmental Engineers. An analysis by the committee of the recommendations and the ECPD criteria for accreditation is presented along with a possible curriculum.

Subject Headings: Engineering education | Curricula | Undergraduate study | Environmental issues | Accreditation

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