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20 Best Environmental Engineering Degrees 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

These are the best colleges for a bachelor's in environmental engineering based on alumni salaries. Median annual income for environmental engineering students at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo was $62,600 one year after graduation. Graduates with the lowest median debt were alumni of Cornell University; environmental engineering alumni graduated with $8,297 in student debt.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 San Luis Obispo (CA) San Luis Obispo (CA) $28,105 $19,750 $62,600
#3 #3 Ann Arbor (MI) Ann Arbor (MI) $53,232 $18,250 $58,200
#4 #4 Columbus (OH) Columbus (OH) $35,019 $27,000 $57,900
#5 #5 Troy (NY) Troy (NY) $58,526 $23,750 $57,400
#6 #6 Philadelphia (PA) Philadelphia (PA) $57,136 $30,978 $55,500
#7 #7 Platteville (WI) Platteville (WI) $16,483 $18,750 $55,100
#8 #8 Atlanta (GA) Atlanta (GA) $33,964 $25,098 $54,200
#9 #9 Potsdam (NY) Potsdam (NY) $54,370 $25,500 $52,500
#10 #10 Rolla (MO) Rolla (MO) $29,097 Not Reported $51,400
#11 #11 Wilkes-Barre (PA) Wilkes-Barre (PA) $39,914 $25,356 $50,800
#12 #12 Buffalo (NY) Buffalo (NY) $28,702 $18,001 $50,700
#13 #13 Clemson (SC) Clemson (SC) $38,550 $24,250 $50,600
#14 #14 Durham (NH) Durham (NH) $37,202 $27,000 $50,400
#15 #15 Houghton (MI) Houghton (MI) $38,112 $26,000 $48,800
#16 #16 Boulder (CO) Boulder (CO) $38,314 $19,500 $46,400
#17 #17 Gainesville (FL) Gainesville (FL) $28,659 $21,643 $45,900
#18 #18 Golden (CO) Golden (CO) $40,838 $27,000 $44,700
#19 #19 Ithaca (NY) Ithaca (NY) $61,015 $8,297 $44,400
#20 #20 Arcata (CA) Arcata (CA) $19,744 $24,300 $43,900

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Environmental Engineering degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Median Salary $62,600
Median Debt $19,750
Annual Tuition $28,105
Graduation Rate 85%

California Polytechnic State University, one of two polytechnic institutions in the California State University System, is made up of six colleges that collectively offer over 100 different degree programs. The College of Engineering offers a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering. Students learn how to evaluate and manage problems and issues connected with air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste, pollution prevention, and other areas that impact the environment.

A minimum of 190 credits is required to complete the degree. Courses cover subjects such as water resources engineering, hydraulics, computer-aided drafting, thermodynamics, noise and vibration control, water chemistry, wastewater treatment, bioremediation, calculus, physics, microbiology, and more. Students learn how to communicate and work with a team effectively, as well as develop and conduct experiments, analyze data, develop solutions while considering public health, safety, and welfare, and make informed judgments on issues that will affect the environment and public. In addition to classroom instruction, students also take field trips to observe and study various environmental management systems.

Visit California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo's website.

Median Salary $58,200
Median Debt $18,250
Annual Tuition $53,232
Graduation Rate 94%

Established in 1817 in the city of Detroit, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest institution of higher learning. Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) was the first engineering department at the university and has been in continuous operation for more than 180 years. A bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering is offered, and students enrolled in the program learn how to manage the planet’s limited resources and lessen the human impact on the environment.

Included in the four-year curriculum are courses in calculus, physics, thermodynamics, sustainable engineering principles, aquatic chemistry, hydrology and floodplain hydraulics, environmental microbiology, and several general and technical electives. The FocusCEE option enables students to tailor the curriculum to suit their interests and planned career paths; they can choose from sustainability, community policy and planning, and smart cities. From reducing pollution in the air, land, and water to treating and recycling solid waste, environmental engineers play an important role in keeping the earth green for future generations.

Visit the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor's website.

Median Salary $57,900
Median Debt $27,000
Annual Tuition $35,019
Graduation Rate 88%

Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is headquartered in Columbus but operates satellite campuses in five other cities within the state. The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, which teaches students how to apply physics, biology, and chemistry to address regional, national, and global issues that affect people and the environment.

Courses cover such subjects as calculus, physics, general and organic chemistry, computer programming, fluid mechanics, water resources engineering, environmental biotechnology, sustainable pollution prevention practices, and more. The first year of study is the “pre-major” program; it includes a course sequence in the fundamentals of engineering, where students learn about the specializations within the field and can decide which of the 14 majors they want to pursue. The BS in environmental engineering is available only at the university’s Columbus location. OSU has study abroad options for engineering students in more than 40 countries.

Visit Ohio State University's website.

Median Salary $57,400
Median Debt $23,750
Annual Tuition $58,526
Graduation Rate 84%

Located in the city of Troy, New York, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1824. Today, the institution is made up of 37 academic departments across six different schools. The Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering program requires a minimum of 128 credits and can be completed in four years. Courses include chemistry, calculus, physics, thermal and fluids engineering, equations, applied hydrology and hydraulics, environmental chemodynamics, technical and multidisciplinary electives, and more.

The program teaches students how to identify complex engineering problems and develop solutions, then implement those solutions using engineering, mathematics, and science. Students also learn how to communicate effectively in team environments, design and implement strategies that take into account the health and safety of the general public, recognize the impact of those solutions on both a local and a global scale, provide leadership in a collaborative setting, conduct experiments, analyze data, and implement new knowledge and strategies.

Visit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's website.