Guide to Online Environmental Engineering Degrees

Environmental engineers are building a greener future. Find out more about the top universities that offer online environmental engineering degrees.
portrait of Holland Webb, MA
Holland Webb, MA
Read Full Bio


Holland Webb has more than 20 years of experience in education, serving at nearly every level, from preschool to postsecondary. Holland has written for brands such as MailChimp, Wiley, Modkat, This Old House, and Architectural Digest. He has edited a...
Updated on October 18, 2023
Edited by
portrait of Mitch Jacobson
Mitch Jacobson
Read Full Bio


After launching her career in content strategy, writing, and editing, Mitch Jacobson honed her skills at an investment firm focused on community development, economic opportunity, and inclusion. She believes in continuing education and professional g...
Reviewed by
portrait of Victoria Ivy Southall
Victoria Ivy Southall
Read Full Bio


Victoria Ivy Southall is a United States Navy Veteran, Cybersecurity Manager, and IT professional with over 13 years of extensive experience beginning at 17 years old as an IT/Cyber professional in the United States Navy. She holds a Bachelors of Sci...
Learn more about our editorial process is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

  • Environmental engineers find solutions to ecological issues using engineering principles.
  • A bachelor's in environmental engineering requires four years, including STEM courses.
  • Graduating with this degree can open up lucrative and rewarding careers.

Environmental engineers are helping head off climate change, save our soil, reduce water usage, and generally preserve our planet for future generations. A bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a related field can be the key to a career in research, civil design, or water treatment.

If you love math and science, are passionate about the natural world, and enjoy working on a team, you may want to consider pursuing this field.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

In this guide, you can discover what an environmental engineering degree online looks like, which schools offer this program, and what careers you can pursue after graduation.

What Is an Online Environmental Engineering Degree?

An online environmental engineering bachelor's degree offers a comprehensive introduction to sustainable engineering practices. This program focuses on preparing you to address pressing environmental challenges through innovative engineering solutions.

Expect a blend of theoretical coursework and practical applications, possibly with virtual laboratories and simulations. Common courses in the bachelor's program often cover environmental systems analysis, water resources management, air pollution control, and sustainable design principles.

Pursuing this major takes around four years, though some students might take accelerated programs or part-time options to accommodate other commitments. The average credit load varies, but often ranges from 12 - 15 credits per semester.

In comparison to in-person programs, most online engineering degrees offer greater flexibility, allowing convenient access to lectures and course materials. You'll still have the chance to engage in group discussions, collaborate on projects, and interact with faculty through virtual platforms.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Curriculum for Online Degrees in Environmental Engineering

Online environmental engineering degrees have their own unique curriculum. However, you should plan on taking a broad array of natural science coursework along with public policy and engineering courses. Consider the following examples:

  • Hydrology and Watershed Management: Explore the measurements and processes influencing water quality and quantity within watersheds. The course covers the fundamental principles of hydrology along with geomorphology and its impact on water quality assessment.
  • Global Climate Change: This interdisciplinary course offers a comprehensive understanding of the known and unknown aspects of global climate change and viable response strategies. Topics may include an in-depth analysis of climate drivers such as greenhouse gas emissions and land-use changes, and the investigation of climate system responses like intensified storm events and rising surface temperatures.
  • Environmental Toxicology: Students learn about the effects of environmental chemicals, delving into how exposure to toxins affects plant, animal, and human systems. Topics include risk assessment, ethical considerations, and the vital role of social responsibility in the realm of environmental toxicology.
  • Water Science: A comprehensive exploration of water sources, utilization, management, and preservation, this course digs into topics at the intersections of biology, economics, and health. You'll learn to assess chemicals in water and wastewater.
  • Environmental Ethics: Discover how to view environmental issues through a moral and philosophical lens, applying traditional moral philosophies to contemporary environmental challenges.
  • Critical Zone Science: Explore the earth's surface in this multidisciplinary course; study where air, water, rock, soil, and life meet. The goal is to generate new ideas for climate change and land use.
  • Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture: How does the media influence public perception of energy-related issues? In this class, you'll take a look at books, films, and other modern media as they relate to energy and sustainability.

Getting Into an Environmental Engineering Online Program

Boost your chances of acceptance by meeting or exceeding your chosen schools' admission requirements. While each school sets its own standards, common admission requirements include:

  • Check Circle
    High School Diploma, GED certificate, or HiSET: Applicants must submit high school transcripts or scores from an equivalency test. Some schools may require specific coursework at the secondary level for entering engineering majors.
  • Check Circle
    Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA): Each school sets an expected GPA but may look at applicants with lower GPAs if other areas of their applications are strong.
  • Check Circle
    SAT or ACT Scores: Some schools require standardized test scores, and others do not. Minimum acceptable scores vary by school, but the average SAT score for prospective engineering majors in 2021 was 1140.
  • Check Circle
    Proof of Residency: If you're applying to public institutions, provide proof of residency to see if you qualify for in-state tuition rates.
  • Check Circle
    Application Fee: Some schools charge an application fee.

Accreditation for Online Environmental Engineering Programs

Attending an accredited school gives you access to financial aid, industry certifications, and employment opportunities that you may not be able to access if you choose an unaccredited institution.

Accreditation comes in two types — institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditors put their stamp of approval on an entire college or university. Programmatic accreditors only approve a single program.

Environmental engineering programs can hold accreditation from ABET's engineering accreditation commission. Most environmental science programs, however, likely do not qualify for ABET accreditation.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Schools With Online Environmental Engineering Degree Programs

The following schools offer an online bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a related field. These schools are ordered alphabetically and are not ranked according to the quality of their programs.

Paying for an Environmental Engineering Degree

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the cost for undergraduate education is $14,700 at a public institution and $28,400 at a private, nonprofit institution.

Prices vary according to factors such as which state you live in and whether you receive in-state resident rates. You may also need to pay for living expenses while enrolled in school.

Financial aid can help you cover these costs. The U.S. government provides Pell grants, subsidized student loans, military and veterans benefits, and federal work-study programs. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to find out what federal dollars you may qualify to receive. Private organizations such as the American Geophysical Union also offer scholarships.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Careers and Salaries for Environmental Engineer Graduates

Environmental engineering graduates can work as environmental consultants, directors, water project managers, green building engineers, or environmental health and safety directors. Many of these professionals serve in federal or state agencies, at engineering firms, or at consulting organizations.

Besides a bachelor's degree, environmental engineers may need an online master's in engineering or a professional engineering license. Each state issues its own license and sets its own requirements for achieving licensure.

Most states recognize professional engineering licenses from other states. After licensure, an environmental engineer can earn board certification through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.

Environmental Engineer Careers
Career Salary
Water Resources Engineer $73,250
Senior Environmental Engineer $100,900
Environmental Health and Safety Director $117,690
Environmental Consultant $62,350
Senior Environmental Health and Safety Engineer $91,650
Energy Auditor $46,040
Chief Building Engineer $82,490
Hydrologist $63,320
Natural Resource Specialist $57,700
Source: Payscale

Professional Organizations for Environmental Engineers

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists

A professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in environmental engineering and science, AAEES offers awards, publications, program support, regional events, and a job board.

American Society of Civil Engineers

While not exclusively focused on environmental engineering, ASCE is a prominent organization for civil engineers, including those specializing in environmental engineering. ASCE provides publications, continuing education, advocacy, and career services.

National Society of Professional Engineers

With 26,000 members, NSPE represents all disciplines of engineering, including environmental engineering. They advocate for the engineering profession and offer online education, a professional engineers conference, and networking opportunities.

Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors

This organization focuses on academic programs in the technology of environment protection. It represents professors and educators in the field of environmental engineering and science. AEESP provides a platform for collaboration, research, and sharing of knowledge among educators.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

FAQ About Becoming an Environmental Engineer Online

Can you get environmental engineering degrees online?

A few schools offer environmental engineering degrees online, and many more offer degrees in environmental science. If you already have a bachelor's degree, you can also find online master's degrees in the discipline.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's in environmental engineering online?

A bachelor's degree often requires 120 credits, which takes about four years to complete. However, students who already hold an associate degree or who have AP, CLEP, or other transferable credits may be able to accelerate the time to graduation. Enrollees who take full-time course loads in the summer may also shorten their time in school.

How much do environmental engineers make?

According to the BLS, environmental engineers earn a median annual wage of $96,820. Engineers who work for the federal government tend to earn the most while state-employed engineers make the least. Other professionals in environmental science can earn between $45,000 and $120,000 a year.

Is environmental engineering a hard degree?

Like many engineering disciplines, environmental engineering requires a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Students pursuing this major will encounter complex technical concepts and principles. If you have a natural aptitude for math and science, enjoy solving problems, and like digging into research and field work, you could flourish in an environmental engineering program.

Are online environmental engineering degrees worth it?

Environmental engineers and related professionals can earn much higher than average wages and enjoy challenging and rewarding daily work. Becoming an environmental engineer online can help you balance school with other responsibilities. However, it's crucial to choose an accredited program from a reputable institution and consider your long-term career goals and personal learning style. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.