5 Best Online Master’s in Environmental Engineering in 2024

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Updated: April 16, 2024, Reading time: 7 minutes

environmental engineer documenting on-site conditions

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Because a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to become an environmental engineer, others might see a master’s degree as unnecessary or impractical. Although experience increases one’s knowledge, a master’s degree can accelerate one’s path toward career advancement. 

Working professionals in the different types of Engineering careers usually do not pursue a master’s degree due to time restrictions and location. Fortunately, those with extensive work experience in Environmental Engineering or other relevant fields can now pursue a master’s degree online. 

environmental engineers at work

These online master’s in Environmental Engineering offer students flexibility with their schedules. They can advance their knowledge without compromising their current jobs. 

If you’re planning to pursue an online master’s degree, however, you need to keep in mind that most of these programs are “non-thesis.” This means an online degree may not suit you if you want a research-intensive master’s in Environmental Engineering. Most of these programs are focused on students who want to enhance their practical skill set without a research component. 

Here’s a quick look at your best Master’s in Environmental Engineering online options:

SchoolProgramTuitionAcceptance RateStandout Feature/s
Johns Hopkins UniversityMaster’s in Environmental Engineering$64,700 total program cost10.8%Focused on the latest Environmental Engineering technologies.
University of North DakotaMaster’s in Environmental Engineering$869.51 per credit hour83%Encourages online students to take advantage of on-campus EPA-certified laboratories.
The University of TennesseeMaster of Science in Environmental Engineering* $815 per credit hour (in-state)
* $890 per credit hour (out-of-state)
68%Offers a focus on Water Resources Engineering.
University of California, RiversideMaster of Science in Engineering – Environmental Engineering$30,000 total cost36%Offers various customizable specializations.
University of Illinois – Urbana ChampaignMaster of Science in Environmental Engineering$1,137 per credit hour60%Has the fastest average graduation time
Grad School Center 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.

5 Best Online Master’s in Environmental Engineering

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Online Master’s in Environmental Engineering

Tuition$64,700 total program cost
Credit Hours30

Johns Hopkins University’s online Master’s in Environmental Engineering is a part-time program with a curriculum focused on the latest technologies. It aims to equip students with abilities to address modern environmental challenges such as waste and pollution. 

The program is led by experts in innovative environmental initiatives, offering cutting-edge techniques to address complex challenges. Through interactive online learning, students delve into biological, physical, and chemical treatment methods, equipping them to design practical solutions.

Graduates will be able to apply engineering strategies to waste management, design water systems, manage hazardous waste, and propose efficient pollution mitigation technologies.

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Online Master’s in Environmental Engineering

Tuition$869.51 per credit hour
Credit Hours30

The University of North Dakota’s online Master’s in Environmental Engineering allows students to choose between a Master of Engineering and Master of Science options. The MEngr program can be completed online, while the MS program may require on-campus visitations for research/independent study requirements. 

Although specific coursework will vary depending on the student’s program option, the core curriculum will remain the same. 

The curriculum offers a multidisciplinary approach to mitigating environmental impacts and collaborating with industry, businesses, and communities. Online students will have access to EPA-certified on-campus laboratories, which will provide hands-on experience and enhance their understanding of Environmental Engineering principles and practices.

The University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

Online Master of Science in Environmental Engineering

Tuition$815 per credit hour (in-state)
$890 per credit hour (out-of-state)
Credit Hours30

The online MS in Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a non-thesis program with asynchronous and synchronous options. This program is best for students who want to have a focus on Water Resources Engineering. 

The curriculum delves deep into Hydraulics, Hydrology, Soil Erosion & Sediment Yield, and Green Infrastructure Design. Instead of theoretical research, students gain practical skills through hands-on projects and simulations, preparing them for real-world challenges in the field.

A weekly Environmental Engineering Seminar is held during the fall and spring semesters. While full-time students must attend, the lecture is optional for those enrolled in a part-time format. The fall seminars will cover the prerequisites of the Environmental Engineering program. Hours spent in seminars cannot be used to fulfill degree requirements.

University of California, Riverside

Riverside, CA

Online Master of Science in Engineering in Environmental Engineering

Tuition$30,000 total cost
Credit Hours36

The online MS in Engineering in Environmental Engineering is a non-thesis program known for its versatility and flexibility. Students who enroll full-time can graduate in as few as 13 months, making it among the best options for those seeking to advance their careers quickly.

The curriculum focuses on advanced exploration of water resources, including water chemistry, separation processes, and modern treatment systems. Core specialization courses include:

University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

Champaign, IL

Online Master of Science in Environmental Engineering

Tuition$1,137 per credit hour
Credit Hours36

The University of Illinois – Urbana Champaging’s MS in Environmental Engineering is another non-thesis online program. With an average competition time of 11 months, this is the fastest program on our list. 

This online MS program is geared toward students who want to pursue a practice-based, cross-disciplinary program. Students can choose their elective courses with guidance from the academic advisor. Electives include: 

Environmental Engineering students inspecting site

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Environmental Engineering Master’s Degree?

An Environmental Engineering master’s degree is a graduate engineering program designed to address environmental challenges like pollution, focusing on protecting people and improving air, water, and soil quality. This two-year program integrates engineering and natural sciences like chemistry, biology, and soil science to ensure environmental sustainability.

Students typically complete a 30-credit-hour program in 18 to 24 months, requiring eight to twelve credits per semester. Throughout the program, they acquire advanced skills for industry employment or further academic pursuits, such as pursuing a doctorate.

There are two main types of Environmental Engineering master’s degree programs: Master of Science and Master of Engineering. The Master of Engineering emphasizes practical engineering and business management skills for higher business positions, usually with a shorter duration. Conversely, the Master of Science is research-oriented, preparing students for collaborative research and development roles in STEM or doctoral studies.

What are the courses required in a Master’s in Environmental Engineering degree program?

The required courses for a Master’s in Environmental Engineering degree program significantly vary from program to program. For instance, MEngr programs focus more on applied engineering principles and practical skills, while MS in Engineering programs emphasize research and theoretical knowledge.

However, certain core courses are commonly found across most Environmental Engineering degree programs regardless of the specific program. This includes: 

What is the career and salary outlook for Master’s in Environmental Engineering graduates?

The versatile skill set acquired through an Environmental Engineering master’s degree enables graduates to pursue diverse career paths. It signifies advanced proficiency, positioning candidates for leadership roles across various sectors. Environmental Engineering also marries the concepts and applications of Ecology and Environmental Science, spanning hazardous waste treatment, industrial ecology, and engineering research facilities.

According to PayScale, Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering graduates usually make $73,000 yearly, on average. Here’s a quick table overview of the jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

JobDescriptionAverage Annual Salary
Water Project ManagerOversees and manages water-related projects, including design, construction, and maintenance of water infrastructure.$91,968
Senior Environmental EngineerLeads and coordinates Environmental Engineering projects, conducts assessments, designs solutions, and ensures regulatory compliance.$121,684
Environmental Health and Safety DirectorDevelops and implements health and safety protocols, ensures compliance with regulations, and oversees risk management initiatives.$132,497
Environmental Engineering ConsultantProvides expert advice to clients on environmental issues, conducts assessments, and develops strategies for sustainability.$107,637
Green Building EngineerDesigns and implements eco-friendly building projects, incorporating sustainable materials, energy-efficient systems, and green technologies.$88,530

These opportunities are offered in the most innovative graduate research centers, consulting firms, government agencies, and wastewater treatment facilities.

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