Environmental Engineering

at Saint Francis University

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    Class of 2012 environmental engineering graduate, Mathew Beiswenger, is shown conducting an alkalinity test using a HACH field titration unit. The water being sampled is from an abandoned mine discharge near St. Micheal, PA.
  • For more information

    Joel Bandstra
    ABET Accredited Program

  • Is Environmental Engineering for you?

    Environmental engineering is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. Why? Because we help people stay healthy. Environmental engineers use the principles of science and math to manage ecosystems, restore polluted lands, and protect our soil, air, and water resources. These natural resources are just what people need to lead healthy and productive lives and, so, environmental engineers are in high demand.

    • Environmental Engineering, Ecological Engineering Concentration, B.S. 
    • Environmental Engineering, Renewable Energy Concentration, B.S. 

    See requirements: Visit the academic catalog and scroll to the School of Sciences to view degree requirements.

  • Why Environmental Engineering at SFU?

    Dane-Marie taking notes during field
    work in the Paint Creek watershed..

    Our students prepare to be leaders in the environmental engineering profession by focusing on five transferable skill sets:

    • Lab-scale experimentation.
    • Field-scale design.
    • Theory and computer modeling.
    • Written and oral communication.
    • Ethical decision making.

    We seek to develop these skills through extra-curricular activities, summer research/internships, service-learning, and, of course, classes. The table in the Curriculum tab summarizes the general structure of our curriculum. 

    To see a full list of requirements: Visit the academic catalog and scroll to the School of Sciences to view degree requirements.

    Real-World Projects
    Kelsea is happily augering a soil core sample in Geology for Engineers.

    Real world experience is the hallmark of environmental engineering at SFU. In our program you will learn to use math and science to solve some of the most important problems facing society today and we believe that you should start putting your skills to good use even before you graduate. Our students design projects for class, work through paid internships and summer research, and conduct engineering service both here in Pennsylvania and abroad. By combining classroom learning with authentic projects, our students develop the wide variety of skills needed to be successful in the rapidly growing field of environmental engineering.

    Example Project: Sharp Crested Weir Installation

    In an engineering class called Fluid Mechanics, our students study ways to measure the amount of flow in streams and rivers. In Fluid Mechanics Lab, the students perform tests on one such device--the sharp crested weir--and then they install one of these weirs at a pollution discharge site where flow rates need to be measured. Sharp crested weirs are a sort of a small dam usually constructed from a 2x12 board with hole cut out of a prescribed shape. The depth of water flowing through the cutout can be related to the rate of flow.

    In the lab, students test the relationship between depth of water at the weir and the rate of flow. In the field they install a weir in partnership with a non-profit watershed organization. In 2010 we installed a weir at the Klondike mine treatment system with the Clearfield Creek Watershed Association and in 2012 we installed a weir at the Gondar Farm discharge with the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team.

    Luke constructing a flume for lab tests.
    Aftermath of Weir Installations
    The aftermath of weir installations at the Klondike mine treatment system and the Gondar Farm discharge. (Prof. Bandstra usually wins the contest to see who can get the dirtiest!)
    Curriculum Overview
    Browse detailed course descriptions for Environmental Engineering, B.S.
    Basic Math and Science

    Taken primarily in the Freshman and Sophomore years, these courses lay the broad foundation from which environmental engineering is built.

    Calculus I-III, Differential Equations, Statistics, Physics I-II, Chemistry I-II, Organic Chemistry, Quantitative Analysis, Microbiology/Ecology
    Engineering Science

    Taken in the Sophomore and Junior years, these courses use principles of biology, chemistry, and physics to analyze environmental engineering systems.

    Statics, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Aquatic and Atmospheric Chemistry, Transport Processes
    Engineering Applications

    Taken in the Junior and Senior years, these courses focus on standard techniques in environmental engineering such as water treatment, solid waste management, storm-water routing and erosion control.

    Chemical and Biological Rector Design, Soil Mechanics, Environmental Hydraulics, Hazardous Materials
    Project-Based Engineering

    Taken in all years, these courses require students to solve real engineering problems. Many of our design projects are taken directly from industry partners, local municipalities, and watershed conservation groups meaning that our students are creating usable engineering designs well before they enter the workforce.

    Introduction to Engineering I-II, Environmental Engineering Measurements I-II, Modeling and Simulation of Environmental Systems
    Major Engineering Design Experience

    Taken both semesters of the Senior year, these courses require students to complete a full-scale environmental engineering design project under the guidance of an experienced engineer. Students take a real engineering project drawn from industry through all the stages of the design process including data collection, formal project proposal, and final design.

    Senior Lab, Senior Project Proposal, Senior Project
    Environmental Engineering Concentrations

    Taken in the Junior or Senior years, these courses allow students to earn concentrations in Renewable Energy or Ecological Engineering.

    Energy Conversion I-II, Appropriate Technologies for the Developing World, Ecological Engineering
    Core Requirements in Humanities and Social Sciences

    Taken in all years, these courses engage students in what it means to live a good life. Training in traditional western values and communication skills is especially important for students preparing for the engineering profession.

    English and Speech (12 credits), Fine Arts (4 credits), Foreign Language (3 credits), History (6 credits), Philosophy (6 credits), Religious Studies (6 credits), Social Science (12 credits)
    Matt and Prof. Bandstra looking at rocks and thinking hard about "continuous improvement".

    The Environmental Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org

    More Information about why accreditation is important to students and their families can be found here. Briefly, ABET accreditation enhances our graduates' opportunities for employment by placing them on the path to becoming licensed Professional Engineers.

    ABET accreditation is proof that our environmental engineering program has met certain standards necessary to produce graduates who are ready to enter the environmental engineering profession. In order to maintain our status as an accredited program, we are focused on helping our students attain the Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes that are published below.

    Program Educational Objectives

    Graduates of the Saint Francis University Environmental Engineering program are expected within a few years of graduation to have:

    1. Attained the certifications, registrations, and/or licenses needed to work effectively as environmental engineers.

    2. Established themselves as practicing professionals whether in the field of environmental engineering directly, or in related fields that draw on the knowledge, skills, and values of the environmental engineering profession.

    3. Advanced to positions of greater responsibility in their workplace, their profession, and their community.

    4. A Franciscan perspective as they shape culture in their workplace, their community, and civil society writ large.

    5. Accomplish objectives 1-4 with a commitment to life-long learning and continuous professional development.

    Student Outcomes

    Each student will have demonstrated the proficiency in the following outcomes upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering:

    a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.

    b) An ability to design and conduct experiments in the Lab, as well as to analyze and interpret data (in more than one major environmental engineering focus areas, e.g., air, water, land, environmental health).

    b') An ability to design and conduct experiments in the Field, as well as to analyze and interpret data (in more than one major environmental engineering focus areas, e.g., air, water, land, environmental health).

    c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability (by means of design experiences integrated throughout the professional component of the curriculum).

    d) An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.

    e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.

    f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.

    g) An ability to communicate effectively.

    h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global,economic, environmental, and societal context.

    i) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.

    j) A knowledge of contemporary environmental issues (especially those associated with air, land, and water systems and associated environmental health impacts).

    k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

    l) Understand concepts of professional practice and the roles and responsibilities of public institutions and private organizations pertaining to environmental engineering professional development.

    Career Opportunities

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, we can expect the number of new job openings to increase faster for environmental engineers than for any other occupation. SFU engineering graduates have had excellent success in finding employment; nearly all find positions in their field within 12 months of graduation. Our society has a long-term need for environmental engineers as we face challenges in energy generation, drinking water supply and stewardship over natural resources. SFU environmental engineers will be well equipped not only to address the technical aspects of these challenges but also to assist others in understanding the complex ethical and societal context of each technical problem. See what some of our recent graduates have been up to.


    In addition to our traditional four-year Environmental Engineering B.S. degree, we also offer the following concentrations.

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    Ecological Engineering Concentration (B.S. in Environmental Engineering)

    Take your learning outdoors

    An optional six credit concentration preparing graduates to think about engineering problems ecologically.

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    Renewable Energy Concentration (B.S. in Environmental Engineering)

    Making the world a greener place

    An optional six credit concentration preparing graduates to invent new ways of converting and storing energy.

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