University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


EWRE Degree Programs

The objectives of the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program are to educate engineers capable of addressing both current and future environmental and water resource problems, engage students in the generation and dissemination of knowledge and promote a sense of professionalism and leadership among our students. These objectives are achieved through a course of study carefully prepared by the student and his/her advisor.  Advanced understanding of environmental problems is obtained from a core of fundamental courses that relate theory to design practice.  Additional elective courses and the research experience prepare the student for a variety of career options including work with consulting engineering firms, environmental government agencies, industries, and water or wastewater utilities or authorities.

Prospective Students

Extensive general information is available in our brochure on Graduate Study in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, as well as in separate web pages devoted to our EWRE graduate AdmissionsProgram Area Faculty, and Research.  

Enrolled Students

Resources for currently enrolled students are available here, including forms for planning and documenting your program as well as the EWRE Information, Policy, and Procedures Manual.  Please also be aware of the many Funding Opportunities that are available to EWRE students.



Master of Science in Environmental Engineering

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Civil Engineering

MS Degrees

Two main paths are available for obtaining the M.S. degree through the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program. The two paths are A) the Research Option and, B) the Coursework Option.  The specific degree requirements and the appropriate degree depend on your undergraduate background and if the degree is research based or not.

The research option is usually followed by students receiving financial support in the form of a research or teaching assistantship (RA, TA). The coursework option is designed to be completed in 9 to 12 months; students pursuing this option receive no or partial financial assistance.  Students who have been admitted into the Program without an engineering baccalaureate must make up prerequisite coursework at the basic level of undergraduate engineering in order to be eligible for the M.S. degree; no graduate credit is granted for this basic level work  (See Section C)

An overview of requirements for the 31 credit hour M.S. degrees in Environmental or Civil Engineering is described below. Full details are available in the “Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program Information, Procedures and Advising Manual.” In addition, the general UMass Graduate School requirements for the M.S. Degree must be met.

A. Research Option

The research option is designed for graduate students interested in pursuing a career in engineering practice, an applied research career, or a subsequent PhD degree.  Students under this option have financial support in the form of a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship (click here for current RA openings). This option requires independent research in the form of a thesis and generally requires 3 to 4 semesters to complete.

* Core Courses
The core courses are intended to provide students with a basic knowledge of environmental engineering processes and design.  These required courses are:

Designation Title Credits
CEE 670 Transport Processes in EWRE 4
CEE 691/692 Seminar 1

* Master's Project
The student is required to write a research report and present an oral defense before a Master’s Committee on a topic determined in consultation with the advisor. The content of the report normally derives from the research conducted by the student as part of their research assistant duties. Six credits, taken as CEE 689, must be earned under the Master’s Project and are applied to the 31 total credit requirement of the MS degree.

* Electives
In addition to the Core Courses and Master’s Project, the student completes a minimum of twenty credits of electives taken in areas relevant to the student's professional objectives. All electives must be courses taken at the graduate level (500 level or higher). Students may take electives in other departments at the University; however, no more than 9 graduate credits taken outside the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department can be counted toward the 31 credit requirement. Graduate courses are listed on the CEE course page and in Appendix A of the program brochure.

* Transfer Credits
No more than six graduate credits can be transferred from courses taken at another institution.

B. Coursework Option

The coursework option is designed to be completed in 9 to 12 months; and therefore it is not intended for those receiving an assistantship or research fellowship.

Core Courses.  The core courses are the same as listed for the Research Option.

Electives. There must be at least 26 credits of graduate electives (500 or higher level). At least 2 of these credits must be at the 600 level or higher to meet the UMass Graduate School MS degree requirement of at least 12 graduate credits at the 600 level or higher (the 5 credits of required courses are all at the 600 or higher level).  As with the research option, students may take electives in other departments at the University; however, no more than 9 graduate credits taken outside of the CEE Department can be counted toward the 31 credit requirement.

Typical course scheduling is shown below:

Fall      Spring  
CEE 670 4 cr  CEE 692 1 cr
Electives 12 cr Electives 14 cr
Total 16 cr   15 cr

A new area of specialization for the MSCE degree is available on the topic of fish passage engineering.  This is offered in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  For more information, visit the MSCE Fish Passage Engineering site.

C. Students with Non-Engineering Baccalaureate

A few students with non-engineering degrees are admitted to the Program.  Students must have a B.S. in science (such as physics, chemistry, biology or environmental science) or mathematics to be admitted.  To be awarded an MS degree, students without a BS in engineering degree must make up prerequisite coursework at the undergraduate level; this coursework does not receive graduate credit. The coursework can be completed prior to entering, or in some cases, during the student’s UMass MS program.  A summary of these prerequisites is shown below.

Required prerequisite courses/subjects for MS in Environmental Engineering degree program:

  • Mathematics: Calculus I, II and III (multivariate) and Differential Equations
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Biology (one semester)
  • Chemistry (usually two semesters)
  • Physics (usually two semesters, calculus based level)
  • Thermodynamics
  • Engineering economics (as in a systems engineering course, or similar)
  • Statics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Introductory EWRE course(s)

The PhD Degree

The Program has a PhD research program which offers students the chance to do original research.  Such high level research may contribute to a new view of an aspect of environmental and water resources engineering, or a solution to an existing problem.  It also provides students with the opportunity to obtain the credentials in the environmental and water resources engineering profession needed to practice engineering at the highest level.  Most PhD students are supported on research assistantships (click here for current RA openings). Graduates of the PhD program are employed in a variety of areas including faculty positions at, Colorado State University, Union College, University of Pennsylvania, Case Western Reserve, University of Florida, University of New Hampshire, the State University of New York at Buffalo, University of New Haven and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Individual PhD programs are specially designed to reflect the interests and needs of each PhD candidate.  Many students entering the PhD program hold an MS degree in environmental engineering or similar field, but this is not a requirement.  In addition to the doctoral degree requirements of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the UMass Graduate School concerning admission, residency, dissertation, and examinations, the EWRE Program requires mastery of knowledge in the major area and at least 18 credits of approved coursework beyond those used to meet the degree requirements for the MS degree in Environmental Engineering (or equivalent degree).  Typically, six of these credits are devoted to a research skill, such as statistics, numerical methods, or engineering mathematics; the remaining 12 are chosen to support the student’s research and academic interests. For students entering the PhD program without an MS degree, or with an MS degree in an unrelated field, the minimum coursework requirement is normally 43 credits (25 + 18).  In addition all UMass PhD students must earn 18 credits of Doctoral Dissertation work (CEE 899) and be in residence as a full-time student for a minimum of one year.

To earn the PhD degree students must complete the following milestones. The Preliminary Comprehensive Examination is administered after all or nearly all of the coursework for the PhD program has been completed (e.g., usually following 2 or 3 semesters of coursework for students already having a related MS degree).  The exam includes written and oral components and must be successfully completed for the student to continue in the program.  The student must then prepare and defend a Dissertation Prospectus before their dissertation committee. No sooner than 7 months after a successful prospectus defense, the student must make a final presentation and defense of their dissertation. In general, the overall duration for earning a PhD degree is typically four years beyond the MS degree.