Why doesn't UPenn have an environmental engineering program/major?

I am an incoming high school senior who wants to major in environmental engineering. UPenn is one of my favorite universities, and I love the location, campus, and academic programs, especially the dual degree VIPER program. However, I did a little research and found that Penn doesn’t offer a major in environmental engineering, which is a shame because I want to apply to schools with strong environmental engineering programs. Why doesn’t UPenn offer an environmental engineering major when most other top institutions in the US do?

Environmental Engineering most frequently shares a department with Civil, and Penn doesn’t have CivE either. If you think this is the field for you, then Penn probably won’t check the boxes for you; but hopefully you can find other options that share a lot of the attributes you like about Penn. Maybe Tufts? They have some interesting sustainable-energy research in their Civil/Environmental department, and a great urban-adjacent campus.

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No college can offer every single course of study. If Penn doesn’t offer the major you want then move on and find the schools that do. There should be many excellent options.


Why don’t they offer it ? Ask them. Only they would know.

Perhaps they have an alternative they steer kids to or a self designed program but more likely you should remove the school from your consideration set.

What do you love about Penn ? Lots of similar schools out there.

Don’t fall in love with any one school. There are many out there that will meet your needs.

Here’s a few lists of schools that offer the major. The second is more expansive and you could narrow in regions.


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There are probably reasons they decided it was not a viable major there, but there are certainly other great opportunities out there for you.

Environmental Engineering programs seem to vary more than other engineering programs based on the professors, established local partnerships for hands-on projects, etc…some seem to have a more global take and others are very much tied to solving local or regional issues and expanding that to bigger impact.

Take time to look at the courses offered and required for Enviro Engineering at the additional colleges you start to identify. Make sure they match your interests. A larger state flagship may have more courses or tracks within Environmental Engineering that are of interest. Double majoring is tough with engineering, even a minor or concentration requires summer courses sometimes.

Brown’s program is interesting and has lots of hands on opportunities for undergrads to get involved with and has a cross curricular approach, like this:

I am not sure what your state flagship is, but Clemson, NC State, VT, UNH, UMass, etc…all have well respected environmental engineering programs.