water treatment plant

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering

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What is Environmental Engineering (ENVE)?

Environmental engineers design infrastructure, public works, and processes that protect the environment and public health. Through required and elective courses, UALR’s program exposes students to all of the major areas of environmental engineering, including water resources, air resources, and land resources:

  • Hydrologic engineering: design and operation of systems to measure and predict water levels and flow rates due to rain and flooding, for a parking lot, a roof, a reservoir, or the watershed of an entire river.
  • Hydrogeologic engineering: design systems to monitor, prevent, and remediate groundwater contamination in aquifers and wells.
  • Hydraulic engineering: design of pipelines, pumping stations, distribution networks, sewers, lift stations, open channels, and storm drains to transport drinking water, storm water, and wastewater.
  • Water treatment engineering: design and operation of water treatment plants to produce safe drinking water.
  • Wastewater treatment engineering: design and operation of wastewater treatment plants to process sewage and recycle water.
  • Air resources engineering: design of air pollution control systems for exhaust stacks and other industrial processes.
  • Land resources engineering: design of solid waste management systems, hazardous waste management systems, and soil remediation processes.

Environmental engineers analyze and control how substances travel through air, water, and soil, they study the chemical reactions that take place during transport, and they determine the ultimate fate of those substances in order to solve societal problems involving the environment and public health.

The environmental engineering program prepares students not only for employment, but also for graduate school and professional school, for example, medical school, law school, or business school. The environmental engineering program includes many of the prerequisites for medical school.

Admission Policy

Interested students should meet with an advisor in the environmental engineering (ENVE) program to declare a major. Full admission to the ENVE major requires readiness to take MATH 1451 Calculus I, CHEM 1406 Engineering Chemistry, and RHET 1311 Composition I. However, students who are not prepared to take these courses will be admitted to the ENVE major as pre-engineering students.   Students should request the ENVE major as early in their academic career as possible, so that they can receive proper advising.


Dr. Lashun K. Thomas is the advisor for all environmental engineering (ENVE) majors and pre-engineering majors. Advising for spring semester is usually done in November, and advising for summer and fall is usually done in April. Dr. Thomas can be found in ETAS 202I or contacted at lkthomas2@ualr.edu. The department office can be contacted at (501) 569-8133 to make an appointment with Dr. Thomas.

Transferring from Another Institution

Students planning to transfer to UALR from other institutions are encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas (lkthomas2@ualr.edu) to discuss the courses that will apply toward the environmental engineering degree at UALR. Most community colleges do not offer all of the necessary freshman and sophomore level courses in math, science, and engineering. Most students transferring from community colleges should not expect to be able to complete the environmental engineering major in two or even three years. In fact, an engineering major generally requires at least four years starting from the semester in which the calculus sequence is started.

Potential transfer students from community colleges should also be aware that the environmental engineering program requires a much smaller number of general education (core, basics, etc.) courses than are required for most associate degrees. Taking additional general education courses at the community college will delay entry into, and completion of, the environmental engineering program.

In order to transfer into environmental engineering as a sophomore, the following courses generally must have been completed elsewhere:

  • Calculus I and II (differential and integral calculus)
  • General Chemistry I and II with Labs (the introductory chemistry courses for chemistry majors)
  • University Physics I with Lab (calculus-based physics)
  • Physical Geology with Lab

In order to transfer into environmental engineering as a junior, the following additional courses generally must have been completed elsewhere:

  • Calculus III (vector calculus)
  • Organic Chemistry I with Lab (for chemistry majors)
  • Biology
  • Engineering Statics (mechanics of rigid bodies)
  • Engineering Thermodynamics
  • Mechanics of Materials (mechanics of deformable bodies)

Work Experience Requirement

All ENVE students are required to complete a minimum of 800 contact hours of practical work experience in an approved environmental-related activity. This stipulation provides the graduate with valuable industry experience and insights.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering

The environmental engineering program combines courses in civil engineering with courses math, chemistry, physics, geology, and biology to prepare graduates to practice engineering in industry, at an engineering design firm, or in a government agency.

Basic courses in engineering science prepare students for the required passage of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, the first step toward licensure as an Engineer Intern (EI) or Professional Engineer (PE).

Students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering must pass each required CNMG course with a grade of C or higher. The degree requires at least 48 credit hours of engineering courses, and at least 32 credit hours of mathematics and laboratory science courses. For graduation, a grade point average of 2.00 or above is required in these engineering, mathematics, and science courses, and a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or above is required for all work completed at UALR.

A minor is not required for the environmental engineering degree.

Student Activities

UALR civil and construction engineering students have the opportunity to become involved with several engineering organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

Engineering students have recently participated in several regional student competitions, including ASCE/AISC steel bridge competitions (Baton Rouge, LA in 2013, Martin, TN in 2012), and ASC/TEXO construction competitions (Dallas, TX in 2013 and 2012). For example, a recent heavy civil construction student competition project involved a water treatment plant.


New engineering programs are not eligible to seek accreditation  until at least one student has graduated. When the environmental engineering program becomes eligible, it plans to apply for accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Enrollment and Graduation Data

No students graduated from the environmental engineering program during the 2015-16 academic year.

At the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, six students were enrolled in the environmental engineering program.

The environmental engineering program was approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in July 2014, and no students have graduated from the program yet.