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Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

Environmental Engineering Degrees

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M.S. Environmental Engineering & Science
Ph.D. Environmental Engineering & Science

Master of Science – Environmental Engineering and Science
Environmental engineering and science is concerned with the characterization and control of environmental pollution. Emphasis is placed on applying the fundamental principles of the basic engineering sciences through research and design to the solution of environmental problems in natural and engineered systems. Students may specialize in one of five focus areas: (i) Environmental Chemistry, (ii) Surface and Subsurface Processes,, (iii) Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science (NEES), (iv) Process Engineering, (v) Sustainable Systems & Environmental Assessment.

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Environmental Chemistry – Introduces the fundamental concepts important to environmental chemistry. In particular, the focus is on understanding sources of chemicals in the environment and the characteristics of the chemical and the environment that control fate and effects. Also of interest are the physical, chemical and biological processes that affect the behavior of inorganic and organic contaminants in natural and engineered systems and how these properties may be exploited to detect, quantitatively model and control the contaminants in environmental systems.

Surface and Subsurface Processes
– Provides students with the knowledge and training needed to deal with transport and fate processes in engineered and natural systems. Natural systems will include the atmosphere, surface waters and subsurface waters. The incorporation of the results of transport analyses into management decisions involving monitoring and remediation often requires the quantification and analysis of various real and perceived risks, so an additional objective will be to provide the basic tools needed for risk and decision analysis. A fundamental, quantitative understanding of all these processes will be emphasized, so that students will be able to adapt readily to the ever changing conditions in the real world.

Process Engineering
- The purpose of the process engineering area is to prepare graduates to design engineered systems for removing contaminants from air, water, and soil - an activity that is central to the field of environmental engineering. Because of the continually evolving nature of the problems faced by environmental engineers, courses in this emphasis area focus on the approach to problem solving rather than on specific solutions to today's problems. This provides the students with a strong foundation in unit operations and the ability to assemble them into process trains capable of solving any pollution control problem, regardless of its complexity or nature.

Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science (NEES)
– Explores topics such as environmental health physics, risk assessment, environmental radiochemistry, actinide chemistry, and radioactive waste management. The research efforts primarily focus on radiation detection and measurements, environmental radiochemistry, radionuclide fate and transport, and radioactive waste processing. Students within the NEES program may follow either the Environmental Radiochemistry track or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) accredited Environmental Health Physics track.

Sustainable Systems & Environmental Assessment
– Challenges students to think about environmental systems in a broader context. The objective of the curriculum is to provide a basis for the analysis of complex interactions between human and natural systems. The core courses cover fundamental principles of systems analysis and risk assessment while the electives allow students to define a path of study that bridges scientific and social inquiry.
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All students are required to take 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of research credit. See the detailed requirements broken down by focus area here ( pdf document).
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Thesis research must culminate in the presentation of a satisfactory thesis for MS candidates. A MS non-thesis option, which requires a minimum of 30 hours of coursework including three hours of a special project, is available.  A final examination is required of all master’s candidates.
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Any student with an engineering or science undergraduate degree who is accepted by the EEES Department and the Graduate School may pursue the M.S. degree.

For admission to the M.S. program, an applicant should have a grade point ratio/average (GPR/GPA) of at least 3.0 out of 4.0. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for students who were accepted and actually entered the program for the past two years are shown in the table below. (Note that 2010-2011 scores are based on the 200-800 scale. 

Accepted Applicants
Percentile 2009-10 2010-11
25th V=445 Q=710 A=3.5 V=440 Q=730 A=3.0
75th V=540 Q=795 A=4 V=530 Q=798 A=4.0
Matriculated Students
25th V=450 Q=710 A=3.5 V=460 Q=730 A=3.0
75th V=560 Q=780 A=4.5 V=550 Q=790 A=3.8

Science majors with a strong mathematics background are admitted to the department with appropriate prerequisites. The transcripts of such prospective students are reviewed on an individual basis to identify any undergraduate prerequisites or corequisites needed to prepare them for the EE&S program. A graduate of a science discipline is expected to have completed at some time during his or her academic career the equivalent of two semesters each of physics (with calculus) and general chemistry, and four semesters of calculus through multivariable calculus and ordinary differential equations. Prerequisite course work is prescribed to fill gaps in these areas. No prerequisites are required of students with accredited engineering undergraduate degrees.

Doctor of Philosophy – Environmental Engineering & Science

The PhD program provides students with a comprehensive background in the fundamental aspects of environmental engineering and/or science. The major field of study is generally interdisciplinary in nature, consisting of coursework in several areas of engineering and the basic sciences. Each student’s curriculum and research program is tailored to suit his/her personal and professional goals.

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Students will complete at least 30 total credit hours beyond the MS degree and at least 60 credit hours beyond the BS selected from appropriate courses at Clemson under advisement of a major thesis advisor. The credit hours will be a combination of coursework and doctoral research.
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PhD students are required to complete a satisfactory dissertation based on original research. Qualifying, comprehensive, and final examinations are required. No foreign language is required.
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Pursuit of a PhD degree is a significant commitment of time and effort. Applicants should communicate with professors who are engaged in research of interest to the applicant. It is important to find a research advisor who will guide the PhD student effectively. Visit the web page of each professor and send email to those who are involved in areas of interest. For questions about this process, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Students with a baccalaureate or masters degree in a related science or engineering field may apply directly to the PhD program. Students with exceptional records and experience in research will be considered for the PhD degree without a master's degree, while most students admitted to the PhD program will have previously received a Masters degree. Students may also be accepted for continued study from either the MS Hydrogeology or MS EE&S program.

For admission to the Ph.D. program, an applicant should have a grade point ratio/average (GPR/GPA) of at least 3.0 out of 4.0. The applicant must have a faculty member who has agreed to be the research advisor before final admission. Scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for students who were accepted and who actually entered the program for the past two years are shown in the table below. (Note that scores 2011-2012 are based on the 200-800 scale.

Accepted Applicants
Percentile 2009-10 2010-11
25th V=485 Q=725 A=3.25 V=390 Q=660 A=3.0
75th V=565 Q=800 A=4.5 V=470 Q=760 A=3.5
Matriculated Students
25th V=490 Q=685 A=3.5 V=390 Q=660 A=3.0
75th V=565 Q=790 A=4.75 V=470 Q=760 A=3.5

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