Areas of Emphasis

In addition to the required core courses, all students must take at least two additional CEE 5000-level courses from within Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. Students may elect to specialize in one or more areas of environmental and water resources engineering or may choose to broaden their expertise in the field. Students should discuss their career plans and coursework selection with their advisor and other EWR faculty. The areas of emphasis listed below provide focus to the graduate curriculum.

Air Quality Engineering

Air Quality Engineering provides a comprehensive education in air quality on urban, regional, and global scales. The coursework covers global climate change, combustion emissions, air pollution control technology, indoor air quality, pollutant measurement, air quality chemistry, meteorology, and dispersion modeling. The following courses are recommended:

  • CEE 4144/5264G Air Resources Engineering
  • CEE 5154 Air Pollution Control Engineering
  • CEE 5984 Atmospheric Chemistry
  • CEE 6114 Advanced Topics in Air Quality Engineering

Coastal Engineering

The Coastal Engineering area of emphasis provides an in-depth research and educational experience to those interested in natural flows, sediment dynamics, and engineering in the coastal regime. Research and instruction focuses on the fundamental coastal dynamics and engineering principles that govern problems in coastal environments, to include wave mechanics, fluid dynamics, coastal and estuarine morphodynamics, coastal hazards, and marine geotechnics. The following courses are offered:

  • CEE 5304 Environmental Fluid Mechanics (annually in Fall)
  • CEE 5844/AOE 5844 Ocean and Coastal Wave Mechanics (odd years in Fall)
  • CEE 5854G Advanced Coastal Engineering (annually in Spring)
  • CEE 5814 Structure-Sediment Interaction in the Coastal Zone (even years in Spring)
  • CEE 5864 Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics (odd years in Spring)
  • CEE 5874 Coastal and Marine Geotechnics (annually in Fall)
  • CEE 6844 Current Topics in Coastal Engineering (TBD, rotating topic)

Hazardous Waste Management

Hazardous waste management emphasizes waste containment, industrial waste treatment, soil and groundwater remediation, and the fate and transport of pollutants in the subsurface. Applications include landfills, uncontained subsurface pollutants, and contaminated waste sites.

  • CEE 5124 Fundamentals of Environmental Toxicology
  • CEE 5174 Industrial and Hazardous Waste
  • CEE 5184 Techniques of Environmental Analysis
  • CEE 5374 Dynamics of Groundwater
  • CEE 5774 Hazardous Waste Management

Environmental Fluid Dynamics, Fluvial, and Coastal Engineering

The Environmental Fluid Dynamics, Fluvial, and Coastal Engineering area of emphasis provides an in-depth research and educational experience to those interested in natural water flows. Research and instruction focuses on fundamental fluid dynamics and engineering principles governing problems in coastal and riverine environments, to include characteristics of natural flows, sediment transport, ecosystem hydraulics, plumes, and coastal and riverine hazards. The following courses are offered:

  • CEE 5304 Environmental Fluid Mechanics
  • CEE 5314 River Mechanics and Sediment Transport
  • CEE 5344 Surface-Groundwater Interaction
  • CEE 5384 Advanced Open Channel Flow
  • CEE 5984 Advanced Coastal Engineering
  • CEE 5984 Modeling of Environmental Flows

Environmental Modeling and Simulation

Environmental and water resource engineering is relying more and more heavily on computer models for process design, risk analysis, evaluating contaminant fate and transport, and regulation setting. The Environmental Modeling focus area teaches students the chemical and physical principles that govern pollutant transport in different media and how to both use and develop models that simulate pollutant fate processes.

  • CEE 5134 Engineering Aspects of Water Quality
  • CEE 5354 Numerical Modeling of Groundwater
  • CEE 5714 Surface Water Quality Modeling
  • CEE 5734 Urban Hydrology

Environmental Nanotechnology

The field of nanotechnology–the creation and manipulation of matter at the nanoscale–is rapidly becoming a significant component of the global economy. However, many questions remain unaswered regarding the fate of these novel materials in engineered and natural environments. Engineers who understand nanoparticle behavior in water, air, and biological systems will help protect the environment and health as nanotechnology grows. The following courses are recommended:

  • CEE 5154 Air Quality Engineering
  • CEE 5984 Environmental Nanotechnology
  • CEE 5194 Environmental Engineering Microbiology

Water Resources Engineering

Water Resources Engineering provides instruction and research into the planning and design of a broad scope of water resources projects and environmental management activities.  Emphasis is placed on an understanding of the physical processes governing water movement and sediment and pollutant transport in the environment, and on the development of skills in analytical, modeling and managerial aspects of environmental and water resources engineering.

  • CEE 5314 River Mechanics and Sediment
  • CEE 5324 Advanced Hydrology
  • CEE 5344 Surface-Groundwater Interaction
  • CEE 5384 Advanced Open Channel Flow
  • CEE 5734 Urban Hydrology
  • CEE 5984 Urban Stormwater Management & Design
  • CEE 5984 Advanced Groundwater Resources

Water and Wastewater Process Engineering

Water and Wastewater Process Engineering is a traditional strength within the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program at Virginia Tech. The focus is on the design and operation of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that are integral to the effective treatment of water and wastewater as applied to the public and industrial sectors. The following courses are recommended:

  • CEE 5125 Environmental Engineering Design I (Wastewater Treatment)
  • CEE 5126 Environmental Engineering Design II (Water Treatment)
  • CEE 5144 Unit Operations and Process Laboratory
  • CEE 5174 Industrial and Hazardous Waste Control
  • CEE 5184 Techniques for Environmental Analysis
  • CEE 5194 Environmental Engineering Microbiology