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Environmental Engineering

Study Environmental Engineering at the University of Waikato for a career where you'll make a lasting impact on society by helping to protect and enhance our natural and man-made environments, while enjoying excellent job prospects.

Environmental engineers work to protect water, air, soil and built environments. They evaluate and assess options, design equipment and systems, and develop regulations and controls, seek to solve issues of water quality, water supply, waste reduction and disposal, soil and air quality management, and noise.

As the world’s demand for materials, food and energy grows, so does the need for environmental engineers. Environmental Engineering graduates with strong technical and communication skills are in demand, in New Zealand and around the world.

During your degree you will learn how to identify, monitor and solve important problems associated with the environment, resource allocation and use, and sustainability. Our programme is multi-disciplinary, combining the fundamentals of engineering, science, mathematics, and computing, with the study of water resources and quality, earth and ocean environments, environmental planning, modelling and sustainability, process energy and management.

An important part of the Environmental Engineering programme at the University of Waikato is supported work placements into relevant industries. This gives you the opportunity for paid work experience while exploring first-hand the field of Environmental Engineering you could choose for your career.

You'll work on major research design projects, creating products with commercial applications, which are then showcased at our annual Oji Fibre Solutions Engineering Design Show. There is also a focus on developing well-honed communication skills that are such a vital part of the profession.


Students can work in specialised laboratories including the Large Scale Lab complex that features a suite of workshops and laboratories dedicated to engineering teaching and research, such as 3D printing, a mechanical workshop and computer labs with engineering design software.

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Key information

Study Locations:Hamilton, Tauranga
Papers offered differ by location. The Catalogue of Papers has full location info.
Area of Study:

Study Environmental Engineering in these qualifications

Study Environmental Engineering as a specialisation of

Career opportunities

  • Environmental Engineer
  • Water and Sanitary Engineer
  • Public/Environmental Health Engineer
  • Infrastructure Engineer
  • Sustainability Engineer
  • Restoration Engineer
  • Resource/Waste Management Engineer

Year 1

Students must take the following papers: CHEMY102, ENGEN101, ENGEN102, ENGEN103, ENGEN112, ENGEN170 and ENGEN180.

Plus 15 points of electives from: BIOEB101, BIOEB102, CHEMY101, EARTH101, EARTH102 or ENGEN110.

Year 2

Students must take the following papers: ENGCB280, ENGCV223, ENGCV231, ENGEN201, ENGEN270, ENGEN271, ENGEV241, ENGME221 and ENVPL201.

If you are studying the Diploma in Engineering Professional Practice, concurrent with the BE(Hons), you must complete ENGEN272 (in place of ENGEN271).

Year 3

Students must take the following papers: ENGCB380, ENGCV323, ENGCV331, ENGEN301, ENGEN370, ENGEN371 and ENGEV341.

Plus 30 points of electives from: BIOEB201, BIOEB202, BIOEB204, BIOMO203, CHEMY201, CHEMY202, CHEMY203, CHEMY204, EARTH211, EARTH221, EARTH231, EARTH241, EARTH251, ENGCV212, ENGCV251, ENGEN390 or ENVPL301.

If you are studying the Diploma in Engineering Professional Practice, concurrent with the BE(Hons), you must complete ENGEN372 (in place of ENGEN371).

Year 4

Students must take the following papers: ENGCB523, ENGEN570, ENGEN581, ENGEV541, ENGEV542 and ENGEV580.

100 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOEB101Concepts of Biology20A (Hamilton)
An introduction to the foundations of biology, including the structure and functioning of cells, evolution, the origins and diversity of life, and a tour of the major forms of life and their defining characteristics.
BIOEB102Introduction to Ecology and Biodiversity20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
An introduction to the principles of ecology and biodiversity. Topics include population, community and ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, and the structure, functioning and environmental responses of animals and plants. Examples will include New Zealand ecosystems and biota.
CHEMY101Structure and Spectroscopy20A (Hamilton) & 20C (Hamilton)
A theoretical and practical course covering aspects of analytical and inorganic chemistry. This course is required for the chemistry major.
CHEMY102Chemical Reactivity20B (Hamilton)
A theoretical and practical course covering aspects of physical and organic chemistry. This course is required for the chemistry major.
EARTH101Introduction to Earth System Sciences20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
A lecture and laboratory paper that explores the interacting processes that affect the surface of the Earth, producing landforms and resources, with a focus on physical processes. Topics covered include coastal processes and hazards; climate change; weathering; erosion and mass movement; soil formation; the hydrological cycle; rive...
EARTH102Discovering Planet Earth20A (Hamilton)
This paper explores the Earth's interior and its dynamic interaction with the crust, including: the major rocks and minerals; interpreting the rock record and geologic maps; the geological time scale and fossils; plate tectonics; volcanism; earthquakes.
ENGEN101Engineering Mathematics 1A20A (Hamilton), 20A (Tauranga) & 20B (Hamilton)
A study of the fundamental techniques of algebra and calculus with engineering applications.
ENGEN102Engineering Mathematics 1B20B (Hamilton), 20B (Tauranga), 20C (Hamilton) & 20G (Hamilton)
A further study of the fundamental techniques of algebra and calculus with engineering applications. Includes an introduction to relevant statistical methods.
ENGEN103Engineering Computing20A (Hamilton), 20A (Tauranga) & 20G (Hamilton)
This paper introduces computer programming in languages such as Python. It provides the basis for the programming skills required in more advanced papers.
ENGEN110Engineering Mechanics20A (Tauranga), 20B (Hamilton), 20B (Tauranga) & 20X (Hamilton)
Statics and dynamics of rigid bodies. Application of freebody diagrams and equations of equilibrium to calculate internal and external forces and moments on/in structures and mechanisms. Kinetics and kinematics of particles. Geometric properties of areas.
ENGEN112Materials Science and Engineering20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
Introduction to engineering materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, semiconductors and biomaterials) and their atomic structure and mechanical properties. Includes; elastic and plastic deformation, fracture mechanisms, failure in service, iron-carbon phase diagram, redox reactions in corrosion, production of polymers, ce...
ENGEN170Engineering and Society20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
Introduction to the role of engineering in society in particular understanding of Treaty of Waitangi, history of science, engineering and technology, philosophy and ethics and public participation, participatory design, sustainability.
ENGEN180Foundations of Engineering20A (Hamilton) & 20A (Tauranga)
Introduction to the engineering design process and computer aided design, fundamental principles of engineering analysis, open ended problem solving, engineering economics and the skills of a successful engineer. Includes a design-build-test experience.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOEB201Principles of Evolution20A (Hamilton)
This paper examines the evolution and diversity of life. Topics include the history and philosophy of evolutionary thought, discussion of the mechanisms of evolution, present-day evidence of evolution in animals and plants; modern methods of analysing this evidence, and the evolutionary origins of current-day biodiversity.
BIOEB202Principles of Ecology20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
This paper covers the principles of ecology, including adaptation to the environment, intra- and inter-specific interactions, community and ecosystem dynamics, and biogeography. Weekend field trips and computer laboratory work are essential elements.
BIOEB204Plant Structure and Function20B (Hamilton)
Plants are key regulators of ecosystem processes, and actively respond to and change their environments. This paper examines how plants have these effects by exploring plant structure, functioning, reproduction and adaptation to different environments. Lectures and laboratory work emphasise New Zealand examples and the identificati...
BIOMO203Microbiology20A (Hamilton)
This paper will focus on microbial cell structure, function, and metabolism. Content and context will be drawn from both human and environmental examples. Students will acquire skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, data collection, data analysis, and report presentation. This paper is required for the Molecular and Cellu...
CHEMY201Organic Chemistry20B (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of organic chemistry including reaction mechanisms with carbanion and radical intermediates; mechanisms of reactions of carbonyl groups and multiple electrophilic substitutions of aromatic rings, also an introduction to carbohydrate chemistry is provided.
CHEMY202Physical Chemistry20B (Hamilton)
This course covers aspects of physical chemistry including thermodynamics and phase equilibria; chemical kinetics; conductance and electrochemistry.
CHEMY203Inorganic Chemistry20A (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of inorganic chemistry including structure and reactivity of the main-group elements; point-group symmetry; molecular orbital, crystal field theories; transition metal coordination complexes.
CHEMY204Analytical Chemistry20A (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of analytical chemistry including characterisation using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); qualitative and quantitative analysis of mixtures using gas chromatography (GC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The use of statistical methods in analytical chemistry will also be covered.
EARTH211Earth Resources and Materials20A (Hamilton)
An introduction to the nature, composition and origin of Earth materials and resources. Topics covered include mineral properties and their uses; process origins of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; and the importance of Earth materials as a societal resource. The paper also encompasses the petrographic and analytical cha...
EARTH221Soil Science20B (Hamilton)
An introduction to the nature, formation, and classification of soils, their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and biological properties, and issues of soil quality, land degradation and sustainable management. The paper also encompasses the properties, genesis, and distribution of the soils of New Zealand and their use.
EARTH231Water Resources, Weather and Climate20A (Hamilton)
Introduction to physical processes that influence the distribution of water in space and time within Aotearoa-New Zealand. Topics include mid-latitude weather and atmospheric precipitation processes that ultimately affect the availability of water across Aotearoa-New Zealand's diverse landscapes: a description of surface water reso...
EARTH241Oceanography20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
This paper introduces students to the broad scale properties, issues, and research importance of the global ocean via the main disciplines of oceanography: particularly biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography
EARTH251Spatial Analysis in Geosciences20A (Hamilton)
An introduction to quantitative spatial analysis in the geosciences, including production of maps and cross-sections of geomorphology and Earth materials from field and aerial image interpretation, use of 3D models of Earth materials, and an appreciation of volumes and stresses in the Earth's crust.
ENGCB280Process Engineering Design 120B (Hamilton)
This paper covers mass balances around reactors and separation processes used by engineers in process design, CAD tools for process flow diagrams, pipe and instrumentation diagrams, and simple batch and continuous process modelling using software tools.
ENGCV212Structural Engineering 120A (Hamilton)
Calculation of displacements (translations or rotations) and stresses in skeletal structural members (bars, beams and shafts). Stresses in structural connections. Critical loads of struts under standard boundary conditions. Transformation of normal and shear stresses through use of Mohr's circle.
ENGCV223Water Engineering 120B (Hamilton)
Basic principles of fluid statics and dynamics, including fluid viscosity, Bernoulli and mechanical energy equation, dimensional analysis, flow in pipes and channels and introduction to hydrology.
ENGCV231Geotechnical Engineering 120A (Hamilton)
This paper covers basic concepts and principles governing the mechanical behaviour of soils, rocks and slopes, including the effective stress concept, shear strength of soils, and stability concepts. Field and laboratory work provide opportunity to learn practical skills and apply the knowledge gained.
ENGCV251Construction 120A (Hamilton)
Underlying principles of crystalline structures and imperfections, diffusional processes, fracture, and binary phase diagrams related to material selection and construction needs are covered in this paper. It also covers in more detail the physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of construction materials such as concrete, asp...
ENGEN201Engineering Mathematics 220B (Hamilton)
Calculus of Several Variables and its Applications. Vector calculus (Green's, Gauss' and Stokes' theorems). Taylor's Theorem in n dimensions. Introduction to ordinary differential equations and methods to solve them.
ENGEN270Engineering and Business20A (Hamilton)
This paper focuses on empowering students to become “business savvy” and prepared to enter the workplace and solve real-world problems. Topics covered include; team formation, design thinking, Lean Canvas, project management, Agile, risk management, project finance, professional ethics, preparing for the workplace, and business...
ENGEN271Engineering Work Placement 120X (Hamilton)
First work placement involving 400 hours of work experience at an approved engineering organisation relevant to your studies. Typically undertaken during the summer semesters at the end of second year.
ENGEN272Engineering Work Placement 120X (Hamilton)
First work placement for the DipEPP involving 400 hours of work experience at an approved engineering organisation relevant to your studies. Typically undertaken during the summer semesters at the end of second year.
ENGEV241Environmental Engineering 120B (Hamilton)
This paper covers skills, knowledge and capability for environmental engineers so they can understand, investigate and evaluate environmental engineering problems and solutions.
ENGME221Engineering Thermodynamics20A (Hamilton)
This paper covers the fundamental concepts and laws of thermodynamics, including thermodynamics properties of substances, first and second law analysis, power cycles, refrigeration cycles and simple combustion analysis of engines.
ENVPL201Introduction to Resource Management20A (Hamilton)
This paper is designed to provide students with an introduction to law and policy relevant to the practice of environmental planning and management in New Zealand.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ENGCB321Thermal Engineering20B (Hamilton)
Application of engineering thermodynamics to steady and unsteady industrial processes, including, steam boiler systems, advanced power and refrigeration cycles, cooling towers and plant utility systems
ENGCB322Chemical and Biological Operations20B (Hamilton)
This paper covers the principle and application of enzymes, concepts of fermentation technology, principles of bioreactor operation, bioprocess variables and their measurement, key product separation techniques, and bioprocess economics.
ENGCB323Chemical Reaction Engineering20A (Hamilton)
This paper is an introduction to the quantitative treatment of chemical and biological reaction and reactor engineering, including homogeneous and heterogeneous reacting systems.
ENGCB324Mass Transfer Operations20A (Hamilton)
This paper covers the application of heat and mass transfer, and thermodynamics to chemical and physical separation process.
ENGCB380Process Engineering Design 220B (Hamilton)
Conceptual and detailed design, costing and economic assessment of chemical, biological and materials process plants, including software and numerical simulation, separation trains, heat exchanger and pump sizing, and reactor kinetics.
ENGCV323Water Engineering 220A (Hamilton)
Application of hydraulics and hydrology in water engineering such as design of water distribution systems, fundamentals of flow in open channels, design of hydraulic structures, fundamentals of surface water hydrology, rainfall-runoff models, analysis and modelling of hydrological processes, fundamentals of groundwater hydrology, d...
ENGCV331Geotechnical Engineering 220B (Hamilton)
Advanced course in geotechnical engineering including analysis and design of shallow and deep foundations, and retaining structures under a variety of conditions, includes a project based learning activity that reinforces threshold concepts and theory.
ENGEN301Engineering Mathematics 320A (Hamilton)
Introduces numerical methods and statistical ideas relevant to Engineering.
ENGEN370Engineering and Environment20A (Hamilton)
This paper covers sustainability in engineering design within the context of environmental impact, risk and resilience, emissions and standards, carbon accounting and life cycle analysis.
ENGEN371Engineering Work Placement 220X (Hamilton)
Second work placement involving 400 hours of work experience at an approved engineering organisation relevant to your studies. Typically undertaken during the summer semesters at the end of third year.
ENGEN372Engineering Work Placement 220X (Hamilton)
Second work placement for the DipEPP involving 400 hours of work experience at an approved engineering organisation relevant to your studies. Typically undertaken during the summer semesters at the end of second year.
ENGEN390Special Topics in Engineering 120X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEN391Special Topics in Engineering 220X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEV341Environmental Engineering 220B (Hamilton)
This paper covers the design, operation and management of unit processes used in environmental engineering including air, water, wastewater, storm water, waste, soils and noise treatment and control systems.
ENVPL301Planning for Sustainability20B (Hamilton)
This paper critically examines the concept of sustainability, discusses the various environmental pressures, such as climate change, and explores current best practice responses from global to local scales.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ENGCB523Advanced Energy Engineering20B (Hamilton)
Application of engineering thermodynamics, process integration and pinch analysis to energy systems including renewable energy systems and energy storage, small and large industrial utility systems with and without cogeneration, distributed and smart energy systems, and green buildings.
ENGEN570Engineering and the Profession20D (Hamilton)
The roles and responsibilities of professional engineers are examined. Topics include; project management, leadership, negotiation, ethical responsibilities, legal duties, Treaty of Waitangi, intellectual property and professional communication.
ENGEN581Honours Research Project20D (Hamilton) & 20X (Hamilton)
Final year honours research project carried out on a topic assigned and supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEN584Special Topics in Engineering 420X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEN585Special Topics in Engineering 520X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEN586Special Topics in Engineering 620X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEN587Directed Study 120X (Hamilton)
Students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of their own interest under the guidance of academic staff.
ENGEN588Directed Study 220X (Hamilton)
Students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of their own interest under the guidance of academic staff.
ENGEV541Advanced Water and Wastewater Engineering20A (Hamilton)
This course covers advanced aspects of design and operation of unit processes in water and waste water treatment, and process modelling and simulation tools such as Sumo19 and Superpro Designer.
ENGEV542Waste Minimisation Engineering20A (Hamilton)
Design of processes for the handling, recycling, reuse, treatment and disposal of domestic and industrial solid wastes including treatment plant sludges, assessment and modeling of gaseous emissions, odour, particulates, and air pollution control systems.
ENGEV580Environmental Design Project20D (Hamilton)
Engineering design principles are applied to a complex environmental engineering design challenge. Detailed considerations in the project are to include options evaluation, process selection, detailed design, environmental impact, H&S and risk.

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

Brian Perry Charitable Trust Undergraduate Scholarship in Science & Engineering  Open

For students who are enrolled in the second year of full-time study towards an undergraduate degree, in the School of Science or the School of Engineering at the University of Waikato. The scholarship will have a value of up to $3,000.
Closing Date: 15 Jul 2020

Looking for more scholarships?

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Work placements are a major feature of the Environmental Engineering programme and you will complete 800 hours of relevant work experience during your degree.

Our  Work-Integrated Learning team actively seeks and oversees your work placement, ensuring a good fit for your area of study and career goals, and supporting you throughout your work experience.

By the time you graduate you will have the credibility of paid experience to take with you as you start your career.

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School of Engineering
Phone: +64 7 838 4322