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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.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Study Locations: Hamilton; Tauranga

Study Environmental Engineering in these qualifications

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:

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ENGEN103Engineering Computing18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
This paper introduces computer programming in languages such as C# and Python. It provides the basis for the programming skills required in more advanced papers within the School of Engineering.
ENGEN112Materials Science and Engineering18B (Hamilton)
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 Society18B (Hamilton)
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 Engineering18A (Hamilton)
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.
ENGEN183Linear Algebra and Statistics for Engineers18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
A study of introductory statistics and the fundamental techniques of algebra including Gaussian elimination, vector and matrix algebra, complex numbers, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, as well as basic statistical notions and tools, with engineering applications.
ENGEN184Calculus for Engineers18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton) & 18S (Hamilton)
A study of the fundamental techniques of calculus, including differentiation and integration for functions of one real variable, with engineering applications.

Plus 30 points of electives with at least 15 points in Chemistry:

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOEB101Concepts of Biology18A (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 Biodiversity18B (Hamilton)
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 Spectroscopy18A (Hamilton), 18A (Secondary School - Unistart) & 18C (Hamilton)
A theoretical and practical course covering aspects of analytical and inorganic chemistry. This course is required for the chemistry major.
CHEMY102Chemical Reactivity18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Secondary School - Unistart)
A theoretical and practical course covering aspects of physical and organic chemistry. This course is required for the chemistry major.
EARTH101Introduction to Earth System Sciences18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
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 Earth18B (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.

Year 2

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ENGCB280Process Engineering Design 118B (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.
ENGCV223Water Engineering 118B (Hamilton)
Basic principles of fluid statics and dynamics, including fluid viscocity, Bernoulli and mechanical energy equation, dimensional analysis, flow in pipes and channels and intoduction to hydrology and fluvial processes.
ENGCV231Geotechnical Engineering 118A (Hamilton)
Basic principles and concepts governing the behaviour of soils and rocks, including phase relationships, permeability and seepage, soil strength, compressibility, slope stability analysis, consolidation and settlement.
ENGEN201Engineering Mathematics 218B (Hamilton)
Calculus of Several Variables and its Applications. Vector calculus (Green's, Gauss' and Stokes' theorems). Taylor's Theorem in n dimensions. Introduction to partial differential equations. Fourier series.
ENGEN270Engineering Professional Practice 118A (Hamilton)
Preparation for success in the engineering workplace including CV preparation, interview techniques, job seeking skills, online profile, workplace and engineering business cultures and norms, ethics, communication and management structures.
ENGEN271Industry Placement 118C (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.
ENGEV241Environmental Engineering 118B (Hamilton)
This paper covers skills, knowledge and capability for environmental engineers so they can understand, investigate and evaluate environmental engineering problems and solutions.
ENGME221Engineering Thermodynamics18A (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 Management18A (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.

Year 3

Students must take the following papers:

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ENCV340Hydrology and Hydraulics DesignThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
ENCV350Engineering Modelling and AnalysisThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
ENGEV342Sustainable Engineering18A (Hamilton)
This paper covers sustainability in engineering design within the context of quality standards, emissions, carbon accounting and life cycle analysis.
ENGG372Engineering Work Placement 218C (Hamilton)
The second Work Placement for the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree.
ENGG379Reflection on Professional Workplace Experience18A (Hamilton)
Guided reflection on professional work placements in engineering.
ENMP321Process Engineering and Design18B (Hamilton)
Advanced design and process technology for chemical, mineral, biological products and food processing. The principles of chemical and biological engineering, including designing production systems, process simulation, process economics, equipment design and separation technology.
ENMP341Environmental Technology 218A (Hamilton)
Engineering systems available for environmental issues, including processing, using and protecting water resources, wastewater treatment and disposal, air and atmosphere science and technology, emissions control, energy technology and fuel science.
ERTH352Engineering Geology18A (Hamilton)
Study of the nature and mechanics of soil instability, slope erosion processes and the physical properties of earth materials. Mitigation and avoidance of hazards resulting from slope instability and associated erosion processes.

Plus 20 points of electives from their chosen elective path:

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL312Applied Terrestrial Ecology18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
A course that explores ecological principles, ecosystem dynamics and functioning, restoration, conservation genetics, conservation ecology, forest ecosystems, pest control and protection of native species.
BIOL313Applied Freshwater Ecology18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
An introduction to the ecology of lakes and rivers. Topics covered include the structure and function of major freshwater communities, fish and fisheries, human impacts and the management of inland waters.
BIOL314Marine Biology and Monitoring18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Tauranga)
An introduction to the structure and function of marine ecosystems. This paper also covers human impacts on marine environments, including fisheries, as well as the design of ecological surveys and experiments. Field trip and practical classes are integral to the course.
BIOL341Microbial Physiology and Ecology18B (Hamilton)
A study of the physiology of bacteria with emphasis on their great metabolic diversity and on the unifying principles of energy generation. Includes Archaebacteria and bacteria of extreme environments.
CHEM311Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry 218B (Hamilton)
A theoretical paper covering aspects of analytical and inorganic chemistry. This paper is required for the Chemistry major.
CHEM312Organic and Physical Chemistry 218A (Hamilton)
A theoretical paper covering aspects of organic and physical chemistry. This paper is required for the Chemistry major.
ECON315Environmental and Natural Resource Economics18A (Hamilton)
An examination of the economics of sustainable development, resource use, pollution control and the conservation of the environment, including practical applications.
ENCV330Geomechanics 2This paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
ENGG301Special Topic in Engineering18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton), 18C (Hamilton) & 18Y (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical, literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic, supervised by a member of staff.
ENMP407Materials and Processing Elective18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
An advanced study in materials and processing. Possible options include: advanced composites; metals; bioseparation processing. Sub-topics include: available processing options; effect of material characteristics on processing parameters.
ENVP306Planning in Aotearoa/New Zealand18A (Hamilton)
This paper extends students' knowledge of contemporary planning in New Zealand, and provides a practical understanding of the range of different types of planning that can be expected for New Zealand settlements.
ERTH321Volcanology18A (Hamilton)
A study of pyroclastic rocks, physical volcanology, volcanic hazards, the origin of magmas, crystallisation of rock-forming minerals and phase equilibria, petrology and trace element geochemistry of volcanic rocks, and geothermal and mineral resources.
ERTH322Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology18B (Hamilton)
A study of sedimentary processes, depositional environments, sedimentary basins and associated resources (petroleum and coal). Introduction to sequence stratigraphy, seismic reflection mapping and wireline logging as used in the petroleum exploration industry.
ERTH333Pedology and Land Evaluation18B (Hamilton)
Soil genesis and spatial variability, quantitative soil survey and soil-landscape modelling, soil taxonomy, and the interpretation of soil and land data in a form applicable to land-use planning and management.
ERTH334Soil and Land Management18A (Hamilton)
Analysis and interpretation of soil properties relating to land and environmental management. Soil fertility, soil water management, land treatment of wastes, soil degradation and remediation, soil nitrogen and phosphorus cycling.
ERTH344Coastal Oceanography and Engineering18A (Hamilton)
A study of water movement in estuarine and shelf environments. Methodologies for quantifying processes and responses for coastal planning and management. Evaluation of design conditions for engineering purposes. Introduction to numerical modelling.
ERTH345Catchment Hydrology18A (Hamilton)
A study of the measurement, analysis and modelling of surface hydrological processes at the catchment scale, emphasising river flow, evaporation, interception loss and hillslope runoff processes.
ERTH346Freshwater Resources and Hazards18B (Hamilton)
Overview of freshwater resources and their analysis, with some emphasis on groundwater resources; introduction to hydrological hazards including flood hazard analysis and river contamination modelling.
GEOG328Geographic Information Systems18A (Hamilton), 18A (Online), 18B (Hamilton), 18B (Online) & 18B (Tauranga)
GIS is widely used for providing information through mapping and spatial analysis. This paper will teach you how to use GIS, including an overview of data, analysis functions and applications.
MCOM336Negotiation and Persuasion18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the theory and practice of persuasion and negotiation in a range of professional contexts.
MCOM392Leading Change for Sustainability18A (Hamilton)
This paper teaches leadership skills necessary for organisational change, with particular emphasis on the changes needed to make organisations more socially and environmentally sustainable.
SCIE301Research Project18A (Hamilton), 18A (Tauranga), 18B (Hamilton), 18B (Tauranga), 18C (Hamilton) & 18C (Tauranga)
Students carry out an independent research project on an approved topic under staff supervision. For a list of available projects, please contact the paper coordinator. Project start and end dates should align with A, B, S or T semester dates

Year 4

Students must take the following papers:

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
ENEV443Environment and SustainabilityThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
ENGG492Honours Research and Management Project18A (Hamilton), 18B (Hamilton), 18C (Hamilton) & 18Y (Hamilton)
An engineering research and development project, including design philosophy, market requirements, specifications, design and analysis, component and materials selection, prototype development, documentation, quality and failure analysis, standards and codes, IP protection, and project planning and management.
ENMP442Environmental Technology 318A (Hamilton)
Topics in the engineering and science of water resources and water and wastewater treatment and management.

Plus 30 points of electives from their chosen elective path:

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL560Freshwater Ecology18A (Hamilton)
A critical examination of issues that freshwater ecosystems face (e.g. pollution, conservation, utilisation) and methods to mitigate potentially competing interests.
BIOL561Aquatic Ecosystem Modelling18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the different types of models that may be applicable in aquatic ecosystem modelling, including statistical, empirical, and process-based models. The key steps to setting up a model application are covered as well as the limitations and pitfalls of each type of model. Applications of the models are demonstrated f...
BIOL563Aquatic Field MethodsThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
BIOL564Restoration Ecology18B (Hamilton)
This paper focuses on aspects of the health, vitality, resilience and restoration of ecosystems. Topics covered include restoration principles, theory and practice, lake restoration, river and stream restoration, wetland restoration and forest restoration.
BIOL573Conservation Biology18A (Hamilton)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the general principles of conservation biology, with special reference to threatened species, aquatic animals and plants.
CHEM512Topics in Advanced Physical ChemistryThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
CHEM517Applied and Environmental Analytical Chemistry A18A (Hamilton)
A critical examination of analytical methodologies for organic substances, eg pesticides, with special reference to the commercial context.
CHEM527Applied and Environmental Analytical Chemistry B18B (Hamilton)
An advanced study of instrumental analytical techniques for organic and inorganic compounds and comparison of their efficacies.
ENMP407Materials and Processing Elective18A (Hamilton) & 18B (Hamilton)
An advanced study in materials and processing. Possible options include: advanced composites; metals; bioseparation processing. Sub-topics include: available processing options; effect of material characteristics on processing parameters.
ENMP442Environmental Technology 318A (Hamilton)
Topics in the engineering and science of water resources and water and wastewater treatment and management.
ENVS524Environmental Evaluation18A (Hamilton)
This paper explores the interface between science and environmental planning. Insight into the resource consent process and the role of science in supporting sustainable resource management under the RMA is developed.
ERTH524Volcanic Processes and Hazards18A (Hamilton)
A study of volcanic landforms, physical characteristics of volcanic deposits, processes associated with eruption, transport and deposition of volcanic products, and volcanic hazards in active volcanic regions.
ERTH525Hydrothermal Mineral and Energy Systems in New Zealand18A (Hamilton)
A study of geochemical approaches and methods to solve various problems in the Earth Sciences including volcanic environments, with particular attention to hydrothermal systems, geothermal energy, and the formation of hydrothermal ore deposits.
ERTH527Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology18B (Hamilton)
This paper deals with the application of sedimentary geology and analysis of petroleum systems in New Zealand and other sedimentary basins.
ERTH528Quaternary: Past Environments18A (Hamilton)
This paper examines environmental change during the Quaternary - the last 2.6 million years - and analyses some important methods and evidence used in reconstructing past environments using a stratigraphic framework and geochronology.
ERTH533Soil and Greenhouse Gases18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the role that soils and their management play in the production and consumption of greenhouse gases, including a specific focus on the importance of solid carbon.
ERTH535Land and Soil Evaluation18A (Hamilton)
This paper examines how soil and land may be evaluated to provide an improved understanding of sustainable land management, taking into account productivity and environmental goals.
ERTH547Introduction to Hydrological Modelling18B (Hamilton)
Optimal use of water resources is an essential part of national economic development. Hydrological science is considered with emphasis on techniques of water resource studies through hydrological model construction and simulations.
ERTH548Ecohydrology18A (Hamilton)
Ecohydrology is the interdisciplinary study of the interactions between water and ecosystems. It views water, carbon and energy as essential ingredients for living systems, and recognises that ecosystems may modify the hydrological systems of which they are a part. This paper bridges the gap between hydrological, soils, ecological ...
ERTH552Rock Slope Engineering18B (Hamilton)
This paper considers rock mechanics within engineering geology, including the strength of intact rocks and rock joints, engineering geological hazards, slope stability modelling, and an applied site investigation project.
ERTH562Coastal Sedimentation18A (Hamilton)
This paper addresses modern contentious issues of coastal sedimentation and sedimentary processes within a range of sedimentary environments. Both fundamentals and applied contexts are examined.
ERTH563Coastal and Estuarine Processes18A (Hamilton)
This paper provides an understanding of processes controlling movement of water in the ocean, including longwaves, baroclinic and barotropic circulation, wind-driven processes, surf-zone waves and currents, and nearbed currents in the coastal ocean.
ERTH564Coastal and Freshwater Modelling: Physical Approaches18C (Hamilton)
This paper examines the use of conceptual, empirical and numerical models of coastal systems.
GEOG538Automated Spatial Analysis using Geographic Information Systems18A (Hamilton)
Automated techniques are the most practical method for the spatial analysis of large data sets. In this paper, students are introduced to program scripts for automated GIS analysis, which is extremely powerful compared to the 'point and click' environment, and is an area of expertise expected of GIS experts. An important part of th...
GEOG548Advanced Geographic Information Systems Modelling18B (Hamilton)
This paper provides a close examination of contemporary GIS modelling. GIS is used for a range of applications and in this paper students gain practical experience and understanding of many of these. Students are given the opportunity to develop GIS models in their choice of application.
GEOG568Applications of Geographic Information Systems18A (Hamilton)
Students work with three application areas: mobile GIS, point data analysis working towards location-based services and the analysis of areal data (such as satellite imagery or population data from Census sources) and their representation.
SCIE301Research Project18A (Hamilton), 18A (Tauranga), 18B (Hamilton), 18B (Tauranga), 18C (Hamilton) & 18C (Tauranga)
Students carry out an independent research project on an approved topic under staff supervision. For a list of available projects, please contact the paper coordinator. Project start and end dates should align with A, B, S or T semester dates

Ollie van Woerden At Waikato the lecturers are excellent and we get to do a lot of practical lab work and challenging group design projects.

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

Brian Perry Charitable Trust Undergraduate Scholarship in Science & Engineering  Closed

For students who are enrolled in the second year of full-time study towards an undergraduate degree, in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Waikato. The scholarship will have a value of up to $5,000.

Science and Engineering Masters Fees Awards  Closed

For students enrolling full-time in the first year MSc (research), MSc, MSc (Tech) ME or MEnvSci programme in the faculty of Engineering. Part-time applicants may be considered but any scholarship awarded will be on a pro-rata basis. The Scholarship will have a value of up to $2,000.

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 Cooperative Education Unit actively seeks and oversees your industrial work placement, ensuring a good fit for your area of study and career goals, and monitoring the quality of your work experience.  They are the leader in New Zealand for co-operative education programmes, with an average 350 students placed in industry every year.

By the time you graduate you will have the credibility of paid experience to take to your interviews.

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Faculty of Science & Engineering

Phone: +64 7 838 4625 / 0800 438 254