Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing. Most applicants have a Bachelor of Science in some branch of engineering. Those with a degree in natural sciences or mathematics can be admitted but will need to make up course deficiencies in undergraduate preparation as shown in the section on Background Preparation. Exceptional applicants seeking the Ph.D. degree can proceed directly to the Ph.D. program without completing a master's degree.

All applications are considered individually and admission decisions are made collectively by all EWRE faculty. Decisions are based on all applicable items of the six listed below.


A minimum 3.0 GPA out of 4.0 is expected for M.S. applicants, and 3.5 for Ph.D. applicants. This GPA is based on upper-division undergraduate courses and all graduate work.


Applicants must take the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination. Successful applicants typically have a quantitative score of at least 700, an analytical writing score of at least 4.0, and (for those whose native language is English) a verbal score above 500. The ETS code for UT Austin is 6882.


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all students whose native language is not English. Successful applicants typically have scores of at least 240 on the computer-based test (equivalent to 587 on the older paper-based test and 94-95 on the internet-based test); higher scores increase the chances of admission. The ETS code for UT Austin is 6882.


Three letters of recommendation from people familiar with the applicant's abilities are required. Academic references are strongly preferred. When you complete the "References" portion of the online application for admission, you will give the names and email addresses of those you have asked to recommend you. Be sure that the email address is current and accurate. You will be asked to inform us if you are going to waive the right to view your letters after they are submitted. Please indicate this by answering the associated question on the application for admission.

GIAC will send an e-mail message to the address you provide and ask your recommender to visit a web site where they can complete a questionnaire. Your recommender will be informed if you have not waived your right to view his/her letter of recommendation. To monitor and maintain your requests for reference, please go to the status check website. There you can monitor the status of your pending recommendations, resend a Request for Reference email to your recommenders, add a new recommender, and revise your FERPA (right to review) status from retained to waived. If you have additional questions about online recommendation letters, please email gradref@austin.utexas.edu.

Online submission of recommendations is strongly preferred, but we will accept paper recommendations if necessary.

Personal Statement

A statement describing the applicant's activities, accomplishments, goals, and research interests (to the extent known) is required of all applicants.

Work Experience

For those with work experience beyond graduation (or relevant summer or co-op experience), a summary of the employment record is desired.

Application Information

Applicants are requested to state their interests within Environmental and Water Resources Engineering as specifically as possible by identifying one or more areas of interest. Choose from the list that follows:

  • Treatment Processes
  • Water Resources
  • Fluid Mechanics and Ocean Engineering
  • Water Quality Management
  • Air Resources
  • Environmental Engineering Science

The recommended application due dates for submitting materials for admission are December 15 for fall and summer semesters and September 1 for spring. For applicants seeking financial aid, these dates should be regarded as the final deadline. Decisions on financial aid and fellowship awards for fall semester begin by mid January, and applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all materials by December 15th.

Complete the online Cockrell Graduate Application. When one begins the on-line application, an application number and server space is assigned so that the applicant can access and work on the application as many times as desired until he or she is ready to submit; only after the application is submitted (an instruction on the on-line application) do UT Austin staff and faculty have access to the information.

Please note: The code for Civil Engineering is 621700 and the code for Environmental and Water Resources Engineering is 640100. After you have submitted and paid for your application, you must upload a pdf copy of your official transcript onto the admissions website. If admitted, you will need to send your official transcripts to the Graduate and International Admission Center before you will be allowed to register.

Graduate Coordinator: Contact if you have questions about procedures for applying to EWRE, deadlines, and application status.

Velma Vela
Graduate Coordinator

(512) 232-1709
The University of Texas at Austin
Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
301 E. Dean Keeton, Stop C1700
Austin, TX 78712-1056

Graduate Advisor: Contact if you would like to schedule a campus visit.

Dr. Paola Passalacqua, PHD
Graduate Advisor

(512) 471-3319
The University of Texas at Austin
Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, ECJ 8.6
301 E. Dean Keeton, Stop C1786
Austin, TX 78712-1173

Photo of a lab

The EWRE Laboratory facilities, housed on the main campus and at J.J. Pickle Research Campus, are well-equipped for performing both basic and applied state-of-the-art research in virtually all areas of environmental and water resources engineering.

EWRE students in class

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineers protect the natural environment and the health of people as influenced by the environment.  The field began as part of civil engineering by providing the water supply for municipalities, but has grown to encompass a broader view of the interaction of humans and the environment.  The environmental engineer applies principles from all of the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, geology, and biology) to understand the natural environment and to build systems that protect the environment and public health.  Areas of environmental engineering include i) air, climate and energy, ii) sustainable water systems, iii) water resources and the environment, and iv) contaminant fate and transport.

Environmental engineering graduates of the University may seek a wide variety of employment opportunities with private consulting firms, industry, and government agencies at the local, state, and national levels.  Those who plan to pursue graduate work in engineering, or in other professions such as business, medicine, law, or journalism have an excellent base on which to build.

The curriculum for a degree in Environmental Engineering was designed to provide students with a strong foundation in the natural sciences and engineering, to provide students with the tools needed to develop sustainable solutions to environmental challenges using a systems approach, and to prepare students for employment upon graduation in one of the areas of the field. 

The curriculum for the degree in Environmental Engineering is provided in the example course sequence below.  Each course designated with a * represents a core course in Environmental Engineering, and descriptions are provided in Courses section.  Descriptions of new elective courses in environmental engineering are also provided in the Course section.  Please note that each student must complete the University‚Äôs core curriculum.  In some cases, a course required for the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering may also be counted toward the core curriculum.  

Example Course Sequence

First Year

Fall     Spring    
Hrs. Course# Desc Hrs. Course# Desc.
4 M 408C Differential & Integral Calc. 4 M 408D Sequences, Series & Multiv. Calc.
3 CH 301 Princ. Chem. I 3 CH 302 Princ. Chem. II
3 BIO 311C Intro. Bio. I 2 CH 204 Intro. Chem. Practice
3 RHE 306 Rhetoric Composition 3 *EVE 302 *Foundations Envirn. Eng.
3 UGS 302 (or 303) 1st-year Signature Course 3 PHY 303K Eng. Physics I
      1 PHY 103M PHY Lab

Second Year

Fall     Spring    
Hrs. Rubric Desc Hrs. Rubric Desc.
4 M 427J/ M427K Differential Eqns. w/ Linear Algebra 3 CH 328M Organic Chem.
3 PHY 303L Eng. Physics II 3 CE 319F Fluid Mechanics
1 PHY 103N Lab for PHY 3 CE 311K Intro. Computer Methods
3 EM 306 Statistics 3 CE 333T Eng. Communications
3 *EVE 310 *Sustainable Eng. Systems 3 EVE 312 *Environ. Eng. Science
3 GOV American Government      

Third Year

Fall     Spring    
Hrs. Rubric Desc Hrs. Rubric Desc.
3 ME 320 / ME 326 / CH 353 Thermodynamics / Physical Chemistry 3 GEO 303 Intro. to Geology
3 CE 311S Probability Stats. Civil Eng. 3   Environ. Eng. Elective
3 CE 356 Elements Hydraulic Eng. 3   Environ. Eng. Elective
3   Environ. Eng. Elective 3 HIS American History
3 GOV American Government 3   Humanities Core Course

Fourth Year

Fall     Spring    
Hrs. Rubric Desc Hrs. Rubric Desc.
3 ARE 323K Proj. Mgmt. & Econ. 3   Environ. Eng. Design Elect.
3   Environ. Eng. Elective 3   Engineering Elective
3   Environ. Eng. Elective 3   Engineering Elective
3   Social & Behavioral Sci. Core Course 3 HIS American History
3   Math or Science Elective 3   Visual & Performing Arts Core Course

NOTE: In the process of fulfilling engineering degree requirements, students must also complete coursework to satisfy the following flag requirements: one independent inquiry flag, one quantitative reasoning flag, one ethics and leadership flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the US flag, and two writing flags.  The independent inquiry flag, the quantitative reasoning flag, the ethics and leadership flag, and one writing flag are carried by courses specifically required for the degree; these courses are identified below.  Students are advised to fulfill the flag requirements with a course that meets other requirements of the degree.  Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule.

Photo of measurement equipment

EWRE students can pursue the Master of Science (M.S.) degree or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. These programs have separate degree requirements.