Area of Impact: Environment, Sustainability and Energy

Want to be on the front line of design innovations that provide access to clean water? Interested in making a difference in global climate change? Would you like to reduce the world’s consumption of oil, natural gas, and coal? Passionate about creating affordable and accessible options to increase sustainable uses of alternative energy?

Explore your passions and the academic and career pathways available to you.

Plan your courses   Get involved   Study abroad   Join a capstone   Do research  

Choose meaningful general education courses

You can fulfill your general education requirements while building the context and creativity you'll need to engineer solutions to meaningful problems. Keep in mind that in your first year, you may want to start out in 100 or 200 level classes and build towards upper-division coursework throughout your time at the UW.

For example:

  • CEP 200 Introduction to Community and Environment (I&S)
  • ENV H 220 Global Environmental Change and Public Health (I&S)
  • GEOG 272 Geographies of Environmental Justice (I&S and DIV)
  • ENGL 265 Introduction to Environmental Humanities (I&S/VLPA, and DIV)
  • ENVIR 239 Sustainability: Personal Choices, Broad Impacts (I&S)
  • CEE 420: Engineering with Developing Communities (DIV)
  • ENVIR 211 Environmental Justice (I&S, DIV)
  • GEOG 123 Introduction to Globalization (I&S, DIV)
  • ENVIR 243 Environmental Ethics (VLPA/I&S)
  • JSIS B 391 Climate Change - An International Perspective: Science, Art, and Activism (VLPA or I&S)
  • ATM S 358 Fundamentals of Atmospheric Chemistry (NW)
  • PHYS 217: Energy Future: The Technical and Social Barriers to Large-Scale Sustainable Energy (I&S) (No Credit if Chem E 341 is taken)
  • JSIS B 357: The Geopolitics of Energy (I&S)
  • GEOG 472: Geographies of Energy & Sustainability (I&S)
  • CEE 420: Engineering with Developing Communities (DIV)​
  • ATM S 458 Air Pollution Chemistry (NW)
  • ATM S 480 Air-Quality Modeling (NW)​
  • BSE 101 Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts (I&S)
  • GEOG 370 Environmental Conservation: Geographic Perspectives (I&S)
  • ATM S 212 Air Pollution: From Urban Smog to the Ozone Hole

General education requirements

As a UW student, you are required to take general education courses. As an engineering student, this typically consists of:

  • 10 credits of Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA)
  • 10 credits of Individuals & Societies (I&S)
  • 4 credits of VLPA or I&S
  • 3 credits of Diversity (DIV)

Get involved!

Join student organizations working in your area of interest. You’ll make friends who have similar interests while building skills working on your passions!

Study abroad opportunities

Here are some examples of study abroad programs that could deepen your understanding of the way engineering can impact the lives of people around the world.

Many study abroad programs include engineering classes, participation in research or internships. See UW Engineering's Study Abroad page to learn more and start the planning process.

Capstone design projects in environment, sustainability and energy

In your final year, you will participate in a capstone design experience that serves as a culmination of your engineering study. Past capstone projects in environment, sustainability and energy have included:

  • Industrial and systems engineering and mechanical engineering students worked with construction company, McKinstry, to analyze facility data drawn from the built environment with the goal of being able to make recommendations to building occupants and operators to positively impact resource consumption.
  • Aeronautics and astronautics students worked with the magniX company to deliver a plan to convert their agricultural plane to all-electric, including installation plans for propulsion system and batteries, designs, mounts, brackets, parts lists, and full sets of CADs, drawings, virtual models and simulations.
  • Industrial and systems engineering and mechanical engineering students worked with Seattle City Light to layout and design an all-electric renewable energy powered food truck for use on Seattle streets.

Learn more: See Industry Capstone Projects (2018-2019) and a list of department-based capstone projects.

Join a research team

Every UW Engineering department offers undergraduate research opportunities. To get started: