Sustainable Communities: The goal of our program is to ensure that modern civilizations coexist in harmony with nature. Environmental engineers and scientists achieve this goal by taking the technical lead for environmental assessment, protection, remediation, and scientific research. Traditionally, environmental engineers assumed responsibility for providing a safe water supply, treating wastewaters, ensuring industrial hygiene and disposing of solid waste. While those traditional responsibilities grow more important every day, environmental engineers and scientist are being called upon increasingly to expand the scope of their efforts to include the management of hazardous wastes, the remediation of soils contaminated by hazardous chemicals, the assessment of pollutants entering the environment, the development of new and novel technologies, and the management of environmental resources. This increase in the scope of the environmental research activity has been accompanied by an increase in the demand for environmental engineers and scientists with graduate education who understand complex environmental issues and who can put into effect practical and cost-efficient solutions.
The Northwestern Approach: To meet today's demands, undergraduate and graduate education at Northwestern University begins by building a strong foundation in the fundamental and applied environmental sciences. This foundation expands students' capabilities, providing state-of-the-art knowledge needed for finding and managing technical solutions to environmental challenges. These two components - sciences and technical solutions - prepare students for entering professional practice and performing independent research. Research at Northwestern stresses the integration of applied science and engineering methods. It addresses current problems and generates new knowledge for dealing with the problems of the future. Although the scope of projects is large, the research is characterized by developing a fundamental scientific understanding in parallel with engineering solutions for control, remediation or management.