Environmental Engineering, M.Sc.

Environmental Engineering is an interdisciplinary degree program of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RUB.

The Bachelor's and Master's program (formerly Environmental Engineering and Resource Management) is characterized by its focus on environmental engineering issues and the consideration of systemic interrelationships with the inclusion of societal constraints. This means that in addition to the necessary engineering basics, many application-related contents are taught, which - depending on the chosen specialization - can be assigned to the field of energy and process engineering or civil engineering.

By focusing on current topics and application examples, such as engineer-related questions around climate change or recycling technologies, as well as the consideration of sustainability goals in the use of raw materials and energy, the degree program prepares students early on for the pressing environmentally relevant challenges of our time and teaches current solution approaches and technologies that prepare students for the job market of the future.

The Fields of Specialization

The use of sustainable production technologies has been the subject of research and industrial practice for many years. The principles of sustainability have also been taught in our degree programmes for quite some time. And yet, with the newly designed specialisation 'Sustainable Systems & Technologies', we offer a completely new teaching and learning approach for all those who want to work as engineers on the future design of a sustainable production environment for material and energy conversion systems. Closed material cycles, plastics recycling, CO2 and pollutant avoidance, integration of sustainably generated energy flows in chemical production processes, hydrogen technologies and sector coupling of energy-intensive processes are only the latest topics currently in the public domain that are the subject of the selectable lecture modules in the degree programme. In the Sustainable Systems & Technologies specialisation, we provide answers and teach the tools for developing sustainable solutions in the field of energy technology and process engineering.

Environmental engineers with a specialisation in 'Sustainable Systems & Technologies' can apply their acquired knowledge in large industrial companies, but also in small and medium-sized companies in the energy industry and the chemical, petrochemical or pharmaceutical industry. For example, environmental engineers can contribute to sustainable solutions across a uniquely broad range of disciplines, from the optimisation of energy systems, to the conversion of chemical production to bio-based raw materials, to the development of recycling processes for battery systems. Last but not least, environmental engineers can also work in the public sector and planning offices and at colleges and universities, where they can provide constructive support for the energy and raw materials transition.

Due to its large consumption of resources and energy, the building sector plays an important role in achieving the climate protection goals in Germany. The declared goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to such an extent that the building sector achieves a "greenhouse gas-neutral building stock" by 2045 has been brought to the fore by the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the Climate Protection Act. These issues in building construction and infrastructure construction are current and future challenges that engineers face.
In general, the environment can be described as both a complex and a highly sensitive system. The perceptible impact of environmental influences often occurs with a time lag from the external factors causing them. Sustainability in the built environment leads to shaping the future in a way that protects the climate and conserves resources.

Environmental engineers with the specialisation "Sustainability in the Built Environment" have, among other things, the task of dealing with the fundamental issues of environmental planning, environmental modelling and sustainability from overarching issues to detailed questions on, for example, the choice of building materials. One task is to understand the complex interrelationships and behaviour of environmental systems with the built environment. This includes the ecological consideration of building constructions, especially with regard to deconstruction and recycling possibilities in the building sector. The return of materials to the material cycle and its effects describes a sub-area of the recycling possibilities. Further tasks are the solutions to common problems of resource efficiency, taking into account the life cycle analysis of the built environment, by establishing a relationship between building constructions and sustainability, among other things.

In general, it can be summarised that future-oriented environmental engineering issues are dealt with using the example of recycling strategies, dealing with emissions and engineering measures for climate protection, here through the specialisation "Sustainability in the Built Environment", especially in building construction and infrastructure construction.

Transport infrastructure is the lifeblood of the economy and society. At the same time, climate targets pose major challenges for environmentally sound planning, resource-efficient construction and sustainable operation of transport infrastructure. The renovation and efficient utilisation of existing infrastructure, including new mobility offers, are gaining in importance over the construction and expansion of new transport routes.

Environmental engineers specialising in transport have the task of developing sustainable mobility solutions that achieve a high level of transport quality, environmental compatibility and economic efficiency. Based on the knowledge that the capacity of road traffic facilities is influenced by random factors, approaches are derived to optimise traffic control in order to achieve reliable, low-emission operation that is as trouble-free as possible. Minimising the noise and pollutant load of road, rail and air traffic, especially in urban settlement and conurbation areas, is also an important challenge. Asphalt construction methods with optimised surface structures and special binder concepts are helpful instruments for reducing noise pollution. Materials research, optimisation of construction methods and time-minimised implementation of road construction measures are further important fields of activity with regard to an innovative and environmentally friendly transport infrastructure.

Global change is further increasing the pressure on natural resources that is already noticeable today, so that the provision of solutions for the sustainable construction and operation of water infrastructures, environmental geotechnics and construction geology is one of the greatest challenges facing future generations of engineers.

Environmental engineers specialising in 'water engineering and geotechnics' integrate innovative procedures and methods developed in research into practice, e.g. in urban water management, so that measures for improved climate protection, a reduction of sector-specific relevant greenhouse gases and energy consumption can be derived. The overarching goal is to optimise hydraulic engineering infrastructures in terms of sustainability and to close material cycles. Extreme hydrological events and changes in water quality are direct consequences of global change. Environmental engineers develop hydrological models to describe the effects on the terrestrial water cycle and to make statements on the extent to which (global) water resources can be used and managed sustainably. Environmental engineers have the task of planning and constructing the geotechnical structures required for water, transport and energy infrastructure, such as earth dams, dikes, embankments and foundations for wind turbines, in a stable manner, taking into account sustainability and circular economy, so that they are adapted to changing hydrological and hydromechanical stresses. They know the relevant soil properties, how to determine them by testing and can evaluate the soil properties with regard to various environmental geotechnical requirements. The task of environmental engineers is to identify possible contamination of the soil, to plan technical measures for the remediation of polluted soils, i.e. also to develop effective and sustainable barrier systems for surface landfills and deposits.

The Study Program at a Glance

Applicants must have basic engineering knowledge as well as prior knowledge of mathematics and mechanics in order to understand and evaluate complex technical solutions in the field of environmental engineering.

Applicants with a qualified bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a comparable degree program from a university are eligible for admission after completing at least six semesters of study (three academic years, 180 ECTS). Equivalency is determined on the basis of the submitted application documents. If the bachelor's degree has not yet been completed, the application can be submitted with a transcript of records with at least 150 CP and an average grade weighted by CP.

For applications for the winter semester, the bachelor's degree must be completed by September 30, and for applications for the summer semester by March 31.

The deadline for applications from applicants with non-European citizenship and/or a degree that starts in the winter semester is July 15, and the deadline for applications that start in the summer semester is January 15.

The deadline for applications of applicants with European citizenship and/or a university degree is October 15 for the start of the winter semester and April 15 for the start of the summer semester.

Information for prospective international students can be found here.

General information on the application process and further information can be found on our Download website under "Information Master Admission Procedure".

Click here for generel deadlines and lecture times.

Information on the course of studies such as the examination regulations, the curriculum and the module handbook of the study program can be found in the download area. In particular, the curriculum describes the organizational and content-related course of study and lists the compulsory and elective modules. Detailed information on the modules that must be taken in the study program can be found in the module handbook.

The Core Areas of Work:
Planning and construction of process plants, resource protection, contaminated sites, wasteland recycling, sustainable construction, environmental planning, environmental compatibility, transportation, noise protection, water, wastewater, industrial processes/plants, production-integrated environmental protection, energy technology/energy industry, renewable energies, project management

Future employers:
Engineering companies, authorities, associations, universities, research institutes, public utilities, waterworks, sewage treatment plants, transport companies, chemical industry companies, energy companies, waste disposal companies, major banks

The master's program can be started in both the winter and summer semesters. The program is open admission, but an application is still required. Instructions on the application procedure and further information can be found here.

Participation in the mandatory master's advising consultation is required for enrollment. The dates can be found here. The certificate of the mandatory counseling session will be submitted online to the Registrar's Office by the Academic Advising Office.

You will be notified of the enrollment deadlines by the admission letter. The usual documents are required for enrollment (see here). The certificate of obligatory counseling will be sent to the Student Secretariat online by the Student Counseling Service.


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