For the Second Year, Environmental Engineering Makes The U.S. News' Top 10

For the second year in a row, the Environmental Engineering program at Yale has made it into the top 10 of the U.S. News & World Report’s Graduate Engineering Rankings.

The program began in 1998 as an interdisciplinary program within the Department of Chemical Engineering. Guided by Yale’s global perspective, it was designed to focus on areas of major importance to the earth's future and build on institutional strengths in environmental, biological, and engineering sciences. In 2010, the department was renamed the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering to more accurately reflect the scope of the research and the degree offerings. 

Founded by Menachem Elimelech, the Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, the environmental engineering program now has six full-time faculty: Elimelech, Jaehong Kim, Julie Zimmerman, Drew Gentner, Jordan Peccia, and Desiree Plata. Several of the faculty members also have close ties with the School of Forestry & Environmental Science. Others are involved with Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Systems center (NEWT). Funded with an $18.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, NEWT’s partners - from industry, government and other universities – are working to provide clean water to millions of people and make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective.

The program has risen in international prominence in a very short time, producing research that has contributed significantly to the understanding of crucial issues. These include water desalination and wastewater reuse; the environmental impact of engineered nanomaterials; how energy production and use affects air quality; and the issue of how humans are exposed to bacteria and fungi in indoor settings. 

Jaehong Kim, professor and chair of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, said the ranking reflects the environmental engineering faculty’s excellence in high impact research, leadership roles at various capacities within the field, and recognition through significant awards for both research and teaching. 

“Equally important, our graduates and postdocs hold faculty positions in leading universities in the U.S. and abroad – more than 60, which is unprecedented in our field, considering the much smaller size of the program in comparison to peer programs,” he said. 

Making it into the rankings’ top 10 for a second straight year, he said, is an indication of the program's consistency.

"As one of the smallest programs among those surveyed and ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, being ranked in the top 10 for the second consecutive year is particularly significant since it testifies that last year’s ranking was not just a one-time recognition but firmly based on broad acknowledgement of our program’s recent success by peers,” Kim said. “We will continue to focus on impactful research and high quality education, with the hope of being an ambassador for Yale’s excellence in the STEM field."