Environmental Science And Engineering

Integrating science & engineering to achieve sustainable development and stewardship of the environment

The Environmental Science and Engineering Division (ESE) is a degree-granting academic program at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), a top-ranked public university located in Golden, Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. CSM is a world-class institution with a focus on engineering and applied science related to earth, energy, materials and environment. The current enrollment of 4,200 students includes those seeking B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Best Graduate Schools 2010The ESE Program is nationally ranked for its character and quality. The programs of study are interdisciplinary in scope and designed to prepare students to investigate and analyze environmental systems as well as evaluate and design natural and engineered solutions to protect, preserve, and benefit from the earth's resources.

ESE faculty and staff are diverse in their backgrounds and expertise, spanning civil and environmental engineering, environmental chemistry, soil science, hydrology, ecology, microbiology, toxicology, and environmental law. Students in ESE also have varied backgrounds in the physical and life sciences and most engineering disciplines; they come to ESE from across the U.S. and abroad. ESE prides itself in the diversity within the Program and the strong interactions encompassing both intellectual and social aspects of the university educational experience.


Dr. Tissa Illangasekare was appointed a Visiting Chair Professor at Peking University with the Center for Water Research, Beijing China. Peking University is one of the oldest and highly prestigious Universities in China. He was formally appointed to this during his visit to China in September when he co-chaired a Xianshan Science Conference held on September 27-29, 2011 with the theme "Tackling China's Groundwater Contamination: A Global Perspective." This meeting is part of the "Fragrant Hill (Mountain Xiangshan) Science Conference" series sponsored by China's Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as Chinese NSF and other science agencies.

National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center Award - America's cities face a looming water crisis, driven by climate change, growing population and a crumbling infrastructure.  Recognizing the critical importance of this issue, the National Science Foundation has selected Colorado School of Mines to join a partnership of four U.S. universities that addresses this challenge by developing new, sustainable ways to manage urban water.
Learn more about the Urban Water Engineering Research Center. Or see a local news clip on the new center.

ESE Professor Receives DOE Award - Dr. Tzahi Cath, assistant professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, was awarded a new research grant from DOE. The new project titled "Novel Engineered Osmosis Technology: A comprehensive Approach to the Treatment and Reuse of Produced Water and Drilling Wastewater" will explore novel technologies for treatment and reuse of wastewater in the oil and gas industry. The $1.3M project will extend over two years in which new pilot test systems will be designed, constructed, and tested in the field. Hydration Technology Innovations, a lead membrane developer and manufacturer, will be the major industry partner on this project.

Two ESE graduate students were recipients of the 2010-2011 American Water Resource Association Colorado Section Rich Herbert Memorial Scholarship.  Carrisa Homme, (advised by Dr. Jonathan Sharp). Carrisa's research topic is the Biodegradation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Waters Impacted by Urban Runoff.   Also, Kristen Mikkelson, (advised by Dr. John McCray and Dr. Jonathan Sharp) received the award. Her research area is The impact on metal loading and transport due to the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic in Rocky Mountain watersheds.  Both students presented their work at the Annual Symposium of the Colorado Section of the AWRA in April.

ESE Professor Awarded NSF Career Award - Jonathan O. (Josh) Sharp, assistant professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for his research “Cleaner Water Through Microbial Stress: An Integrated Research and Education Plan.”  Sharp’s research focuses on how biological processes can impact water quality and how to use microbes to clean contaminated sediments and water supplies (bioremediation).  The NSF CAREER award is the most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

A recent study from ESE Assistant Professor Chris Higgins' lab examined the fate and transport of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in agricultural soils amended with municipal biosolids (i.e., sewage sludge).  As discussed in an accompanying article for Chemical and Engineering News, this study addresses a major knowledge gap with respect to understanding how PFCs released from consumer products can make their way into the environment and potentially into groundwater.  Whether or not the presence of biosolids-borne PFCs in agricultural soils results in unacceptable risks to humans remains unclear, but the study does demonstrate the presence of PFCs in these systems and the potential for their transport to groundwater.    The paper will be published in a special issue on perfluorochemicals in Environmental Science and Technology later this year.

ESE Professor Dr Junko Munakata-Marr has been selected to participate in the Women’s International Research Engineering Summit 2 (WIRES2).  She is one of approximately 50 US and 50 international participants, chosen from a pool of over 350 applicants.  The workshop is funded by NSF to foster the initiation of research collaborations through the building of sustained relationships among the participants, in the areas of sustainable energy, health care and clean water.

WRGP Program Expanded to include applicants from California in the Fall of 2010 -The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) makes high-quality, distinctive graduate programs available to students of the West at the resident tuition rate. Through WRGP, residents of Alaska, Arizona, California (effective for fall 2010 enrollment) Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are eligible to enroll in available programs outside of their home state at resident tuition rates. Students need not demonstrate financial need. The Environmental Science and Engineering graduate program at CSM is a WRGP approved program. More information

Calendar Year 2010 was an exemplary year of activity and accomplishment for ESE as reflected by the following highlights:
Degrees awarded =  3 Ph.D.,  38 M.S., 17 B.S.
Research expenditures = $3.1M
Research Awards = $4.0M


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