Plant and Earth Science Lab file photo 2017

UWRF student Hailey Breister (2018) prepares to test phosphorus and nitrate levels in surface water samples.

New environmental engineering program approved 

April 3, 2020 – The UW System Board of Regents has approved a new undergraduate Bachelor of Science program in environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Students will be accepted into the program beginning in fall 2020. This will be one of only three ABET-accredited programs in environmental engineering in Wisconsin. The previous options for students in northern and western Wisconsin were limited and many engineering programs in the upper Midwest only offer a track or option in environmental engineering, typically within their civil engineering programs.

“I appreciate the support of the Board of Regents in approving our new environmental engineering program,” said Dale Gallenberg, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “I’m excited for the opportunities it creates for our students and the additional capacity it brings to UWRF to help meet the needs of industry and employers in northwestern Wisconsin.”

This is the second professional engineering program for UW-River Falls. In fall 2015, the Board of Regents approved the agricultural engineering program, which began accepting students in 2016. The two professional engineering programs complement one another and build on the successful agricultural engineering technology program at UW-River Falls which has had a track in environmental engineering technology for many years. The new environmental engineering program complements the growing environmental science major at UW-River Falls, as well as other historically strong programs such as crop and soil science.

“We are very excited to introduce the environmental engineering program at UW-River Falls,” said Joel Peterson, associate professor and department chair. “Not only do students have an additional major in engineering to choose from, they can feel good that their career path will lead to a cleaner and more sustainable planet. Western Wisconsin and the greater Twin Cities area have many potential employers ranging from small local government to large private corporations.”

Over the past four years, UWRF has made a significant investment in its engineering facilities, renovating more than half of the 23,000 square feet of space dedicated to the engineering and engineering technology programs. At the same time many pieces of test equipment and instrumentation were upgraded. There has also been an investment in faculty. There are six faculty members dedicated to the engineering programs, supported by colleagues in environmental science, physics, math and other programs. The engineering faculty have diverse areas of expertise, including industry experience in water resources, air quality and solid waste management, and bioprocessing.

For more information about the new program, email


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