ERE Graduate Option Curriculum

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The Environmental Resource Engineering (ERE) option is part of the Environmental Systems Graduate Program at Cal Poly Humboldt. The option focuses on the analysis and modeling of land, water, and renewable energy systems. Career possibilities include work in environmental engineering, water quality engineering, renewable energy engineering, and water resources engineering.

PV testing   Eillen in the river

Recommended Program Prerequisites:

Applicants should have an undergraduate major in engineering (civil, mechanical, agricultural, chemical, industrial, environmental, or other) or physical science. Students who have not yet completed core competencies needed for Environmental Resources Engineering may be required to take additional units of prerequisite coursework.

Program Requirements:

Course requirements for the program include a set of classes that are common to the Environmental Systems Graduate Program, one of two courses that are specific to the ERE option, and an approved set of upper division and graduate elective courses. Students must complete a minimum of 30 units of coursework to receive a master's degree in Environmental Systems. Each student must also complete a master's thesis or project.

Core Requirements

Core program requirements include a graduate colloquium, a resource economics course, and a policy course with an energy or water focus.

  • Colloquium (1 unit): The colloquium will emphasize the development of communication skills for academic and professional work, including proposal writing, oral presentations, and poster presentations. The curriculum will include direct instruction for conducting ethical research.
  • Economics and Policy Courses (8 units): The economics and policy course requirements are designed to provide students with foundational tools for the analysis of energy and water related resource issues. They are also intended to provide students with knowledge about the broader policy context for their respective professional fields.
Engineering Design Course Requirements (9 units)

Students are also required to complete at least three graduate level engineering design courses (see Table 1). These courses are intended to allow students to develop engineering design skills in an area of specialization (renewable energy systems, water resources, water quality, and energy conservation).

Table 1. List of Approved Graduate Level Engineering Courses*

CourseDescriptionTotal Units
ENGR 518Applied Hydraulics3
ENGR 521Advanced Numerical Methods for Engineers3
ENGR 534Air Quality Managememt3
ENGR 536Solid Waste Engineering3
ENGR 541Hydrology II3
ENGR 543Groundwater Systems3
ENGR 545Water Resources Planning and Management3
ENGR 548River Hydraulics3
ENGR 551Water and Wastewater Design4
ENGR 552Design of Water Treatment & Reuse Systems3
ENGR 553Wastewater Treatment Engineering3
ENGR 555Engineered Natural Treatment Systems3
ENGR 571Advanced Thermo and Energy Systems3
ENGR 573Building Energy Analysis3
ENGR 575Renewable Energy Power Systems3
ENGR 578Electricity Grids & Distributed Renewable Energy3
ENGR 581Selected Topics with Engineering Design3

*Most of these courses are cross listed with the BS senior engineering design electives. If a design elective has both 400- and 500-level sections, graduate students in the ERE option should enroll in a 500-level course and undergraduates enroll in a 400-level course. Additional course assignments and a higher performance level are required for graduate enrollees.

*Engineering design electives are taught on a two-year rotation. Not all courses are taught each year.  Check the ERE department website for the latest planned design course rotation.

*ECON 550: Econ of Energy and Climate Policy is offered every other fall

*Students taking ECON 423 should also take ECON 423 D

*All course descriptions for the classes listed in the above table are located at the Humboldt Office of Registrar Catalog webpage under the Course Description section for each respective subject.

Economics and Policy Course Requirements (7-8 units)

Students should take one course from each of the pre-approved lists below. Substitutions may be accepted with committee approval.

Economics course (4 units)

  • ECON 423 & 423D. Environmental & Natural Resources Economics. (These must be taken together)
  • ECON 550. Economics of Energy & Climate Policy

Policy course (3-4 units). 

  • ENGR 532. Energy, Environment & Society (4)
  • ENGR 533. Energy & Climate Change (4)
  • ESM 510. Human Dimensions of Natural Resources (3)
  • ESM 620. Ecosystems & Society (3)
  • ESM 462. Coastal & Marine Planning (3)
  • ESM 460. Environmental Planning for Public Lands & Rural Communities (3)
  • NAS 366. Tribal Water Rights (4)
  • GEOG 365 / PSCI 365. Political Ecology (4)


Elective Courses and Thesis / Project Units 

In consultation with their advisor and committee, students must enroll in additional upper division or graduate level courses and thesis/project units to meet the minimum 30 units required for the MS degree. The courses should be in engineering or science disciplines and should complement the engineering design coursework in each student's area of specialization.

PV testing  PV testing    PV testing

Additional Information

International Students can obtain additional information about graduate studies at Cal Poly Humboldt at the International Student Website.