Over the last several years, the department has continued to grow-both in students and faculty. With this growth, came the decision to restructure our majors.

We are pleased to announce that in the Fall of 2024, Ecological Engineering will now be offered to students as a major instead of a specialization. 

While new to Virginia Tech, our program has been at the forefront of Ecological Engineering for over 20 years. We believe the future of Ecological Engineering is at the heart of future solutions to some of our grandest challenges (impacts of climate change, increasing population, loss of ecosystem services). 

“We’re all very excited to be adding the new major in Ecological Engineering. It places the department in the vanguard of national and international efforts to foster a new engineering discipline that will help solve pressing problems in the areas of ecology, biodiversity, stream restoration, nature-based solutions, and others." said Dwayne Edwards, department head, "Very importantly, the Ecological Engineering major offers a pathway for our students to acquire the skills and training needed for post-graduation success. Being reflected on both transcripts and diplomas, the major will also offer our students a competitive advantage by clearly and accurately communicating their capabilities to prospective employers."

With this transition, we will have a handful of current students transitioning over to the major

What is an Ecological Engineering major? 

The ecological engineering major provides a strong foundational knowledge in science, mathematics, and engineering. Students will learn how to apply their science and mathematics to engineering problems. The engineering foundational courses build on this background and provide the ability for students to design sustainable solutions across engineering disciplines. Beginning in the sophomore year, students will also apply this collective knowledge to the ecological engineering discipline, taking a series of courses providing the ability to quantify energy, mass, and water movement throughout living landscapes, from the city environment to forests and farms. Along the way, students learn early on marketable internship skills (GIS, Autocad) and are provided a common Virginia Tech experience in discourse, reasoning, critical thinking, and analysis. Selected electives compliment the program, with choices from ecological restoration to field methods. The major provides hands-on learning experience integrating our unique outdoor classroom – Virginia Tech’s StrEAM Lab. The program culminates in a year-long Capstone Design Experience of real-world design problems with an industrial partner.

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