The EEE Combined Degree

Today I wanted to write about Purdue’s Environmental and Ecological Engineering Combined Degree (MSEEE) program. This is a new opportunity for students at Purdue to earn a non-thesis master’s degree a year after completing their undergraduate work – this is why you’ll often hear it called a 4+1 program. As an NRES student, you’ll be eligible to take part in MSEEE.

Here’s a breakdown of the logistics:

  1. Apply during your 6th semester as an undergrad student
  2. Have a 3.25 GPA
  3. After being accepted, take 9 credits of graduate (500+) level courses as a senior before you graduate
  4. Take your remaining 21 credits of courses and seminars during a 5th year at Purdue

I graduated from NRES last year and am currently in my final two months of the MSEEE program. NRES prepared me incredibly well for a career in environmental science. I look forward to returning to my job with the US Dept. of Transportation (check out one of my earlier blogposts if you want to know more about it!) and my position requires me to work closely with both scientists and engineers. This encouraged me to work toward a graduate degree in engineering and I’ve found the program to fit very well with my personal interests and career goals. Like NRES, EEE is an interdisciplinary program, so there is plenty of opportunity to specifically study in your environmental area of focus. In addition to your typical 3-credit courses, all graduate students in EEE take six 1-credit modules that each last five weeks and cover a wide range of topics each year. This year’s modules included courses in modeling complex industrial systems, photochemical reactor theory, membranes for water filtration, engineering ethics, and environmental compliance regulation. You will also take seminars that meet each week for presentations from industry professionals, faculty from Purdue and other universities, as well as graduate students conducting their own research. As a grad student, I also had the opportunity to conduct my own research with a lab in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.


In addition to a great lineup of courses, MSEEE introduces you to an incredible group of faculty and graduate students who want you to succeed. Being used to the friendly nature of the NRES program where everyone knows everyone’s name, I was excited to find a similarly welcoming feel in the EEE graduate program. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with faculty and other students in and outside of the classroom. The EEE Graduate Student Organization even offers monthly events for students and professors such as intramural sports, ice skating, happy hours, and apple picking – I included a picture from a trip to the corn maze below!


If you might be interested in the program, here are a few suggestions:

  • Check out the program’s website on the EEE page
  • Consider the EEE minor. As an NRES student this will introduce you to EEE students, faculty, and courses
  • If you want to try out EEE classes but not do a minor, there are some EEE classes that can count towards your NRES degree
  • Take higher level calculus and chemistry courses. This will better prepare you for graduate engineering classes
  • Talk to a student who is in the program. You can always send me an email too!

While the combined degree isn’t for everyone, I was excited to find a program that fit so well into my own education and career goals. If you feel the same way, I highly encourage you look into the program more. Let’s finish out the semester strong!


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