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Graduate Studies in Environmental Engineering & International Dev.

  1. Jul 21, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I wanted to talk about WASH, and water and sanitation engineering. I'm particularly interested in WASH from an international development perspective. I have a B.S. degree in physics, and am currently in the Peace Corps, with the intention of joining an Environmental Engineering Masters program when I come back to the states, focusing on water and waste treatment.

    I have been looking at a lot of programs, and I am a bit worried. Rare internet access means that the research I've been able to do is pretty rudimentary, but while looking for programs that focus on how water and development coincide I have noticed that there seem to be many more programs that want to look at the environmental side of things (naturally enough). Surface hydrology over building latrines, if that makes sense. UC Berkeley seems to be the exception to this- their program seems explicitly geared towards development, especially with their new $20 million grant from USAID to build a "developmental engineering" program. That is exactly what I am looking for: departments who are explicitly looking at how innovation and application (re: watsan) can make direct differences in the lives of the poor. I want to have the qualifications to treat peoples water properly before I come back to my PC country and start trying to sustainably change things.

    Unfortunately, UC Berkeley's Environmental Engineering program is ranked at #1. Especially as a
    "transfer" with a physics degree, and a solid but not stellar undergraduate gpa (3.65), I certainly cannot peg all my hopes on one fantastic program. I'd like to know if you all know of programs that have similar interests to what I've explained above. As I'm an outsider to the field, I would also greatly appreciate any advice or perspective you all can give me on the intersection between watsan engineering and development. For example, what educational path is most valued? What is employment typically like (big contractors? NGOs? Government? ...Social Entrepreneurs?)? What experiences and frustrations have you had in this field? Does the education properly prepare you for industry, or are joint degrees more desirable (say with pubpol programs)? What else can you tell me about environmental engineering, in general? Does being a physics "transfer" substantially weaken my case? What about my direct experiences in development during my time with the Peace Corps?

    I realize this is a niche request. Nonetheless, I hope to get some quality answers, and if there is any place on the internet to get them, this would probably be it. If my inquiries could be better answered elsewhere, please direct me there. Thanks.

  2. jcsd
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