Geo-Environmental Engineering


Geo-environmental Engineering is an evolving field of study, involving diverse fields as geotechnical, environmental and chemical engineering, geology, hydrogeology, chemistry, microbiology and soil sciences, dealing with pollutants in the environment, protecting ecological and human health.

Geo-environmental Engineering research at UBC focusses on understanding contaminant fate and transport including microplastics, emerging contaminants and persistent organic pollutants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); ‘novel’ brominated flame retardants (NBFRs); per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs); pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) including analgesics (e.g., naproxen, ibuprofen) and disinfectants, antibacterial soaps and hand-sanitizers (e.g., triclocarban, triclosan); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); hydrophobic organic pollutants and heavy metals; pollution control and remediation in the soil/sediment/water; utilizing waste-to-resources in the aim of achieving cradle to cradle circular economy.

The group has long history of working closely with industry and partnering with local, provincial and national governments in solving emerging environmental issues.

Key Areas

• Fate and transport of mixed contaminants
• Development of effective sorbent from waste materials (sewage-sludge/biosolids; wood waste; agricultural wastes) by pyrolysis process
• Green infrastructure for rainwater/stormwater management (biofiltration, rain-garden, wetland)
• Removal of contemporary contaminants from aqueous media

Media Highlights

Specialization Requirements

Elective courses (min. credits) 17 29
Seminar course CIVL 597 CIVL 597
Thesis course CIVL 599 CIVL 699

Elective requirements

Electives may be taken from the list of Approved Electives below, or other electives may be taken with the approval of the Specialty Advisor / Supervisor.

Undergraduate students who are interested in Geo-Environmental Engineering are directed to the following courses:

  • CIVL 408
  • EOSC 329
  • EOSC 429

Graduate Courses

Pre-/Co-requisite Courses (do not count towards credit total)NameCreditsTerm
CIVL 204Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering (or equivalent)32
Core Courses – Graduate NameCreditsTerm
Register in one of the following, and attend individual seminars as are the most relevant:
CIVL 597-002Graduate Seminar (Hydrotechnical)11 & 2
CIVL 597-003Graduate Seminar (Environmental)11 & 2
CIVL 597-007Graduate Seminar (Geotechnical)11 & 2
 Total core-course credits:1
Approved Graduate Elective CoursesNameCreditsTerm
CIVL 523Project Management for Engineers32
CIVL 541Environmental Fluid Mechanics3N/A1
2CIVL 561Risk & Remediation in Geo-environment32
3CIVL 562Environmental Contaminant Analysis Laboratory3N/A1
CIVL 565Physical-Chemical Treatment Processes31
3CIVL 566Transport and Mixing of Pollutants in Aquatic Systems2N/A1
CIVL 570Advanced Soil Mechanics31
CIVL 574Experimental Soil Mechanics32
CIVL 575Constitutive Models for Soil2N/A1
CIVL 579Geosynthetics21
CHBE 575Air Pollution Control31
EOSC 532Field Laboratory in Groundwater Hydrology32
3EOSC 533Advanced Groundwater Hydrology31
2EOSC 535Transport Processes in Porous Media3N/A1
EOSC 540Advanced Groundwater Geochemistry3N/A1
2EOSC 541Multi-Component Reactive Transport Modelling in Groundwater32
FRST 590Statistical Methods in Hydrology3N/A1
MINE 541Environmental Technologies and Issues in Mining31
SOIL 515Integrated Watershed Management 31
Approved Undergraduate ElectivesNameCreditsTerm
CIVL 407Environmental Laboratory Analysis31
CIVL 411Foundation Engineering II32
CIVL 416Environmental Hydraulics31
EOSC 429Groundwater Contamination32
EOSC 431Groundwater Remediation3N/A

1N/A – not offered in 2020/21.

2These are considered the highest priority courses and should be taken if available.

3CIVL 562 requires CIVL 407 as a prerequisite; CIVL 566 requires CIVL 416 as a co-requisite, which in turn requires CIVL 215 and CIVL 316 as prerequisites; EOSC 532 requires EOSC 533 as a prerequisite.


To learn more about Geo-Environmental Engineering at UBC, please contact Dr. Loretta Li.



Our well-equipped Environmental Research Facilities are housed in six laboratories and two analytical rooms that house our updated analytical instrumentation. Students have access to the graduate geotechnical and material laboratories and their innovative equipment. Learn more.