Skip Navigation

Combined B.S. - M.S. Degree Program for Bioenvironmental Engineering — Program Description


The Graduate Program in Bioenvironmental Engineering (BEE) and the Undergraduate Programs in Environmental Engineering (EnvE) offer a Combined B.S. - M.S. (4+1) Program enabling qualified BEE/EnvE undergraduate students to be accepted into the BEE graduate program in an expedited way, thus providing those students the possibility to earn an M.S. degree in a shortened time frame.

Recent alumni surveys of BEE/EnvE graduates have shown that approximately 50% of B.S. graduates have gone on to obtain Professional Engineering (PE) licenses. State PE licensing boards are considering a Graduate Studies requirement for all new PEs (in fact, The American Society of Civil Engineering’s (ASCE) Policy Statement 465 directly addresses this). Thus, a seamless process leading directly to an M.S. degree is of major benefit to qualified BEE/EnvE students.

In addition, approximately 25% of BEE/EnvE graduates have found employment in the government sector. Some government agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, regard the M.S. degree as a professional credential with recipients eligible for salary increases.


BEE/EnvE undergraduates who have attained an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher and have completed (or are completing) the second semester of their junior year are eligible to apply to the 4+1 program. Students usually apply during their sixth semester or right before their seventh semester. Applicants apply through the Graduate School application portal. The application fee is waived. The interested student must have completed 90 credits of coursework by the end of their sixth semester of undergraduate study. They will be granted conditional admission while they are still undergraduates and be formally admitted to the M.S. program once they have successfully completed all the requirements for their undergraduate degree. Students are encouraged to discuss with their undergraduate advisor and the directors of the graduate and undergraduate programs, how to best plan their courses during their senior year.

Consistent with School of Graduate Studies policy and other Rutgers Engineering Programs, the GRE requirement is waived for students applying for the 4+1 program. However, it is still recommended that the GRE exam be taken, as it is required for many applications for national fellowships, as well as by many graduate programs at other universities.

Study Program

The traditional BEE M.S. program offers two plans: (A) 24-25 credits of coursework, 6 credits of research, and a comprehensive oral examination that includes the defense of a written thesis; or (B) 30 credits of coursework, submission of an approved critical essay, and a comprehensive oral examination. It is typically completed over a 1.5-year to 2-year time period. The B.S. - M.S. (4+1) program also offers two plans and provides students with the opportunity to earn a Master's degree within an expedited time frame. This becomes possible by taking one or more graduate-level courses in the senior year in addition to completing the undergraduate degree requirements.

The following description is a recommended study sequence for the 4+1 Plan B program:

  • Senior year: During the Spring Semester the student takes at least one graduate course in addition to the remaining B.S. courses.
  • Summer after Senior Year: Consult with advisor to define topic and scope of critical essay.
  • Fifth year Fall Semester: The student takes four 3-credit graduate courses, a one-credit graduate seminar (16:116:611 or 16:375:613) and Special Problems in Bioenvironmental Engineering (16:116:697) for one credit for preparation of the critical essay.
  • Fifth year Spring Semester: The student takes four 3-credit graduate courses. In addition, the student takes Special Problems in Bioenvironmental Engineering (16:116:698) for one credit for completion of the critical essay.
  • Summer following fifth year: The student finalizes the critical essay and takes the comprehensive final exam.

Alternatively, the following is a recommended study sequence for a Plan A (research) program. This program is suggested for students who will be starting or have been conducting research as part of the Slade or George H. Cook Scholars Programs:

  • Senior year: Enroll in Slade Scholars or George H. Cook Honors Program. Take six credits of Honors Research (e.g., 650:491 and 650:492 for Slade Scholars), which count as course credits towards the B.S. Honors research can become the thesis topic for the M.S. degree. Students take 2 graduate courses, if prepared, but can take up to 3 graduate courses. Please note that courses used to satisfy B.S. requirements may not be used to satisfy M.S. requirements (i.e., no "double counting").
  • Fifth year: Three graduate courses and three credit hours of research each semester. A one-credit graduate seminar is taken during the fall semester.
  • Summer (and perhaps fall) following fifth year: Write M.S. thesis and defend.

Note: Students can change advisors at the end of their fourth year. The Honors research topic does not necessarily have to be the M.S. thesis topic.