A professors talks with students in a classroom.

Sustainable Engineering is a cross-cutting discipline within the engineering profession.

As the earth’s population grows and standards of living rise, engineers are being called upon to play leadership roles in sustainable development and to find solutions to global challenges such as the depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation and damage to ecosystems.

Engineers are at the forefront of making decisions with long-term implications for the planet, and must balance the needs of today’s global population with those of generations to come.


One of the first of its kind in the country, Villanova University’s Sustainable Engineering master's degree program prepares students to use a whole-systems approach to problem-solving through a lifecycle lens. 

Villanova also offers a certificate program, executive education and PhD concentration in the area of Sustainable Engineering, as well as an undergraduate minor in Sustainability Studies.


In addition to its academic programs, Villanova is advancing two initiatives:

The Resilient Innovation through Sustainable Engineering (RISE) Forum: The nation’s first and only initiative to address issues of corporate sustainability and sustainable enterprise through the discipline of engineering, RISE serves as a vehicle for academic–industry collaboration.

The Villanova Sustainable Engineering for International Development Initiative: This initiative will equip a generation of engineers to meet the challenge set forth by the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as a global compass for achieving human and economic development that is both environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.



Students are encouraged to pursue research opportunities in the areas of:

  • Alternate and Renewable Energy
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Sustainable Infrastructure & Built Environment
  • Sustainable International Development
  • Sustainable Materials
  • Water Resources Sustainability

Bill Lorenz
Sustainable Engineering Program Director and Professor of Practice



Four students stand and present to a full table of students and faculty at Villanova's Packaging Hackathon.

Student Teams Present Innovative Ideas in Future of Packaging Hackathon

Villanova University and the College of Engineering recently hosted the triennial Future of Packaging Consortium, which included a student “packathon” that tasked four interdisciplinary teams with developing creative and sustainable solutions to challenges facing the packaging industry.


Dan Spracklin, CEO of SoMax Bioenergy, works in the lab with a student.

Partnership with Villanova Engineering Yields Elemental Recycling Technology

Dan Spracklin, founder and CEO of SoMax Bioenergy, worked with Villanova's Sustainable Engineering program as a member of the RISE Forum. With the help of graduate students and faculty, his company developed an elemental recycling platform to produce hydro-char, as well as nutrient rich liquid fertilizer from manure and other waste materials.


Dr. Mary McCrae, a graduate of Villanova's Sustainable Engineering program.

Climate Change Implications for U.S. Military Aircraft | The Center for Climate and Security

New research shows that climate change is reducing performance of military aircraft. Dr. Mary McRae, a PhD graduate of Villanova’s Sustainable Engineering program, has developed a vulnerability assessment model that predicts the frequency and severity of climate-related performance impacts for both airbases and aircraft.