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 a minor in Humanitarian Engineering.

The university also offers 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



Mary McRae, Ph.D.

Villanova University Research Team Investigates How a Warming Climate Will Impact Aviation

Warmer air temperature and higher humidity— projected to occur with climate change—will increase the magnitude and frequency of potentially dangerous operational performance impacts to fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The lead author on these findings is Mary McRae ’20 PhD, a research technician in the College of Engineering and PhD graduate of the College’s Sustainable Engineering program.

 The Lemelson Foundation logo

Villanova University Selected for “Engineering for One Planet” Pilot Program

Villanova’s College of Engineering is one of five institutions selected to participate in the Lemelson Foundation’s Engineering for One Planet (EOP) Pilot Program. With a $30,000 grant, the College will begin the process of aligning the undergraduate engineering curriculum within the EOP framework, which will instill social and environmental principles across all disciplines of engineering education.

Karl Schmidt, professor of practice, with students in the Sustainable Engineering program.

Sustainability is ‘a long term play’

Karl Schmidt, Professor of Practice in the Sustainable Engineering program and director of the RISE forum, joined KYW Newsradio In Depth to talk about how the balance between government and the private sector helps move sustainability goals forward, the areas we've made progress in the past few decades, and the areas where we're falling short.