The department’s intellectual focus is discovery and innovation to understand the world, invent and lead with creative design to sustain life and society in ever-changing environments. Emphasizing the use of quantitative approaches, CEE features two vibrant centers of gravity: environment (Parsons Laboratory), what exists as natural systems; and infrastructure (Pierce Laboratory), what is created by human activity.

Our faculty and staff are dedicated to educating our students such that they are best equipped to serve the nation and the world as professionals, scholars, academic leaders and entrepreneurs. Our research and educational programs challenge the status quo, advance the frontiers of knowledge and expand the limit of the possible. We develop and apply pioneering approaches that range from basic scientific principles to complex engineering design, at scales from the nano to the global.

The core mission of our department is to educate, inside and outside the classroom. We offer undergraduate degree programs in the broad areas of infrastructure and environment. Our graduate programs provide limitless possibilities at the frontier of knowledge and innovation. CEE consists of people from a very broad range of academic disciplines who work together to contribute to exciting intellectual networks across the department and MIT. We are defined by our singular strengths, collaborative synergies and our commitment to excellence, the fabric of MIT. We foster diversity of people, research and interests, and champion the careers of our students, research scholars, staff and faculty. Our department plays a leading role in the MIT-wide Environmental Solutions Initiative.

Hiring new faculty is a strategic priority to support emerging frontiers of scholarly research, innovation and creative design, to inspire and empower our students, and to support our leadership in cross-cutting initiatives that build on the depth of our expertise.

Infrastructure - Pierce Laboratory

Our efforts in the area of infrastructure focus on innovative science and engineering approaches that advance the design of infrastructure materials, transportation systems, cities and energy resources. Emphasizing collaborations across MIT, we seek to address fundamental issues that are critical to society and the environment, and to serve as the center of excellence in the design, manufacturing and operation of infrastructure. A priority is identifying and applying radically new approaches to the design, manufacturing and characterization of infrastructure materials. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Structural Engineering & Design
  • Transportation 
  • Network Analysis & Design (with applications to natural and man-made systems; e.g. cities, transportation, logistics, environment, smart infrastructure)
  • Sustainable Materials (e.g. construction, infrastructure, energy)
  • Multiscale Geomechanics (in the context of energy, resources, including critical zone & subsurface processes)

Environment - Parsons Laboratory

Our long-term objective in the area of environment is to understand and engineer human adaptation to a changing environment. Human activities are affecting the global environment at rates that are likely to increase dramatically. In light of global effects such as rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and changing weather patterns, the specific local impacts of global environmental change on water, agriculture and food, water and air quality, natural hazards and public health remain largely unknown. A priority is to understand what local changes must be made due to global changes, how marine and terrestrial ecosystems respond to global changes, and how local ecosystem services are affected and utilized. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Coastal Engineering & Fluid Dynamics
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry (air, water, land)
  • Terrestrial Plant Ecology & Plant Physiology
  • Benign Design & Manufacturing

Educational Programs

Our undergraduate curriculum offers students in CEE the opportunity to blend their educational foundation, and to prepare them for the challenges in sustainability, through many disciplinary studies, built around a solid and rigorous foundation of mathematics, statistics and data, computation, and hands-on laboratories.

Our graduate programs provide limitless possibilities at the frontier of knowledge and innovation, and are central to our research and educational enterprise.