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New sustainable engineering minor to teach students how to answer deeper questions

Friday, July 11, 2014

Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office: 817-272-7075, Cell: 214-546-1082,

The University of Texas at Arlington is starting a minor in sustainable engineering in the fall to help students become smarter about using a dwindling amount of resources.

Melanie Sattler

Melanie Sattler, associate professor of civil engineering, will lead the sustainable engineering minor this fall.

Melanie Sattler, an environmental engineering associate professor in the Civil Engineering Department, is leading the effort.

“With the world’s population over 7 billion now, our resources are being spread thin. We need to come up with more efficient ways and new ways of looking at processes, systems and the way we live,” Sattler said. “When you look at countries around the world who all want the quality of life we have in the United States, that puts a real strain on the planet’s resources. If they want that quality of life and we want our quality of life, we can’t do it.”

The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable engineering as engineering for human development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sattler said sustainable engineering will look at new inventions and methods but also will look at doing things smarter.

“European nations have basically the same quality of life as Americans but they do it on half of the energy,” Sattler said. “We will look at how to improve existing technology to make it more efficient, more sustainable.”

Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the College of Engineering, said students and business people have asked for such an academic emphasis.

“We think all engineering disciplines can benefit from this coursework,” Behbehani said. “It’s something that will become increasingly important as the world grows and our resources shrink. We think the minor will prepare students to seriously consider the role of engineering on preservation and optimal use of resources. That will give our students a clear advantage in industry when they search for jobs.”

Students seeking the minor in sustainable engineering must successfully complete three courses with a grade of C or better. They are: Introduction to Sustainable Engineering, Operations Research and Sustainable Engineering Design Project. Students also must take Principles of Macroeconomics or Economics for Engineers. Finally, students are required to take two of a list of electives from the civil, electrical, mechanical and aerospace, or material sciences engineering departments.

Find out more about requirements, class topics and enrollment procedures here.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.