International Study Centre

What is sustainable engineering? Career, role & education

Students in an engineering lab

As the effects of climate change have become more apparent, it's unsurprising that more students are showing interest in the field of sustainability. An increasing number of students have pursued their interest in the subject in higher education, with universities around the world increasing the number of sustainability-related degrees they have available (StudyPortals 2019).

What is sustainable engineering?

Sustainable engineering is a way of designing and creating things that meet our needs without harming the environment or depleting natural resources. 

Sustainable engineers focus on minimising waste, using renewable energy sources, reducing pollution and creating long-lasting, efficient systems that can be enjoyed by future generations. 

The importance of sustainable engineering comes from the industry’s aim to create a better world. This is done by considering the well-being of both people and the planet in their engineering practices.

What does a sustainability engineer do?

The primary goal of a sustainable engineer is to design and implement engineering solutions that minimise negative impacts on the environment. The key responsibilities of a sustainable engineer include:

  • Environmental protection – design and implement engineering solutions that minimise waste, pollution and resource usage to have a lower impact on the planet.
  • Corporate social responsibility – assist businesses in improving their sustainability performance by implementing sustainable practices and technologies.
  • Collaboration – work with architects, urban planners, policymakers, and other professionals to promote sustainable practises in various engineering and construction projects.
  • Waste management – develop waste management systems to reduce, recycle, and properly dispose of waste generated by industrial processes and communities.
  • Sustainable materials – seek out and utilise environmentally friendly and recyclable materials for construction and engineering projects.

Sustainable engineering jobs

There are many interesting and exciting sustainable engineering jobs for graduates to explore. These include:

Sustainability consultant

A sustainability consultant assists businesses and organisations in implementing sustainable practices and minimising their impact on the environment. They provide guidance and recommendations on how to reduce energy consumption, produce less unnecessary waste and promote eco-friendly initiatives. 

Renewable energy engineer

A renewable energy engineer specialises in the designing and creating renewable energy systems. They focus on developing technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels that use clean and renewable sources of energy to create electricity. 

Environmental engineer

An environmental engineer works on various projects related to controlling water and air pollution, managing waste and repairing environmental damage. They develop strategies and solutions to address environmental challenges and ensure compliance with regulations to protect ecosystems and human health. 

Sustainable transportation engineer

A sustainable transportation engineer is involved in the development of transportation systems that prioritise environmental sustainability. They focus on designing and implementing initiatives such as electric vehicles, public transport and bike infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmentally friendly modes of transportation. 

Sustainable agriculture engineer

A sustainable agriculture engineer focuses on developing practices and technologies that promote sustainable farming. They work to minimis the environmental impact of agricultural activities, conserve natural resources and enhance food production through organic farming, water conservation and efficient resource management. 

Energy efficient engineer

An energy efficient engineer works to improve energy efficiency in buildings, manufacturing processes and transportation systems. They analyse energy consumption patterns, identify areas of inefficiency and implement measures to reduce energy waste, lower operating costs and lessen environmental impact.

Study sustainable engineering at University of Strathclyde

If you want to pursue a postgraduate degree in sustainable engineering, the University of Strathclyde offers state-of-the-art facilities that are expertly designed to cater to all areas of engineering. 

If you choose to study the Sustainable Engineering: Chemical Processing MSc degree at Strathclyde, you will have access to cutting-edge research laboratories featuring a comprehensive suite of experimental facilities. These include light scattering, spectroscopy, adsorption measurements and high-pressure viscometry. Providing you with the practical experience necessary to excel in a sustainable engineering career.

The University of Strathclyde also offers excellent facilities for those interested in a Sustainable Engineering: Marine Technology MSc degree, such as Catalina, their departmental racing yacht and the Kelvin Hydrodynamics lab, which boasts the largest ship-model experiment tank among all UK universities. You will have access to cutting-edge computer facilities and industry-standard software to stay ahead in the field of Marine Technology.

Sustainable engineering degrees at the University of Strathclyde also include:

  • Sustainable Engineering: Architecture and Ecology MSc
  • Sustainable Engineering: Offshore Renewable Energy MSc
  • Sustainability and Environmental Studies MSc
  • Sustainable Engineering: Renewable Energy Systems and the Environment MSc
  • Supply Chain and Sustainability Management MSc

If you want to continue your engineering education journey in the UK and don’t yet meet the direct entry requirements, our Pre-Masters Programmes at the International Study Centre will prepare you for a postgraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde.

There are two options available, the Pre-Masters Programme in Engineering and Sciences, which is taught in two terms and the Accelerated Pre-Masters Programme which is taught over 12-weeks for those who meet the higher English language requirement.

Both programmes are expertly designed with subject-specific and core academic and English language modules to boost your skills and knowledge to the required level for postgraduate study at Strathclyde.

Upon successful completion of the Pre-Masters Programme at the International Study Centre, you can progress to a postgraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde. 

Find out the entry requirementsfees and visa information for the pathway programmes at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre. 


What does a sustainability engineer do?

A sustainability engineer provides planet and resource friendly engineering solutions to minimise environmental impacts and promote long-term sustainability.

Why choose sustainable engineering?

Choosing sustainable engineering offers various benefits, including making a positive environmental impact, taking social responsibility, fostering innovation and problem-solving and finding personal fulfilment in meaningful work.

Is sustainability a good career choice?

Yes, sustainability is an excellent career choice due to increasing demand for sustainability professionals, enhanced job security and stability and the chance to have a positive impact on the environment.