Environmental Engineering | Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Environmental Engineering

College of Sciences and Engineering
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"Science and Technology for a better world"

Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineer
9 semesters
Teaching Mode
Face to Face Learning
CES Initial Approval Resolution
CES Updated Approval Resolution

Environmental Engineering is a career that trains professionals capable of applying scientific principles and designing technical solutions for the prevention, control, evaluation, and remediation of environmental contamination problems. At USFQ, Environmental Engineering students acquire high-level interdisciplinary training with a strong foundation in exact, biological, and engineering sciences that enables them to tackle environmental problems with a technical and global vision. Within the Environmental Engineering degree, our students have the opportunity to be prepared in various specialized fields of study, for example, management and conservation of natural resources and geosciences, design of water treatment systems, meteorology studies and quality of the air, environmental models, solid waste management, implementation of environmental management systems, sustainability, among others.



  • Teachers of the highest human and professional quality, with extensive experience both locally and internationally. Their academic training is (Ph.D. and M.Sc.) in universities with recognized international experience. They have extensive work experience and extensive teaching skills, which benefits the integral development of students.
  • Our students are prepared to solve the technical and scientific problems associated with environmental problems due to the high level of academic demand that is handled in the courses that are taught during the degree studies.
  • The commitment to the protection of the environment and with sustainable development, and therefore with the common good, is an aspect that characterizes students of Environmental Engineering.
  • The program offers the possibility of benefiting from exchange agreements with universities around the world, as well as the possibility of carrying out professional internships and volunteering at home and abroad.
  • Our students participate in scientific research in aspects of the Environmental Engineering area.
  • Graduates of the USFQ Environmental Engineering degree have been successful in conducting high-level studies in other countries, becoming successful professionals in the field.
  • Our students receive comprehensive training based on Liberal Arts, which makes them critical and free thinkers, capable of formulating and implementing environmental solutions considering the political, social, technical, economic, and ethical aspects.

Professional profile

USFQ Environmental Engineers are critical, independent thinkers with strong technical and scientific knowledge that enable them to become recognized professionals, researchers, and leaders. They are characterized by formulating, designing, and developing environmental engineering projects framed within the economic, environmental, social, political, public health, and innovation aspects. They are professionals capable of working in multidisciplinary groups, generating alliances and working with different interest groups, thus contributing to sustainable development in Ecuador, the region, and globally. Among the main fields of action of the Environmental Engineer are the implementation of environmental management systems, water resource management, wastewater treatment, meteorology and air pollution control, urban and hazardous waste management, pollution prevention, and control in industry and environmental modeling, among others.


Student Testimonials:

“I consider the most significant part of my experience as an Environmental Engineering student at the USFQ to have been the access to a comprehensive educational system, which not only focused on delivering engineers in the labor market, but also on training critical professionals with the resources necessary to function in different fields. On a personal level, both career and university helped me to become a more open-minded, versatile person, ready to express her opinion and value diverse points of view. Professionally, I value the network of contacts generated during the undergraduate years, as well as the horizontal relationship with the teachers, which will help me to be more prepared for the work environment of TU Delft, where I am currently succeeding in my Ph.D. Additionally, being able to work management projects during the last years of my degree, enabled me to obtain a better position in the labor market and stand out from other candidates applying to doctoral positions in Europe."

- Pamela Cerón, Graduated in Environmental Engineering in 2012 -

“Studying a degree in Environmental Engineering at the USFQ has allowed me to understand the magnitude of the impact that humans can have on our environment, but we are also the only ones with the technical capacity to remedy the damage we have done. Environmental Engineering provides us with an extensive field of specialization and a number of opportunities for professional and academic growth. 
Personally, I have been fortunate to do internships abroad and participate in various research projects: all this with a view to a sustainable future that allows us to continue contemplating nature in all its splendor.”

- Rodrigo Pozo, Graduate of Environmental Engineering from USFQ in 2018 -

“Studying Environmental Engineering at USFQ has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. It has prepared me both technically and scientifically to be a kind of "doctor" of Mother Earth, a dream that I wanted to fulfill since I was a little girl. Currently, we play a very important role as Environmental Engineers, so it is a constant challenge to be able to prevent, face, and reduce the negative impacts that occur daily towards the environment. During my time at USFQ, I had the opportunity to meet, learn, and work with incredible and incomparable professors, who have allowed me to participate in research projects and even be part of internships abroad, increasing my professional development.”

- Wendy Vernaza, Graduate of Environmental Engineering from the USFQ in 2019-


Our Teachers' Comments:

“Environmental Engineering is a fascinating career, up-to-date and consolidating both in the public and private spheres. Through the application of multidisciplinary approaches and tools (calculus, chemistry, physics, statistics, biology, transport phenomena, medicine, programming, remote sensors, etc.) it allows us to understand the origin of environmental problems; and with it, avoid or minimize the impacts associated with human activity. In the field of research, Environmental Engineering offers an impressive variety of alternatives, such as those associated with quality control of water, air, toxic and dangerous waste management, energy management and environmental impact assessment; all of them, with their different fields of specialization. The Environmental Engineer has a wide range of possibilities to choose from and successfully complement their academic training, both at the masters and doctoral levels.”

- René Parrá, Ph.D. -

"Our environmental engineers are unique in their field since they apply the principles of the liberal arts of USFQ in their professional practice, which is characterized by being multidisciplinary and entrepreneurial."

- Valeria Ochoa-Herrera, Ph.D. -


Environmental Engineering Laboratory (LIA-USFQ):


The Environmental Engineering Laboratory of the San Francisco de Quito University (LIA-USFQ) was created in 2012 and aims to develop scientific research projects on issues of prevention, treatment, and pollution control. Additionally, the LIA-USFQ provides the highest quality services to the external community in the physical-chemical analysis of environmental samples and also advises private companies, public companies, NGOs, and international organizations on environmental issues.


The Laboratory of Environmental Engineering of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito prepares critical thinking professionals in the face of current environmental problems, carrying out research projects under the direction of teachers and researchers, in order to strengthen knowledge acquired in environmental science subjects under the liberal arts principle.


The LIA-USFQ Environmental Engineering Laboratory seeks to be a national benchmark in terms of education and development of projects that resolve current conflicts on environmental issues.


The Environmental Engineering Laboratory works in the following lines of research:

  • Freshwater
  • Treatment of domestic and industrial effluents
  • Bioremediation
  • Biofuels
  • Innovation and Sustainability


The LIA-USFQ has carried out several research projects in collaboration with foreign universities such as the University of Arizona, USA, University of North Carolina, Chapel-Hill, USA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, Queen's University, Canada, the Institute of Hydrology at the University of Freiburg, Germany and the French Institute for Development Research, IRD-France.

The LIA-USFQ has developed several advisory and consulting projects and has worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the National Secretariat for Water (SENAGUA), the Ministry of the Environment (MAE), the National Electricity Council (CONELEC), Public Company - Municipal Company of Potable Water and Sewage for the city of Riobamba (EP-EMAPAR) and several private companies.


The members of the LIA-USFQ are:
  • Valeria Ochoa-Herrera, Ph.D., Director
  • Gabriela Morales, Analyst Technician
  • Natalia Carpintero, Analyst Technician
  • Rodrigo Pozo, Instructor
  • MSc. Aracely Zambrano, Head of warehouses, controlled reagents and hazardous waste
  • Students of 4th and 5th year of Environmental Engineering and other engineering - USFQ

Research projects

LIA-USFQ's current research projects are:

  • Encalada, A.C., Dangles, O., Ochoa-Herrera, V., Guayasamin, J. "Thermal Rivers of the Caldera Chacana: Diversity and Composition of the community of aquatic invertebrates, algae, and bacteria.¨ IRD Grant, 2016
  • Ochoa-Herrera, V. Champagne, P. Peñafiel, R. “An integrated algal system as a potential wastewater treatment process in Ecuador.” COLLABORATION GRANTS, USFQ, 2016
  • Machado, A., Mejia, L. Ochoa-Herrera, V. Characterization and quantification of microbial pathogens in the natural water resources of Ecuador,¨ USFQ CHANCELLOR GRANTS, 2015
  • Cazorla, M.C. Ochoa-Herrera, V. ¨Measurements of oxidized nitrogen species in the ambient air of Cumbayá, Ecuador. USFQ CHANCELLOR GRANTS, 2015
  • Ochoa-Herrera, V. and Stewart, J. "Long-term Monitoring Program on Water Quality at San Cristobal, Galapagos." GALAPAGOS SCIENCE CENTER (GSC) GRANT, 2015
  • Ochoa-Herrera, V. ¨Production of biodiesel from the sustainable growth of microalgae in Ecuador.¨ USFQ SMALL GRANTS, 2015
  • Maurice, L., Becerra, S., Budzinski, H., Saqalli, M., Ter Halle, A., Cadot, E., Uzu, G., Simoulin, V., Jean, S., Ruales, J. , Martínez, J., Perez, MI, Benavidez, E., Ochoa-Herrera, V., Larrea, C. , J. ¨MONOIL: Monitoring of oil activities in Ecuador: a cross-disciplinary approach between Environment, Health, and People¨ ANR (2014-2017)
  • Ochoa-Herrera, V. ¨Molecular analysis of the bacterial diversity present in bioreactors for the treatment of Acid Mine Drains (DAM).¨ USFQ SMALL GRANTS, 2014


The LIA-USFQ has three laboratories on the Cumbayá Campus of USFQ, including the Water Quality Laboratory at the GSC in San Cristóbal, Galapagos.

The Atmospheric Measurement Station (EMA-USFQ)

The laboratories have the following equipment for analysis of environmental samples

  • Basic equipment for freshwater analysis
  • Basic equipment for wastewater analysis
  • Basic equipment for soil analysis
  • Microwave oven for digestion


Valeria Ochoa: vochoa@usfq.edu.ec
Francisco Quintanilla: liausfq@usfq.edu.ec





Download our Newsletter, with all the activities of Environmental Engineer.

Annual report 2018

Annual report 2019

Additional information

Objetivos Educacionales

La carrera de Ingeniería Ambiental define sus objetivos educacionales de acuerdo a la misión y visión de la USFQ.

PEO 1: Nuestros graduados serán pensadores críticos, innovadores e independientes, y promoverán la filosofía de artes liberales con sólidas bases científicas y técnicas, que les permitirán ser reconocidos profesionales, investigadores y líderes.

PEO 2: Nuestros graduados serán capaces de formular, diseñar e implementar proyectos de ingeniería ambiental con soluciones técnicas y efectivas a los problemas ambientales existentes para promover el desarrollo sostenible, y trabajarán de acuerdo a la ética moral y personal, y a los valores sociales.

PEO 3: Los graduados podrán trabajar en equipos multidisciplinarios, construir relaciones interpersonales y promover alianzas con distintos grupos de interés.

PEO 4: Los graduados valorarán la importancia del aprendizaje continuo a través de la adquisición de nuevos conocimientos y habilidades que les permitirán mejorar su desempeño profesional y continuar con sus estudios de postgrado.

Resultados de Aprendizaje

La carrera de Ingeniería Ambiental está diseñada con el objetivo de que nuestros estudiantes adquieran las siguientes habilidades y conocimientos:

  1. Habilidad para identificar, formular y resolver problemas complejos de ingeniería aplicando los principios de matemáticas, ciencias e ingenierías.
  2. Habilidad para aplicar diseños de ingeniería para generar soluciones que cumplan con las necesidades específicas de salud pública, seguridad y bienestar, así como también los factores culturales, ambientales y económicos.
  3. Habilidad de comunicar efectivamente a diferentes audiencias
  4. La habilidad para comprender la responsabilidad ética y profesional en situaciones de ingeniería y tomar decisiones informadas basadas en el impacto de las soluciones de la ingeniería en el contexto global, económico, ambiental y de la sociedad.
  5. Habilidad para trabajar en equipos cuyos miembros provean liderazgo, que creen un ambiente colaborativo e inclusivo, establezcan objetivos, planifiquen actividades y cumplan los objetivos planteados.
  6. La habilidad para desarrollar y conducir experimentos apropiados, analizar e interpretar la información, y juzgar en base a los conocimientos de ingeniería para generar conclusiones
  7. La habilidad de adquirir y aplicar nuevos conocimientos y utilizar las estrategias apropiadas de aprendizaje.

Academic Faculty

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