Infrastructure and environmental engineering, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Sign up for informationCivil engineers play a major role in developing infrastructures and supporting human development while contributing to the sustainable development of society. Contamination of soil and water, lack of access to drinking water, and unsustainable use of land and water resources remain major obstacles to global sustainability, while new challenges include threats from climate change and rapid urbanisation.

Infrastructure and environmental engineering master's programme at Chalmers

Infrastructure and environmental engineering is an interdisciplinary field that includes; traffic and road engineering, urban metabolism, water system engineering, engineering geology, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering and sustainability.

Investments in infrastructure also form a considerable part of the global economy. Hence safe, economic and sustainable development requires continued progress in civil engineering with a specialisation towards infrastructure and environment.

​To meet this societal need for qualified competence in planning, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure systems in soil and water, this programme promotes the personal development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed to start working as a professional engineer in the field of infrastructure and environmental engineering. An important task is to be knowledgeable and responsible for the interface between urban development and the environment.

Sweden is surrounded by one of the planet’s most sensitive ocean environments and a landmass consisting mainly of fractured rock and complex glacial sediments, including soft clays. This has given us some of the strictest environmental and building regulations in the world. This gives Sweden a very good reputation within the field and the programme a nationally and internationally unique profile. We are closely linked to several research projects and the majority of our faculty conduct research.

Educational methods

To prepare students for a long-lasting professional career, the programme promotes personal development in comprehensive view of planning, construction and operation process; ability to work methodically and by means of modern engineering tools; ability to work in project teams, lead project work and present results; and the ability to critically review and develop technical solutions. To do so you or the group you work with will be given open problems, often real-case scenarios provided by industry and society.
Integration of professional experience in education is an important part of the programme and you will become well prepared for entering the market in a professional role.

Topics covered

The subjects of sustainable environment and  water system engineering are fundamental areas in the Infrastructure and environmental engineering master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as wastewater, traffic and road engineering, urban metabolism, geotechnics, engineering geology, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering and sustainability.​

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of Compulsory courses, Compulsory elective courses and Elective courses.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with four compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Infrastructure and environmental engineering. Each course is usually 7.5 credits. ​
  • Infrastructures and urban systems
  • Geological and geotechnical site characterization
  • Sustainable urban water engineering
  • Transportation engineering and traffic analysis​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice. 
  • ​Master’s thesis ​

Compulsory elective courses

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in various subjects in the areas of water and environmental engineering, geotechnics and geology, and transportation engineering. During year 1 and 2,  you need to select at least 4 compulsory elective courses out of the following in order to graduate. ​

  • Drinking water engineering
  • Risk assessment and decision support
  • Advanced transportation engineering
  • Advanced wastewater engineering
  • Hydrogeology
  • Deep foundations
  • Urban acoustics
  • Water systems and modelling
  • Contemporary topics in Geomechanics
  • Sustainable transportation
  • Urban metabolism and resources 
  • Contaminated sites and remediation
  • Soil modelling and numerical analysis
  • Vehicle and Traffic safety
  • Railway engineering​

Elective courses

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses.


Civil and environmental engineers with a strong background in both infrastructure and environmental engineering are sought after and will be so also in the future, both nationally and internationally. Our previous students have had a high level of employability within companies like; Sweco, Skanska, NCC, Veolia, Göteborg kretslopp och vatten, and Trafikverket, to name a few.

In Sweden, many large infrastructure projects are planned, including roads and railways construction, traffic planning, upgrading of drinking water and wastewater plants, remediation of contaminated sites. Other fields of work are; protection of soil and water resources, foundation of structures and buildings, tunnels, the design of drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution systems.
Adaptation to climate change and urbanisation will increase the need even further. Internationally there is immense continued need for competent engineers in this sector, both within but perhaps even more outside Europe.
With a Master’s degree from Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering, you will usually work with design, maintenance, construction and research in the field of civil and environmental engineering. Others may attain supervisory or administrative positions, especially on an international level.

Research within Infrastructure and environmental engineering

The courses in the programme have strong links to the research at the divisions of Water Environment Technology and Geoengineering at the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering​​.

Research and teaching in the fields covered by the programme are carried out in close cooperation with industry and authorities. Cooperation is also conducted by several research centres: Infrastructure Competence Centre; FRIST:  Forum for Risk Investigation and Soil Treatment; DRICKS: Framework Programme for Drinking Water Research at Chalmers; and FUD Swedish Network of Excellence in Road Planning and Design. We also collaborate with Gryaab AB, the municipality-owned company running Ryaverket, one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in Scandinavia. Together we are part of a cluster, including Lund University and several wastewater companies in the southern part of Sweden. Chalmers is also a partner in EC/FP7 funded Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways project CREEP (Creep of Geomaterials), with partners in Norway (NTNU, NGI), China (Shanghai Jiao Tong University & Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the Netherlands (Deltares). Together with the department of Architecture, we are also part of the large research projects Homes for tomorrow (h42) and Living Lab dealing with our future homes. The department also undertakes research projects aimed at improving infrastructures and basic service provision in developing countries such as Bolivia.
During the Master’s thesis project, students often participate in research projects and the Master’s programme has a natural continuation in the PhD programmes within the specialisations like; Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology, Sustainable Aquatic Systems, Water System Analysis and Water Process Technology, Contamination and Remediation and Urban metabolism.

Sustainable development

The programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs)​.  The table below provides an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme. In addition, the programme contributes to other SDGs through specific courses. For instance, the course Urban metabolism and resources addresses SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production. And the course Contaminated sites and remediation contributes to SDG 15 – Life on land.​
SDGs for Infrastructure and environmental engineering at Chalmers

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for life on earth, therefore access to it is considered a human right. Today, we face great challenges with the impacts of water pollution and climate change on our water resources. In Sweden and many other countries, changes in rainfall and sea level rises are also increasing the risk of flooding. To address these challenges, the programme includes courses relevant to water and environmental engineering. The courses cover the entire water system (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) as well as the engineering tools relevant to deal with other risks and contamination.
Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
The long-term growth of our cities and regions largely relies on the availability of sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transportation and water infrastructure. In this programme, you will gain the knowledge and tools needed to develop the infrastructure. The transportation infrastructure is also a major topic in the programme with courses aimed at supporting the development of the infrastructure, including in the areas of urban traffic planning, railway, safety and sustainable transportation. In addition, we address infrastructure development in the area of geotechnics and geology, which will give you the tools required for the construction of for example roads and tunnels.
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Over 50% of the global population lives in cities. Cities concentrate on human activities and our impact on the environment, including resource use, environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Cities have therefore been described as our best hope to achieve global sustainability. The profile areas and courses in this programme contribute to this goal and will give you the tools to make cities resilient and sustainable through the development of infrastructure. The systems studied in the programme are especially relevant for cities and urban development, including access to basic services,  access to transportation and climate resilience.

Student interview

"I have studied samples from a contaminated stream"

Johanna, Honduras, Infrastructure and environmental engineering

Why did you choose this programme?
– After studying civil engineering in Honduras, I became passionate about sustainable development and new water technologies. The master’s programme in Infrastructure and environmental engineering seemed like the perfect match for my aspirations, since it covered different topics in the environmental field, from drinking water engineering all the way to contaminated sites and remediation. I noticed Chalmers had great research in the field and I knew I wanted to learn about their ongoing projects closely. 

What have you been working on?
– Studying this master’s programme has given me the opportunity to work on real-case scenarios. For example, in the first semester, I took the Sustainable urban water engineering course where I visited a contaminated stream and took samples which I furtherly evaluated in the lab to detect pollutants in water. Furtherly with my colleagues, we proposed sustainable solutions to prevent and help eradicate pollution in the area. This has increased my creativity and determination as a civil engineer to provide solutions to environmental issues. 

What do you like the most about your programme?
– I love that we have a wide range of courses to choose from depending on the path you want to follow for your career. During the first study period, I met passionate classmates now following the transportation engineering or geotechnics courses. Getting to know different perspectives has now given me a broader outlook on how infrastructure projects should be developed for the sustainable development of society.  

What do you want to do in the future?
– During my studies I have discovered how passionate I am about environmental science and learning about new findings in the field of water systems. Chalmers is providing me with all the tools I need to follow a research career in the future and make my contribution to the field. I would love to study a PhD programme in water engineering after graduating. After obtaining my PhD, I want to go back to Honduras and implement new technologies that will help improve water treatment and distribution in my country. 

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Mon 17 Oct 2022.