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Learning Objectives

The course focuses on some of the key global environmental challenges that our Planet is currently facing and on the strategies that are being developed to address them both from a policy/legislative perspective and from a technological one.

The main objective of this course is to provide students with a fundamental understanding of complex environmental problems and of the main legislative and technical measures for mitigating human impacts on the environment. To this aim, the students will be provided with scientific and technical background for understanding and discussing complex environmental issues and possible solutions. In addition, the main aims and contents of international protocols, standards and framework directives, as well as of the main procedures and tools developed to manage and assess environmental impacts related to systems, processes or products will be examined.

Based on the knowledge acquired in the course, the students will be able to form their own opinions on global environmental issues and communicate them effectively.




Topic 1

Introduction: overview of environmental sustainability, contamination phenomena in different environmental compartments (air, water and soil), environmental measurements and environmental cycles.

Topic 2

Water quality issue, management and treatment: EU water framework Directive, traditional treatment processes in developed countries and approaches/technologies for the developing world.

Topic 3

Integrated waste management strategies and technologies. Food waste management

Topic 4

Urban air quality issue and treatment strategies; mitigation strategies for global issues: stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.

Topic 5

Contaminated sites issue, management and remediation strategies. Case of Brownfield regeneration.

Topic 6

Environmental impact assessment tools (life cycle assessment and environmental footprint).

Topic 7

Environmental quality management tools (environmental management systems, EMAS, Eco-label).


“Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design” by Mihelcic and Zimmerman, Wiley, 2014.


Reading material on each course topic (handouts, reports, scientific papers and links to websites), will be made available to the students by the course instructor during the course and distributed also to students who are not in position to attend the course, provided they send the course instructor an e-mail at the beginning of the course (within September 2023) stating that they will take the exam as non attending participants.

Teaching methods

In-class teaching

Exam Rules

Assessment will be carried out through a written exam, an oral discussion and a group presentation prepared on a topic selected together with the course instructor. In order to pass the exam each student will have to attain a sufficient grade in all three types of examination. The final grade will be based on the grades of the three types of examination as follows: written exam (50%), oral discussion (25%) and group presentation (25%). Students who do not pass one/more parts or reject the mark of one/more parts will be assessed on the final written and oral exams.

During the course, two written midterm exams will be carried out; tentatively, the first will regard topics 1 to 3 and the second topics 4 to 7. The grade of the written exam will be calculated as the average of the grades obtained in the midterms. The grades of each midterm will have to be sufficient in order to pass the written exam.

Students that do not take or fail one or more of the mid-term exams will take the final written exam regarding the entire course program, scheduled during the winter session and in the September session.

The oral discussion will be held after the written exam and will consist in a discussion of the written exam and include 1 or 2 questions on the course program. Students with a high class attendance (>80%) that are also attentive and actively participate to the lessons may be exempted from the oral discussion.

As for the group presentation, the class will be divided in groups of 3-4 students that will each select together with the course instructor a topic to study and prepare a Power Point presentation on. The presentations prepared by each group will be given by the students in front of the whole class in an event that will be scheduled at the end of the course, or during the course.

Students will be able to keep the results of intermediate tests only if they complete the exam within the winter exam session, otherwise the whole exam will have to be redone in another session.

The exam for non-attending students (more than 20% of absences) consists in the final written exam regarding the entire course program (50% of the final grade), followed by the oral discussion (25% of the final grade) and presentation on a topic selected together with the course instructor (25% of the final grade). The exam will take place during the winter session (2 dates in January/February 2024) or in the September 2024 session.