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Guide to Environmental Science Degree Programs

Environmental science is a growing field with employment opportunities in many different sectors from the profit and nonprofit sectors to healthcare and government industries. By earning a degree in environmental science, you gain the knowledge necessary to qualify for positions in these fields working as forest ranger, environmental planner, social scientist, biodiversity specialist, or an ecologist.

You can also earn an environmental science degree online by enrolling in a college or university. To learn more, click on each link below to jump to a more detailed overview.

In addition to our blog and articles, you can find more information by visiting us on Facebook and Twitter. We regularly update with informative insight about environmental science programs and related degrees.

Featured Online Programs

Ashford University — The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies at Ashford University explores cultural, social, and environmental issues at the local and global level. The Environmental Management MBA program features a greater emphasis on business management of environmental organizations. Ashford University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001,
Johns Hopkins University — Johns Hopkins University offers numerous degrees in the environmental science field. The school's MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy degree features an interdisciplinary curriculum in the basic sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Courses review the ozone layer, greenhouse gases, nuclear waste, and acid rain.
Liberty University — The Bachelor of Science in Green & Sustainable Management from Liberty University features a curriculum that reviews federal EPA and state environmental rules and regulations, explores environmental principles, and examines environmental protections. Courses study industrial waste, solid waste and hazardous waste management along with solutions for minimizing air, soil and water pollution.
Purdue University — The Purdue University Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management degree program provides for an interdisciplinary approach to environmental science. Courses study environmental issues and policies and examine relationships between public and private sectors. The MS in Environmental Policy dives deeper into the field, by questioning current trends in the industry.
Rochester Institute of Technology — The MS in Environmental Science from Rochester Institute of Technology is a great degree for those venturing out into the green industry. Upon graduation, students will be able to utilize project management skills to achieve performance objectives, demonstrate a working knowledge and leadership of an array of renewable energy sources, and prepare sample bids and sample project development plans.
Southern New Hampshire University — The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree from the Southern New Hampshire University helps students prepare for a teaching career in secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Courses include Principles of Biology, Introductory Chemistry, Principles of Environmental Science, Physical Geology, and Conservation Biology.
Colorado Technical University — "CTU’s Doctor of Management - Environmental and Social Sustainability degree program is designed for professionals passionate about making a positive difference in the world. As more organizations recognize the need to conserve energy and other resources, this doctorate degree can help you acquire the credentials to guide organizational policy and action in a direction that shows concern for profits, people and the planet."
Stockton University — "The PSM is built around a solid core of required technical and non-technical courses that provide common baseline knowledge. This core is supplemented by a broad selection of electives tailored to an individual’s specialty area. In combination, the core and associated electives form a curriculum that can easily adapt to the needs of individual students."

Click here to see more online environmental science degrees

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Types of Environmental Science Degrees

When obtaining an environmental science degree, students study the relationship between humans and the world around them, both living and nonliving. Human population is growing rapidly, along with lifestyles and climate. Working towards an environmental science degree, students learn how humans will adapt and grow with these significant changes in coming decades. You also study new resources and environmental changes that are affecting traditional resources such as water and fuel. We discuss each type of environmental science degree in greater detail below:

Students study common issues the planet faces such as deforestation, water pollution, damage of sea life, hazardous chemicals in the environment, ocean acidification and protection of clean air. The focus when studying environmental science is how these environmental problems work in conjunction to other issues. To develop sustainable solutions, scientists must take multiple environmental issues into account when attempting to find the answer. Environmental science students study many disciplines of science including physics, biology, ecology and chemistry.

Working in environmental science, you also become aware of government policies and political agendas concerning the planet. Very seldom is there one black and white answer for an environmental issue; environmental scientists sometimes help policy makers and politicians better understand ecology and the proper course of action for solving or helping a problem. It is a challenging field that is rapidly growing and shows prominent job opportunities for graduates.

Environmental science degrees are available online. You study the same material as you would study in a traditional classroom setting; any online class is independent and requires a disciplined student to be successful in the program. Students utilize online message boards and online lectures when learning the material. These programs work well for students with other commitments, such as a job or family obligations. Online courses offer flexibility, so that students can learn and complete their degree at their own pace.

Coursework and Program Requirements

Students look at environmental issues and learn how to assess problems that affect our environment. For example, if a student is studying coral reef depletion, he or she will learn how to keep coral reef from dying without affecting the ocean or other ocean life around the coral reef. You study the impact human nature has on the environment and what social changes can take place to improve the quality of the planet. In many cases, little improvement can be had, shifting the focus to prevention and the issue of how can humans leave less of a negative environmental impact on the planet. Environmental science is considered an interdisciplinary field, which blends scientific methodology and conservationist ideals to improve the planet.

An environmental science degree program is a blend of natural science, physical science, environmental law, math and environmental social issues. It is a combination of traditional classes, lectures, reading, and lab work with other students. It is very common to work in groups or teams during environmental science classes. Seldom will you work alone for any project. Presentations and written reports comprise major grades for most environmental science degree programs.

Career Options with an Environmental Science Degree

With an environmental science degree, you have a solid foundation for working in a science-related career, whether it’s in a lab or out studying natural resources. An environmental science undergrad degree can also serve as the base for someone going into policy making or environmental law, though you will need additional schooling through a masters, law school or PhD to make a leap into these careers.

Environmental-related jobs are set to grow 15% in the coming decade. Green jobs are on the rise and many students are now pursing degrees in environmental science. Because of this, you want to make sure you’re getting work experience in conjunction to a degree. Explore internship or volunteer opportunities with the environmental science program at your school. The more experience you have upon graduating, the better chance you’ll have at landing a job when the competition is fierce.

Many of the best environmental degree programs are deliberately small to give their students one-on-one time conducting field and lab work, as well as working with experienced professors. These programs are a great way to explore the different areas of environmental science. This allows students to explore the different facets of the industry such as research, clinical laboratories, and data centers. Some excel by working independently in a lab. Others thrive on relationships and collaborating with like-minded scientists and will find themselves enjoying a career in green product development for a major company. Below are just a couple of the many career options available in this industry:

  • Environmental Engineer: Environmental engineering is a field slated for substantial growth (15%) in the coming decade. Environmental engineers explore solutions to existing environmental problems and look for preventative measures against future damage to the planet. Environmental engineers are employed by the government, private companies such as architecture firms and can also work as consultants.
  • Wildlife Biologists: Like ecologists, the vast majority of biologists are employed by the government. Wildlife biologists focus on wildlife in both natural and controlled settings. Wildlife biologists with degrees beyond an undergraduate environmental science degree may be fit for a position working as a professor or working in a research lab. This position is also set to grow by only 5%.

If you’re ready to jump start your career in environmental science, our site will help you find the right degree program that meets your academic and career goals. We also provide helpful job and salary information as well as blog posts about updates in your field.

search for a degree is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.