Just click one of your environmental interests in the box below to get started learning about that environmental career and the related environmental programs.
Agriculture and Agricultural Science Programs include disciplines pertaining to the protection and management of soil, water, air, plant and/or animal resources. This includes (but is not limited to) the study of Animal, Crop, Plant and Soil Sciences, Agronomy, Horticulture, and many other specialties. Given the challenges of modern society, academic studies often focus on technology and environmental quality.
Agronomy Programs focus on the science of crop production and soil management, including the growth, management, and improvement of field crops like barley, corn, soy and wheat. The goals of such studies include increasing food supplies and maintaining healthy soil, water, and air quality.
Air Quality or Air Resources Management is most often found as a component of other environmental programs, including (but certainly not limited to) Atmospheric Science, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Health, and Environmental Science. The goal of the discipline is to better understand the components that make up our atmosphere in order to improve air quality. This could include the study of measurement and monitoring of the air, transport and fate of air pollutants, and air-related laws and regulations pertaining to both indoor and outdoor air quality.
Aquaculture Programs, often referred to as "Fish Farming" in the United States, are usually found as components of Fisheries Programs. Aquaculture is the production, through artificial cultivation techniques, of any aquatic plant or animal, such as fish, shrimp, clams and kelp. Aquaculture is sometimes referred to as "the agriculture of the oceans," involving the "growing" and "harvesting" of aquatic life, including but not limited to fish, shellfish and algae.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Aquatic Biology.
Aquatic Biology is the study of organisms living in water. The field covers both Marine Biology (the study of saltwater systems) and Limnology (the study of freshwater systems). It has important environmental applications, including pollution prevention and remediation; natural resource management; water resource management; and conservation biology.
Atmospheric Science Programs focus on the study of the atmosphere, including its physical processes and interaction with the land and oceans. Because weather and climate are so changeable, forecasting and storm prediction are often the centerpiece of academic programs. Major sub-disciplines include Climatology and Meteorology.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Biodiversity.
Biodiversity refers to the differences between species, including genetic variations which make one person different from another and from other species. Professionals work to identify why we have biodiversity, where it originated, and how we can maintain it, studying habitat loss, invasive species, and overexploitation, and working with policy-makers and planners to design solutions for loss of biodiversity in environmentally-sensitive areas.
Biology Programs usually have one or two tracks of academic concentration: medical and environmental. Because it is so broadly defined as "the science and study of life and living systems," it is an immense and diverse scientific field, encompassing as many areas of study as there are living things, ranging from the smallest of individual molecules to large, complex communities. A basic understanding of biological principles is useful, and often necessary, for any environmental study.
Botany Programs undertake the biological study of plants, including where they live and how they grow. The world of botany encompasses everything from algae, fungi, lichens and mosses, to ferns, conifers and flowering plants; botanical research helps to improve our medicines, foods, fibers, building materials and environmental conditions.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Coastal Management.
Coastal management is concerned with protecting, conserving and managing coasts and coastal resources. With more and more people living in coastal areas, putting a strain on beaches, plants and animals, water resources, and natural resources, Coastal Managers strive to protect our coastal resources for future generations while balancing today's competing economic, cultural and environmental interests.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Conservation Biology.
Conservation Biology is a relatively new field. It is an applied science interested in studying, maintaining and improving the Earth's natural biological resources and biodiversity, including conservation of endangered species and natural ecosystems. The field is growing fast in a world where species extinctions and habitat loss to human development are accelerating at unprecedented rates, the consequences of which are still unknown.
Crop Science Programs, which are most often found within an Agricultural Program, focus on studying the application of biological, chemical, and physical principles to the growth of crops. The goal of the crop scientist is to increase crop production, provide better nutrition for humans, better feed for animals, and to give farmers the tools and knowledge to make better economical and environmental decisions.
Earth Science Programs focus on the study of the earth and its processes, including the earth's composition, structure, history and life. This academic study can lead to a better understanding of the Earth and the need for careful management of its resources, or (sometimes) a better understanding of how to find, extract and exploit it resources. Specialties within the field include geology, hydrology, meteorology, geography, oceanography, and ecology.
Ecology Programs is probably the most-common and largest environmental sub-discipline of Biology, focused on the study living organisms and their environment. This includes the distribution and abundance of organisms, how living things interact with each other and their environment, and biological and physical processes. Ecological studies can range from predator-prey relationships to the effect of a particular emission on a particular plant.
Environmental or Ecological Anthropology is a cross-disciplinary field that combines environmental expertise with an understanding of social and cultural dynamics. Because cultural perspectives toward environmental protection are so diverse around the world, the field is an important starting point for solving global and regional environmental problems. Although it is sometimes seen as a stand-alone, degree-granting program, it is far more often encompassed as an optional field of study within an Environmental Studies Program.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Ecological Design.
Ecological Design Programs (also sometimes referred to as Applied Ecology) focus on the development of structures and communities that are ecologically sustainable and environmentally safe to their surroundings. Closely related to Sustainable Development and (sometimes) Environmental Engineering, students learn to consider everything from the planning, designing and building stages to the interior and exterior of completed structures, without compromising the needs of future generations.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Ecological Entrepreneurship.
Ecological entrepreneurs are driven not only by the possibility of profititable business venture, but also by environmental and social concerns. They are instrumental in developing new and sustainable business practices and reshaping the way society approaches the environment as it relates to business. There are relatively few schools currently offering degrees in the field, but many schools do offer a variety of related courses.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Ecotourism.
Ecotourism is travelling to natural areas while striving to bring an appreciation of nature to tourists and to increase their respect and understanding of the native people. This appreciation and understanding helps to minimize the impact tourism has upon native people and the environment. Workers in the industry are often tour leaders, although some workers help indigenous people in natural areas set up their own Ecotourism programs.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Emergency Management.
Emergency Management is the prevention of and response to natural, technological and terrorism-related disasters. The field deals specifically with emergency events, but it is closely related to Environmental Health and Environmental Management because almost any such disaster will also have ecological consequences that require the knowledge and expertise of environmental professionals.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Energy Studies.
Energy Studies concerns the uses and sources of energy. Having a reliable and affordable source of energy is important, but we now recognize that we need to minimize the environmental effects of resource extraction and energy use. Balancing our need for reliable energy with environmental concerns is what Energy Studies is all about.
Environmental advocacy involves both protecting the public from environmental hazards and protecting the natural world. Advocates work with individuals and many diverse groups in support of environmental causes and concerns, often with the goal of affecting changes that will have a lasting and positive effect. Read more about the field here.
Environmental Archaeology examines the relationship of past cultures and communities with the environment, and it is more often found as an element of cross-disciplinary programs than as a stand-alone department. The goal of the field is to learn about the ecological processes that took place in the past and the human decisions that may have affected them, so these lessons can be applied to our interactions with our environment today.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental Chemistry.
Environmental Chemistry is a very focused branch of chemistry, containing aspects of organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry and inorganic chemistry, as well as more diverse areas, such as biology, toxicology, biochemistry, public health and epidemiology. Environmental chemistists study the behavior of pollutants and their environmental effects on the air, water and soil environments, as well as their effects on human health and the natural environment.
Environmental Communications Programs may also come under the name of Science Writing, Environmental Journalism, or anything else pertaining to the communication of an environmental or scientific message. Depending on the focus of the academic program or course, the writing could focus on technical issues or reports for a government agency, public education for a nonprofit environmental campaign, or promotion of products intended for environmentally-conscious consumers.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental / Ecological Economics.
While traditional economics focuses on balancing supply and demand, environmental economics is more about balancing the need products and services with environmental protection. Many environmental economists today are going one step further by taking a more ecological and holistic approach to traditional economic theories, creating two different fields in this subset of economics: environmental economics and ecological economics. Read more about the field in our interview with Dr. Brian Czech here.
Audubon Expedition Institute Offers a Masters Degree in Environmental Education.
Environmental Education Programs are designed for those intending to teach in public and private schools, institutions of higher education, nature centers, outdoor education programs, parks and recreation programs, government programs, and nonprofit environmental organizations. Curricula is usually interdisciplinary and can also pertain to any setting where people learn about the connections of technology, science, policy, people, economics, the environment, etc.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental Enforcement.
Environmental Enforcement officials enforce environmental laws by helping companies, individuals and governments to comply with the laws. Officials in the field work for the protection and well-being of humans, wildlife and the environment. The field is related to wildlife conservation; natural resource management; environmental health and safety; and environmental law.
Environmental Engineering Programs are often (but not always) found as a subdiscipline of Civil Engineering Programs, where science and engineering principles are applied to address environmental problems and challenges. It is a very technical and interdisciplinary field, drawing from many environmental specialties, depending on the specific issues being addressed, which can range from remediating environmental contamination to designing cleaner energy-producing technologies. Almost anywhere you can find an environmental challenge, the principles of Environmental Engineering are being applied.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental Ethics.
Environmental Ethics is the study of the values and morals of human-environmental interactions. The field has important applications to all matters of science, policy and development, giving consideration to the implications of our interaction and the consequences of with the environment. More than strictly an academic excercize, this field has become increasingly important today to important for planners, scientists, and politicians as they weigh their many options.
Environmental Health Programs focus on the dynamic and ever-changing relationship between humans and their environment, drawing from environmental and biological fields to determine the effect of various activities and conditions on human health. Industrial Hygiene is a sub-discipline that focuses on public health and workplace conditions and hazards that may result in injuries, sickness or discomfort for workers or the community.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental History and Literature.
Environmental History refers to the historic events and characters of the environmental movement, and their impact on society today. Environmental Literature is fiction and non-fiction writing about the environment and nature.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental Justice.
Environmental Justice is a relatively new field. Environmental Justice advocates combat unfair environmental practices that often occur in poor, marginalized communities. Working with community members, policymakers, industries, and government agencies, advocates in the field promote equality, justice and accountability.
Environmental Law Programs are designed to train its students to specialize in the rules, regulations, and principles that pertain to the interaction of human society and nature. Because there are so many laws at the international, national, state and local levels, and because laws are constructed with broad possibilities for interpretation, it is a fast-growing field with far-reaching consequences for land, water, air, people and property.
Environmental Management Programs are interdisciplinary and, recently, they are being developed within business departments in conjunction with MBA Programs. More often, though, they are found as degree or certificate options within environmental departments with a wide array of specialty possibilities focused on the interconnections of the use of natural resources, economics, and human impact.
Environmental Planning Programs are often included as a component of Urban and Regional Planning or Environmental Policy Programs. The field focuses on the process of considering the impact of human activity on the environment, very often related to risk assessment and predicting consequences of development. It is an interdisciplinary field where professionals must be well-versed in environmental policy, as well as technical aspects of air and water quality, land use impact, waste generation and disposal, and natural resource management.
Environmental Policy Programs focus on how to design, analyze, and implement environmental policies, taking into consideration environmental and human concerns, political demands, economic issues, and more. It is an interdisciplinary field which offers many specialties, depending on the background and expertise of the professional.
Environmental Science is a broad term which refers to the study of nearly anything within our environment. Environmental Science Programs are often found within Biology Departments and may focus on just about anything and everything within the natural world and its connections with human activities. Professionals may specialize in environmental issues related air, water or land, usually emphasizing the ecological perspective of environmental challenges.
Read more about Environmental Studies in this article by Carol Ruhl: "Pursuing a Degree in Environmental Studies: Where will it lead?"
Environmental Studies is a very broad term for an interdisciplinary field which studies the relationship between human activities and the environment with the goal of understanding and responding to the social, cultural, and ecological factors that lead to environmental degradation. Environmental Studies Programs attempt to integrate the main concepts of many disciplines into an environmental context and are often loosely-structured to allow students to focus on their specific field of interest.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Environmental Technology.
Environmental Technology includes fields such as remediation, mitigation, hazardous waste management, and environmental pollution prevention - basically, Environmental Technology encompasses any field where technology is used to solve or prevent environmental problems.
Fire Ecology is the study of fire and techniques for managing fire. Although fire is an inescapable part of many types of ecosystems, it must still be managed correctly to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Firefighting is an important part of Fire Ecology, but sometimes Fire Ecologists use fire on purpose to help manage certain kinds of forest and grassland ecosystems. The complex and exciting field offers many opportunities for the future. Read more about the field here.Jennifer Gilden about her career in the field.
Fisheries Science Programs focus on the management of fish populations in natural settings (such as lakes, rivers and oceans) and/or man-made environments (such as reservoirs and aquaculture facilities). The field is closely tied to Natural Resource Management and Wildlife Programs, often addressing the difficult balance of maintaining a healthy aquatic system, recreational fishing, and the health of fish populations for human consumption. Academically, professionals often require a strong knowledge of a range of water issues, population dynamics, environmental health, and the biology of fish.
Forestry Programs focus on the art and science of managing forests to produce various products and benefits, including timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, biodiversity and recreation. There are many sub-specialties within the field, including Forest Conservation, Forest Management, Forest Products, Forest Technology, Urban Forestry, Wildland Management, Wood Science, and more. The field strives for a balance between the demand for forest resources and the protection of wildlife, water quality, and scenic and recreational use.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
GIS (short for Geographic Information Systems or Science) has quickly become one of the hottest technologies in science, engineering, planning, and many other fields. Professionals in the field create multi-layered maps using advanced computer programs.
Geography Programs study the spatial organization of the world - including the people, places, culture, environment and their interactions - in order to provide a framework for a better understanding. The field is interdisciplinary, but it is often broken down into two main sub-disciplines of Physical and Human Geography, and students will learn about earth sciences, economics, cultures, politics, and processes of historical development.
Geology (or Geological Science) Programs study the Earth, including the materials that it is made of, the physical and chemical processes occurring on its surface and in its interior, the history of the planet, and its life. Sub-disciplines include Geophysics, Hydrogeology, Geochemistry, Marine Geology, Environmental Geology, Geo-Engineering, Geomorphology, and more.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Hazardous Waste Management.
Hazardous Waste Management is the handling, processing and safe disposal of hazardous wastes - waste products that can be harmful to human health and safety. This field is usually a technical one, based in waste management, toxicology and understanding government regulations.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Horticulture.
Horticulture is the science and art of cultivating flowering plants, landscape plants, fruits, and vegetables for human use and enjoyment. Traditionally associated with gardens and created landscapes, horticulturists also contribute to environmental research in fields such as pest management and drought prevention.
Hydrology focuses on the study of water and the properties of water, and Hydrology Programs are most often found as elements within Earth Science or Geology Programs. Specialties within the field may include the environmental impact of stormwater runoff, groundwater contamination, hydrologic storage capacity, and evaporation, to name only a few possible consequences of human activity on the hydrologic cycle.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Landscape Architecture.
Landscape Architects design public and private outdoor spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, functional, and compatible with the natural environment.
Read more about Marine Sciences in our interview with Dr. Henry Trapido-Rosenthal about his education and career in the field.
Marine Science Programs focus on the study of the oceans and/or its connected waters (i.e. estuaries, inlets, bays, seas, etc.), including the plants, animals, and processes found within them. It covers the importance of the sea to humans (such as economic and recreational resources) and the impact of human activity on the marine environment (such as shipping, waste disposal, invasive species, etc.). Marine and Aquatic Biology are the largest sub-disciplines.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Meteorology.
Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere; specifically, it is the understanding, interpretation and prediction of weather and large weather patterns. Closely related to the field of Atmospheric Science, Meteorology is an important field that helps to minimize the impact of severe weather events on human populations through advance warnings and storm tracking, provided by more and more sophisticated technologies.
Natural Resource Management Programs are closely related to Environmental Management Program, and often the two are intertwined, sometimes now within Business Departments and MBA Programs. The field applies to a very broad range of environmental disciplines, including wilderness and wildlife, agriculture, urban studies, air quality, and more.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Natural Science.
Natural Science is the study of the natural world. The field includes the life sciences, which deal with the processes that sustain life, and the physical sciences, which include geology, physics, and other sciences that analyze the physical aspects of natural phenomenon.
Oceanography Programs are most often found within Earth Science Programs, focusing on describing and understanding the ocean and its processes, including plants and animals found in the sea, natural resources, and human impact. The science is often divided into the sub-disciplines of biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography, and coastal zone management.
Outdoor or Experiential Education Programs often (but not always) focus on learning about the environment by experiencing it using all of the senses. Broadly speaking, academic curricula may include conservation, adventure education, wilderness survival and first aid, environmental education, and any number of ecological studies.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.
Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution encompass the study of conflict, including its causes and solutions. Mediators and others in the field also find ways to maintain peaceful relations among parties that are in perceived opposition to one another. Beyond the legal conflicts between environmental advocates and development/business interests, the environmental impact of war is also a central issue of Peace Studies.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Physics.
Physics is the study of matter, energy, and how they interact. Physicists are responsible for some of humankind's most important discoveries, and without a careful knowledge of the field, the study of a great many environmental fields would not be possible.Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Plant Science.
Plant Science is, quite simply, the study of plants. It is closely tied with environmental science, botany and agriculture, having applications in all of these fields.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Population Studies.
Population Studies encompasses any attempt to understand population issues (usually human population issues). Environmentally, population issues have a huge impact on resource use, quality of life, and many other areas. Ultimately, professionals in the field work with policy makers, doctors, communities, and other groups to find a sustainable balance between the needs of a population and its impact on the environment.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Range Science and Management.
Range Science is the sustainable use of rangeland and its resources. Rangeland is one of our most important natural resources, and high-quality range that serves a variety of purposes is necessary now and in the future.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Recreation and Parks Management.
Recreation and Parks Management professionals have the important job of making sure our recreational areas are safe and fun, and also that these areas are protected for future generations.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Resource Economics.
Resource Economics is the application of economic principles to resource management. Though closely related to Environmental Economics, Resource Economics is considered to be more broad in scope.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Risk Analysis.
Risk Analysis includes the assessment, communication and management of risk in human affairs. "Risk" is a very common thing, but professionals in the field look for ways to identify risks and lessen human and environmental exposure to risks. The field is closely tied in to environmental chemistry, toxicology, and environmental and occupational health.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Social Ecology.
Social Ecology studies the relationship between humans in society and the environment. Social Ecologists implement solutions to both social and environmental problems based on the premise that the two fields are closely linked. It is an exciting new field for those looking to make positive changes in the social and environmental fields.
Soil Science Programs are usually (but not always) found within Agricultural Programs, and they focus on the physical, chemical, and/or biological properties of soil. Although the field is most often associated with the agricultural industry, soil composition, porosity, and density (to name just a few characteristics) are also critical considerations for construction projects, waste disposal, and many other activities.
Click here to read more about Study Abroad for environmental students.
A study abroad program is supplemental study which takes place in a different country. There are many study abroad opportunities for environmental students, and these programs can be a wonderful addition to your education. Students who study abroad learn new perspectives and skills that will be useful well beyond graduation.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Sustainable Development.
Sustainable Development is any kind of planning or development which meets the needs of current stakeholders, while also considering the needs of the environment and of future generations.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Toxicology.
Toxicology is the study of poisons, or "toxicants," on humans and other living organisms. Toxicologists study how we are exposed to toxicants, what effects exposure has on us, and how to minimize the risks associated with exposure.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Urban and Regional Planning.
Urban and Regional Planning is the branch of architecture and planning concerned with urban and community planning. Planners carefully coordinate social, economic, political, environmental, and scientific issues in planning projects.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Waste Management.
Waste Management is the safe handling, storage, and disposal or re-use of waste. Getting rid of waste efficiently and minimizing it are two ways that Waste Managers help protect the environment. They also protect human health, by ensuring that waste is handled in ways that are least likely to endanger workers and the general public.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Watershed Management.
Watershed Management involves monitoring, protecting and restoring watersheds and the land surrounding watersheds so that they can function optimally. This field is important to the survival of humans, plants and animals.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Wetlands Science.
Wetlands Science involves the conservation, protection and creation of wetlands, as well as resource management and education.Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Wilderness Training.
Wilderness Training involves helping others to safely enjoy their wilderness excursions. It includes training adventurers and tourists to safely navigate wilderness areas. Wilderness Training professionals also teach and certify professional rescuers, park personnel, fire fighters, and others in fields such as wilderness first aid and natural hazard management.
Wildlife Science Programs, often coupled with Fisheries Science Programs, focus on the study of wildlife, including their behavior, population dynamics, and interactions with habitats and people. Wildlife Management, Wildlife Biology and Wildlife Rehabilitation are the main sub-specialties.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Wood Science.
Wood is one of our most valuable natural resources. Wood Scientists work to ensure that wood and wood products are used wisely. Their work includes forest conservation, oversight of timber harvesting, and the use of wood in making products for human use.
Click here to read more about degree programs and the professional outlook for the field of Zoology.
Zoology is the branch of biology that is the study of animals and animal life. Zoologists study everything from tiny one-celled animals to whole ecosystems.