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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Environmental Science

Majors Overview April 4, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in environmental science and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Environmental Science

Schools offer bachelor’s degree programs in environmental science that are predominantly interdisciplinary and combine elements of liberal arts, environmental affairs, natural science, and physical science.

Students keen on pursuing education in these topics and in performing research on the primary environmental problems that currently affect the earth would benefit by earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science degree that is commonly offered by schools.

Environmental science majors learn how to conserve natural resources, how human populations affect the environment, and how to manage natural land formations and parks. They also learn ways of investigating the reasons for pressing environmental concerns, including diminishing water supplies and global warming.

The curricula included in the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science degree program combines classroom lectures with field research experiences and outdoor and indoor labs.

Education Requirements

Four-year universities and colleges offer bachelor’s degree programs in environmental science, wherein admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold GED certificates or high school diplomas. Before they are allowed to graduate, students enrolled in an environmental science major are usually required to complete coursework relating to speech communication, physical science, calculus, and basic chemistry.

Coursework

The curricula within most bachelor’s degree programs in environmental science are a combination of practical education about the environment with basic scientific theories and principles. Core coursework covers topic areas such as:

•Soil biogeochemistry
•Wetland ecosystems
•Waste management
•Environmental toxicology
•Analytical methods for natural systems
•Air pollution and control
•Water supply
•Organic chemistry
•Geochemistry
•Environmental health policy
•Microbiology

Career Choices

Armed with the broad major of environmental science, a graduate can seek several entry-level careers such as the following:

•Sustainability consultant
•Environmental advocacy director
•Physical scientist
•Biologist
•Geologist
•Landscape ecologist
•Environmental restoration field supervisor
•Wildlife ecologist manager
•Restoration ecologist
•Conservation assistant

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a slower-than-average job growth rate of five percent has been predicted for wildlife biologists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $57,710.

During the 2012 – 2022 decade, conservation scientists are expected to see job growth of three percent. Environmental scientists and specialists are expected to witness nineteen percent growth. In 2012, conservation scientists and environmental scientists earned respective average annual wage packets of $59,060 and $63,570 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

After completion of a bachelor’s degree program in environmental science, an interested individual can pursue continuing education by enrolling in one of many graduate degree programs related to the field. These include a Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Soil and Water Science, and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Management, among others.

Students enrolled in these two-year degree programs are ready for upper-level management and leadership positions in the fields of environmental advocacy and research. Students enrolled in these programs are often expected to complete a thesis paper or project involving further exploration of a particular pressing issue in the field of environmental conservation, science, or pollution control.

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