10 Environmental Studies Programs You Should Know About

Posted on July 28, 2010 by Courtney

Image credit: Colby College, http://www.flickr.com/photos/72098626@N00/2100990080

It’s hard to believe, but it won’t be long before the kiddos are zipping their backpacks and heading back to school. If you or your son or daughter is in high school, have you given any thought to college majors? There are all kinds of schools out there that offer all kinds of degrees, but for someone who wants to take eco-friendliness into a career, the time is now to start looking at what colleges offer the best environmental studies programs.

Fiske Guides are a popular resource for researching the schools that offer the best programs for what you want to do with your career. Here are 10 environmental studies programs in the United States that should be on your radar, according to the Fiske Guides:

Colby College, Waterville, Maine. Environmental studies majors at this school can pick one of two concentrations: Policy, which prepares students for careers in environmental economics and law; and science, which prepares students for careers in conservation biology, marine science, environmental chemistry or environmental geology. There is also an environmental studies minor.

College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine. This school defines itself as an alternative to traditional liberal arts colleges. There are several majors centered around the environment that students can choose, including environmental science, ecological planning and policy, field ecology and conservation biology, marine studies, sustainable business, and sustainable food systems.

University of California, Davis. Students can pick between two tracks: environmental science and management, or environmental policy analysis and planning. This school educates students in both natural sciences and social sciences in order to provide more well-rounded graduates that can more effectively tackle environmental issues in their careers.

University of Colorado, Boulder. This school offers environmental studies in both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The undergraduate program is interdisciplinary, meaning it combines elements of many different disciplines in order to create a well-rounded curriculum. The graduate program, which offers both M.S. and Ph.D. tracks, includes emphases in policy, energy, water, biogeoscience, or environmental social science.

Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. The lone Ivy League school on this list, Dartmouth has one of the oldest environmental studies programs in the country. It offers degrees for both undergraduate and graduate students and includes courses on a wide range of topics, including environmental science, ecological economics, international environmental issues, conservation of biodiversity, ecological agriculture, environmental justice, environmental journalism, and environmental law.

Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida. At this school, students learn about the natural environment and the way humans interact with it. Graduates have gone on to have careers in environmental education, natural resource management, environmental and urban planning, landscape architecture, environmental law, public health, and many other fields.

The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. Environmental studies is broken down into three tracks: human communities and the environment, natural history, and environmental sciences. Each of these programs emphasize issues specific to the Pacific Northwest, but branch out into other areas of the United States and Canada as well. There is also a master’s degree offered in environmental studies.

University of North Carolina at Asheville. This program has concentrations in earth science, ecology and environmental biology, and environmental management and policy, as well as a unique individualized concentration that allows students to combine elements of the other concentrations to tailor their major to their specific goals.

Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. This school’s environmental studies program is relatively new and combines classes from the departments of liberal arts, science and engineering, public health, business, and architecture. Even the building that houses these classes is eco-friendly.

University of Washington. This school’s Program on the Environment, part of its College of the Environment, offers a bachelor of arts, a graduate certificate program, and a minor. It’s not a traditional program on its own, but consists of partnerships between faculty members of UW’s three campuses. Learning takes place in the classroom and out in the field.

Have you thought of a career in an environmental field? What type of job would you enjoy?


  1. My brother went to Unity College and majored in Outdoor Recreation. While I was slogging through Chemistry and Algebra, he was taking Canoeing and Hiking. And getting credits for it. He’s a forest ranger in Colorado now. I’m unemployed (good thing I majored in History, hu?)

    July 28th, 2010 at 7:59 am
    Comment by Howling Hill
  2. Holy crap, did you know this was one of the things I was currently considering for my life after the current career? I don’t know if relocating is in the cards, but some of these places do distance learning. I’ll look into it :)

    July 28th, 2010 at 9:23 am
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  3. Where were the Greenists 13 years ago with this information? Thanks a lot.

    July 28th, 2010 at 5:40 pm
    Comment by mickey
  4. I currently work in the environmental field. When I was in university 11 years ago I decided that working in industry trying to affect change was where my passion was. I am still doing that and love it.

    July 28th, 2010 at 8:40 pm
    Comment by Jen
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    August 19th, 2010 at 6:57 pm
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  6. I would like to study in Environmental science but I have no idea about job opportunities after graduation.

    July 31st, 2011 at 11:12 pm
    Comment by Emmy
  7. The New School offers two programs of study focusing on the environment, a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, these innovative new programs, take students beyond natural ecology and resource conservation, emphasizing urban ecosystems, sustainable design, and public policy.

    September 8th, 2011 at 5:35 pm
    Comment by environmental studies program

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