Studies & Degrees in Environmental Sciences
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Environmental Sciences Study Programs
Environment-related studies are a very wide subject area that generally involves the interaction between human beings and their natural environment. The array of concepts covered ranges from geology to philosophy, while one of the biggest aspects in environmental studies is the sciences – biology, chemistry, and even engineering. Other subjects incorporated into the study of the environment are economics, psychology, ethics, law, and politics, as they support the aim of students to understand why and how humans use and form a relationship with the environment.
Some real world application of the study of the environment include the research and employment of new, environmentally-friendly materials (i.e. replacing plastic bags with ones that are more easily recycled); consult companies and governments on issues like environmental ethics and sustainability plans (i.e. working with the management of a large corporation on the decision whether to build a plant in a certain area, and what measures can be taken to prevent negative environmental effects); or develop conservation plans, conduct research, run community education programs, etc.
Genuine interest in the surrounding natural environment and real commitment to environmental issues are pre-requisites for you to look for such a course. Other qualities that would help are:
- Good presentation and communication skills. Strong persuasive skills
- Logical thought and problem solving abilities
- Patience and ability to work within a team
Various degrees are available, the most general of which is Environmental Studies; there are also environmental science programs, environmental health specialist programs, the option to specialize in pollution, or environmental law. The choice is varied, but in all cases you should look for accreditation, a distinguished faculty, and graduate and research opportunities at the institution which you are considering. The program you are looking for should most likely be in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, or the Faculty of Environmental Studies.
Absolutely crucial are the research opportunities that the university offers when embarking on an environmental program. If you are able to take part in current ongoing research on environmental issues, this is going to greatly enhance your knowledge and your employability. There are schools where students do play an important role in collecting data and participating in research, which would definitely add value to your university experience.
Last but not least, do consider postgraduate study, which is a common choice in a relatively young but constantly growing field like environmental sciences.
An array of opportunities is opened to those with an Environmental Studies degree or similar. Some of the most common professions are biologists, geologists, environmental engineers, environmental consultants; you could also specialize in areas like environmental law, hazardous waste control, or water resource management.
There is also the opportunity to work for the government, as there are departments who employ specialists to carry out inspections at business sites for violation of environmental guidelines, to check water quality, take soil samples, or evaluate risks of the spread of contagious diseases.