The Master of Science in Environmental Psychology is a 2-year program created for aspiring environmental designers, architects and psychologists. Classroom and laboratory courses teach students to understand and monitor the effects of environmental conditions on human behavior, implement restorative environments, enact durable conservation plans and assist with property resource management. Most master's degree programs in the subject also require the completion of a thesis or project that fully explores a particular aspect of the field. A baccalaureate degree is the most common prerequisite for admission. An undergraduate background in psychology, human behavior or natural resources is preferred.
Master's Degree in Environmental Psychology
This program provides students with an understanding of the relationships between human behavior and natural, social and constructed environments. An understanding of environmental psychology can help graduates solve problems stemming from human-environment interactions. Once students understand the nature of these interactions, they can design and manage environments to facilitate healthy human behaviors.
The courses found within a master's degree program in environmental psychology focus primarily on theories and research. Examples of courses include:
- Preferred environments for humans
- Perception and cognitive maps
- Human attention to the environment
- Environmental stress
- Human coping mechanisms
- Conservation behavior and psychology
Popular Career Options
Graduates may become environmental psychologists who conduct field research to help cities and governments build environments that encourage optimal behavior. Other positions available in the field include:
- Environmental designer
- City planner
- Environmental architect
- Ecological psychologist
- Environmental health scientist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 19%, much faster than the average for all occupations, for psychologists in general from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the mean annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists was $92,320, and all other psychologists - except those in clinical, counseling or school settings - earned a mean annual salary of $93,050, the BLS reported.
Continuing Education Options
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in environmental psychology are more prevalent than master's degree programs. Ph.D. programs in environmental psychology typically take between 5 and 7 years to complete and involve extensive study into one particular aspect of the field, such as environmental stress factors, culminating in a written dissertation.
Students who would like to pursue graduate study in environmental psychology can apply to a Master of Science in Environmental Psychology program prior to attempting a Ph.D. Master's degree programs provide a two-year, intensive course of study and can be used to pursue research, design or city planning careers, among others.