Masters in Environmental Science: Degree Program Overviews

Master's degree programs in environmental science provide students with the research capabilities, assessment skills, and practical knowledge needed to become environmental scientists. Depending on their interests, students can focus on scientific or management policy aspects of the field.

Essential Information

Environmental science is the study of the environmental systems at play in forests, mountains, oceans, rangelands and other natural spaces, as well as in areas of human habitation. Those interested in promoting conservation by analyzing and working with these systems are well-suited for master's degree programs in environmental science.

Most master's degree programs in environmental science combine class lectures on environmental research with hands-on experiments. For this reason, most universities offering graduate programs in environmental science are located close to natural habitats such as forests and national parks. Graduate students are also expected to complete thesis projects that help further research in particular areas of environmental science, such as soil chemistry, water chemistry or nutrient management.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in a science-related field, GRE scores
  • Some Program Specializations: Soil chemistry, water chemistry, nutrient management
  • Experiential Learning: Field research in national parks or other wildlands
  • Other Requirements: Programs usually require thesis project

Master's Degree in Environmental Science

Through classroom and field-based learning, program participants gain an understanding of different types of environmental habitats and how to minimize the harmful effects of human populations, predict environmental change and manage natural resources. Many environmental science programs provide students with the chance to pursue a particular subject. Common core courses include:

  • Advanced earth systems
  • Numerical skills and methods
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Land resource management
  • Public policy analysis
  • Science and politics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a master's degree program in environmental science are well-suited to earn advanced positions in environmental science research and natural resources management. Some popular careers include the following:

  • Geoscientist
  • Hydrologist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Climate control scientist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Epidemiologist
  • Atmospheric scientist
  • Physicist
  • Science technician
  • Land surveyor

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