Masters in Environmental Science: Degree Program Overviews
Learn about the curriculum and requirements of a master's degree program in environmental science. Find out about possible career choices, including advanced research work.
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 analyzing these systems for the purpose of conservation are well suited for master's degree programs in environmental science.
A master's degree program in environmental science typically lasts two years and is designed to provide students with the research capabilities, assessment skills, and practical knowledge necessary to become environmental scientists. Program graduates are expected to understand various environmental habitats and know how to minimize harmful elements, predict environmental change and manage natural resources.
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.
Graduate programs in environmental science require that incoming students hold bachelor's degrees in science-related fields. Applicants will also need to submit GRE scores and comply with any other admission requirements enforced by the particular school or program.
Because many master's degree programs in environmental science request that students study along a particular track or subject within the field, graduate courses can vary. However, some common, core courses in an environmental science graduate degree program include the following:
- Advanced earth systems
- Methods and numerical skills
- Nutrient cycling
- Hydric soils
- Land resource management
- Health data analysis
- Public policy analysis
- Forest conservation
- Science and politics
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a master's degree program in environmental science are well suited to earn advanced positions in research and management in areas of scientific study and natural resource management, respectively. Some popular careers include the following:
- Environmental scientist
- Climate control scientist
- Environmental consultant
- Atmospheric scientist
- Science technician
- Land surveyor
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