Sustainable Living Education Programs and Degrees

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in environmental science provide students with in-depth knowledge of earth systems, atmospheric issues and sustainable living theories.

Essential Information

While programs in sustainable living are rare, many colleges and universities offer related bachelor's and master's degree programs in environmental science. These programs explore sustainable solutions for lessening the impact that humans have on the environment. Bachelor's programs are typically more broad in scope than master's programs; students pursuing master's degrees can usually choose a specialization and are expected to complete a research project. At the undergraduate level, curriculum covers pollution, extinction, and scarcity of resources. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or its General Education Development (GED) equivalent and a strong interest in earth sciences. At the master's level, there's more of a focus on the research of environmental issues and sustainable living. Students learn to how analyze ecological and geographical systems, predict long-term outcomes, and lead advocacy efforts to manage the environment. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree; a background in the sciences is strongly desired.

  • Program Levels: Bachelor's, master's and doctorate
  • Prerequisites: For an undergraduate program, a high school diploma or equivalent and a earth science interest is required. Master's level applicants must have bachelor's degree.
  • Program Fields: Bachelor's of environmental science, master's of environmental science
  • Program Specializations: Options are available at the graduate level
  • Other Requirements: For a master's, the completion of a thesis is necessary for graduation

Bachelor's Degrees in Environmental Science

The coursework of a bachelor's-level environmental science program draws from several disciplines including geology, biology, geography and the social sciences. Class topics might include:

  • Weather and climates
  • Hydrology
  • Evolution and ecology
  • Field methods
  • Biological environment

Master's Degrees in Environmental Science

Many of these programs allow students to choose a concentration and participate in research surroundings. Some common topics of study are:

  • Research methods
  • Statistical analysis
  • Water resource sustainability
  • Land resource management
  • Regional ecosystems

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of environmental scientists and specialists is expected to grow at a rate of 15% from 2012-2022. This growth is due in part to the environmental impact of our increasing population, combined with an awareness of environmental crises. The mean annual salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $72,050 as of May 2014 (

Popular Career Options

Graduates from bachelor's and master's environmental science programs may work for national research labs, academic research institutions, private environmental organizations, consulting firms and governmental agencies involved with resource management. Those who want to pursue advanced scientific research positions may seek a doctorate in environmental science. In addition to the position of environmental hygienist and naturalist, other possible career roles are:

  • Natural resource specialist
  • Environmental compliance manager
  • Research ecologist
  • Science specialist
  • Natural resources project manager

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