Master's Degree in Environmental Education: Program Overview

In master's programs in environmental education, students gain an understanding of curriculum design, ecology, sustainable practices and current issues in environmental science.

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Essential Information

Graduate students will learn a variety of ways to teach environmental sciences, and many programs require student teaching experiences. Writing grant proposals and learning about state and national teaching standards are also usually included in these programs.

It is not required that the student's undergraduate degree be in either science or education, if other course requirements, such as biology and ecology, are met. Many programs offer training for initial teacher certification, and students seeking a teaching license should make sure any program they are considering meets their state's requirements for licensing. These programs are occasionally available online.

Master's Degree in Environmental Education

Environmental education master's degree programs often include coursework and field experiences that teach current and aspiring instructors and program developers how to design and implement curricula about local ecosystems for all academic levels. Courses study how to adapt classroom instruction for outdoor settings or budget the resources of educational centers. Many programs culminate in practicums or internships that allow students to teach in alternative settings, such as summer camps. Some programs offer students the option of preparing for their initial teaching licenses.

Curricula for environmental education master's degree programs often allow students to combine the study of instructional methods with agriculture or environmental science courses. Students can also learn how to design their own research projects. Course offerings can include the following:

  • Outdoor education theory
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Environmental leadership
  • Curriculum development
  • Field instruction

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's degree programs in environmental education can pursue careers at zoos and aquariums, environmental education centers, botanical gardens and public school systems, to name a few. Some popular career options are listed below:

  • Environmental outreach director
  • School teacher
  • Environmental program director
  • Sustainability coordinator

Continuing Education

Environmental educators who want to work as teachers in K-12 public school systems will need to obtain a state teaching license. This process usually requires applicants to complete a state-approved teacher education program and earn at least a bachelor's degree. Applicants for licensure also need to pass a series of written exams evaluating their teaching skills and subject-area knowledge.

Master's degree graduates who'd like to conduct research or instruct future educators at the college level might want to consider pursuing a science education doctorate. Some of these terminal Ph.D. and Ed.D. degree programs allow students to specialize their research in environmental education.

A master's degree in environmental education allows students to combine their interest in environmental sciences with teaching, ensuring the development of future ecologists and natural science professionals.

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