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.

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.

Master's Degree in Environmental Science

Most master's programs require a bachelor's degree in a science-related field, as well as GRE scores. 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. 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

Students pursing a master's in environmental science will focus on environmental habitats and environmental change to prepare for a career in research or natural resource management. In addition to traditional on campus classes, most programs will require you to perform fieldwork in a nearby national park or other natural environment.

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