United States Doctorate in Environmental Science | PhD in Environmental Science Programs
PhD in Environmental Science | Doctorate in Environmental Science Programs Overview
Pursuing a PhD in Environmental Science might be particularly appealing to graduate students interested in advanced research in a specific aspect of this broad field. If you are dedicated to environmental issues and are hoping to make a difference, whether in policy, through teaching, or documentation, and are ready to advance your expertise in a particular area, a PhD Environmental Science Degree may offer the professional education needed to do so.
Environmental science degrees tend to be general ones, drawing from the traditional sciences (biology, physics, chemistry, geography and ecology) as well as the social sciences (economics, business, or sociology). At the doctoral level, however, students have the opportunity to complete a specialization within a more select area in environmental science, such as energy, sustainability, conservation, forestry or botany.
Why Pursue a PhD in Environmental Science?
The main reason graduates enter Environmental PhD programs is to conduct research. Earning your PhD in Environmental Science places you amongst the most skilled in the field. Doctoral degrees combine high-level seminars with coursework and original research; the predominant requirement of these programs is to defend a doctoral dissertation.
It might take 3 to 6 years to complete a PhD in Environmental Science, though this may vary depending on the school and the program itself. The rigorous research entailed means one should consider each program carefully to determine which one will hold their attention and commitment during the process.
Typically, after students pass a comprehensive exam, they go on to complete their own research, making an important contribution to the field through a dissertation and oral examinations.
Selecting Environmental PhD
GradSchools.com has easy to use search tools to assist you in choosing the right environmental PhD program. If location is an issue for you, initiate a location search to determine where you might study.
Choosing a learning format is an important consideration as well. Traditional campus programs offer face-to-face interaction, plus the use of laboratories and libraries. If you aspire to a career in academics, you might gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.
For busy working professionals, a distance-learning option might be more viable. In this event, you might choose an online or hybrid format, which is a combination of online and on campus courses. Some of the options you might find may include: PhD in environmental Studies, PhD in Ecology, PhD in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography and PhD in Botany.
Some of the things to compare between schools include:
- Admissions requirements
- Programs coursework majors/minors
- Whether the program is new and innovative or has a history and close-knit faculty
- Community and Alumni
Potential Coursework for PhD in Environmental Science Programs
Doctorate in Environmental Science programs are intended to help students understand:
- Important environmental issues
- Focus on a traditional or emerging area of environmental science
- Learn advanced research methodologies
- Teach, consult or contribute to policy making
Most programs allow students to personalize their degree according to their research interests, whether this be an interdisciplinary perspective, or in one aspect of environmental science, or in a specific issue such as:
- Environmental toxicology
- Environmental Resource management
- Deforestation and land-use management
- Plant biology and conservation
- Marine studies
- Botany and horticulture
Potential Careers for PhD Environmental Science Graduates
Individuals holding doctoral degrees might opt to work within academia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an employment growth of 9% between 2014 and 2024 for Environmental Science teachers at the Postsecondary level.
While a Ph.D. primarily prepares you for a career as a professor, there are a number of other career options open as well, particularly within the research sector. The industries with the highest level of employment of Environmental Scientists are
- Management, scientific, and consulting services
- State government
- Architectural, engineering and related services
- Local and Federal branches of government
Career Tip: Students who want to reach the Ph.D. level and have a career in academia or as an environmental scientist doing basic research may find it advantageous to major in a more specific natural science such as chemistry, biology, physics, or geology, rather than a broader environmental science degree[i].
Ready To Pursue a Doctorate in Environmental Science?
As a problem-solver for environmental issues, if you are ready to achieve the highest level of education, and potentially be part of the next generation of environmental experts, start looking into PhD programs in Environmental Science on GradSchools.com today!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm#tab-4 | bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers | bls.gov/oes/current/oes192041.htm
Colorado Technical University
CTU’s Doctor of Management - Environmental and Social Sustainability degree program is designed for professionals passionate about making a positive difference in the world.
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
California Institute of Integral Studies
The ecological challenges of the 21st century represent a crisis of values and consciousness. The pace of global change calls for an understanding of the process by which humanity came to this crossroads in planetary history.
- Conway, SCConway, SC
Coastal Carolina University
The Ph.D. in Marine Science: Coastal and Marine Systems Science facilitates students to work with faculty on original research expanding and applying knowledge of coastal systems...
- Tempe, AZTempe, AZ
Arizona State University
Study and research are offered in the general areas of Behavior, Computational/Statistical/Mathematical Biology, Biology Education, Conservation Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Ecology, Genetics, History of Biology, Evolution...
- Tempe, AZ
- Oxford, OHOxford, OH
- Pocatello, IDPocatello, ID
Idaho State University
Our diverse faculty in ecology believe that research and scholarly communication should form the centerpiece of graduate education. Our M.S. program requires a substantial, original research project culminating in a thesis, 30 credits of graduate work,...
- Pocatello, ID
- Ames, IAAmes, IA
Iowa State University
Master's students may specialize in forest administration and management, forest biology, forest biometry, forest economics and marketing, or wood science. Ph.D. students may select from specializations in forest biology-wood science, forest biometry, o...
- Ames, IA
- Corvallis, ORCorvallis, OR
Oregon State University
The Department of Forest Engineering offers study in forest hydrology, timber harvest systems, logging engineering, forest operations, and a joint program in harvesting and silviculture with the Department of Forest Science. The Department...
- Corvallis, OR
- Fairbanks, AKFairbanks, AK
University of Alaska - Fairbanks
- Providence, RIProvidence, RI
Research and coursework spans the fields of anatomy, behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, genomics and paleontology.
- Las Cruces, NMLas Cruces, NM
New Mexico State University
The student may emphasize either crop science, soil science, general agronomy, or horticulture. The crop science section places special emphasis on the genetics and improvement of cotton, alfalfa, plant and crop physiology, crop production, and genetic...
- Las Cruces, NM
- Waco, TXWaco, TX
The Biology Department at Baylor University offers graduate degrees at both the doctoral and masters levels, specializing in ecology & environmental sciences (especially aquatic aspects of ecology and in biodiversity) and in genetics. Most students are...
- Raleigh, NCRaleigh, NC
North Carolina State University
Course offerings and research facilities are available in the following areas: wood chemistry, biopolymer chemistry, bio-materials, bio-energy, pulping chemistry, process analysis, polymer chemistry, paper physics, paper recycling, wood physics (especia...
- Raleigh, NC
- Athens, GAAthens, GA
University of Georgia
Plant pathology is "biology with a purpose": a highly dynamic science at the interface of microbiology, plant biology, molecular genetics, and production agriculture. The University of Georgia offers one of the best plant pathology graduate...
- Athens, GA
- New Orleans, LANew Orleans, LA
- Cambridge, MACambridge, MA
The mission of the Department of Environmental Health is to advance the health of all people in the United States and around the world through research and training in environmental health. The department emphasizes the role of air, water, the built env...
- Jonesboro, ARJonesboro, AR
Arkansas State University
The graduate program in Environmental Science an interdepartmental program offering both MS and Ph.D. degrees for cross-disciplinary research in areas related to the understanding and management of the environment in the broadest context. Areas of study...
- Boston, MABoston, MA
The Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology will train independent scientists whose research addresses fundamental and applied questions at local, regional, national, and global scales. This training will include both general and spec...