Alaska 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 Doctorate Degree Programs

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 Programs

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
  • Faculty
  • 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

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