Washington, DC Masters in Environmental Science Degrees | Environmental Science Masters Programs
Graduate students with a passion for analyzing, understanding, and protecting the environment might find that earning a Masters in Environmental Science degree may help to prepare them for a variety of potential career paths in a fast growing field. While a Bachelor’s degree might be adequate for some entry-level jobs, earning a master's degree in Environmental Science may be required for career advancement. Graduates aspiring to academic careers will need a doctoral degree in the field. Those pursuing advanced degrees may do well to major in a specific natural science such as chemistry, biology, physics, or geology, rather than a broader environmental science master’s degree.
MS in Environmental Science tend to be research focused, and usually require students to take full course-loads each semester. However, one or two classes may be fulfilled with an “independent research seminar” in which the student devotes time towards their research project. Typically, an M.S. in environmental science also requires the completion of a thesis, which is often a significant piece of original, independent research that is published by the student at the end of their program.
Usually, a Master's degree in Environmental Science might be obtained in 2-3 years (perhaps longer if working while attending school). One’s admittance to the program of choice may require a few basic steps; application fee, letter of interest, references, transcripts, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. It is wise to verify this with each school.
FUN FACT: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more businesses are expected to consult with environmental scientists and specialists in the future to help them minimize the impact their operations have on the environment
What is Environmental Science?
interdisciplinary field of study, environmental science is the science that examines the interactions between the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms of the environment. It includes their effects on all types of organisms, especially to human impact on the environment and human well-being.
Graduates holding a Masters in Environmental Science degree might be considered as Environmental Scientists, who are experts in one or more of the natural sciences and apply their knowledge to environmental and human-health issues. These professionals work with businesses, governments, and other organizations such as non-profits and research institutes to clean up polluted areas, advise on policy issues and best practices, and teach individuals, businesses, and institutions how to effectively and efficiently use natural resources.
How To Search For a Masters in Environmental Science Program
GradSchools.com has easy to use search tools to help you find Environmental Science Masters programs. If program format is an important consideration for you, use the tabs to select campus programs, or choose a distance learning option. The hybrid format is a combination of campus and online courses, or, if you are a busy working professional you might choose an online environmental science masters degree.
If location is important to you, use the city, state or country tabs to generate listings, then scroll through, and even request more information from each school. Some of your options might include a Master of Science in Environmental Science, an MS in Environmental Studies, Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Environmental Science, or an MS in Environmental Studies: Conservation Biology.
Make sure to verify the different tuition, admissions requirements, prerequisites, faculty and curriculum with each school. Some programs may require a mentorship, research or internship alongside of coursework. According to the BLS, students should look for classes and internships that include work in computer modeling, data analysis, and geographic information systems. Those who have this type of experience will be the best prepared to enter the job market.
Masters in Environmental Science Degree Program Potential Curriculum
Environmental Science masters level programs allow students to develop breadth of knowledge in the field through core classes in the physical, life, and social sciences. Students typically complete their coursework in environmental science alongside fieldwork and research for a thesis, dissertation, or other final cumulative project or exam. It is common that they work side-by-side with academics and other professionals in the field during their programs to gain meaningful insight and hands-on experience.
Common Courses in Environmental Sciences Masters Programs
Graduate students in environmental science typically take core and concentrative courses. Some examples of common core-course subjects may include:
- Environmental Sciences
- Natural Sciences
- Social Sciences and the Humanities
- Environmental Ethics and Human Behavior
- Research Methods in Environmental Sciences
- Environmental Law and Policy
- Aquatic Ecology
- Geographic Information Systems
- Conservation and Ecosystem Management
- Sustainability (including emphases in subjects such as land use, population management, and food systems)
- Environmental Policy, Law, and Analysis
Areas of Specialization for Environmental Sciences Graduate Students
Environmental scientists may have numerous options for specialization. Some include:
- Air resources
- Environmental biology
- Microbiology, or toxicology
- Surface water resources or groundwater and the subsurface environment
- Solid waste management
- Sustainability science
- Conservation Biology
- Marine Biology
Potential Jobs in Environmental Science
Careers in Environmental Science are varied, as the field has different goals. Environmental Science explores how the natural world works, to understand how we as humans interact with the environment, and also to determine how we affect the environment. It also attempts to determine how humans affect the environment and includes finding ways to deal with these effects on the environment.
Some of the potential careers that graduates with Masters in Environmental Science might pursue may include:
Professional Environmental Scientists and Specialists use their comprehension of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. Their tasks are varied, from cleaning up polluted areas to advising policy makers or researching climate change. According to the BLS, employment of environmental scientists is projected to grow 11% between 2014 and 2024, and the median annual wage in May of 2014 was $66,250.
Some of the types of specialists within the field of Environmental Scientists include:
- Climate Change Analysts
- Environmental Health Specialists
- Environmental Restoration Planners
- Industrial Ecologists
- Environmental Chemists
Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists study the weather and climate, as well as how these conditions affect earth activity. This field has an expected 9% growth rate in employment between 2014 and 2024.
Conservation Scientists and Foresters manage the land quality of forests, parks rangelands and other natural resources. Employment is projected to grow at a rate of 7% between 2014 and 2024.
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact within ecosystems, and a master’s degree is often needed for higher-level investigative or scientific work in the field. This field has a slower than average growth rate of 4% between 2014 and 2024
Agricultural and food scientists research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural establishments and products. This field has a 5% projected growth in employment between 2014 and 2024
Sustainability Managers are responsible for developing and implementing an organization's sustainability plans and presenting these plans to senior staff, and might also be responsible for ensuring that an organization is in compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations.
FUN FACT: the BLS definition of a green job involved in green technologies and practices is one whose primary duty is related to the use of environmentally friendly production processes.[i]
Ready To Pursue a Masters in Environmental Science?
Environmental science is a holistic and multidisciplinary field that integrates the biological, physical, and earth sciences. From agriculture to healthcare to industry, environmental scientists teach, research, and consult in businesses to help humans understand the environment and the effect of humans, plants and animals that populate the earth. Why not begin a search for the Environmental Science Masters programs that might help you find a promising career in this vast and fascinating subject!
Sources: bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/atmospheric-scientists-including-meteorologists.htm | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/zoologists-and-wildlife-biologists.htm | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/agricultural-and-food-scientists.htm | [i] bls.gov/green/sustainability/sustainability.htm
Johns Hopkins University
The Masters of Science in Environmental Science and Policy is a springboard to leadership for environmental professionals.
University of Edinburgh
The programme is designed for graduates who want an advanced academic qualification in tackling climate change in business, industry, NGOs and government...
Colorado State University
Become a well-rounded leader, and gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of natural resource management systems with Colorado State University’s online Master of Natural Resource Management (M.N.R.S.).
Colorado State University
Colorado State University's online Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (M.F.W.C.B.) focuses on the ecology and management of wild animals, for their benefit and the benefit of humans.
Texas A&M University
The Master of Agriculture ("MAG") program is intended to prepare individuals for leadership roles in education, natural resource management, the exten...
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Master of Applied Science is a practitioner degree that addresses the educational needs of working life science professionals.
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...
- Auburn, ALAuburn, AL
Auburn's Agronomy and Soils distance program offers an MS or M Agriculture with emphasis in either soil or plant and weed scienc...
- Towson, MDTowson, MD
We focus on the importance of social and cultural contexts in understanding and responding to environmental issues.
Open University, The
Oregon State University
Oregon State University's Professional Science Master's in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration (PSMFWA) is a new online degree...
Sam Houston State University
Blend eco-friendly practices and problem-solving skills to advocate for the role of agriculture in building healthy communities.
North Carolina A&T State University
The overall goal of this degree program is to elevate the quality of agricultural instruction delivered in the schools of North Carolina for those in...
University of Saint Francis
The Master of Environmental Health program at the University of Saint Francis is an accelerated, fully online program.
University of Alabama
The specialization in general human environmental sciences is designed to permit students to pursue work in more than one area of human environmental...
New York Medical College
46-credit Master of Public Health in Environmental Health Science...
In the Master of Arts Program, students design a curriculum to meet their specific areas of interest. Students complete their...
Green Mountain College
Premier, fully online MSES from Green Mountain College, the nation's leading sustainability college, helps professionals develop expertise in environmental issues, then put it to work in their own communities.
Long Island University
Rising sea levels, air and water pollution, and the soaring demand for energy -- these and many more challenges confront policy-...
Wayne State University
Fully modular programmes, with discrete learning objectives and outcomes. Customisable to a certain extent, depending on the programme. Serious and motivated individuals only - recommended 3000 hours of work required. Once accepted, start on the first o...
2-year, multidisciplinary, English taught, Research Master.
Combining science with organizational and communication skills, the Unity College Master’s in Professional Science (M.S.) will give you the training and credentials you need to advance in your career path.
University of Idaho
The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Natural Resources and Environmental Science is an innovative interdisciplinary...