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Environmental Science


Programs in environmental science prepare people to use biology, chemistry, and other physical science principles to help solve environmental problems.

Students study ecosystems and learn methods for protecting habitats and other natural resources for human and wildlife.

Environmental science programs include topics such as:

Many colleges and universities offer interdisciplinary bachelor's degrees in environmental science. Interdisciplinary programs combine courses from several college departments. In environmental science it may be chemistry, marine biology, or natural resources management.


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in environmental science. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in environmental science. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in environmental science. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement detailing your specific interests in the field.

Your bachelor's degree does not necessarily have to be in environmental science. However, you should major in a related field such as biology, chemistry, or geology. You also should take courses in calculus and statistics.

If you are applying for a doctoral degree, you need to earn a master's degree first. Like your bachelor's degree, this should be in a related field, if not environmental science.

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

Because this program of study is interdisciplinary, course work varies depending on your interests. You do typically take several core courses, but even these vary from program to program. However, a sample list of undergraduate courses you might take in this program follows:

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs tends to vary. This is especially the case for environmental science programs because of their interdisciplinary nature. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

If you want to pursue a graduate degree but aren't interested in research or teaching at the college level, some master's degree programs offer a non-thesis plan. You usually have to complete a large-scale project or take more courses instead. This option is typically for applicants who have been working in a related field and want advanced training.

Things to Know

Schools often offer courses on environmental issues pertinent to their locations. Research the location and faculty at different schools to match your research interests. For example, if you want to study freshwater ecology, you should look for schools that are either located near a lake or river, or have faculty that do research in this area.

If you're interested in pursuing environmental science on a global level, you should take courses in a second language.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla Community College

Washington State University - Pullman

Wenatchee Valley College

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Cascadia College

Edmonds Community College

Green River College

Highline College

North Seattle College

Northwest University

Seattle Central College

Seattle University

Shoreline Community College

South Seattle College

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Spokane Falls Community College

Tacoma Area

Clover Park Technical College

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Pierce College Puyallup

Tacoma Community College

University of Washington - Tacoma

Tri-Cities Area

Columbia Basin College

Washington State University - Tri-Cities

Vancouver Area

Clark College

Washington State University - Vancouver

West Side Area

Centralia College

Evergreen State College, The

Grays Harbor College

Lower Columbia College

Northwest Indian College

Peninsula College

Skagit Valley College

South Puget Sound Community College

Western Washington University

Whatcom Community College

Yakima Area

Heritage University