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Environmental Studies


Programs in environmental studies teach people environment-related issues using principles of natural and social sciences.

Environmental studies programs include topics such as:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. Some environmental studies programs require students to complete an internship.


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in environmental studies. 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 studies. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study. Many colleges and universities offer interdisciplinary bachelor's degrees in environmental studies. Interdisciplinary programs combine courses from several college departments. In environmental studies it may be natural resources, economics, or public policy.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in environmental studies. 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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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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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 studies. However, you should major or take several courses in related fields such as political science, geology, anthropology, biology, sociology, or public policy.

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

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program of study is interdisciplinary and offers a wide variety of courses from which you can choose, 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 studies 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

If you're interested in pursuing environmental studies on an international level, you should take courses in a second language.

Schools often offer courses related to the geographic environmental issues pertinent to their locations. Research the location and faculty at different schools in order to match your interests. For example, if you want to study shoreline preservation and policy, you should look for schools that are either located near a beach or have faculty that research shoreline preservation.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Wenatchee Valley College

Whitman College

King-Snohomish Area

Antioch University

Cascadia College

Columbia College - Naval Station Everett/Marysville

Everett Community College

Seattle University

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Gonzaga University

Tacoma Area

Evergreen State College, The (Tacoma Campus)

Pacific Lutheran University

Tacoma Community College

University of Puget Sound

University of Washington - Tacoma

West Side Area

Centralia College

Columbia College - Whidbey Island

Evergreen State College, The

Grays Harbor College

Saint Martin's University

Western Washington University

Yakima Area

Heritage University