Urban Ecology Degree Programs and Courses
Urban ecology is an interdisciplinary field, focusing on urban planning, biology, botany and other related fields. Learn about available degree programs, potential coursework and what you'll be able to do with your degree.
What You Need to Know
An urban ecology program provides students with a multidisciplinary education that emphasizes science and mathematics skills. Through projects, internships, and other practical experience students can determine their particular area of interest within urban ecology.
|Degrees||Bachelor's and master's degrees|
|Courses||Foundations of Urban Ecology, Research Methods in Planning, Planning Law & Administration, Leadership & Public Participation, Planning Theory and Ethics, Urban Habitats, Conservation Biology|
|Experiential Learning||Internships and research opportunities|
What Kinds of Degree Programs Are Available in Urban Ecology?
Most schools offer urban ecology majors at the bachelor's level. These programs take an interdisciplinary approach to the field, providing a solid background in ecology, biology, chemistry and the social sciences. You can major in urban ecology or declare it as an area of emphasis in another discipline, such as urban planning or biology. Urban ecology degree programs are usually not offered online.
What About Graduate Programs?
There are also viable options for studying urban ecology at the graduate level. For example, students could enroll in a Master of Arts in Urban Ecology or a Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies degree program. A thesis might be required for degree completion.
What Courses Might I Study?
Mathematics and computer skills are necessary to the profession and are usually covered in general education requirements. Core studies include the following:
- Environmental impacts of urban planning
- Legislation of ecological encroachment
- Sustainable building and growth
- Renewable resources
- Wildlife considerations in urban development
Your physical science courses contain significant training in chemistry and geology, though you'll also study biology, zoology and botany. Some schools recommend that you take courses in economics, communications, engineering, psychology and sociology. The following are additional topics covered at various program levels:
- Urban history
- Design methods
- Advanced field ecology
- Marine microbiology
- Behavioral ecology
- Molecular ecology
- Advanced conservation biology
Most programs include lab work and research projects, though you might also be able to participate in an internship opportunity with an affiliated company, agency or organization. Other schools might give you the chance to work with faculty and scientists on departmental research, providing you with mentored guidance, an occasion to collaborate on studies and present findings.
What Can I Do With My Degree?
A bachelor's degree in urban ecology qualifies you for entry-level jobs in a number of industries, such as local and state government agencies, conservation organizations, environmental consulting firms and academia. Some of the tasks you could perform include designing energy-efficient cities; finding renewable energy sources; monitoring water flow, wildlife and vegetation; assessing urban health issues and designing sustainable structures. Some possible positions you'd be eligible for with a bachelor's degree include:
- Research assistant
- Park or wildlife specialist
- Project coordinator
- Teacher or teacher's aide
- Community developer
Earning a master's degree helps students pursue advanced careers in these same fields, as well as giving them a strong foundation in research. Graduates can apply these research skills to their work or continue their education in a related doctoral program.