What Are the Best Environmental Science Colleges?

Find out what to look for in a school with a strong program in environmental science. Read about three schools with nationally ranked environmental science programs, and review the degrees that each school offers in the field. Schools offering Environmental Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of the Best Environmental Science Colleges?

When researching environmental science colleges, you might seek schools that offer laboratory facilities and/or centers and institutes dedicated to your area of interest. You also might look for a college or university that boasts excellent faculty and strong national rankings. Additionally, top environmental science programs might offer domestic or international field experience, co-ops or internship options.

Three Top Environmental Science Colleges

Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY

Clarkson, a private technological university, was ranked 129th among U.S. News & World Report's top national universities for 2017. Research facilities include the Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, the Center for Air Resources Engineering & Science and the Great River Center and Limnology Laboratory.

Clarkson's often-interdisciplinary environmental science-related programs are hosted by or shared by the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering and the Institute for a Sustainable Environment. Environmental health science and environmental science and policy majors can enroll in a 15-credit, off-campus Adirondack Semester. Undergraduate research opportunities also include the Lake Ontario Great Lakes Science Practicum and the SENSE IT program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Degrees offered at Clarkson include:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Health Science
  • B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy
  • M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Science and Engineering

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers - New Brunswick tied for 135th among U.S. News & World Report's top national universities for 2017. The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) hosts ten centers and institutes addressing forest, marine, energy and ecology sciences, plus additional facilities at its agricultural experiment stations.

SEBS offers ten undergraduate certificates in areas ranging from environmental geomatics to urban forestry and 25 related majors. A General Honors Program offers a scholarship stipend to qualifying high school seniors. These degrees in environmental science are available:

  • B.S. in Environmental Sciences
  • B.S. in Applied Environmental Sciences
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in Air Pollution Science and Technology
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in Environmental Chemistry
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in Environmental Engineering
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in Environmental Microbiology
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in Exposure Science
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in Pollution Prevention and Control

Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA

Stanford was U.S. News & World Report's first-ranked school in the world for environmental sciences in 2014. Stanford is home to the Precourt Institute for Energy and its 12 research centers and programs as well as the Woods Institute for the Environment. Environmental studies-related programs are offered through the School of Earth Sciences (SES) and the School of Engineering.

Although School of Earth Sciences or School of Engineering majors generally earn the B.S., students completing these major requirements in other schools can earn a B.A., and a B.A.S. is awarded for students meeting requirements for both degrees. Flexible master's degree and doctoral programs in earth, energy and environmental sciences integrate earth science and engineering disciplines. The Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) offers M.S. and Ph.D. programs, with Stanford business, medical or law school joint degree options. Representative degrees include the following:

  • B.S./M.S./Ph.D. in Geological Sciences in Geological Sciences
  • B.S./M.S./Ph.D. in Earth Systems
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Earth System Science
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Energy Resources Engineering
  • M.S./Ph.D. in Environment and Resources

More Top Schools for Environmental Science

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Pennsylvania State University--University Park 4-year, PublicUniversity Park, PA
University of California--Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA
Harvard University4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA
University of California--Davis4-year, PublicDavis, CA
Duke University4-year, PrivateDurham, NC
University of California--Santa Barbara4-year, PublicSanta Barbara, CA
Cornell University4-year, PrivateIthaca, NY
Yale University4-year, PrivateNew Haven, CT
University of Washington4-year, PublicSeattle, WA
University of Minnesota--Twin Cities4-year, PublicMinneapolis, MN

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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