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What Are Some Different Types of Environmental Degrees?

Environmental degrees range from the associate's degree to doctoral degree levels and cover several facets of the environment. Whether you are looking for a broad approach to studying the environment or prefer to focus on a particular area, read on to find out what different types of environmental degrees are available.

Levels of Environmental Degrees

Whether you are looking for a 2-year associate's degree program that can prepare you for an entry-level technology career or a doctoral degree program that can train you to become a high-level researcher, there are environmental degrees to fit your bill. In general, the further you advance in your environmental education, the more specific your studies become. For example, you may choose to earn a broad bachelor's degree in environmental studies. As you move towards your doctoral degree, you might hone in on studying conservation biology for wetland environments.

Important Facts About Environmental Degrees

Degree Levels Associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, graduate certificate, Master of Laws
Degree Fields of Study Atmospheric science, coastal zone management, environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and toxicology, environmental health, environmental law, fisheries management and conservation, marine biology
Online Availability Partially and fully online programs available
Possible Careers Agricultural Scientist, ecologist, environmental engineer, environmental lawyer, forester, geographer, geologist, microbiologist, oceanographer, wildlife manager, zoologist
Common Courses Climatology, ecology, environmental law, environmental geology, sustainable ecosystems, water science and policy, wildlife conservation
Median Pay (2020) $92,120 (environmental engineers)*
Job Outlook (2019-2029)3% (environmental engineers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Environmental Degrees

The two most common degrees in this field are environmental studies and environmental science. An environmental studies degree is an arts degree, looking at the environment from a humanities point of view. Aspiring scientists who are interested in the environment can major in environmental science, explaining environmental processes in terms of biology, geology, chemistry and other science fields.

Focused Environmental Degrees

If you like the idea of improving a specific type of ecosystem or environmental resource, there are many degrees you can pursue. Degree programs in air resources, aquatic biology, atmospheric sciences, coastal management, fisheries management, forestry or soil science are available for the student wishing to choose a specific field of study.

Applied Environmental Degrees

The environment affects society as much as society affects the environment. A degree program in agricultural science, agronomy or crop science will teach you about farming and the environment. Degree programs in environmental health, toxicology or environmental engineering will teach you how to keep people safe around potential hazards like industrial waste. An environmental law degree program will teach you how to interpret current laws and create new laws affecting the environment.

Other Environmental Degrees

Most science degrees, as well as many humanities degrees, can be applied to the environment. Some of these degrees include:

Biodiversity Biology
Chemistry Conservation biology
Earth science Ecology
Ecotourism Energy studies
Environmental history Environmental policy
Fire ecology Geology
Landscape architecture Natural sciences