Environmental studies majors have a broad reach of possible paths to take while preparing for a career. The major has an interdisciplinary nature and students can choose a variety of minors to complement their interests. Please explore the many directions that environmental studies majors can pursue.
Environmental Planning and Design
Environmental planning and design is a field which emphasizes an understanding of the planning and management of the physical environment, and the interaction of natural and social systems. Some specialties within this field are Environmental Geomatics/Planning, and Landscape Architecture/Industry. Professionals typically fall into two areas—those that concentrate on a specific geographical area (e.g., city, state, ecosystem) and those who specialize in a particular issue (e.g., air and water quality, transportation). Regardless of their concentrated area, planners focus on problems and issues about the physical environment and propose solutions to solve them. While most environmental planners and designers work at the local level, many planners are interested in national issues and their global effects.
Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior examines the human dimensions of environmental problems. It addresses such issues as how human actions affect the environment; how societies adapt to changes in natural resource availability; and how individuals, nations, and international agencies respond to environmental hazards. Students should be prepared to deal with local, regional, and national differences in the use of resources; with social and environmental aspects of health and illness; with alternative strategies for environmental management; with the ethical, moral, and legal dimensions of environmental and resource issues; and with the roles of governmental and non-governmental agencies in environmental affairs.
An environmental science degree can prepare students for a wide range of careers in industry, government, consulting, and education. Many labor market experts predict that environmental industries will be a major source of new jobs in the next decade. Some technical specialties will require further graduate training either for career entry or advancement. Some students choose to combine their undergraduate degree with an MBA or law degree. Since environmental issues will impact most sectors of the job market, an educational background in this field will be attractive to a wide range of employers.
Environmental communication is an interdisciplinary field that refers to the study of the techniques, roles, and influences communications have on environmental topics. It is the study of the way humans craft, distribute, interpret, and use messages about the environment. This field can include a wide range of possible interactions from interpersonal communication to virtual communication, participatory decision making, and media coverage.
Environmental education is a field which many of our graduates choose to pursue. Environmental education refers to organized efforts to teach how natural environments function, and particularly, how human beings can manage behavior and ecosystems to live sustainably. The term often implies education within the school system, from primary to post-secondary but includes all efforts to educate the public and other audiences, including print materials, websites, media campaigns, etc.
Renewable energy is energy that is from a naturally replenished source such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, biomass, rivers, and geothermal heat. A person working in the renewable energy field may be involved with engineering, manufacturing, installation, or repair of technology involved in harvesting renewable energy.
Sustainability careers or Green jobs often involve helping companies and organizations run more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner. There is a wide range of career options that can range from engineering to management to policy making. However, all focus on sustainable use of energy and materials to ensure resources are available for future generations.