Environmental studies

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Environmental studies is a multidisciplinary academic field which systematically studies human interaction with the environment. Environmental studies connects principles from the physical sciences, commerce/economics, the humanities [1] , and social sciences to address complex contemporary environmental issues. It is a broad field of study that includes the natural environment, the built environment, and the relationship between them. The field encompasses study in basic principles of ecology and environmental science, as well as associated subjects such as ethics, geography, anthropology, policy, politics, urban planning, law, economics, philosophy, sociology and social justice, planning, pollution control and natural resource management. [2] There are many Environmental Studies degree programs including a Master's degree and a Bachelor's degree. Environmental Studies degree programs provide a wide range of skills and analytical tools needed to face the environmental issues of our world head on. Students in Environmental Studies gain the intellectual and methodological tools to understand and address the crucial environmental issues of our time and the impact of individuals, society, and the planet.



The New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University established a BS in environmental studies degree in the 1950s, awarding its first degree in 1956. [3] Middlebury College established the major there in 1965. [4]

The Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) was established in 1993"to further research and teaching activities in areas related to environmental studies in Canada". [5] ESAC's magazine, A\J: Alternatives Journal was first published by Robert A. Paehlke on 4 July 1971. [6] [7]

In 2008, The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) was founded as the first professional association in the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies in the United States. In 2010, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) agreed to advise and support the Association. In March of 2011, The Association's scholarly journal, the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (JESS), commenced publication. [8] [9]

In the United States, many high school students are able to take environmental science as a college-level course. [10] Over 500 colleges and universities in the United States offer environmental studies as a degree. [11]


Worldwide, programs in environmental studies may be offered through colleges of liberal arts, life science, social science or agriculture. Students of environmental studies use what they learn the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to better understand environmental problems and potentially offer solutions to them. Students look at how we interact with the natural world and come up with ideas to prevent its destruction. [12]

Top Universities Worldwide for Environmental Studies [13]

1 Stanford University United States
2 Harvard University United States
3 Massachusetts Institute of

Technology (MIT)

United States
4 University of Oxford United Kingdom
5 ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute

of Technology

6 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
7 University of California, Berkeley


United States
8 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
9 Imperial College London United Kingdom
10 Tsinghua University China (Mainland)

Skills Acquired In Environmental Studies

As mentioned, through interdisciplinary coursework that confers strong social science skills with technical training, students are trained to analyze multi-faceted problems with a range of analytical tools and skills. These of skills include the following, which can be found on Temple University's College of Liberal Arts section, but are offered/included at most Universities.

  • A global approach
  • Spatial thinking
  • An interdisciplinary perspective
  • Understanding of the complexity of interactions between humans and the environment
  • Social science research methods, policy analysis, and technical skills
  • Written, oral and visual communication skills
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) and mapping software [14]

Career Options in Environmental Studies

There are a plethora of career options that exists within the environmental studies field. Some of the listed career choices may require additional education or preparation in the form of graduate studies. This list provides an idea of the options available but are not limited to these options.

  • Activist
  • Agricultural Technologist
  • Animal Service Worker
  • Botanist
  • Community Developer
  • Conservation Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Food Scientist
  • Geologist
  • GIS Specialist
  • Greenhouse Manager
  • Hazardous Waste Manager
  • Health Promoter
  • International Developer
  • Journalist
  • Land Use Planner
  • Lobbyist
  • Media Correspondent
  • Mining Consultant
  • Non-Profit Administrator
  • Oceanographer
  • Park Ranger
  • Political Advisor
  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Soil Scientist
  • Sustainability Development Manager
  • Teacher
  • Urban Planner
  • Waste Quality Inspector
  • Wildlife Conservationist [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combining of two or more academic disciplines into one activity. It draws knowledge from several other fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics etc. It is about creating something by thinking across boundaries. It is related to an interdiscipline or an interdisciplinary field, which is an organizational unit that crosses traditional boundaries between academic disciplines or schools of thought, as new needs and professions emerge. Large engineering teams are usually interdisciplinary, as a power station or mobile phone or other project requires the melding of several specialties. However, the term "interdisciplinary" is sometimes confined to academic settings.

Middlebury College Private liberal arts college in Middlebury, VT, US

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college in Middlebury, Vermont. It was founded in 1800 by Congregationalists. The college currently enrolls 2,526 undergraduates from all 50 states and 74 countries and offers 44 majors in the arts, humanities, literature, foreign languages, social sciences, and natural sciences.

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry specialized, doctoral-granting research institution

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is a specialized, doctoral-degree granting institution in Syracuse, New York. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. ESF is immediately adjacent to Syracuse University, within which it was founded, and with which it maintains a special relationship. ESF operates education and research facilities also in the Adirondack Park, the Thousand Islands, elsewhere in central New York, and Costa Rica. The college's curricula focus on the understanding, management, and sustainability of the environment and natural resources.

Chiba University Higher education institution in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Chiba University and it is also abbreviated as Chibadai (千葉大) is a national university in the city of Chiba, Japan. It offers Doctoral degrees in education as part of a coalition with Tokyo Gakugei University, Saitama University, and Yokohama National University. The university was formed in 1949 from existing educational institutions in Chiba Prefecture, and over a period of years absorbed Chiba Medical University (1923-1960), a preparatory department of the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Chiba Normal School (1872-1951), Tokyo Polytechnic High School (1914-1951), Chiba Horticultural High School, among others. Chiba University was reincorporated in 2010 under the National University Corporation Act. Chiba University has been ranked 168th on the Asia University Rankings 2019 Top 100 by "The Times Higher Education".

Fleming College, also known as Sir Sandford Fleming College, is an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology located in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The college has an enrollment of more than 6,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students.

The Kings University (Edmonton)

The King's University located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is a private Canadian Christian university offering bachelor's degrees in the arts, humanities, music, social sciences, natural sciences and business, and education. King’s currently serves more than 900 students from across Canada and abroad, representing more than 16 nations.

Environmental education Branch of pedagogy

Environmental education (EE) refers to organized efforts to teach how natural environments function, and particularly, how human beings can manage behavior and ecosystems to live sustainably. It is a multi-disciplinary field integrating disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, earth science, atmospheric science, mathematics, and geography. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) states that EE is vital in imparting an inherent respect for nature amongst society and in enhancing public environmental awareness. UNESCO emphasises the role of EE in safeguarding future global developments of societal quality of life (QOL), through the protection of the environment, eradication of poverty, minimization of inequalities and insurance of sustainable development. The term often implies education within the school system, from primary to post-secondary. However, it sometimes includes all efforts to educate the public and other audiences, including print materials, websites, media campaigns, etc.. There are also ways that environmental education is taught outside the traditional classroom. Aquariums, zoos, parks, and nature centers all have ways of teaching the public about the environment.

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Institution of higher education

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), formerly known as the Monterey Institute of International Studies, is an American graduate school within Middlebury College, a private college in Middlebury, Vermont.

The Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH), Master of Medical Science in Public Health (MMSPH) and the Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.), International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) are interdisciplinary professional degrees awarded for studies in areas related to public health. The MPH degree focuses on public health practice, as opposed to research or teaching. Master of Public Health programs are available throughout the world in Schools of Public Health, Programs in Public Health, Medical Schools, and Schools of Public Affairs. MPH degrees, in addition to including a core curriculum, will usually also let students pursue a specialization in a specific field, such as epidemiology, biostatistics, or health management.

The University of MichiganSchool of Information (UMSI) or iSchool in Ann Arbor is a graduate school offering baccalaureate, magisterial, and doctoral degrees in informatics and information science.

The Rausser College of Natural Resources (CNR), a college of the University of California, Berkeley, is the oldest college in the UC system and home to several internationally top-ranked programs. Rausser's Department of Agriculture & Economics is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in agricultural economics in the world, ranking #1 according to the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, #1 by the Chronicle of Higher Education, #1 by Perry for its Ph.D. programs and in International Trade, #1 by the National Research Council in Agricultural & Resource Economics, and #1 by U.S. News in Environmental/Environmental Health. In environmental disciplines, QS World Rankings recognizes the University of California, Berkeley, as the world's leading university in Environmental Studies with 100 points in Academic Reputation. U.S. News also ranks it as the best global university for environment and ecology. A study of AJAE authors and their university affiliations found it to have the highest number of pages per research faculty member.

Advanced Placement Environmental Science is a course offered by the American College Board as part of the Advanced Placement Program to high school students interested in the environmental and natural sciences. This course is designed to provide students with scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies necessary to comprehend the relationships abundant within the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems, to evaluate relative risks associated with these identified problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing similar problems facing the global environment. The percentage of students scoring a grade of "5" was only 7.4% in the 2016 testing administration. It remains one of the lowest "5" scoring AP Exams to this date right under AP Art History, AP English Literature & Composition, AP English Language & Composition, and AP World History. The AP Environmental Science exam was first administered in 1998.

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Robin Wall Kimmerer is Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

The School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) is an interdisciplinary professional school focused on environmental science and environmental policy located in the S.T. Dana Building at University of Michigan.

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SUNY-ESF Ranger School

The SUNY-ESF Ranger School, on the east branch of the Oswegatchie River near Wanakena, New York, offers A.A.S. degrees in forest and natural resources management. Established in 1912, the school is affiliated with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). The Ranger School commemorated its centennial in 2012-13.

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  13. "Environmental Sciences". Top Universities. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. "Environmental Studies". www.cla.temple.edu. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
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