Some typical areas of study for conservation and environmental careers include:
The expansive field of agricultural sciences focuses on the study of plants and animals, and includes much more than farming. Professionals in this field might work in areas of science, business, technology, production, or research, but they share a common goal: to sustain and enhance life by protecting and preserving our natural resources and ensuring that there is an adequate food and natural products supply for a growing population. Coursework varies widely depending on the major selected, but students of agricultural science can expect core science curriculum (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) combined with research, business, and communications studies.
agricultural business, agricultural economics, agricultural education, agricultural engineering, agronomy, animal nutrition, animal science and veterinary science, crop science, dairy science, environmental resource management, entomology, food science, forestry and forest science, horticulture science, natural resource management, organic farming, soil science, wildlife and fisheries science, wildlife management, zoology
Biological and Life Sciences
Biological and life sciences focus on the study of living things, their life processes, and their relationships with the environment. Whether conducting genetic testing in a lab, studying the effects of pollution in a lake, or nurturing wildlife in a preserve, biology and life science professionals investigate natural life and make discoveries to help solve environmental and conservation problems. Students can expect a curriculum heavy in math and science (biology, chemistry, statistics, etc.) with additional coursework in a chosen area of specialization, such as zoology or entomology. Regardless of major, a huge emphasis is placed on both lab and field research.
biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry, fisheries biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, ecology, entomology, marine biology, wildlife biology, zoology
Communications and Education
Environmental communications and education is a broad field that includes classroom teaching, leading tours, reporting, and more. Environmentally minded students entering this field are eager to communicate environmental messages, affect public opinion, and inspire change. Skills at communicating technical issues both orally and in writing, coupled with creativity and motivation, is a must. A person with conservation aspirations in this field should combine a solid science foundation with coursework in journalism or teaching. Most educators who want to work in elementary or secondary schools must obtain the appropriate teaching certificates.
education administration; environmental education; journalism; mass communications; marketing; photography; public relations; radio, television, or film production; speech communications
Computer science, or information technology, is present in virtually every industry, but this field is especially important in the environmental arena. Biologists, geologists, astronomers, and other scientists rely on computers and related technology to do their jobs. Professionals who apply technology to environmental fields include environmental computer analysts, cartographers, remote sensing specialists, and geographical information systems specialists. To pursue these careers, students must complete a degree program that combines courses in mathematics and science with standard computer science courses.
cartography, computer analysis, computer science, geographical information systems, information systems and technology, mathematics, statistics
Earth sciences focus on our planet and its processes. Professionals in this field study how the earth and its natural resources are changing. From mineralogy to weather forecasting, earth science is a broad field with many career options. Students typically study geography, geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science with a chosen specialization such as atmospheric science or oceanography.
astronomy, atmospheric science, earth science, fuel science, geography, geochemistry, geo-environmental engineering, geology, geophysics, hydrology, industrial health and safety, materials science, meteorology, natural resource management, oceanography, petroleum and natural gas engineering, physics, seismology
Engineering applies scientific principles to everyday tasks through mechanics and machinery. Environmental engineers design, build, and operate systems that are safe for the natural world. Engineers apply their analytical skills and technical knowledge to a variety of areas, including transportation, manufacturing, air and water quality, and public health and safety. Courses in math, biology, physics, chemistry, and design, as well as an emphasis on technology are standard for engineering students. Specific majors, such as material engineering or nuclear engineering, include additional specialized coursework.
aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, architectural engineering, biological engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, marine engineering, material engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, surveying, transportation engineering
Environmental law is one of the fastest growing legal specialties. Almost all law schools offer environmental law courses, but many schools now offer specialty environmental degree programs. Environmental attorneys must be committed to conservation and passionate about litigation. Students can expect standard legal coursework and seminars combined with workshops and work-study opportunities with government agencies, nonprofits, and local interest groups. A law degree and admission to the bar are required to practice environmental law.
Major: environmental law
Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies
There are numerous study paths available to those who love the great outdoors. Students can train to work in a variety of professions, including park administration, ecotourism, and recreation management. Classes usually emphasize planning, management, and operations issues, as well as behavioral aspects of leisure, recreation, and tourism. Basic courses in earth science are encouraged. Depending on a student's career path, a specialized minor or a graduate degree in an area such as natural resource management, ecology, or anthropology can be helpful.
leisure service, parks management, recreation management, tourism management
Planning and Design
Whether designing a highway, managing hazardous waste, or creating environmentally friendly public spaces, the role of a planner is instrumental to conservation efforts in both urban and rural settings. Planners and designers facilitate growth and progress while preserving natural resources. Students with excellent critical thinking abilities, visionary ideas, people skills, and environmental responsibility thrive in this field. An education that combines basic environmental science (biology, ecology, etc.) with courses in planning theory, economics, and a specialty such as architecture or urban studies is ideal.
architecture, city and regional planning, urban and environmental planning, construction management, landscape architecture, mapping science
The public administration field is for people who wish to manage environmental processes and spur change. Students of this field are trained for official functions in international, national, state and local public agencies or with consulting firms and private organizations. Public administration professionals possess excellent people skills and are not afraid of paperwork. A public administration degree can lead to several types of careers, including policy development, policy analysis, campaign management, and lobbying. Coursework emphasizes economics, political science, management, government, civics, law, and communications.
community organization, policy analysis, policy development, political science, public administration
Social Sciences and History
The social sciences and history fields are ideal for environmentalists who prefer the cultural, social, and historical aspects of the world around us¾and who possess excellent interpersonal communications skills. Students can focus on many different areas, including American history, anthropology, archaeology, and sociology. Environmental professionals in this area include museum curators, professors, and researchers. Coursework varies depending on major selected, but most degrees include an emphasis on history, psychology, sociology, analysis, and cultural studies.
American history, anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, law enforcement, political science, sociology