How do I Choose the Best Environmental Science Courses?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2018
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Environmental science is a broad field that incorporates elements of biology, chemistry, ecology, geology, and many other disciplines. College students who decide to take environmental science courses have the opportunity to learn about natural Earth processes and how they are affected by climate change and human intervention. Choosing the best environmental science courses largely depends on what areas of the field a person finds most interesting or meaningful. Some classes emphasize the scientific method and observation techniques, while others consider the practical aspects of environmental protection and sustainability. Examining the reputations of specific professors can also help a student make good decisions when choosing a class schedule.

When choosing environmental science courses, it is important to consider the material that will be covered. Most colleges offer course catalogs or similar brochures that describe classes in detail. Some classes require that students have previous knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, or statistics. Making sure that prerequisites have been fulfilled is important because some detailed environmental science courses build upon the fundamentals learned in other sciences. For example, a student who is unfamiliar with physics concepts such as pressure and density may have trouble comprehending difficult atmospheric science concepts.


An individual who has never taken an environmental science course before will probably benefit the most from a general introductory class, so that he or she can become familiar with the fundamentals of research. Students who have taken other science classes before and understand the scientific method usually find research and observation courses to be the most fulfilling. Finally, people who are most concerned with protecting the environment, plants, and animals can take courses that focus on sustainability and preservation.

Environmental science courses are often highly specific in subject matter. A student can choose to take classes in geologic processes, population ecology, or water cycles, among dozens of other topics. Deciding on an area of interest is important to ensure that a student will find the course to be meaningful. Environmental science majors often choose to specialize in a certain subject in preparation for graduate school or future careers in the field.

Investigating class structures and the reputation of professors can further help a student choose the best environmental science courses. Some students prefer to attend lectures, while others benefit more from hands-on laboratory studies. Like professors in any other subject, environmental science instructors often have very different teaching and grading policies. A prospective student can ask other who have taken classes with a certain professor to give their opinions. Experienced, knowledgeable teachers can make environmental studies very exciting and worthwhile.



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