How do I Choose the Best Environmental Science Programs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2018
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The best environmental science programs have four main items: accreditation, distinguished faculty, a graduate program, and research opportunities. An environmental science program may be part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or the Faculty of Environmental Studies, depending on the size of the school. An environmental science program provides training on the physical environment, changes over time, the evolutionary process, and the impact of people and weather on the broader environment.

People who report the highest satisfaction when attending environmental science programs are detail-oriented, focused, and have a personal commitment to helping the environment. This field of study has become quite popular in the past five to ten years, due to the increased attention in the popular media to environmental issues. The primary focus of these programs remains education of the known issues, identification of alternatives to harmful products and processes, and cautious forecasts of the future.

Accreditation status is granted to a school based on an independent review by a third party of the academic and administrative policies of the school. These policies are compared against a minimum standard to determine compliance. Courses completed at an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary educational institutions. Only accredited school can offer government student aid, which is a very important fee assistance program.


Look at the quality of faculty or instructors when looking for the best environmental science programs. Most schools post the biographies of their staff on their websites or in their promotional material. Review the academic credentials, published works, research focus, and recent industry experience. All of these items are critical to their expertise in this field.

Schools with a graduate program are able to attract a higher quality of faculty, as they are able to practice research and teach courses at a more senior level. Graduate programs should include both a master and doctoral degree program. Explore the different types of degrees offered and the type of student support available at this level. Graduate programs often include family residence programs and other ways to incorporate academic and real life together.

Research opportunities are critical when looking for the best environmental science programs. The ability to become involved in ongoing research into this field greatly increases your knowledge and your employment opportunities. Talk to the enrollment counselor and determine if undergraduate students are eligible to work on research projects. Some schools offer field study programs, where students play an important role in collecting data.

Any experience or exposure to environmental research provides a huge advantage when looking for admission into graduate programs or for job opportunities. As the field of environmental science is relatively young and there is renewed interest, there are many opportunities for funded research through environmental protection agencies and groups. Explore these opportunities as a way to get your career started.



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