What Are the Different Types of Green Degree Programs?

B. Miller

Many colleges and universities around the world now offer green degree programs of different levels, from associate's degrees to doctoral degrees. These are also offered in traditional, in-residence, programs, as well as online. There are a number of different types of degree programs for people of varying interests, from science, mathematics, and engineering to natural resource management, or nonprofit work. It is a good idea to thoroughly research the green degree programs ahead of time in order to determine what types of jobs they may lead to, and what type of degree an employer typically requires in order to be eligible for a certain position.

Woman waving
Woman waving

The type of degree an individual pursues will depend on his or her interests and career goals. An associate's degree or certificate program is a good way to get an entry-level or technician job in a "green" field. Bachelor's or master's degrees are excellent, more general, options that will open doors for a variety of entry-, mid-, or upper-level positions in a number of different organizations, depending on a person's combined work experience. Doctoral green degree programs are a good choice for those looking for advanced professional careers -- law or engineering, for example -- or those who want to teach at the university level or pursue scientific research.

There are green degree programs available both in-residence and online. In-residence programs can be great for those who have the time and inclination to devote themselves to the program, and may be necessary for certain green degrees that require a great deal of hands-on experience in the field or lab. Online programs can be good for those who can only attend school part time, or whose studies are more focused on theoretical concepts or liberal arts, such as environmental communications. Some green degree programs offer low-residency programs, where students might visit campus once or twice a year and complete the rest of their coursework online.

The specific topics of green degree programs vary widely as well, of course. Engineering is a popular course of study, as well as a business or law degree with an environmental focused. Science-based programs such as ecology, biology, or forestry are some of the more common degrees that will lead to hands-on jobs in the field. Land-use planning and natural resource management often lead to jobs in the public sector. Other programs in energy development, such as solar energy, are fairly common as well. Many environmental degree programs are available in very specific topics for students who are interested in pursuing a certain career.

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