Affordable Environmental Science Degrees

Scroll down to see the most affordable environmental science degrees, as well as info on the different types of environmental science degrees and environmental science program accreditation.

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School Rankings

1

University of California-Irvine

Linking study of natural sciences with a foundation in social sciences, public policy and economics, the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sciences at the University of California-Irvine prepares students to recognize the impact of humans on the environment. Students can concentrate their studies in a number of areas, such as water quality, climatology and resource management. The UCI School of Engineering offers Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees in Environmental Health Engineering in cooperation with the Department of Earth System Science. Ph.D.s are awarded in Environmental Studies, Environmental Health Engineering. The School of Medicine offers Masters and Doctorate degrees in Environmental Health Sciences. Scholarships include the Maria Rebecca and Maureen Bellettini Award ($1,000 to $1,500) and the Robert Doedens Undergraduate Achievement Award ($500).

CAG Score 97.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

30,051 Students

2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies or a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The UNC Institute for the Environment helps to direct the curriculum of the various programs, housed in multiple colleges across the campus, and provides research, education and engagement opportunities for students. Undergraduates have the chance to take part in original research through Capstone Research Projects. One priority is the environmental issues facing local communities, and the Environmental Resource Program helps connect communities with UNC faculty and staff. Scholarship opportunities include the Pate Scholars program and the Alan and Linda Rimer Endowed Scholarship.

CAG Score 97.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

29,135 Students

3

CUNY Queens College

At CUNY Queens College, students interested in becoming an environmental researcher or consultant can earn a BS or BA in Environmental Science. The interdisciplinary program includes a rigorous set of classes from departments including math, biology, physics, chemistry and geology. The BA in Environmental Studies is also an interdisciplinary program, but it focuses more on the social science and public policy side of environmental issues. Queens College also offers a Master of Arts in Geological and Environmental Sciences, and a Master of Science in Applied Environmental Geosciences. The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences was created in 1996 so that Queens College could hire a truly interdisciplinary faculty focusing on the environment.

CAG Score 97.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

19,310 Students

4

University of Minnesota-Duluth

Offering a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, the University of Minnesota-Duluth focuses on science and mathematics to analyze environmental issues. Core courses focus on science and management of environmental systems, nonrenewable resources, renewable resources, pollution and technology and environmental assessment. As part of the College of Science and Engineering, the school offers opportunities to intern in the field and gain valuable hands-on experience. Scholarships in the college include the UMD William G. Emery Family Scholarship, UMD Philemon and Baucis Scholarship, UMD Dr. Ione Thompson Goodman Memorial Scholarship and UMD William G. Emery Family Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

11,093 Students

5

Amherst College

The Department of Environmental Studies at Amherst College offers an undergraduate major in environmental studies with an interdisciplinary curriculum in the natural sciences, the humanities and the social sciences. Environmental studies majors are required to complete six core courses and at least four electives. Core courses cover subjects such as environmental issues, global environmental history, ecology and environmental economics. Students are also required to complete a course in statistics and a senior seminar. Students must choose at least one elective from two elective categories: the natural sciences, and the social sciences and humanities. Environmental studies majors also have the opportunity to study abroad and participate in the departmental honors program. The honors program is a two-semester sequence that requires the completion of a thesis.

CAG Score 96.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

1,792 Students

6

Texas A & M University-College Station

The Environmental Programs in Geosciences at Texas A&M University-College Station build on the College of Geoscience departments of atmospheric science, geography, geology and geophysics and oceanography, with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geosciences and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies offered. While both degrees have a common academic core, the Environmental Studies curriculum incorporates information on environmental policy and social sciences. The Environmental Geosciences degree, on the other hand, is focused on fieldwork and laboratory research. Both encourage students to seek for-credit internships in their chosen field. Scholarships offered by the college include the Murry D. Page Scholarship, Travis Parker Scholarship and Kay and Winston G. Sexton Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

61,642 Students

7

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Students in the Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management program of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities can earn a Bachelor's degree with a concentration in conservation and resource management, corporate environmental management, environmental education and communication, environmental science or policy, planning, law and society. Believing that environmental studies is a global effort, the school encourages students to take part in international study opportunities. The Learning Abroad in ESPM offers programs specifically for environmental studies students with durations of a few weeks to a full year. There are also undergraduate research opportunities, with some funding offered. Scholarship opportunities include Recruitment Scholarship ($1,000) and ESPM Service Scholarship ($1,500).

CAG Score 96.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

51,147 Students

8

University of Florida

The University of Florida Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Engineering and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences. Graduate courses allow for specialization in seven areas. The Bachelor's of Science is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, while all programs of the department are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The College of Agriculture and Life Science offers a Bachelor's in Environmental Science, preparing students for careers in environmental consulting, water management and government and non-government environmental agencies. Scholarships include the Willes Scholarship ($500), Florida Environmental ($500) and HDR Engineering ($1,000).

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

49,459 Students

9

California State University-Long Beach

The College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics jointly offer the Environmental Science and Policy programs at CSU Long Beach. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are both available and a minor in the field is offered as well. Students take courses that cover topics such as environmental law and policy, climate action and sustainability, and California ecosystems. BA students are encouraged to double major or minor in a related discipline such as anthropology, geography, or political science. BS students typically double major or minor in fields such as biology, chemistry, earth science, ecology, and geology. Qualified students can apply for the Southern California Edison Scholarship, which gives out two $2,350 awards each year.

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,809 Students

10

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

The University of Washington-Seattle has organized its various environmental studies fields under the flag of the College of the Environment, with degree offerings that include a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Terrestrial Management and Masters and Ph.D. of Environmental and Forest Science. The curriculum integrates courses from a variety of fields for a broad-based education, with emphasis on bioregional, global and field-based topics. The Environmental Studies program looks at the human element of environmental issues and includes courses in social sciences while the Environmental Science degree path is based in research. Scholarships include the Del Rio Environmental Studies Scholarship, Nancy Wilcox Scholarship and College of the Environment Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

44,784 Students

11

CUNY Hunter College

Environmental studies majors at Hunter College choose to concentrate in either Environmental Earth Science or Environmental Management and Policy. The Earth Science major requires more advanced physical science classes while the Management and Policy concentration focuses more on social science courses. To earn the Bachelor of Arts in either concentration, students must take 42 credits within the major, including 24 core credits and 18 elective credits. Hunter also has a five-year B.A./M.A. program in Environmental Studies and Earth Science that leads to a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an M.A. in Adolescent Education: Earth Science. Hunter College's Department of Geography also participates in the Ph.D. program in Earth and Environmental Sciences of the CUNY Graduate School.

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,112 Students

12

University of California-Los Angeles

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at the University of California-Los Angeles can concentrate in one of eight associated areas in conjunction with other departments, such as environmental health or atmospheric and oceanic sciences. A year-long practicum offers a series of lectures and collaborative environmental case study requiring original data collection and analysis. Continued study is offered through Masters and Doctorate programs in Environmental Science and Engineering. Students can also become active in the Education for Sustainable Living Program, a student-led organization promoting sustainability through lectures and research. The department offers the Glickfeld Family Scholarship ($1,000) and the Greenspan Family Scholarship ($1,000).

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

41,845 Students

13

CUNY City College

City College of New York students interested in environmental science can earn a degree through the Earth System Science & Environmental Engineering (ESE) Department. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Earth System Science offers three tracks: Environmental Chemistry, Hydrology and Climate, or Ecosystems and Environmental Science. The Bachelor of Engineering in ESE also has three tracks: Energy and Environment, Remote Sensing and Environment, or Water Resources and Environment. The department also offers a Master of Science or Professional Science Master in ESE. The programs include classes in engineering and science and allow students flexibility by offering a large number of electives. Faculty members are involved in government- and industry-sponsored research in areas including air pollution and water quality.

CAG Score 96.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,579 Students

14

Appalachian State University

At Appalachian State University, western North Carolina is a laboratory as Environmental Science majors examine issues such as sustainable development in mountainous terrain; the effects of agriculture and recreation on resources such as water; the ecology of mountain forests; and stream systems. Students who earn a Bachelors in Environmental Sciences take an interdisciplinary approach, studying math, geology, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography, hydrology and meteorology. During their senior year, students incorporate what they have learned from these different disciplines into a capstone project that involves researching a topic of their choice. The college offers environmental science field trips around the U.S. and abroad. Students also have the chance to work with top researchers in the field.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

18,026 Students

15

Iowa State University

Environmental Science is a rigorous program at Iowa State, with students learning physical, chemical and biological sciences and integrating those disciplines as they study aspects of the natural world. The university grants Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.Ds in Environmental Science. Students may also pursue a Bachelors in Environmental Studies, which concentrates on the relationship between humans and the natural environment. As a research university, Iowa State offers many opportunities for undergrads to help in faculty research to earn money or credit. Many graduate students receive assistantships or fellowships. Iowa State has many student organizations that focus on sustainability, the environment or water quality. The Skunk River Navy, for example, helps to maintain the Skunk River and its tributaries.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

34,435 Students

16

Dominican University

The Biological Sciences Department at Dominican University offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree. Students are required to take the following courses: general biology, ecology, evolution, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and college physics. The environmental science major prepares graduates for entry-level work, as well as graduate education in a science field or in professions such as medicine, dentistry, or pharmacy. Transfer students should note that a minimum of eight courses in biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, and physics are required to be completed at Dominican University. Students can complete an internship program or an independent research project in order to graduate. Environmental studies is offered as an optional area of concentration for students enrolled in the BS in Natural Science program.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,498 Students

17

The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Science in Environmental Science. The bachelor's degree allows students to concentrate on the areas of chemistry, biology, geoscience, secondary education, or hydroscience. The environmental science program focuses on topics like climate change, population dynamics, biodiversity, and air, soil, and water pollution. The program is a multi-disciplinary program, which involves faculty from Chemistry, Physics, Geological Sciences, and Biological Sciences. Students that have a bachelor's degree in engineering or science are eligible to apply for the Master's program, which will involve a thesis research project. Previous students have done research on topics such as surface water-ground water interaction, phytoremediation, and radionuclide transport models.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,079 Students

18

Texas A & M University-Commerce

The Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Texas A&M University Commerce offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Conservation Science, and a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Sciences. Graduates of the environmental science program often find careers in pollution remediation, monitoring, impact assessment, regulation enforcement, investigation, compliance, and site assessment. Employment opportunities are often found in private environmental firms, corporations, local governments, federal and state environmental regulatory agencies, and industry. Students will take courses like Natural Disasters, Research Methods in Environmental Sciences, Air Pollution Control, and Principles of Sustainability.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,111 Students

19

Saint Cloud State University

St. Cloud offers a Bachelors in Environmental Studies and a Bachelors in Environmental Science, giving students two choices for how they want to prepare for an environment-related career. Environmental science is a science-based interdisciplinary program for students hoping to do research or continue on to grad school. The environmental studies program is also interdepartmental, with students selecting relevant classes from both the natural and social sciences. With either major, students develop job skills through lab assignments, field research and internships. St. Cloud has several specialized resources, including on-campus centers for environmental modeling, environmental instrumentation and environmental soils. Environmental faculty members are researching topics such as watershed management and restoration of wild rice beds in central Minnesota.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

16,076 Students

20

Michigan Technological University

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University is rated among the top ten in the country (USA Today) for studying Natural Resources, and offers degrees in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science, among other subjects. In addition, Michigan Tech awards more degrees in environmental engineering than any other school in the United States. Undergrads in the program are involved in water quality research projects and can earn their Masters in Environmental Engineering quickly through the accelerated masters program. Michigan Tech students can also gain valuable work experience through the co-op program and internships or help with faculty research. Grad students can choose a specialty such as water resources, air quality engineering or infrastructure when pursuing a Masters or Ph.D in Environmental Engineering. Sustainability is a core element of all graduate programs in environmental engineering. Resources at Michigan Tech include a research vessel that allows students to use Lake Superior as a freshwater laboratory.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

7,099 Students

21

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Stewardship of a variety of natural resources and ecosystems is the focus of the Bachelor of Science offered by the Department of Environmental Conservation of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, while the College of Engineering offers a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. The Bachelor of Science program includes a core curriculum of natural science, mathematics and environmental studies supplemented with seminars and field experiences. Students can specialize in areas such as environmental policy and land use or biology. Graduate students work on current and future challenges in resource management. The school maintains outreach programs with several research centers. Scholarships include the Natural History Collections ($300 to $4,000).

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

28,635 Students

22

University of California-San Diego

UC San Diego offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Systems degree through the Division of Physical Sciences. Students accepted to this program can choose from four advanced tracks: earth sciences, ecology, behavior, and evolution, environmental chemistry, and environmental policy. In order to graduate from the program, all students are required to complete a senior project, which focuses on an environmental problem or research topic. Senior projects can be done individually or as part of a team. Environmental systems majors can apply for the Tenie Remmel Memorial Scholarship, which is a one-time award of $1,000. Students interested in conducting research in climate neutrality or towards reducing GHG emissions can apply for the UC Climate Initiative Student Research Fellowship/Internship ($2,500 to $4,000).

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

30,709 Students

23

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers several graduate degrees in environmental science: a Master of Science in Environmental Science, a Professional Science Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science. Students in the environmental science program will take courses in chemistry, biology, ecology, anthropology, geography, geology, and philosophy. The environmental science program at UNT is an interdisciplinary program, which focuses on the main environmental issues that face the world today. The goal of the research within the program is to create a comprehensive understanding of the critical issues related to our environment.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,486 Students

24

SUNY College at Plattsburgh

The State University of New York-Plattsburgh offers a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. The Environmental Studies program incorporates study of activism, ethics and sustainability while the Environmental Science programs focus on scientific study of the environment. SUNY-Plattsburgh offers a chance to study at the Applied Environmental Science Program at Miner Institute for an off-campus, residential program that focuses on hands-on laboratory experience with courses in wildlife ecology, hydrogeology, water quality, soil science and agriculture, with additional research facilities at Altona Flat Rock and the Lake Champlain Research Institute. Scholarships include the Casella Waste Systems, Inc. Scholarship ($1,500), Hudson Endowment Scholarship ($750) and James A. FitzPatrick Scholarship ($1,000).

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

5,968 Students

25

CUNY Lehman College

The Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geospatial Sciences at Lehman College offers a major and a minor in environmental science. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science is a 46-credit interdisciplinary degree that prepares students for graduate study or jobs in government agencies, consulting firms, or industry. Environmental Science majors select a specialization area: ecology, urban environmental management, environmental geology, or environmental analysis. All majors take core classes that cover statistics or quantitative methods, basic environmental science, energy and the environment, and environmental impact assessment. They must also take at least one course each in biology, geosciences, geospatial analysis, and chemistry. Students take 12 to 15 credits in electives in their specialization and a senior seminar in natural resource management.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,398 Students

26

Barnard College

Students interested in the environment can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science, Environmental Policy, or Environmental Biology from Barnard College. Barnard students can also take advantage of the college's partnership with Columbia University to combine their B.A. with a degree from Columbia by enrolling in a five-year program, where they start or complete their B.A. at Barnard before enrolling in a program at Columbia. Options are a B.A./B.S. in Engineering (three years at Barnard, two at Columbia), a master's in science teaching (one-year program after completing Barnard B.A.), or a master's in international affairs (students begin taking graduate classes in their senior year). Specialties of environmental faculty at Barnard include oceanography, groundwater microbiology, forestry, ecology, and sustainability.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,573 Students

27

Alfred University

Alfred University's Division of Environmental Studies and Geology offers an undergraduate major and minor in environmental studies. The environmental studies major is available in three areas of emphasis: natural science, social science and environmental science. Students in all three areas of emphasis complete 18 core courses and 11 to 16 credits in their area of emphasis. Core coursework covers subjects like environmental studies, environmental data analysis, environmental research procedures, natural resources management and research planning. Students are also required to complete a senior seminar and a senior year project. The environmental studies minor requires 14 credits of core courses and eight credits of electives. The Department also offers its students opportunities for internships and research assistantships.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,310 Students

28

University of Minnesota-Morris

The University of Minnesota-Morris offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Students work with academic advisors to choose electives that match their career goals, such as additional courses in science or social sciences. Local research partners, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Center for Small Towns, offer internships to students, and the school collaborates with a renewable energy research consortium through nearby research centers. Undergraduate students can conduct paid research for these centers as well as take part in green campus endeavors. Scholarships include the Brun Scholarship for Environmental Studies and the James Van Alstine Geology and Environmental Sciences Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

1,899 Students

29

Michigan State University

Michigan State offers a wide range of environmental degrees. The College of Natural Science grants undergrad degrees in environmental biology and a Masters in Environmental Policy and in Environmental Toxicology. Students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources can major in environmental economics and management or in environmental studies and sustainability. The College of Engineering grants Bachelor, Master and Ph.D degrees in Environmental Engineering. Many scholarships are available to students in the various environmental programs at Michigan State, such as the Rory M. Shaw Memorial Endowed Scholarship/Fellowship Fund for students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Michigan State provides many study abroad opportunities for environmental students, with programs in Asia, South America, Europe and Africa.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

50,081 Students

30

Marshall University

The Integrated Science and Technology degree program offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. Graduates of the environmental science program often pursue careers as fishery biologists, water quality specialists, wildlife biologists, aquatic biologists, invertebrate biologists, permitting specialists, environmental educators, and state fisheries biologists, among other things. Environmental science students take required science and technology courses as well as required strategic sector courses such as Resolution Environmental Problems, Terrestrial Systems, and Aquatic Ecology. Environmental science students are able to complete internships that will provide them with real world experiences from private environmental companies, public interest groups, and government agencies.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,381 Students

31

SUNY College at Brockport

State University of New York-Brockport's Bachelor's in Environmental Science allows students to concentrate in aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology, environmental chemistry or earth sciences. The Master of Science in Environmental Science and Biology incorporates original research culminating in a thesis. Nearby, the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and Bergen Swamp provide hands-on learning opportunities and chances to volunteer in service learning. The program also makes use of a mobile lab at Lake Ontario, opening up research opportunities in regional lakes and rivers. Internships with government and non-profit organizations provide additional credit and career options. Scholarships include the O'Reilly Scholarship in Environmental Science and Kenneth E. Damann Research Award.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,106 Students

32

SUNY at Binghamton

To understand environmental problems and seek solutions to them, people need to understand the science of the problem and the social and policy factors contributing to it. That sort of interdisciplinary approach is central to the environmental studies program at Binghamton, where students can earn a BS or BA in Environmental Studies. The BS requires more natural science classes and the BA has a heavier emphasis on the social sciences. Both degrees require students to choose an area of emphasis or devise a specialization of their own that gains faculty approval. Binghamton students have the opportunity to intern with many local agencies to gain real-world experience. Study abroad programs in Costa Rica allow students to investigate a tropical ecology.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

16,695 Students

33

Ferris State University

Ferris State University's Department of Biological Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in environmental biology. Students enrolled in the environmental biology concentration are required to complete nine core biology courses in subjects like general biology, microbial ecology, zoology, plant physiology and genetics. Core biology requirements also include an internship that lasts a minimum of eight weeks and is worth up to nine credit hours. Additionally, environmental biology students are required to complete four ecology core courses, as well as courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry, geology and physics.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

14,600 Students

34

The College of Idaho

The Environmental Studies program at the College of Idaho is an interdisciplinary program that gives students the opportunity to study the global nature of environmental issues and the role of public ethics and policy in environmental decision-making. The curriculum includes coursework in environmental sustainability in the tropics, introduction to geographic information systems, and human geography. After completing the core courses required for the degree, students can take elective courses in their preferred focus area. At the current time, focus areas are available in chemistry, conservation biology, literature, philosophy, and political economy. Students also have the option of designing their own area of focus. In order to graduate from the program, students are required to complete a senior capstone project.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

1,144 Students

35

University of California-Davis

The Department of Environmental Science and Policy offers two majors - Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning (EPAP) and Environmental Science and Management (ESM). Students pursuing the EPAP major can receive specialized training in one of the following tracks: city & regional planning, climate change policy, conservation management, energy & transportation policy, environmental policy & politics, water management, and integrative policy. The ESM major has six tracks: climate change & air quality, ecology, biodiversity & conservation, geospatial information science, natural resource management, soils & biogeochemistry, and watershed science. As part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, ESM and EPAP majors can apply for a number of scholarships, including the Peter J. Shields Scholarship and the Arlo D. Gustafson Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

34,508 Students

36

California State University-Fullerton

The California State University at Fullerton offers a Master of Science degree in environmental studies with two tracks - environment and society and environmental sciences and technology. Applicants who intend to pursue the environment and society track must have completed one undergraduate course in ecology and one course in quantitative methods. The environmental sciences and technology track considers students who have completed nine upper division units in natural and/or physical sciences, mathematics, and/or engineering. The curriculum includes core courses and electives that cover relevant areas such as environmental research and analysis, environmental problems, and environmental evaluation and protection. Students can opt to write a thesis, complete a project, or take a comprehensive exam in order to graduate from the program.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

38,128 Students

37

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

The upper division courses of the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology program in Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) are grouped in three clusters: conservation biology, ecosystem ecology and management, and environmental microbiology and biotechnology. With funding from the Department of Education, CPP has partnered with Pasadena City College (PCC) to promote the professional development of environmental sciences students. The grant (known as the PCC-CPP STEM Pathway in Environmental Sciences) supports qualified PCC students who wish to continue their environmental sciences education at CPP and provides a transfer pathway for the completion of STEM degrees. The Rachel Carson Environmental Science Scholarship ($10,000) is awarded to a student with a proven involvement and commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,966 Students

38

University of Wyoming

The Bachelor's program in Environmental Studies at the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming requires students to earn a concurrent double major in a related field from among any of the school's offerings. The school also offers a Master's degree in Environmental Studies and a Doctoral minor in the field, with several concurrent programs available. Interdisciplinary studies in natural and social sciences is combined with field work through a variety of hands-on field classes. These include international destinations and varied locations in the Southwest. Scholarships include the Erivan Haub Scholarship for Yellowstone Field Studies, Haub Student Research and Creative Award, Plummer Scholarship, and Vern Bressler Scholarship.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,820 Students

39

Saint Vincent College

Saint Vincent College offers a bachelor's degree in environmental science. Students will gain knowledge of environmental topics, experience in science courses, and courses in humanities that will put the combination of these two topics into a greater context. The program at Saint Vincent is unique because they have received various grants from sources like Dominion and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to enhance environmental science classes. Upon completion of the program, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles to environmental problems as well as thinking critically about environmental issues.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

1,829 Students

40

Stony Brook University

When earning a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies at Stony Brook, students acquire a broad understanding of the complexities of environmental issues. The interdisciplinary program requires students to take classes in the natural sciences such as biology, geology, physics and chemistry, as well as classes such as economic analysis. Each student is required to choose a concentration area they will study in-depth and take four upper-level classes in that area. Concentrations include atmospheric studies, environmental economics, conservation biology, marine science or terrestrial ecology, or public policy. Students are also required to perform an internship or to do field research to gain hands-on experience. Environmental Studies majors can apply for scholarships such as the Sustainability Scholarship.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

24,607 Students

41

McDaniel College

Through its Environmental Studies Department, McDaniel College offers an undergraduate major in environmental studies with concentrations in policy and management, biology and chemistry. An undergraduate minor in environmental studies is also available. All environmental studies majors are required to complete six core courses in subjects such as sustainability, climatology, environmental management, geology and environmental policy. Additionally, students in the biology and chemistry specializations are required to complete three specialization courses and four electives, while students in the policy and management concentration are required to complete two specialization courses and five electives. Environmental studies majors also have the opportunity to participate in the Environmental Action Club and the Environmental Studies Honor Society, as well as complete internships and field research experiences throughout the world.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,206 Students

42

University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska-Omaha Environmental Studies Department offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with concentrations in analytical sciences, earth sciences, geography and planning, and life sciences. The interdisciplinary program combines study of physical science with courses in economics, political science, sociology, law and ethics. Students can deepen their understanding of the subject through internships, service learning, student organizations and international study. The college also offers outreach programs, such as Prairie Preserves, numerous camps for youth and ongoing research and consulting programs. The department offers the Dr. Barbara Hayhome Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship ($1,400), David Chesneau Memorial Scholarship ($800) and Bertrand and Marian Othmer Schultz Collegiate Scholarship ($3,000).

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,227 Students

43

University of South Florida-Main Campus

The School of Geosciences at USF's College of Arts and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy program. Students admitted to this program have the option of concentrating in environmental science or in environmental policy. There is also a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy degree available. This program offers the following tracks: ecology, environmental policy and management, geology, hydrogeology, hazards assessment and mitigation, urban environment, and water quality and policy. MS students can choose either the thesis or non-thesis option. The school offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science and Policy degree as well. Qualified MS and PhD candidates are considered for teaching and research assistantships, which cover tuition and provide a stipend.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

41,938 Students

44

University of California-Santa Cruz

The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies program at UC Santa Cruz offers the following focus areas: agroecology and sustainable agriculture, conservation science and natural history, environmental education and sustainability, environmental policy, and political economy. Students have the option of pursuing combined degrees in the field of biology, economics, and earth sciences. The university started offering a concentration in agroecology and sustainable food systems for all undergraduate programs in the fall of 2015. The Doctor of Philosophy program provides doctoral candidates with opportunities to study topics such as global change ecology, environmental policy, and conservation biology. The university does not offer a terminal degree on the master's level. Undergraduates can apply for the James Stuart Chanley Scholarship in Environmental Studies ($1,000).

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

17,866 Students

45

University of California-Santa Barbara

The Environmental Studies program at UC Santa Barbara offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in environmental studies. Both programs provide students with ample opportunities to study a wide range of environmental issues, including climate systems, energy technologies, environmental law and policy, urban and regional planning, and environmental impact analysis. UC Santa Barbara doctoral students can now add an Interdepartmental PhD Emphasis in Environment and Society to their program. At the current time, 16 campus units now offer this emphasis to their PhD candidates, including anthropology, education, global international studies, history, and psychology. Full-time students can apply for the Tom Rogers Scholarship for Environmental Studies ($2,500 to $5,000) and the Barker Scholarship for Environmental Internships ($1,000 to $1,500).

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,051 Students

46

University of California-Berkeley

The Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree with concentrations in biological science, physical science, and social science. Students are required to complete a year-long senior research project in order to graduate. The department also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Science degree that allows students to focus in one of three areas: ecosystem sciences, organisms & environment, and society & environment. Further specializations within each field is possible and students can specialize in areas such as microbial community ecology, ecosystem function, international forest management, or biogeochemistry. The Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) program provides financial assistance to students engaged in research projects with faculty members.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

37,565 Students

47

California State University-Fresno

Fresno State offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences degree through the College of Science and Mathematics. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on biology, chemistry, and geology. The curriculum includes courses that cover a wide range of topics such as natural disasters and earth resources, atmospheric science, geomorphology, environmental GIS and engineering geology. The Patagonia Scholarship provides two scholarships each year to qualified incoming freshmen majoring in environmental sciences. The scholarship covers full tuition, room and board, and a book stipend. The Downing Science Scholarship ($2,000) is awarded to a senior student in each department of the College of Science and Mathematics. The award is based on the student's academic and extra-curricular achievement during the junior year.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,179 Students

48

Texas A & M University-Kingsville

The Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville offers many degrees in agronomy and resource sciences including a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Soil Science. The college is home to the internationally recognized research center, the Ceasar Kleber Wildlife Research Institute. The mission of the institute is to provide science-based information to help to enhance the management and conservation of wildlife in South Texas. Scholarships available for all agriculture students include Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarship, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Scholarship, and the Wildlife Conservation Scholarship.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,246 Students

49

Minnesota State University-Mankato

Minnesota State University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sciences through the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (CSET). Students are required to complete 28-32 credits in the major that include courses such as global change biology, environmental pollution and control, general ecology, analysis of pollutants, and environmental regulations. A Master of Science in Environmental Studies degree is also available. Students can complete the program by writing a thesis or choosing the alternate plan paper option. The thesis plan requires 30 graduate-level credits, while the alternate plan paper option requires 34 graduate-level credits. Academically qualified undergraduate students who have completed at least two full semesters in the program may be considered for the CSET Scholarship ($500 to $1,000).

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,387 Students

50

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Environmental science is offered as an area of concentration within the science and letters curriculum at UIUC's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Coursework for this concentration area includes topics such as the history of the earth system, climate and global change, environmental geology, and earth materials and the environment. The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree gives students the option of selecting environmental chemistry as their area of concentration. Students who complete the program are eligible for certification in the field of environmental chemistry given by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The curriculum for this program covers a wide range of subject matter including fundamental organic chemistry, solid state structural analysis, instrumental characterization, green chemistry, and environmental toxicology and health.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

45,140 Students

Environmental science examines what happens when the environment and humans collide. Pollution, global warming, conservation – this subject deals with it all. It’s a growing field. According to the BLS, employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to increase 15% from 2012 to 2022. Departments are springing up left and right and universities are falling over themselves to offer programs. Others are joining sustainability organizations, such as the International Sustainable Campus Network, in an effort to clean up their own operations.

That’s why we decided to create this guide to affordable environmental science degrees. For all the time and money you’re putting into your education, we believe you deserve a solid end result. In the first section, we outline what an environmental scientist does, what kinds of disciplines exist (e.g. engineering, science, toxicology) and the important difference between “studies” and “science”. In the second and third sections, we dive into common degrees and important accreditations.

What is Environmental Science?

Definition of an Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists study the thorny problems created by human interaction with the environment – problems like global warming, water pollution, deforestation and the loss of precious ecosystems.

In response to these challenges, many environmental scientists also search for creative solutions. They may be involved in sustainable agriculture, waste management, environmental health initiatives, the reduction of industrial pollution, wildlife protection and conservation efforts.

Environmental Science Disciplines

Environmental Science

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary field that employs many branches of science (e.g. biology, ecology, geology, oceanology, physics, soil science, etc.) to study the impact of humans on the environment. It is founded on principles of scientific inquiry.

Environmental Health Engineering

Environmental health engineering examines the influence of the environment (biological, physical and social) on public health. Topics of importance include waste disposal, air pollution, clean water, sustainability and environmental law.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is an applied science that uses engineering principles to solve environmental issues. For example:

  • Civil environmental engineers might design water treatment plants or recycling facilities.
  • Chemical environmental engineers might work on ozone depletion, separation technologies or solutions to acid rain.

Environmental Studies

Environmental studies is a broad, interdisciplinary field that investigates the intersection of humans, technology and the environment. In addition to environmental science, it tackles related subjects like urban planning, environmental legislation, economic policy and natural resource management.

Environmental Toxicology

Founded on principles of biological science, environmental toxicology evaluates the effect of chemicals and toxins on living organisms and the environment. Toxicologists answer questions like:

  • Which chemicals pose a risk to human health?
  • What pathways do toxins take in the environment?
  • How can ecosystems be protected?

Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Science

Investigating education options? You’ll see some universities offering degrees in environmental studies, others in environmental science.

  • Programs in Environmental Studies usually involve fewer science courses and more liberal arts subjects (e.g. law, economics).
  • Programs in Environmental Science dig deeper into science (physics, biology and organic chemistry), advanced statistics, engineering and technology.

Before you decide on a path, we recommend you research your “dream jobs” to see which degree is preferred. Some employers may specifically want an environmental science qualification.

Types of Environmental Science Degrees

Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree is a two-year program designed to introduce you to the field of environmental science. Courses often cover science (e.g. biology, chemistry), math and environmental studies (e.g. resource management).

Common titles include:

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Environmental Science
  • Associate of Science (AS) in Environmental Studies

For more on the difference between degrees, see our breakdown of Environmental Science Disciplines.

Like many students, you might use your associate’s degree as the first step towards a bachelor’s. Or you could look into becoming a research technician, laboratory assistant or animal care specialist.

Note: Thinking of doing an online associate’s degree? Check that your credits will be transferable to a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is a four-year undergraduate program that’s intended to give you a firm grounding in environmental science. Your first two years will be spent on general education and science courses. In your junior and senior years, you’ll be able to concentrate on environmental electives and field research.

Common titles include:

  • Bachelor of Environmental Science (BEnvSc/BESc/BSES)
  • Bachelor of Environmental Health Engineering (BSEH)
  • Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Toxicology

For more on the difference between degrees, see our breakdown of Environmental Science Disciplines.

A bachelor’s degree can be used for “starter” positions (e.g. science teacher, sustainability consultant, environmental policy analyst, lobbyist, soil conservationist, etc.) or as a basis for graduate work. To gain more responsibility and freedom in the field, many environmental scientists opt for a master’s degree.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is a challenging 2-3 year program that will deepen your understanding of environmental science. The degree usually includes field-specific courses (e.g. environmental monitoring) and an independent research project (e.g. thesis).

Common titles include:

  • Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Science
  • Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Studies
  • Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Health Engineering
  • Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Toxicology

For more on the difference between degrees, see our breakdown of Environmental Science Disciplines.

Want to super-specialize? You could also consider a master’s degree in a specific subject like wetland management, environmental pollution control, ocean studies, etc.

Whatever topic you choose, an MS will open the door to higher pay, management positions and a host of career options.

Doctoral Degree

A PhD is a rigorous 4-7 year program recognized as the highest level of academic achievement. Instead of traditional courses, you may be required to attend seminars or teach undergraduate classes. You will also be expected to produce a piece of original research.

Common titles include:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Toxicology

For more on the difference between degrees, see our breakdown of Environmental Science Disciplines.

Many holders of PhDs in Environmental Science teach in universities or work in research labs. Others go the route of becoming independent consultants or entrepreneurs.

Certificate

A certificate in environmental science is a short program (6 months – 1 year) intended to hone certain skills. Certificates cover a dizzying range of subjects – from environmental policy to hydrology to renewable energy.

Certificates fall into two broad categories:

  • Undergraduate Certificate: Allows students to explore a field of interest with fewer course requirements than a major.
  • Graduate Certificate: Popular with environmental professionals looking to plug skill gaps or people seeking a career change. Some schools allow you to apply certificate credits towards a graduate degree.

Over the past few years, online environmental science certificates have become very popular.

Note: Earning an academic certificate is not the same as gaining professional certification (e.g. CES). Certification bodies have very specific academic and work requirements.

Important Accreditations

Regional Accreditation

Above all, we recommend your school have regional accreditation. This is an independent accreditation granted to non-profit colleges and universities by one of six regional organizations (e.g. Middle States Commission on Higher Education).

You can learn more about the difference between national and regional accreditation in: Accreditation: Understanding the Difference Between Real Schools and Diploma Mills.

Regional accreditation makes it easier to:

  • Transfer credits to another regionally accredited school
  • Apply to graduate & postgraduate programs
  • Impress employers and admissions committees

These concerns can be especially important if you’re thinking of obtaining an online degree.

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET)

ABET accredits programs in applied sciences, computing and engineering. Considering a degree in environmental engineering? ABET accreditation is a recognized sign of quality.

Learn more about ABET’s Program Criteria For Accrediting Applied Science Programs.

National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC)

EHAC accredits programs in environmental health engineering. It’s not necessary for these degrees to have EHAC accreditation, but it’s an additional mark of excellence.

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