Top Environmental Science Universities in 2022-2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Environmental Science in the World

About Environmental Science

Environmental science (EVS) is an interdisciplinary academic field that focuses on human interactions with the environment and various environmental challenges. It connects principles from the fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, and social science. Environmental science teaches us how to protect the environment in the face of a rising human population and human impacts that are destroying natural resources and ecosystems.

With global warming and climate change, environmental studies have become a hot topic today, demanding for quick and effective solutions to cope with diverse environmental problems. Environmental scientists and other professionals with a background in environmental science are therefore in great demand nowadays. This article attempts at solving all the questions regarding a degree in environmental science along with job prospects in that field. 

Duties of Environmental Scientists or Environmental Scholars

In the domain of environmental science, job responsibilities vary greatly depending on the type of job, working conditions, and employers. For example, an environmental scholar may be required to conduct an in-depth investigation of a water body or work as part of a team to examine a wide range of environmental issues. Depending upon the above factors duties  of professionals working in this field might include some or all of the following:

  • Analyze samples of soil, air, water, food, and other materials to collect data on the environment
  • Choose a method for analyzing the collected environmental data and analyze it using scientific analysis 
  • Assess the threat to the environment, especially the impact of human activities on the environment
  • Informing the government, the general public, and businesses about health and environmental risks
  • Present reports and publish papers on research and scientific findings 
  • Develop strategies to either prevent or fix pollution and other environmental issues

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Environmental Science

Environmental science is becoming a more valuable and relevant degree in today’s world where global warming, air pollution, and plastic waste are important challenges. It provides a wide range of opportunities for further education; in fact, many students prefer to pursue postgraduate study or research after completing their bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related field. The following are some of the popular degrees offered by top universities in the area of environmental science. 

Bachelor’s programs

  • B.S. in Environmental Science
  • B.A. in Environmental Studies
  • B.S. in Environmental Management
  • B.A. in Environmental Policy
  • B.Sc. in Ecology

Master’s programs

  • M.S. in Environmental Science 
  • M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy
  • M.Sc. in Hazardous Substance and Environmental Management
  • M.Sc. in Energy and Environmental Sciences
  • Master of Climate Change Science and Policy
  • M.S. in Environmental and Green Chemistry
  • M.S. in Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

Doctoral programs

  • Ph.D. in Environmental Science 
  • Ph.D. in Science in Earth, Life and Climate
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Studies

Specializations in Environmental Science

Given environmental science is such a broad field, there are various specializations available. However, students can choose from five core fields for their specializations, each of which is made up of multiple minor specialties. These include 

Atmospheric sciences: It is the study of the atmosphere, which includes the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere. It often includes the influence of atmospheric changes on ecosystems all over the world. 

Ecology: The term ecology involves the study of how organisms (humans, animals, and plants) interact with each other and the environment. 

Environmental chemistry: This field explores the effects of chemicals on humans, plants, soil, water bodies, and the air. 

Geosciences: It is also known as earth science, it focuses on the geological processes of the earth, such as volcanic eruptions, the formation of the earth’s crust, and how they impact the environment.

Social sciences: It is divided into three subfields: geography, anthropology, and sociology, and it studies the interactions between humans and nature are further subdivided into smaller subfields.

Duration of programs in Environmental Science

A typical duration of a full-time undergraduate program in environmental science is from three to four years, and graduate programs range from one to two years. The duration of part-time degrees is longer than usual. In addition to lab work and lectures, fieldwork is also an important part of the environmental science curriculum. This fieldwork includes trips to different countries and regions of the world. Field trips offer a great opportunity for prospective students to learn about varied habitats, climates, and societies. All in all, environmental science degrees are more adventurous than any other degrees in the field of science. 

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree
USA and Canada 4 years 1-2 years 4-7 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-6 years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years 4-6 years

Career opportunities in Environmental Science

Environmental science is one of the greatest disciplines to study for anyone who is interested in environmental conservation. Some of the top careers in this field are:

  • Environmental Scientist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Professor or Teacher
  • Zoologist
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Hydrologist
  • Ecology Consultant
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Climate Scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Geologist
  • Marine Ecologist
  • Marine Scientist
  • Biologist
  • Botanist

A degree in environmental science is not restrictive and opens up a lot of job opportunities. Some alternative fields where a degree in environmental science is applicable are:

  • Horticultural Consultant
  • Horticultural Therapist
  • Water Engineer
  • Minerals Surveyor
  • Recycling Officer
  • Sustainability Consultant
  • Landscape Architect

Average salaries in Environmental Science

The average salaries in the environmental science vary depending on the type of specialization and years of experience. Entry-level positions, as expected, pay less than advanced jobs. The majority of environmental scientists work full time and are mostly required to work more than 40 hours per week. As a result, the pay for environmental scientists is slightly higher compared to the other specialist in the field of environmental science. The average salaries for environmental scientists in major countries around the world are listed below.

Country Average salary in USD*/year
Canada  1,49,176 (Source: Salary explorer)
Australia 1,07,378 (Source: Salary explorer)
USA 1,56,000 (Source: Salary explorer)
UK 1,54,054 (Source: Salary explorer)
Germany 80, 692 (Source: Salary explorer)
France 82,533 (Source: Salary explorer)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Top 50 universities in the world for Environmental Science based on subject rankings (Shanghai/QS/THE):

QS Ranking THE Ranking Shanghai Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 4 22 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
2 2 42 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
3 5 151-200 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA Click Here Click Here
4 1 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
5 15 10 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Switzerland Click Here Click Here
6 5 16 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
7 8 6 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) USA Click Here Click Here
8 53 4 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands Click Here Click Here
9 12 9 Imperial College London UK Click Here Click here
10 16 151-200 Tsinghua University China Click Here Click Here
11 37 18 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
12 46 201-300 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) Singapore Click Here Click Here
13 75 NA Delft University of Technology Netherlands Click Here Click Here
14 54 15 The University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
15 21 101-150 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore Click Here Click Here
16 67 7 University of California, Davis USA Click Here Click Here
17 16 76-100 Peking University China Click Here Click Here
18 9 34 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
19 2 NA California Institute of Technology (Caltech) USA Click Here Click Here
20 20 44 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) USA Click Here Click Here
21 54 40 The Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
22 33 51-75 The University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
23 70 51-75 The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) Australia Click Here Click Here
24 7 23 Princeton University USA Click Here Click Here
25 40 201-300 EPFL Switzerland Click Here Click Here
26 35 301-400 The University of Tokyo Japan Click Here Click Here
27 30 21 The University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
28 18 20 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
29 44 51-75 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here
30 24 51-75 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here
31 176 51-75 Stockholm University Sweden Click Here Click Here
32 22 14 Cornell University USA Click Here Click Here
33 11 51-75 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
34 127 51-75 University of Leeds UK Click Here Click Here
35 29 32 University of Washington USA Click Here Click Here
36 23 39 Duke University USA Click Here Click Here
37 69 51-75 Utrecht University Netherlands Click Here Click Here
38 143 11 The University of Exeter UK Click Here Click Here
39 116 51-75 Lund University Sweden Click Here Click Here
40 18 51-75 UCL UK Click Here Click Here
41 131 76-100 Uppsala University Sweden Click Here Click Here
42 96 31 University of Copenhagen Denmark Click Here Click Here
43 58 51-75 University of Wisconsin-Madison USA Click Here Click Here
44 75 301-400 Zhejiang University China Click Here Click Here
45 185 201-300 Technical University of Denmark Denmark Click Here Click Here
46 45 151-200 Georgia Institute of Technology USA Click Here Click Here
47 47 76-100 University of Texas at Austin USA Click Here Click Here
48 54 401-500 Seoul National University South Korea Click Here Click Here
49 182 76-100 University of East Anglia (UEA) UK Click Here Click Here
50 66 NA The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the USA for Environmental Science

Environmental science is one of the hot professions in the USA, known for its many job opportunities and high income. For example, an environmental scientist gets an annual salary of 1,56,000 USD/year, which is way higher than the median average salary. This is why environmental science is one of the best degrees to study in the USA. On top of that, the USA is the leader when it comes to the quality of education and there are a lot of options for undergraduate degrees in environmental science. For students who want to go for specialization, they can go for master’s degrees in environmental science. 

QS Ranking THE Ranking Shanghai Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
1 4 22 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
2 2 42 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
3 5 151-200 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA Click Here Click Here
7 8 6 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) USA Click Here Click Here
16 67 7 University of California, Davis USA Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the UK for Environmental Science

The next best option for overseas students is to study in the UK, as it offers tons of employment opportunities for almost all the graduates, including environmental science. The top UK universities such as the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, and others have a variety of undergraduate environmental science programs. Their graduate programs in environmental science are also quite famous. Here is a table containing a list of top colleges in the UK for environmental science. 

QS Ranking THE Ranking Shanghai Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
4 1 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
6 5 16 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
9 12 9 Imperial College London UK Click Here Click here
27 30 21 The University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
34 127 51-75 University of Leeds UK Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Australia for Environmental Science

In many aspects, Australia is a world leader in environmental issues. The first Earth Hour, for example, began as a lights-out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and has since grown into a global movement to encourage people to take environmental action. 

Many students prefer to study in Australia as Australian universities offer well-balanced bachelor’s courses in environmental science in terms of the structure of the degree, the range of topics, and the amount of practical work. Even the master’s courses in environmental science offered are well structured.

QS Ranking THE Ranking Shanghai Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
14 54 15 The University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
21 54 40 The Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
22 33 51-75 The University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
23 70 51-75 The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) Australia Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the Netherlands for Environmental Science

Here is a list of top-ranked Netherlands universities for environmental science. The table also includes bachelor’s programs offered by Dutch universities in environmental science and master’s courses in environmental science.

QS Ranking THE Ranking Shanghai Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
8 53 4 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands Click Here Click Here
13 75 NA Delft University of Technology Netherlands Click Here Click Here
37 69 51-75 Utrecht University Netherlands Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Canada for Environmental Science

International students flock to study in Canada, the world’s second-largest country, with a sparse population and a high standard of living. The universities in Canada offer good undergraduate degrees in environmental science and highly specialized graduate degrees in environmental science. Here is a list of some of the popular Canadian universities ranked highly for environmental science subjects.

QS Ranking THE Ranking Shanghai Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
28 18 20 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
29 44 51-75 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here

Academic requirements for studying Environmental Science

Environmental science is a relatively recent field of study that arose in the 1960s and 1970s as environmental issues became more apparent. It is now acknowledged as a strong academic degree  all around the world with a wide range of professional opportunities. As a result, several universities now offer degrees in this discipline. The following are some of the general requirements for admission to major colleges that offer environmental science degrees.

Bachelor’s level

  • A high school diploma with a 3.0 GPA or above in one of the following subjects: biology, chemistry, physics,  mathematics, geography, or geology 
  • Academic transcripts
  • SAT and/or ACT scores (varies from university to university)
  • Personal statement 
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Valid passport
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

Master’s level

  • A relevant bachelor’s degree, either in environmental sciences or a related field, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • Academic transcripts
  • GMAT, MCAT and/or GRE scores (varies from university to university)
  • Personal statement 
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Valid passport
  • Resume
  • Published research papers (preferable)
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

Frequently Asked Questions

Environmental science is a broad field that studies how environmental change and the actions of people are linked. Environmental engineering, on the other hand, is a subspecialization of environmental science that is concerned with the application of innovation and engineering to improve environmental quality. 

The most popular countries for studying environmental science are the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands. 

Yes, in today’s climate-conscious society, an environmental science degree is an excellent pick. Since the field is so diversified, students can expect a lot of job opportunities even after earning a bachelor’s degree in the field.

In addition to environmental scientists, environmental engineers, environmental lawyers, biochemists, and hydrologists are well paid in the field of environmental science.