Environmental Studies Degree: What to expect?

Between his undefined but all-encompassing superpowers and his ruggedly good looks (that mullet, those abs!), Capitan Planet made saving the world look cool. Unfortunately for everyone, there’s no real Capitan Planet, which means stopping the destruction of the earth is up to us (or, as Capitan Planet would say, “The power is yours!”).

If you hope to help the planet through education, policy creation, and conservation work, consider an environmental studies degree. An environmental studies education combines science classes, like geology or water resources, with humanities classes. You’ll take subjects like the history of geography and international environmental policy. When you complete an environmental studies major, you’ll not only understand things like how pollution affects the climate, but you’ll also have the strong communication and reasoning skills necessary to pass this understanding on to lawmakers and the public.

Those with this degree do conservation work in the Alaskan wilderness, write new laws to protect endangered animals or national parks, or work with businesses to help create so-called “green jobs,” which improve the environment while letting people earn a living.

You can get either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in this field, and the area you choose should be based on your future career plans and job hopes. Like any undergraduate degree, this one takes four years to complete. If you hope to go for a master’s, you can expect to tack on an extra two years of studying.

When you finish your schooling and start looking for job opportunities, you should be in pretty good shape with this major. Environmental issues are at the forefront of many people’s minds, and right now, the environment is getting a lot of press and political attention. This works well for you (and the environment) because it means jobs are open for people who can understand the more technical side of environmental problems, and who can pass this understanding on to the layperson.

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