Seeking a Job, That’s Great for the Environment?

February 7, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Seeking a Job, That’s Great for the Environment? Check Out These Top Environment Schools

There’s a growing trend of concern about the environment as more and more people are becoming aware of the devastating effects of global warming, fossil fuel emissions, pollution, and other climate-related problems. Learn more about environment colleges now!

Individuals, small businesses, corporations, and entire governments are starting to raise their collective voice about the need for meaningful change in order to counteract the current effects of climate change while ensuring better practices for the future so everyone can enjoy a healthier, cleaner home.

This push towards sustainability and eco-friendliness has led many high schoolers to consider a career path in that vein. If you’re interested in a college degree that has a good impact on the world around you, focusing on environmentalism is a great place to start.

A woman getting samples of river water in a dam.

Fortunately, there are plenty of environment schools throughout the country that can help you develop the skills and expertise you need to successfully enter into this field. Here, we’re going to look at the best environment colleges in the country to help you get your college search started.

1. Stanford University – Stanford, CA

Stanford University earns a spot as one of the top environment colleges due to its competitive undergraduate program offerings within the realm of environmentalism. Here are the primary four degrees Stanford students interested in learning more about the impact of human systems on the natural environment can take:

Geological Sciences

This degree focuses on the study of the planet along with other nearby planets, what’s occurring deep beneath the surface, what it can tell us about the current state of things and future possibilities, and much more.

Energy Resources Engineering

This Bachelor of Science degree gives students a strong foundation for careers in the energy industry. The primary focus of the program is focused on the application of various energy sources and how they impact the environment.


The geophysics department is chock-full of engaging classes, intriguing field-based opportunities, fun research projects, and a host of other components designed to prepare students for a career in government and industry.

GPR, a noninvasive method used in geophysics.

Earth Systems Program

This interdisciplinary science major teaches students about various environmental problems currently plaguing the planet along with the human activities that can exacerbate or mitigate these challenges.

No matter what kind of environment-focused degree you choose from Stanford, you’ll graduate as a well-rounded steward of the planet.

2. Harvard University – Cambridge, MA

Through its Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) program, Harvard University earns a spot as one of the best environment colleges in the country. This interdisciplinary program seeks to help students understand, predict, and respond to the growing threat of natural and human-caused environmental change by addressing a wide variety of environmental subtopics including:

  • Global warming
  • Stratospheric ozone depletion
  • Chemistry
  • Oceanography
  • Glaciology
  • Ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Hydrology
  • Geophysics
  • And much, much more

Students will learn to view the environment as a complicated and dynamic set of biological, physical, and chemical interactions that are further complex due to the interaction humans have with the environment.

Undergraduates will have the opportunity to take their focus outside the classroom with unique research opportunities alongside professors in various subjects ranging from cryptography to bioengineering to environmental engineering.

Beyond simply providing a place where environmentally-conscious students can develop their skills, Harvard also practices what it preaches. The school has implemented a number of green initiatives with no sign of slowing down.

It’s been featured on the Princeton Review Green Honor Roll five different times and ranks in the Top 10 greenest colleges according to The Daily Green. Students are encouraged to join and contribute to these initiatives while offering suggestions of their own.

3. UC Berkeley – Berkeley, CA

The Environmental Sciences field at UC Berkeley gives students an extensive and wide-ranging education in the foundations of social sciences, physics, math, chemistry, and biology with a focus on how human systems impact natural systems.

Students pursuing this area of study complete their degree with a year-long research project investigating a particular environmental issue. The University of California-Berkeley offers three different environmental studies degree concentrations: biological, social science, and physical science.

UC Berkeley is an excellent choice for undergraduates because of the wide variety of environmental and ecological relevant majors offered at the undergraduate level. While some colleges reserve this focus for graduates, UC Berkeley provides many opportunities for undergraduates.

In 2019 alone, more than 400 environmental studies students received their diploma – 333 of which were undergraduates with the rest receiving either a master’s or doctorate degree. The University Botanical Garden might not have anything to do with the quality of environmental education at UC Berkeley, but it is a fantastic spot on campus to visit.

It features over 10,000 different plant species and has received international recognition. You don’t have to be an environmental study or ecology major to enjoy this massive garden, but you might have a special admiration for it.

4. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – Minneapolis, MN

The University of Minnesota’s Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management undergraduate degree is an excellent choice for green-conscious high schoolers seeking an education that can prepare them for a career focused on making the earth a healthier, more sustainable place to live.

As the leading environment major offered at the entire university, ESPM is focused on training the upcoming generations to become environmental leaders, advocates, and professionals by equipping them with interdisciplinary knowledge, research abilities, and real-world experiences. Even if you’re unsure what degree you want to pursue, this is one of the best environment colleges to attend.

Young women uses laptop to analyze and research agricultural crops.

The ESPM major offers a wide range of courses to give students flexibility and freedom to choose their academic path without straying from the focal point of environmental science studies.

However, there are an integrated set of foundational classes that are designed to link the subfields of environmental science, management, education, business, and policy.

The University of Minnesota is right to acknowledge that environmental challenges know no boundaries. That’s why a study abroad experience is such an important part of earning an environmental studies degree. You’ll have a wide selection of exciting study programs from which to choose while achieving the ESPM major.

5. University of Washington – Seattle, WA

The interdisciplinary environmental studies program at the University of Washington offers a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies that focus on community engagement and cultural perspectives about conservation science.

Students who choose this major take classes focused on policy and law as well as indigenous peoples’ relationship with the environment. The major also uses sustainability as a lens for understanding issues in cultural studies, social sciences, and the humanities.

As one of the environment colleges in the United States, students at UW work on real-world projects that involve environmental management systems, ecological design, and natural resource conservation.

Sustainability is a leading concept for environment colleges across the nation, and UW is among the best. Students who choose this major will learn about what it means to be sustainable and contribute to the environment.

6. Yale University – New Haven, CT

Located in the stunning small town of New Haven, Yale University requires no introduction as a leading institution of higher learning. However, not many people realize that this research university excels as at preparing green-minded students for a future of increased sustainability and cleanliness.

The Yale School of the Environment is one of the most prominent departments within the university to focus on this subject. It focuses on building “a more sustainable world” by focusing on interdisciplinary subjects and practical matters. The department boasts a world-class faculty and stresses real-world experience through various programs and research opportunities.

There is no shortage of degree programs available through the Yale School of the Environment. Students can even mix and match different courses based on their personal strengths, preferences, and short and long-term goals. These degrees are intended to prepare students for careers in environmental policy, management, and science.

If you’re looking for something more science-focused, The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University is a fantastic place to study. It stresses collaborative, interdisciplinary, and extensive research with a broad focus on various categories including:

  • Ecosystems
  • Systematics
  • Biodiversity
  • Behavioral evolution
  • Evolutionary medicine
  • Developmental evolution
  • Macroecology

7. University of California, Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, CA

The interdisciplinary environmental studies program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focuses on promoting an ethic of care for the environment through courses that examine topics such as nature and culture or environmental justice.

UCSB also offers undergraduate students opportunities to study abroad, in locations such as Paris or Mexico, to learn about environmental policies and issues.

The department of environmental studies at UCSB has a long-standing relationship with the Santa Barbara community, creating opportunities for students to work on projects that are important to both the university and the local area it serves.

At UCSB, students who major in environmental studies complete coursework that details the most important issues facing our world today, such as biodiversity and energy conservation. Classes are taught by faculty members from a variety of disciplines, including political science, anthropology, and biology.

The faculty of the environmental studies department at UCSB have collectively published more than 200 books and received numerous awards for teaching excellence. The college is also home to the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, which offers graduate degrees in sustainable management.

8. Princeton University – Princeton, NJ

Princeton’s Program in Environmental Studies (ENV) is the perfect option for high schoolers who want to receive an environmentally-oriented degree from one of the country’s leading universities.

As one of the top environment colleges, Princeton’s ENV program engages students with various elements of the environmental issues facing the planet including the technological, humanistic, political, and scientific elements.

This multidisciplinary degree seeks to provide students with a holistic perspective of the environment through rigorous and dynamic classes, broad and extensive coursework, vibrant research opportunities, and much, much more.

The goal of the ENV program is to qualify a generation of passionate students to work towards a healthier, more sustainable future. It’s a distinct program from a world-class university that puts students in a great position to succeed professionally.

During freshman, sophomore, and junior years, ENV students have a chance to participate in international and domestic summer internships during the summer to further their real-world and practical experience in the field. There are a host of other programs and extracurricular events made available to students.

9. Duke University – Durham, NC

The Nicholas School of the Environment Duke University’s professional school focused on the environment and related studies.

It’s the perfect option for students seeking education from this university related to the environment and sustainability. Although the school is headquartered at Duke’s main campus located in Durham, there is a coastal facility – Duke University Marine Laboratory – in Beaufort, NC, where marine-related work is carried out.

Through the Nicholas School of the Environment, students are prepared to become innovators, thinkers, advocates, and leaders in environmental management and policy, technology, conservation, law, health, medicine, and sciences.

These highly influential fields have the power to affect positive change towards achieving a more sustainable and healthy world for everyone. Degrees from the Nicholas School of the Environment focus on practicality, specificity, and application to create well-rounded professionals.

There are three primary areas of focus within this environmental school:

Earth & Climate Sciences

This major allows undergraduates to become immersed in the study of our planet’s dynamic climate system ranging from the rocky earth to the gassy biosphere.

Environmental Sciences & Policy

If you’re intrigued with the policy side of environmental issues, this major is the perfect option since it takes an interdisciplinary approach to see how legislation can impact the world.

Marine Science & Conservation

With oceans covering the vast majority of Earth, the condition of our oceans plays a massive role in the health of the planet overall. This program dives deep into the undercurrents of these systems.

10.University of Colorado Boulder – Boulder, CO

The Department of Environmental Studies provides undergraduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies designed to prepare students with the skills they need to enter related professionals focused on achieving a more energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthy future for everyone.

This interdisciplinary degree program focuses on various fields ranging from the arts and humanities to the natural and social sciences to provide participants with a well-rounded perspective.

Students will focus on various environmentally-relevant topics through the dynamic curriculum. They’ll also have the opportunity to participate in exciting research opportunities both domestically and abroad.

11. UC Davis – Davis, CA

The Davis campus of the University of California is another excellent environment college that can help aspiring students learn more about the complicated relationship between human activity and environmental processes.

The program is aimed at equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle major environmental issues such as extinctions, resource depletion, pollution, climate change, habitat loss, and population growth.

The Department of Environmental Science and Policy is where all of these efforts emanate. This department brings together the most important aspects of the social and natural sciences to form an interdisciplinary, cohesive, and complete education. UC Davis acknowledges that understanding both of these areas of study is essential for learning about the environment in a responsible and complete way.

There are two environmental majors offered at UC Davis: Environmental Science and Management (ESM) and Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning (EPAP).

Increase Your Chances of Getting Accepted Into Environment Colleges

Get a High GPA

You can get into college with a low GPA, but it’s much harder. Ideally, you’d earn the highest GPA possible. The key is to take classes that are hard enough to challenge you and look impressive on your application while also being easy enough to achieve your desired GPA.

Group of students studying and reading together in the library.

Nail Your SAT or ACT Score

Standardized tests are one of the best ways admissions officers have to compare your academic performance with those of other applicants in an objective and accurate way. You should aim to score as close to perfect as possible on your SAT and ACT tests.

Shaded answer sheet with a pencil on top.

Work with a college admissions expert.

It’s easy to feel lost and confused when preparing for college. Even when you have a clear idea of what you want to study and where you want to attend, it’s not easy knowing what you need to do in order to reach your goals. That’s where college admission professionals can help.

AdmissionSight is a leading entrance expert that knows what it takes to get into the best environment colleges in the country. Whether you need a hand choosing high school courses and extracurricular activities, preparing for standardized tests, practicing for your college interview, or anything else related to college preparation, we’ve got you covered!

Feel free to reach out today to learn more about what we offer and how our services can help you increase your chances of getting into your dream school. You’ll hear from us within just a few days. We’ll set up a free consultation to answer all of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you!


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