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The Top Five Colleges for Environmental Education

The Top Five Colleges for Environmental Education

We use things learned in environmental education classes to do everything we do during the day, from choosing the correct receptacle for our refuse to how we navigate our way to work. What’s more, a lot of the decisions we make throughout the day create pollution. So, why isn’t everyone using energy sources in smarter ways to lessen our impact on the Earth? These important questions are not only asked, but answered in Environmental Education classes all over the country. The study draws on so many different fields, such as science, economics, and politics to answer some of the toughest questions about how we should live now, and in the future.

Environmental Studies/Science is an overlap of many academic fields, including:

  • Biology, chemistry, and marine science
  • Geology and geography
  • Anthropology, and political science
  • Agriculture
  • Economics, and sociology

In general, the degree provides an innovative multi-disciplinary approach for students who are interested in a broad span of topics that center around the environment. Students get to look at how we interact with the natural world and how we can prevent its destruction.

Environmental education students are often looking to obtain a career in a federal, state, or local agency; others are looking to go toward non-governmental organizations, research and educational institutions; finally, a third group will turn their degree and their passion for entrepreneurship into a business. Environmental Science and Geography students are eligible to work all over the United States, and even around the world in a wide variety of environmental occupations. Have you considered a career in resource management, environmental law and public health? Then these 5 schools are your top best educational options. We chose them based on where they are situated (and how that enhances the learning experience), the unique characteristics of the faculty or curriculum and factors of cost and acceptance likelihoods.

5. University of Hawaii

By Vreed (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
By Vreed (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
University of Hawaii Hilo, Hawaii.

Study the environment and our impact on it in one of the most biologically rich and diverse places on Earth. The Island of Hawaiʻi offers a setting of diverse natural and cultural environments ideal for geographic studies—most schools don’t get to go on these kind of field trip studies. The Department of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Hawaiʻi Hilo could not be a more perfect marriage of natural and cultural environments for both geographic and environmental students to learn in. The curriculum is diversified with field excursions, interdisciplinary course work, and computer-based spatial analysis, using high-tech GIS and remote sensing.

  • Cost to attend: $22,400
  • Average loan debt: $28,000
  • Acceptance: 72%

4. University of Vermont

University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Founded in 1972, the campus-wide Environmental Program was established to meet the need for a better understanding of the ecological and cultural systems that support us daily. The University of Vermont already has a vibrant and creative culture, and this certainly bleeds into the Environmental studies (ENVS) students and faculty there.


The faculty openly supports student advocacy and political awareness within the program, as well as artistic expression of environmental values. Students that love lively, open discussions, collaboration and standing up for global issues with passion and rigor, will love life and Environmental studies at UVM.

  • Cost to attend: $27,900
  • Average loan debt: $33,100
  • Acceptance: 71%

3. University of South Florida

USF St. Petersburg Campus
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University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida

The Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy (ESP), like many environmental education degrees from other schools, incorporates courses and faculties from various colleges across the University. But, it’s safe to say that the University of South Florida does it a little different because they offer small class sizes, housed in two intimate, waterfront campuses, both with high community engagement.

The program is broad enough to allow students to explore major issues of environmental science and policy, but they are also encouraged to specialize in an area that interests them most. Such specializations include water quality and policy, hazard assessment and mitigation, urban environments, and geology.

  • Cost to attend: $20,185
  • Average loan debt: $35,000
  • Acceptance: 47%


Alana Armstrong Travel expert, writer for America Unraveled.


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