Already recognised as a valuable academic discipline, environmental science is gaining momentum as the subject of choice for students looking to make a positive impact on the world. But what does it involve, why does it matter more now than ever, and where can a degree in environmental science lead?
What is environmental science?
This broad subject integrates elements from the biological, physical and chemical sciences to better understand and protect our environment. From meteorology and atmospheric studies to ecology and geoscience, the interdisciplinary approach equips students with a whole host of transferrable skills.
Alongside more traditional learning, you’ll also find yourself conducting experiments in the lab, or out in the field – with many universities offering overseas placements too. When it comes to studying the environment, the world really is your classroom.
Environmental science is a relative newcomer to the world of academia, only taking off in the 1960s. But with the challenges facing the environment becoming ever more pressing, the discipline has a vital role to play in ensuring a more sustainable future. Universities around the country recognise this and are investing in the subject accordingly – Bangor University even commissioned a £3.5 million sea-going research vessel to help students better explore the oceans.
Where can it take you?
If you’re a keen scientist and committed to a career in the notoriously competitive green sector, then studying environmental science is a great way to get started. However, it’s worth remembering that it’s an interdisciplinary subject – so if you find yourself leaning heavily towards one particular science, you may benefit from the depth of a more specific degree.
Conversely, the breadth of environmental science can be an advantage to those unsure what career they want to pursue. Employers look favourably on graduates’ broad skillset, and environmental science has opened the door to jobs as diverse as advocacy, teaching and planning and development.
If this whets your appetite, head over to this month’s interview to discover what it’s like to study and work in the field from environmental science tutor Vasiliki Kioupi.