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What is Environmental Biology?
Environmental Biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology emphasizing the study of the environment and associated solutions to environmental issues. Environmental Biology fuses biological sciences with information sciences and physical sciences to provide an integrated, quantitative, and multifaceted approach to the environment.
The study of Environmental Biology includes academic disciplines that include the following:
Trained environmental biologists will often take a systems approach to solving complex problems. Breaking down problems into their respective components to better see the relevant environmental issues at hand. Frequently, problems have overlapping chemical, physical, and biological properties. Such overlapping elements can provide biologists with an archetype to a viable solution.
Best Degree in Environmental Biology
The degree programs for students considering a path in environmental biology are broad. Degrees span from undergraduate to graduate and from online to classroom-based programs. To help you make the most of your research, we combined a summary of programs with colleges offering degrees in one location.
This will allow you to quickly connect with accredited programs through our proprietary portal without spending weeks researching each school’s website to determine if they have a specific degree program.
Environmental Biology Bachelor's Degrees
Online bachelor degrees or on-site degrees in environmental biology are conferred as a Bachelor of Science (BS). Bachelor degrees are 4-year programs for full-time students. Degrees at this level will blend liberal arts classes such as communications, philosophy, psychology, history, and creative writing with core classes. By blending both types of learning into a singular program, students have a holistic set of thinking skills to help them better process the world around them.
Core classes in environmental biology are not replicated from school to school; however, there are several classes that will overlap. Examples of classes found in an environmental biology program include:
- Physics of Life
- Global Environment
- Probability and Statistics
- Cell Biology
- Diversity of Life
- Global Environment
Environmental Biology Master's Degrees
A master’s degree in environmental biology can be conferred as either a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) or Master of Science (MS). Graduate schools will provide two different approaches for students: self-directed or predetermined.
Self-directed programs allow students to construct a set of courses towards a degree with the help of an academic advisor. This path allows students to customize a degree program based on specific areas of interest or targeted job after graduation. The other path is a set of curricula is determined in advance by the college or university.
Either path has pros and cons – the challenge for you is to determine which makes the most sense given your professional goals and personal objectives. The MPS and MS degree will take 1-2 years to complete for full-time students including a mandated thesis project.
PhD in Environmental Biology
A doctorate degree in environmental biology is conferred as a PhD. The PhD degree is known as a terminal degree in academia as no additional degrees are conferred beyond this degree. PhD programs take 3-5 years to complete depending on the student’s course load, program requirements, and time invested in the dissertation project. Areas of specialization within this field of study can include the following tracks:
- Endangered Species
- Global Climate Change
- Conservation Education
- Ecological Monitoring
- Wetland Ecosystems
- Conservation Genetics
- Behavioral Ecology
- Harvest Management
- Tropical Ecology
- Restoration Ecology
- Habitat Fragmentation
- Exotic Species Biology
- Forest Management
Environmental Biology Jobs
Earning a college degree in environmental biology provide students with a solid science foundation along with deep analytical skills. The jobs available for consideration for qualified graduates in environmental biology are seemingly limitless. Environmental jobs include the anticipated environmental biology or environmental policy careers. In addition, you may be interested in pursuing careers utilizing your core skills outside environmental biology. Examples of overlapping careers include: teaching biology in high school, research analyst, post-secondary teacher, genomics specialist, immunologist, biology technician, toxicologist, medical scientist, virologist, bioengineer, food scientist, microbiologist, and epidemiologist.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Environmental Biology?
Students earning a degree in this field of study can find themselves working for a variety of entities. From state government agencies to biotech research firms, the number of organizations is vast. High level jobs that many students move into after graduation include the following:
- Research Specialist
- Watershed Manager
- Political Activist
- Estuary Specialist
- Restoration Director
- Wildlife Biologist
- Project Manager
Environmental Biology Salary & Career Outlook
Environmental biologist salary numbers currently average $69,400 a year which translates to $33.37 an hour. The bottom twenty-five percent earn approximately fifty-five thousand dollars while the top 25% earn $92,660 a year on average. The top employers of environmental biologists include federal government agencies, scientific consulting firms, local government, engineering firms, and private corporations.
Job growth for environmental biologists are well above average. In fact, both direct and indirect job functions are trending well above the national average of six percent. For example, the rate of employment growth for an environmental biologist for the coming decade is expected to rise 11% and a rapid 23% for biomedical engineers.
List of Environmental Biology Associations
- American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
- Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
- Water Environment Federation (WEF)
- National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP)
- North American Association of Environmental Education
- Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS)
- Ecological Society of America (ESA)
- Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)