"Rocks for jocks" was the saying a while ago about geology. That was until they went searching for oil, or granite counter tops became a must have for elegant homes. The environmental science major, and the various facets within it, will allow students to better understand how humans act with, and upon, their natural world. Waste Management, Power Generation, Plant Nurseries, Recycling Centers and many other industries hire Environmental Science graduates. It’s an amazing field with endless possibilities.

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  • Viewing student work helps you see the quality and complexity of what you’ll study
  • Videos allow you to see facilities, and resources of schools that teach the major

More About Environmental Science

Environmental Scientists use their knowledge of the physical makeup and history of the Earth to protect the environment, study the properties of underground and surface waters, locate water and energy resources, predict water-related geologic hazards, and offer environmental site assessments and advice on indoor air quality and hazardous-waste-site remediation.

Environmental scientists conduct research to identify and abate or eliminate sources of pollutants or hazards that affect people, wildlife, and their environments. These workers analyze and report measurements or observations of air, food, water, soil, and other sources and make recommendations on how best to clean and preserve the environment. Understanding the issues involved in protecting the environment—degradation, conservation, recycling, and replenishment—is central to the work of environmental scientists, who often use their skills and knowledge to design and monitor waste disposal sites, preserve water supplies, and reclaim contaminated land and water to comply with Federal environmental regulations.

Many environmental scientists do work and have training that is similar to other physical or life scientists, but is applied to environmental areas. Many specialize in some specific area, such as environmental ecology and conservation, environmental chemistry, environmental biology, or fisheries science. 

Hydrologists study the quantity, distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters. Often, they specialize in either underground water or surface water. They examine the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, its movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere. Hydrologists use sophisticated techniques and instruments. For example, they may use remote sensing technology, data assimilation, and numerical modeling to monitor the change in regional and global water cycles. Some surface-water hydrologists use sensitive stream-measuring devices to assess flow rates and the quality of water. The work hydrologists do is particularly important in flood control and environmental preservation, including ground-water decontamination.

Many environmental scientists and hydrologists work at consulting firms, advising and helping businesses and government agencies comply with environmental policy, particularly with regard to ground-water decontamination and flood control. Environmental scientists and hydrologists at consulting firms are generally hired to solve problems. Most firms fall into two categories: large multidisciplinary engineering companies, the largest of which may employ more than 15,000 workers, and small niche firms that may employ fewer than 50 workers. When entering the field, prospects should consider the type of firm and the scope of the projects it undertakes. 

Geoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. With the use of sophisticated instruments and by analyzing the composition of the earth and water, geoscientists study the Earth’s geologic past and present. Many geoscientists are involved in searching for adequate supplies of natural resources such as groundwater, metals, and petroleum, while others work closely with environmental and other scientists in preserving and cleaning up the environment.