Environmental Science

This tool should only be used as a guide — remember to meet with your academic adviser, Career Services and/or faculty to determine appropriate career options.

Find the right career niche with Oakland University’s environmental science degree.

Environmental science jobs tend to involve plenty of time in the field. Oakland University’s environmental science degree takes the same approach. You’ll routinely get out of the classroom and into the community, where you can put environmental science principles into practice and get a hands-on introduction to environmental science jobs of all kinds. With separate tracks in environmental health and environmental sustainability, our environmental science degree is flexible enough to prepare you for environmental science careers in research, management, advocacy, conservation, public health, and many other specialties. You’ll acquire skills and experience that stand out in the environmental science job market—and that equip you to solve the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.

Environmental Science Degree: The Oakland University Advantage

Much like a healthy ecosystem, our environmental science program consists of a web of interdependent relationships. We collaborate actively with other academic departments on campus, and with government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, health organizations, and other environmental science organizations in the community. As a result, environmental science majors at Oakland University enjoy exceptional opportunities to:

  • Gain hands-on experience. The environmental science degree includes a required internship or capstone project, enabling you to gain real-world experience in a professional workplace, community setting, or other venue. In addition, our environmental science majors frequently build their skills and resumes through volunteer service, summer jobs, and other types of involvement.
  • Conduct research as an undergraduate. Environmental science majors can do field studies right on campus at Oakland University’s two biological preserves, which total 100+ acres. You’ll also have opportunities to serve as a research assistant for faculty or for environmental scientists who work with partner agencies in the community.
  • Make an impact. Oakland University is located in an environmentally rich area that faces many of the same challenges confronting the nation and the world. You can get directly involved in urgent environmental science issues related to climate change, water quality, amphibian extinction, industrial impacts, and other matters. Our environmental science majors and faculty partner with local nonprofits and governmental agencies to conduct research, raise awareness, and mitigate environmental threats.
  • Develop well-rounded skills. Environmental science jobs usually require more than scientific ability. Our environmental science degree pairs core proficiencies with emphasis on writing, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and other complementary skills that have tremendous value in the environmental science job market.
  • Connect with faculty. Most of our environmental science courses are taught by experienced faculty (not TAs or adjuncts) who place high priority on undergraduate education. Our small class sizes ensure that you get plenty of one-on-one attention from your professors, building relationships that enhance your academic and professional growth. 

Environmental Science Jobs and Careers

Because environmental science jobs vary so widely, our environmental science degree offers two separate academic tracks. Although the tracks overlap to a great extent, they have distinct emphases that support different environmental science career pathways.

The environmental health track provides a foundation for environmental science careers that involve:

  • Environmental regulation
  • Food safety
  • Soil, water, and air quality
  • Hazardous materials
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Waste management
  • Industrial regulation and cleanup
  • Toxic site cleanup
  • Risk management

The environmental sustainability and resource management track lends itself to environmental science careers involving:

  • Resource conservation
  • Environmental protection
  • Renewable energy
  • Land-use policy
  • Soil, water, and air quality
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Environmental policy and regulation
  • Wildlife protection

Environmental Science Degree: What You’ll Study

Courses in the environmental science degree vary, depending on which specialization you choose. All environmental science majors will take courses in biology, chemistry, ecology, and environmental law. Additional courses for the environmental health track cover subjects such as:

  • Human physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Public and environmental health
  • Hazardous materials
  • Industrial and environmental toxicology
  • Environmental management

To complete the environmental sustainability track of the environmental science degree, required courses include:

  • Geology
  • Energy
  • Soil science
  • Water resources
  • Biogeochemical cycling
  • Field biology or botany
  • My future career:

    Biochemist

  • My future career:

    Ecologist

  • My future career:

    Hazardous Materials Specialist

  • My future career:

    Marine Biologist

  • My future career:

    Zoologist

    • Career & Salary Information
    • Possible Career Options
    • Median Salary*
    • Education Needed
    • For More Information**

    * Median salary for the state of Michigan

    ** These professional organizations provide an excellent starting point for your research. There are many more resources available online.

    Additional Considerations

    Some careers may require additional education. See your academic adviser for more information.

    • Chemist
    • Environmental Engineer
    • Epidemiologist
    • Hazardous Material Specialist
    • Hydrologist
    • Microbiologist

    Related Academic Areas