Environmental science is a degree course that can lead to a whole host of interesting careers, in loads of different industries.
Before we get onto these, let’s check out some of the key skills you’ll gain whilst studying environmental science.
Skills you can gain from this degree include…
Data collection and analysis - You’ll be conducting your own research on this degree, so understanding different research methods and how to read data will be useful skills to carry forwards into the working world
Project management skills - You’ll be confident at running projects, both independently and as part of a group. This means you’ll be better organised and a good planner when it comes to working professionally
Problem solving - Working out sustainable solutions to problems is key to this subject area, which will encourage you to be willing to take on challenges like this in the working world
Communication skills - This degree will include plenty of group work, so you’ll gain the ability to put your views across effectively, and actively contribute to discussions
IT skills - Analysing data and organising findings into charts, tables and spreadsheets will mean plenty of IT practice - vital for the majority of careers
With a degree in environmental science, you can become…
Here are some common roles that environmental science graduates go on to hold.
Conservationists make decisions about environmental protection, promote sustainability, and educate others about nature. Day to day, you might be putting data from soil or water into software tools, to determine how best to treat them, or maybe advising government agencies on soil and water management. Your knowledge of the environment, together with your data collection skills, will be helpful in this job.
Meteorologists collect and study data to make weather forecasts. You will likely specialise in either forecasting or research. Forecasters collect data from satellite images, and might deliver weather reports; while researchers study weather patterns and climate change to make predictions. In your degree, you will build the skills for this role using intelligent computers to undertake complex calculations.
Environmental restoration planner
In this career, you’ll be conducting laboratory and field experiments in order to monitor the environment and pollution levels. You’ll usually work with environmental scientists, and your work may be for the local government, checking that venues and businesses meet required sustainability and pollution standards. Your skills in data interpretation and analysis will be vital to this role.
As a climate scientist, you would be investigating what influences the world’s climate, and how this changes over time. You might be working in a lab, at a university or even outdoors. Day to day, you could be collecting data, advising on policy, exploring weather patterns or looking at historic data - which might lead to a specialism in paleoclimatology. For this reason, it will be useful during your degree to try to figure out which area you’re most interested in, so you can pursue this in your work.
As a town planner, you help manage and develop cities, towns, villages and the countryside. You’ll be aiming to balance the demands of housing, industrial development, agriculture, and transport. Your studies will allow you to ensure that development is sustainable- preserving the natural environment and considering the best interests of people.
A degree in this subject might also take you to…
Environmental science is one of those degrees that can lead you to many possible careers, some closely linked to what you studied (like the examples above), and some less closely.
At Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), environmental science students go on to hold a range of positions after they finish their degree. Here are some examples of where QMUL’s grads are working now.
Insurance brokers use their knowledge of the insurance market to find the best level of insurance cover at the best price for their customers. If you choose to work in commercial insurance, this covers fields like marine, aviation, oil and gas, and so your knowledge of sustainable and safe approaches will be useful here.
Working as an Assistant Producer at a broadcaster might involve working on campaigns specifically relevant to your studies, such as a sustainability campaign, and being involved in video content both on television and online. The knowledge gained from your degree will give you confidence in sharing ideas for new projects, and help you to remember the ‘bigger picture’ when completing tasks.
Risk analysts determine the level of risks involved in a decision. That might be for a bank or financial tech (fintech) company, as a credit risk analyst, or a large organisation as a senior catastrophe risk analyst. Your knowledge of environmental hazards will help you with ‘catastrophe modelling’ - that is, weighing up the risk and impact of a possible catastrophe.
Business project manager
Project managers take responsibility for the success of a project - which can include sticking to a budget, organising a schedule, managing different contacts, and a creative vision. With the knowledge gained from an Environmental science degree, you’re well-placed to work on projects for a charity like Unicef, as one of QMUL’s graduates has done. Your communication and teamwork skills will also prove helpful in this role.
Advertising account manager
An advertising account manager is a marketing role, often as part of a media agency. You’ll be working to support clients’ advertising plans, coming up with creative ideas, overseeing the financial side of projects and ensuring deadlines are met. The IT skills and communication skills gained on your degree will be helpful in ensuring your clients and remain coordinated.
15 months after graduating…
The average salary for an environmental science student 15 months after graduating is £26,426. According to our stats, roughly 81% of these students have secured a graduate job by this time too.
… and long term?
‘Students on an environmental science degree pick up phenomenal transferable skills. Problem solving, creative analysis, and the ability to present your findings in a way that is easy to understand… are critical skills for all employers’ - Susan Smith, Careers Consultant, School of Geography, QMUL
Excited about one of these careers? Visit the Careers library to learn all about what they entail, and what you’ll need to do to pursue them.