Physical and biological science. Social, political, and technological aspects of the environment. Sustainability.
A bachelor's degree in environmental science and sustainability from Michigan Technological University provides you with the tools to create a sustainable future for the environment. Integrate societal needs and perspectives with science-based environmental practices. Gain an understanding of the natural world in our own backyard that may be applied to global issues. Become what tomorrow needs.
Other schools own forests—but ours is right out the back door at the Ford Center and Forest. There isn't a better place to study natural resources than the wild Keweenaw Peninsula, bordered by Lake Superior, blanketed with forests and wetlands (and 218+ inches of snow each winter). First-year students have outdoor field labs and are all eligible to participate and be paid as Earn and Learn students, acquiring the hands-on knowledge and experience to land a summer job or internship after their first year.
What is Environmental Science and Sustainability?
Environmental science and sustainability are two closely related fields that focus on understanding, protecting, and preserving the natural environment and its resources. Environmental science seeks to understand the natural world and its processes, while sustainability seeks to ensure that human activities are conducted in a way that maintains the health and viability of the natural world while promoting human well-being over the long term. Together, these fields play a vital role in addressing the environmental challenges facing our planet and working towards a more sustainable future. While they share common goals, they have distinct areas of emphasis and approaches:
What is Environmental Science?
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in the environment. It seeks to understand how natural systems function, how human activities impact the environment, and how to mitigate or manage these impacts. Encompassing a wide range of topics, including ecology, geology, chemistry, biology, physics, and sociology, it explores natural ecosystems, pollution, climate change, and conservation including gaining knowledge of environmental processes, identifying environmental issues, and providing data insights to inform environmental policy and management decisions.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a concept and practice that aims to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It involves finding ways to balance economic, social, and environmental interests to create a more equitable and enduring society. Sustainability extends beyond environmental concerns to address broader aspects of human well-being. It encompasses economic sustainability (ensuring long-term prosperity), social sustainability (equity, justice, and quality of life), and environmental sustainability (protecting natural resources and ecosystems). The goals of sustainability include reducing resource consumption, minimizing environmental degradation, promoting social equity, and fostering economic stability. It involves strategies like sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, green building, and responsible consumption.
What Will I Study?
Students in this program gain a technical foundation in measuring and monitoring environmental factors and the environmental challenges faced by society. Attain the fundamentals of environmental sustainability. Explore social and cultural aspects of the environment and the ways in which society perceives sustainability. Understand the policies and regulations that affect a more sustainable future. Collaborate with leading scientists to address issues in climate change, environmental policy, and sustainable use of natural resources. Get skills to land a summer job in your field, and start building a career after your first year of classes.
Choose an area that you are most passionate about. You will specialize in one of three tracks to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on Climate Science, Environmental Policy, or Geospatial Science.
Complete classes relating to topics such as the science of climate change, wildland fire, and environmental biogeochemistry. Utilize team dynamics and decision making to gain skills for the workplace.
Take courses related to policy such as conservation biology and wetlands, as well as social sciences to broaden your perspective on linkages between the environment and the needs of humans.
Complete courses that add to your skill sets in collecting geospatial data, visualizing this data and large-scale landscapes. Understand physics relevant to remote sensing technologies.
Be Career Ready
Our graduates attain careers with federal agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), state agencies, nonprofits, and private companies.
Each year, the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science hosts its own Natural Resource Career Fair. ~20 companies from across the US travel to the college in late fall to educate and recruit employees.
Career Opportunities for Environmental Science and Sustainability
- Environmental Scientist
- Environmental Policy Specialist
- Conservation Scientist
- Sustainability Specialist
- Air Quality Forecaster
- Climate Change Specialist
- GIS Technician or Analyst