With a broad mix of wilderness, natural and engineered waterways, abundant wildlife, and important cropland, the Natural State happens to be a natural place to get a degree in environmental science.
The Ozarks and Oauchita Range are the only major mountains in the country in between the Rockies and the Appalachians, which makes them a special niche in ecosystem studies.
Freshwater abounds in Arkansas, from grandaddy Mississippi to the tributaries of the Arkansas and White Rivers. Hundreds of lacks, streams, and smaller rivers dot the landscape, each with their own unique pattern of habitation and interaction.
The region's many caves also spring from all that water, and offer areas of environmental study that most other states simply can't offer.
And even a lot of folks who live here don't realize that Arkansas was the birthplace of warm water aquaculture. All those smelly fish farms dotting Lonoke County have a long and storied history, a history powered by experts in environmental science.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Arkansas
With the fat, slow Mississippi snaking down the eastern edge of the state, hydrology and flooding will always be important areas of study and practice in Arkansas. The Corps of Engineers carefully manages that waterway and its tributaries, and they are also interested in new faces with fresh knowledge in the subject.
Although no longer a major employer in the state overall, the agricultural industry remains a major factor in the state economy… which makes expertise in soil biology, hydrology, and forestry a valuable asset for the region's big cotton, aquaculture, and timber producers. Georgia Pacific, for example, employs environmental managers at its big pulp and paper manufacturing plant in Crossett, as does Tyson at their Springdale facility.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay you can expect in such roles ranges between $55,000 and around $60,000 annually… not a bad salary in a state that's so affordable to live in.
Master's in Environmental Science in Arkansas
You have some solid choices for earning an advanced degree in environmental sciences all over the state. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Human Sciences, for instance, has an MS in Aquaculture and Fisheries that will introduce you to the surprisingly robust and innovative practice of inland, freshwater fish farming operations.
Meanwhile, up in Jonesboro, Arkansas State University serves up a cross-disciplinary MS in Environmental Sciences that gives you the option of either pursuing a traditional thesis track to graduation, or getting out into the wide open and getting your hands dirty in an internship practicum.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Arkansas
Sometimes, it's nice to find a bachelor's degree in environmental science that treats you a little bit like you are in a master's program. That's the University of Central Arkansas Environmental Science program in a nutshell, where you aren't just shoveled through the same cookie-cutter curriculum as every other student, but instead offered emphasis tracks in Biology, Chemistry, or Planning & Administration along the way. Participation in faculty research and internships is also part of the package.
It's an approach that pays off; graduates have found work at Audobon, USFS, USFWS, and state fish and game commissions.
But you don't have to go to one of the big state schools for a quality education in environmental science, either. Over toward the Ozarks, in little Conway, you'll find a gem of a bachelor's degree at tiny Hendrix College. With only 1,400 enrolled students, you'll never get lost in the crowd here, but the environmental studies program has a broad horizon, teaching you about the structure and dynamics of the natural world from a global perspective.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Arkansas
With all the high-speed wireless technology we're swimming in today, it makes a lot of sense to explore online degree options. With the ability to attend class from anywhere, at any time, it's an option that opens up higher education to busy and working adults who would never have that chance otherwise.
TheUniversity of Arkansas has got you here, with an online Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences program that offers three unique concentrations: Apparel Merchandising and Product Development, Human Development and Family Sciences, and General Human Environmental Sciences.