Earning an Environmental Degree in Colorado

Residents of the Rocky Mountain state don't have any trouble understanding that environmental science is important… you just have to look out the window to realize that the state has something special that deserves to be studied and protected.

The state's namesake river is another focus of both study and effort in environmental science here. Although it's mostly downstream users that will be affected, the roots of the problem that could see Lake Mead and Lake Powell falling to dead pool levels by 2021 are twined through the Rocky Mountain drainages on the west slopes of the Continental Divide.

But whether you plan to stick around after graduation or not, there is no better place in the country to earn your degree in environmental science.

What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Colorado

Anchored by beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park, there is plenty of federal land in the state and lots of jobs to go with it. The mining industry creates opportunity for both oversight roles in government as well as compliance positions within the private sector.

Many environmental advocacy groups are based in Colorado as well, including Environment Colorado and Work for Progress, which can put you in positions where you'll have an immediate impact. Organizations like these in the non-profit space seem to always be looking for well-educated environmental science graduates.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can make a healthy living doing environmental work in Colorado. Zoologists and wildlife biologists make an average of $72,870, while other environmental scientists do even better with an average of just over $90,000. Geoscientists and hydrologists beat them both, with averages nudging six figures.

Master's in Environmental Science in Colorado

For a relatively small state, Colorado has a pretty good selection of master's program available in environmental studies, with both public and private schools like the University of Colorado Denver and Regis.

Even the Colorado School of Mines gets in on the action, with a degree in environmental engineering that expands far past the minehead to tailor a practical education in environmental sciences.

But the UC-Boulder Masters of the Environment Graduate Program may be the most innovative graduate program in this state, or any other state. This 17-month interdisciplinary, cohort-based program is designed to produce graduates equipped for leadership roles in a wide range of environmental areas, including natural resources planning, policy, sustainability, and more.

Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Colorado

Most of the schools with great master's degrees also offer pretty good bachelor's degrees in the field, of course, but you get a whole other world of options at this level thanks to some niche and practical degrees at other Colorado schools.

Western Colorado University makes a virtue of its gorgeous Gunnison setting, sandwiched between the Arapahoe and Rio Grande National Forests, with superlative field training experiences for bachelor students. It's backed up by the scientific and technical knowledge in the classroom that qualify you for positions with BLM, the NPS, or USFS, as many previous graduates have found.

Down in Colorado Springs, Colorado College offers two integrated majors, in Environmental Science and Environment and Society, to give you options that focus either on the natural world, or on the human relationship with that world. Tracks in Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Physics, or an Environmental Issues minor round out the degree options.

Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Colorado

Colorado State University has a terrific range of environmental science degrees available in their online program offerings. The school has both bachelor's and master's degree options that cover a range of diverse subjects like:

  • Natural Resource Tourism and Tourism Management
  • Natural Resource Stewardship
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

They're all offered by the well-respected Warner College of Natural Resources, and the online versions use the same curriculum, and feature the same instructors as you would have if you showed up in the classroom each day. The school uses both synchronous and asynchronous courses to help you maintain your work-life balance and to tailor the program to fit your schedule.