Indiana is an amazing place to grow up. We're kind of right down the middle when it comes to climate and terrain in the central United States… not too hot, not too cold, not too high, not too flat. With a tiny sliver of Lake Michigan up north, we've even got some Great Lakes frontage.
But not everybody appreciates the state's natural beauty enough to avoid taking if for granted, and that lack of stewardship is something that is coming back to bite us. With significant pollution impacting our air and drinking water, U.S. News & World Report ranked Indiana 46th out of 50 for air quality and 42nd for eco-friendliness. We've also got the most toxic coal ash ponds in the country, courtesy of our outdated, coal-fired electrical production systems.
If there's anything we've learned at the tail end of the Industrial Era, it's that pollution issues on this scale don't solve themselves and they don't go away quickly. That's why environmental scientists are going to be important to Indiana's future for a long time to come.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Indiana
Like businesses in every other part of the world, companies in Indiana are ramping up their preparations for the effects of climate change and moving toward greater sustainability in their operations; positions such as climate change and sustainability manager, or environmental manager, are increasingly commonly in demand. Cummins, for example, has recently been beefing up their environmental strategy and compliance efforts.
There are also the usual array of city and state positions in environmental monitoring and compliance, and a handful of environmental non-profits, such as the Citizen's Climate Lobby in Bloomington, that need environmental science expertise.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental scientists, conservation scientists, and geoscientists make around $62,000 a year in the state, while more specialized experts like hydrologists average $87,000.
Master's in Environmental Science in Indiana
Hoosiers are rightly proud of our higher education system, and for many the pinnacle of that system can be found just outside of South Bend, at Notre Dame. The private Catholic university doesn't just have a spirited and successful football team; it also has a top 20 academic ranking among American universities and a graduate program in biological sciences that is a leader in life sciences research.
Anchored by the Center for Environmental Science and Technology, the school leads the way in the integration of engineering and scientific disciplines to pioneer environmental research and education.
If a public school is more your speed, we've got great options there, too. Bloomington's Indiana University has a Master of Science in Environmental Science that delivers first-rate scientific preparation for careers in conservation coupled with an analytical and policy-based framework that will help you understand the political and funding processes behind putting that science to work.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Indiana
Before you can consider your master's program options, though, you're going to need an undergraduate degree, like the BA/BS in Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana State University. Concentrations in atmospheric and surface processes or geoscience allow you to tailor this program to align with the master's you'll go on to earn, and the career path you'll end up taking.
Manchester University offers even more options, with a major in Environmental Studies that gives you the choice of taking a concentration in policy, natural history, or technology. Past students have ventured to the Bahamas and Florida Keys among other locations for critical on-site studies. More than 95 percent of Manchester graduates go on to be accepted into graduate programs or entry-level environmental jobs.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Indiana
An online environmental science degree makes a lot of sense for both practical and ethical reasons these days. From the practical perspective, the ability to attend class when and where it makes the most sense for you makes it easy to fit courses into your busy lifestyle. Ethically, reusing your personal spaces for coursework saves the university the cost of putting up and maintaining vast lecture hall and lab facilities, conserving not just money but resources.
You can enjoy both advantages through Purdue University's Global campus, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management that you can complete right in your own home. With an accelerated option that can also put you on track to a master's degree in a short period of time, it's an easy choice to make for any ambitious environmental professional.