Maryland is a state dominated by a bay: the Chesapeake Bay bifurcates our land area and drains almost every square mile of terrain here.
Sixteen out of our twenty-three counties border the tidal waters of the Chesapeake or its tributaries, adding up to some 4,000 miles of shoreline… quite a proportion for such a tiny state. We rank in the top ten among states for total coastline, in fact, beating even Hawaii despite the fact that it's about the same size and composed entirely of islands.
That makes the Chesapeake a tremendous resource, for fish, for recreation, for transportation. But it also makes it a very delicate lifeline for our industry and environment, one that has been dying a slow death for decades now.
But the Chesapeake Bay Program and other efforts are stemming the tide of damage and working toward restoration, while conducting solid science on the chemical and environmental issues afflicting it. It's a perfect venue for both studying environmental science and mitigating ecological damage.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Maryland
Most environmental science jobs in Maryland are government jobs, either working directly for the state, or for various federal agencies with environmental responsibilities that are located in the D.C. area, including the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Beltsville Agricultural Resource Center.
This results in a nice range of job opportunities, both for those looking to get their hands dirty in the field and for those with more policy-focused career goals. Many of these positions come with relatively generous paychecks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, conservation scientists in the state can expect to make nearly $80,000, while soil and plant scientists earn an average of $98,880 a year. Other environmental scientists and specialists make around $77,000, but atmospheric scientists and hydrologists both can pull down six figures here.
Master's in Environmental Science in Maryland
If you're going to talk about a master's-level education in Maryland, then you are inevitably going to end up talking about the Johns Hopkins Environmental Sciences and Policy graduate program. Designed by academic leaders at the university in conjunction with regional and federal institutes and agencies, the program gives a current perspective on the creation, communication, and enforcement of environmental policy at every level of governance.
But you don't have to go to a big, private research university to get a first-rate graduate degree here. The Master of Science in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University is equally suited to the task of preparing you for further research or professional employment in its own field of expertise. Heavily research-driven, this program uses the extensive resources of the university itself to look into the diverse biomes throughout Maryland and the surrounding region.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Maryland
Whether you are planning to go on to take advantage of one of Maryland's excellent master's degree programs or just heading directly into a professional position in environmental science, a bachelor's degree is going to be your first stop along the path.
Fortunately, the state is awash with excellent options at the undergraduate level as well, often at the same schools that deliver the nationally-respected master's programs noted above.
But there are also other options, such as the environmental studies major at little Goucher College in Baltimore. With fewer than 1,500 students, the school is a great place to get a personalized education in either the environmental science or environment and society concentration the school offers.
And if it seems right to you that the best place to get an environmental science degree is someplace a little closer to the environment than the gritty streets of Baltimore, then consider the Washington College bachelor's options, which you can earn at the picturesque campus ideally situated on the shores of the Chester River, midway between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic. The school takes full advantage of that location using two dedicated research vessels fully equipped with field equipment.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Maryland
Online programs are becoming more popular in every field, but for students in environmental science, there's an added bonus… they offer a green alternative to traditional on campus courses. Without the need to build, heat, and ventilate large classroom facilities, and by eliminating your need to commute, earning your degree can be a low impact process that doesn't contribute significantly to carbon emissions.
The University of Maryland online Environmental Management bachelor's is a great first step to a career in environmental science. You'll learn and practice with the key technologies being used today while learning the ins and outs of environmental management, geographic information systems, and environmental economics. And you'll enjoy the interdisciplinary approach to pollution control, environmental health, and policy and regulation… all from the comfort and convenience of your own home.