Earning an Environmental Science Degree in Pennsylvania

Live in Pennsylvania and chances are good that you've fished the lakes, boated the rivers, and taken a dip in the creeks. This state's unique topography-a largely mountainous region appreciated for its densely forested land that showcases rolling hills and deep valleys through which water twists and turns-has produced a beautiful landscape that has long attracted nature lovers.

Many areas of Pennsylvania, like Pittsburgh, however, weren't always so picturesque. You've likely heard the stories of Pittsburgh's darkest days, when streetlights were on during the daytime due to smoke pollution and the city's rivers were dumping grounds for sewage. But today, more than 80 years later, and Pittsburgh has undergone a renaissance, cleaning up its rivers, soil, and air and achieving what is arguably one of the most impressive transformations in U.S. history.

Study environmental science in Pennsylvania and you'll have a front row seat to the many exceptional environmental efforts that are still in place in cities like Pittsburgh. With a solid education in environmental science, you'll be able to analyze, examine, and investigate Pennsylvania's environment, and your efforts will be used to establish environmental protection efforts that ensure the preservation of this state's beautiful resources.

What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Pennsylvania

With environmental programs, initiatives, and legislation front and center on the minds of everyone from policymakers to environmental watchdogs to governmental agencies, the need for environmental specialists is greater than ever.

Nonprofits and advocacy groups are abundant here, often producing programs designed to educate the public and drive change. For 45 years, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council has implemented local and regional projects that have directly informed state policy. Environmentalists here study some of the most pressing environmental issues in PA, including watersheds, trails and recreation, and energy and climate. Penn Environment is another big name in environmental nonprofit here. This statewide advocacy group researches the environmental challenges and uses the knowledge they gain to educate the public.

Private environmental consulting groups like Moonstone Environmental in Allentown and Lotus Environmental Consulting in Harrisburg study and consult on environmental efforts throughout the state, with clients ranging from private business to governmental agencies. For example, in the last few years, Lotus has won a number of big contracts with the PA Turnpike, PennDOT, and the Maryland Port Authority.

In the governmental sector, the major players in sustainability here are the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), both of which implement programs, support legislation, and provide environmental assistance to the public.

While your salary will be influenced by factors such as your experience and education levels and the sector in which you work, the BLS showed impressive average salaries for environmentalists in Pennsylvania in 2018. Environmental scientists and specialists here earned an annual, average salary of $74,430 during this time, while conservation scientists earned $55,200, biological scientists earned $73,550, and geoscientists topped the list of earners at $108,580.

Master's in Environmental Science in Pennsylvania

Master's degrees in environmental science provide aspiring or currently practicing environmentalists with an advanced level of interdisciplinary study focused on the examination of natural resources and sustainability.

In Pennsylvania, pursue environmental science and you'll have a variety of impressive options from which to choose, including the state's Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania. Their Master of Environmental Studies here builds on the university's legacy of academic excellence, providing working adults with a comprehensive, research-intensive program that comes complete with your choice of six concentrations: environmental biology, environmental policy, environmental resilience and adaptation, environmental sustainability, resource management, or urban environment.

Among public institutions, the University of Pittsburgh offers an MS in Geology & Environmental Science and Professional MS in GIS and Remote Sensing, both of which are located in the internationally recognized Department of Geology & Environmental Science.

Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Pennsylvania

Undergraduate offerings in environmental science are abundant, providing students new to the field with a broad foundation in this field of study.

Chatham University's BS in Environmental Science, through courses in biology, chemistry, hydrology, climate and science, and geology, provides a solid course of study that prepares you for jobs in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Plus, if you have aspirations of graduate study, you'll be able to complete both your undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years through the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment's Master of Sustainability Integrated Degree Program.

Robert Morris University's BS in Environmental Science is another impressive bachelor's program that includes dynamic experiential learning opportunities like field trips, lab experiences, and internships.

Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Pennsylvania

Online programs have become a trusted method of learning for a variety of learners who need the flexibility that distance-based learning provides. Fortunately, online learning has expanded to include environmental science degrees, some of which are available through Pennsylvania colleges.

Penn State University's World Campus offers a Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability, which is delivered entirely online for practicing professionals seeking to expand their expertise. This graduate course of study comes complete with your choice of concentration in solar energy or sustainability management and policy.

Villanova University's MS in Sustainable Engineering, another solid online graduate offering in Pennsylvania, is ideal for both engineers and non-engineers alike, thanks to its nice selection of concentration options in areas like alternative and renewable energy, environmental sustainability, sustainable materials, and water resources sustainability.