With a degree in environmental science you can work in jobs in conservation, sustainability, and environmental research and education
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Amenity horticulturist
- Commercial horticulturist
- Environmental consultant
- Environmental education officer
- Environmental engineer
- Environmental manager
- Minerals surveyor
- Nature conservation officer
- Recycling officer
- Sustainability consultant
- Waste management officer
- Water quality scientist
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Environmental health practitioner
- Horticultural consultant
- Horticultural therapist
- Landscape architect
- Town planner
- Transport planner
- Water engineer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Some environmental science degrees have a placement year option, providing the opportunity to gain practical industry experience, increase your skills and develop a network of contacts. There may also be the option to undertake shorter placements and field trips during your course. Larger organisations and companies often run summer internships. There will be lots of competition for places, so be sure to apply early.
Getting involved in relevant clubs and societies while you're at university is helpful for gaining experience and adding to your CV. Look for opportunities to take up volunteering roles with conservation organisations or become active in helping campaigning groups in your local area.
Some students attend conferences and debates on environmental concerns, subscribe to relevant magazines and journals or go travelling. All these experiences will make you more attractive to an employer.
Many environmental organisations and charities need help from people willing to carry out voluntary work and this can give you valuable experience that is difficult to gain elsewhere. It also demonstrates your commitment to a particular area of work. Voluntary work can also lead to employment, in some cases.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Opportunities for environmental science graduates can be found in the environmental science and wider biology sectors. Typical employers include:
- local authorities
- environmental protection agencies such as the Environment Agency (EA) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
- UK government departments, such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
- environmental monitoring organisations
- environmental consultancies
- nature conservation organisations
- charitable trusts, such as Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage.
There are also opportunities available in the utilities sector with water companies and waste management companies, in planning and surveying, the media, and in environmental education and research.
Skills for your CV
Studying an environmental science degree provides you with a broad understanding of current environmental issues and challenges on a local, national and global scale. You learn about the impact humans have on the environment and how to manage it.
Areas covered can include environmental biology, geography, geology, chemistry, earth science, soil science and resource management.
Depending on the course/modules you study, you can gain specialist knowledge in areas such as geohazards, wildlife management and sustainable development policy.
Employers are also interested in the broader skills you acquire, such as:
- problem-solving and creative thinking skills
- competence in developing arguments from scientific, ethical and philosophical perspectives
- research skills and the ability to gather, analyse and report on complex environmental data
- laboratory skills for analysing environmental data
- written and verbal communication skills, including presentation skills
- flexibility to work in all kinds of environments, developed through working in the field
- numerical and IT skills, developed through the application of statistics and measurement techniques
- planning, time management and project-management skills
- the ability to work as part of a team on projects, as well as independently.
Some environmental science graduates choose to undertake postgraduate study in order to specialise in a particular area of interest. Others take further qualifications to enter a particular sector such as environmental health, where an accredited degree, degree apprenticeship or postgraduate qualification in environmental health is a requirement.
Some graduates are supported by their employers to undertake further study and gain directly relevant professional qualifications.
It's also possible to undertake further study to qualify to become a teacher or to start a career in academic research or lecturing.
For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in environmental science.
What do environmental science graduates do?
Conservation and environment professional (17%) is the most commonly held job held by environmental science graduates in employment in the UK. Business associate professional (5%), natural and social science professionals (5%), science, engineering and production technicians (5%), sales, marketing and related associate professionals (4%), teaching professionals (4%) and engineering professionals (2%) are also among the top ten jobs held.
|Working and studying||11.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and customer service||14.7|
|Business, HR and finance||11.6|
Find out what other environmental science graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.