colleges for environmental science

Getting a degree in environmental science can open up endless career opportunities for you, so as students interested in environmental science, you will be the ones that are going to help change the world we live in! Therefore, where you go to school is of utmost importance. There are many schools with a lot to offer in this field, however finding the right school for you is what matters most. We have organized a few topics to consider in order to help with your decision as you browse our environmental science school rankings.


It’s difficult to imagine studying the interactions of the natural world from the city – that’s why the best Environmental Science programs tend to be offered in schools that are located in areas that give students the opportunity to get out of the classroom and into nature.

Think Green

Does your Environmental Sciences program ‘walk the walk’? You’re going to take your commitment to environmental sustainability and action beyond the classroom, so what about your school? Decide whether you want a school that directs funds toward visible sustainability measures – LEED Certification, low impact architecture, solar energy use, and net carbon footprint are just a few of the criteria that your school choices may advertise.


Environmental Sciences is a rapidly evolving field. It’s important to evaluate the teaching faculty at your potential schools . Some questions to ask:

  • Are they active in their field?
  • Do they publish research?
  • Do they participate or advocate for any environmental issues that will benefit the environment on a local, national, or global scale?

Their passion and breadth of experience will help take young minds beyond the textbook.

Opportunities to Study Abroad

The world is a vast place – in order to change it, you must be willing to see it. Study abroad can be a valuable component in education.

Teaching Methods

Perhaps there are fields where graduates will sit at desks, using computers and consulting manuals, but environmental sciences isn’t one of them! The more diverse the opportunities are for learning, the more prepared you’ll be for employment after graduation! Make sure that your curriculum outlines lab and field work, in-class components, large projects, research, internships, volunteer work, advocacy, and study abroad in order to ensure that you get a diversity of learning experiences.

Program Breadth

Diversity breeds stability in nature, and in education as well. Having a variety of courses to choose from in order to round out your degree and inform your perspective on environmental science is key for getting the kind of education – and job – that you want.

Degree Levels Offered

Some students prefer the lab while others would prefer the shortest classroom time possible. Make sure that you closely examine your preferences before you commit to either more or less classroom time that you’re comfortable with. Environmental science designations come at all levels: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate level work.

Research Renowned

Just like a stagnant pond, a stagnant educational climate doesn’t produce anything worthwhile. Sometimes the best way to measure this in a rapidly evolving field is to look for where and how research dollars are spent, and what kind and quality of research environmental science faculty and graduate students undertake.

Now that we’ve given you some criteria to consider, here comes the hard part – choosing a school! We’ve already gone through and assessed all the schools on our list for these factors and many more – what’s left is to see not ‘if’ you’re going to change the world through an environmental science major, but rather ‘how’ and ‘where’.


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Best Colleges Advocating Environmental Science

The rankings are based on published surveys, student data, and other school and career data collected through several sources including the following agencies:

Data Sources

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Having obtained our base data set, we filtered out the following information in order to render data that is useful to environmental science applicants. Here’s what we did:

  • Any school that had an average of less than 1,000 total students per year was omitted in order to maintain statistical integrity
  • Any school that had an average of less than 10 total environmental graduates each year was omitted in order to maintain student privacy and statistical integrity
  • Only 4-year public and private non-profit schools were included

Schools were sorted in order of the highest percentage of total students graduating with an environmental science degree (CIPCODE: 03.0104).


Pomona College

550 N College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711-6319

Pomona College is a liberal arts college located outside Los Angeles, California. Committed to preparing their students for a career in one of the most formidable challenges facing the world in the 21st century, that is, daily living in a world under strain from climate change and population growth. Pomona Colleges Environmental Analysis programs are highly interdisciplinary and encourage the broadest range of applicants possible in order to strengthen the program. In addition to directly related fields, Environmental Analysis program prepares students for careers in community action, environmental education, and urban agriculture.

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 1,650

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor’s Degree


SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

One Forestry Dr., Syracuse, NY 13210

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is located in New York State close to New York City. SUNY ESF is proud to be a leading post-secondary institution with focus on environmental challenges. The college’s mandate is to help students envision a society that meets human needs for the natural world, while safeguarding living resources for future generations to observe and protect. SUNY ESF strives to create and educate leaders while inspiring and informing the public about our world.

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 4-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 2,200

Programs Offered

  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental and Environmental Health Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering Technology and Environmental Technology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Environmental Chemistry


Pitzer College

1050 North Mills Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711-6101

Pitzer College, a private liberal arts college located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in Claremont, CA emphasizes the arts, humanities, environmental and interdisciplinary studies as well as social, behavioral and natural sciences. Pitzer College is part of an academic network including Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, and Harvey Mudd College. Each college is located conveniently within walking distance. This network offers students the opportunity to individually design majors from an academic program within these five schools. Pitzer does not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores but they must be in the top 10 percent of their senior class or have earned a 3.5 GPA.

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 1,076

Programs Offered

  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Design, Architecture


Allegheny College

520 N Main St, Meadville, PA 16335-3902

Allegheny College proudly wears the label of an ‘up and coming’ liberal arts college and is located in Pennsylvania. Allegheny’s Environmental Sciences program teaches students to analyze the relationships between humans and the environment that we live with and use. Students enrolled at Allegheny can either major in Environmental Science, which focuses on the chemistry and biology of our changing world, or major in Environmental Studies, which has a broader interdisciplinary scope and focuses on such fields as law and policy, art, literature and philosophy.

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 2,023

Programs Offered

  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Science


Maharishi University of Management

1000 N 4th St, Fairfield, IA 52557

Maharishi University of Management is located in Fairfield, Iowa. In the Sustainable Living undergraduate or Master’s program , learn about humans’ impact on the world through transdisciplinary, project-based approach to higher education. Maharishi offers five tracks through the program: Renewable Energy, Applied Soil Ecology, Policy & Social Change, the Built Environment, Agriculture & Food. Additionally, Sustainable Living conducts classes in a net zero energy environment that is student managed.

School Details

  • School Type: Private, 4-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 1,454

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor’s Degree

Best Small Colleges for Environmental Science Worldwide

  1. College of the Atlantic (COA) – Bar Harbor, Maine, USA Nestled on the picturesque coast of Maine, COA stands out as a globally renowned institution for environmental studies. Its interdisciplinary curriculum encourages students to understand and address environmental issues from various angles, including science, policy, and the humanities.
  2. Evergreen State College – Olympia, Washington, USA Known for its innovative, student-driven programs, Evergreen State College provides a unique approach to environmental studies. Students can craft their own interdisciplinary environmental science programs, tailoring their education to their specific interests.
  3. Swansea University – Swansea, Wales, UK Across the Atlantic, Swansea University has garnered acclaim for its environmental science programs. Its close proximity to a diverse range of ecosystems and its strong emphasis on research make it a fantastic choice for budding environmental scientists.
  4. University of Otago – Dunedin, New Zealand Students who prefer a more remote and rugged environment can look to the University of Otago. New Zealand’s stunning landscapes serve as an ideal backdrop for studying environmental science. The university’s well-established research facilities and courses provide students with valuable hands-on experience.

Best Small Colleges for Environmental Science in California

  1. Pitzer College – Claremont, California, USA Pitzer College is part of the Claremont Colleges consortium and boasts an excellent environmental analysis program. Students can take advantage of the nearby Claremont Environmental Institute and the chance to engage in hands-on research and community projects.
  2. Humboldt State University – Arcata, California, USA Nestled in the heart of Northern California’s Redwood Coast, Humboldt State University offers a comprehensive range of environmental programs. It’s known for its stunning natural surroundings and strong commitment to sustainability.

Best Small Colleges for Environmental Science in India

  1. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur – Kanpur, India IIT Kanpur offers a unique interdisciplinary program in Environmental Engineering and Management. The institution’s strong technical background makes it a premier choice for students seeking a blend of environmental science and engineering.
  2. Forest Research Institute University – Dehradun, India Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, this university specializes in forestry and environmental science. Students here have access to a vast network of forests, making it an ideal location for hands-on research and conservation efforts.

Best Small Colleges for Environmental Science in New England

  1. Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont, USA Middlebury’s Environmental Studies Program is one of the oldest in the nation. The college’s close connection to the Vermont landscape and its focus on interdisciplinary learning contribute to its reputation as a leader in environmental education.
  2. Colby College – Waterville, Maine, USA Colby College’s Environmental Studies Program has gained recognition for its exceptional faculty and strong experiential learning opportunities. The nearby Colby College Environmental Studies Program also provides a platform for innovative research.


These small colleges, both locally and across the globe, offer unique and specialized programs for students passionate about environmental science. Whether you’re interested in exploring the diverse ecosystems of California, the serene landscapes of New England, the rugged terrain of New Zealand, or the rich biodiversity of India, there’s a small college ready to nurture your environmental aspirations. With personalized attention, close-knit communities, and diverse learning opportunities, these institutions prepare eco-warriors for the challenges of our rapidly changing planet.

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