Students find majors to match their passion for the environment
Students find majors to match their passion for the environment
Every generation has its heroes – students who see the world’s problems and want to fix them.

    They join the Peace Corps, become social workers or teachers. With climate change on the forefront, students are gravitating toward majors that will help them find solutions to the problems that global warming is causing. Here are five of those majors, along with links to college websites where you can learn about the programs:

Atmospheric sciences: At Ohio State University, several specializations within the  geography department address climate change -- atmospheric sciences, for example. Students study severe weather and sea-level rise. Geography majors can also specialize in the environment and society.

Environmental engineering science or energy engineering: These are majors for students who understand pollution and climate change and literally want to engineer a solution. The website for the University of California, Berkeley College of Engineering says its major prepares students to tackle "real-world solutions to global environmental challenges, such as providing a robust supply of safe drinking water and meeting societal demands for energy without causing air pollution or interfering with the Earth’s climate systems."

Environmental conservation and sustainability: Students learn how ecological systems work -- and how humans depend on and impact those systems. Graduates will help form ideas and policies to sustain the environmental resources humans need. (See the University of New Hampshire website.)

Sustainable Development: Students majoring in sustainable development at Columbia University in New York study science, but also the political, social and cultural aspects of sustainability. Studies are founded on the premise that humans must advance without causing irreparable damage to ecosystems, according to the school’s website. The word development is defined as the “continued social, political and economic progress aimed at improving the well-being of the global community, especially for the poorest people,” the website says.

Park Management and Conservation: On the Kansas State University website, a student recounts how her family spent vacations at national parks. A love of the outdoors attracts students to this major. Studies focus on an appreciation and understanding of history and the environment and on park management. One of the goals, specifically for students who wish to manage parks, is to maintain pristine parks and historic sites while also accommodating human traffic.


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