Environmental scientists solve problems relating to power generation, waste reduction and recycling, pollution control, land use and land cover change, preserving biodiversity and ecological services, transportation, forestry, agriculture, economics, and a wide range of other areas. They study our relationship to nature and to each other, developing solutions that prevent or reverse environmental deterioration and work toward sustainability. Meeting these challenges requires problem-solving abilities based in science, mathematics, the social sciences, and other disciplines.

To view the a more detailed list of courses for this program, click here.
Rochester Institute of Technology College of Science

Cooperative education is optional for environmental science majors, however, it offers students a great way to get a head start on their career with paid, professional work experience. Students can participate in cooperative education as soon as the summer after their second year of study. Co-op placements are typically with local, state, or federal government agencies, nonprofit environmental organizations, and a host of environmental consulting firms.

Environmental scientists and geoscientists use their knowledge of the physical makeup and history of the Earth to protect the environment; locate water, mineral, and energy resources; predict future geologic hazards; and offer environmental site assessments and advice on indoor air quality, hazardous waste site remediation and construction and land-use projects. Most of their time is devoted to office or field work and often includes data analysis and report/proposal writing.

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook) 


A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some entry-level positions, but environmental scientists and geoscientists increasingly need a master’s degree in a natural science. A master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for most entry-level research positions in private industry, Federal agencies, and State geological surveys. 

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.) 


Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Heightened public interest in the hazards facing the environment, as well as the increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, are expected to spur demand for environmental scientists and specialists. 


             Average               Range

Co-op:  $14.62            $8.57-$21.00

*BS:       $31,037        


*Statistics from the Nat'l Assn. Of Colleges & Employers (NACE) for 2009-2010 graduates

Environmental Scientist, Conservation Scientist, Forester/Preserve Superintendent, Atmospheric Scientist, Field Technician, Compliance Manager, Consultant, Salesman (equipment), GIS Specialist, and Lobbyist. 


Employer sectors include: government regulatory agencies, private environmental organizations, engineering/consulting firms, industrial companies, etc. Recent participants include: Harvard Forest, Clarkson University, Monroe County Department of Environmental Services, TES Environmental, Stantec Consulting, LaBelle Associates, University of Arizona, Epcot/Disney, Burns & McDonnell, Seaworld, University of Rochester Lab for Laser Energetics, NYS Dept. of Parks & Recreation, US Army Corps of Engineers, Student Conservation Assoc., Arcadis BBL, AGAT, Solid State Cooling Systems, Environmental Compliance, US EPA, US F&WS, Monroe, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties (NY) Soil and Water Conservation Districts, American University, RIT College of Liberal Arts, Greenpeace USA, Northern Ecological Assoc.