In Dire Need: The Top 5 Colleges for Climate & Environmental Studies

In Dire Need: The Top 5 Colleges for Climate & Environmental Studies

Melissa W.

Climate change and environmental issues are some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet today. With the current wildfires raging in Canada creating a health hazard of dangerous air enveloping the eastern United States, the visibility (or lack thereof) of the problem is showing us the dire state of affairs. As a result, there is a growing demand for qualified professionals who can help address these challenges. If you are interested in a career in climate studies or environmental studies, there are a number of great colleges and universities that offer excellent programs.

Here are five of the top schools for climate studies and environmental studies:

Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the world's leading universities across the board, and its program in environmental science is no exception. The program offers a wide range of courses, including climate change, environmental policy, and environmental engineering. Harvard also has a strong research focus, and its faculty members are actively involved in climate research.

From the school: “It is a global problem, and one that requires global action to manage the impacts and minimize the risks.  Here at Harvard, we are fortunate enough to have faculty members with expertise, across many disciplines, who contribute through their teaching, their research, and their leadership to a broad effort to help lead the world toward solutions.”

Stanford University

Stanford University is another top-ranked university with a strong program in environmental science. They offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including their Ecopreneurship, designed to support students in tackling the ever-changing issues of climate change. 

From the school:The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability draws on a deep understanding of Earth, climate, and society to create solutions at a global scale, in collaboration with partners worldwide. Together, we strive to create a future where humans and nature thrive in concert and in perpetuity.”

Yale University

Yale University is a prestigious university with a long history of academic excellence. Its program in environmental studies is one of the best in the country, and it offers a wide range of courses, including climate change, environmental policy, and environmental law. Yale’s education starts at the root of the issue, recognizing the solid earth as the link. Students are given the opportunity to attend frequent seminars focused on topics like Carbon & Climate.

From the school:We address climate sciences with a focus on anthropogenic climate change, weather and climate extremes, ocean and atmosphere circulation, the Earth’s cryosphere, paleoclimates of the past, the geologic carbon cycle including weathering, mountain building, and volcanism, and the dynamics of planetary oceans and atmospheres.”

The University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university with a strong commitment to sustainability. They offer a variety of labs across campus with specific focuses on the environmental challenges we face today. Lab topics include: biofuels, sustainable infrastructure, energy efficiency, ecosystem analysis, and more. 

From the school:Energy is the defining challenge of the 21st century. Leading the way on finding solutions to some of the most important global challenges, UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab are pooling their vast expertise to help achieve an affordable, sustainable and clean supply of global energy. Faculty and researchers at UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Lab are developing renewable and sustainable energy sources, advancing new technologies to help curb energy demand, understanding the implications for climate change and the environment, and formulating appropriate and timely policy responses.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT is a private research university with a strong focus on science and engineering. Its Center for Global Change Science pulls from the existing programs offered in MIT sciences and focuses more deeply on ways to improve and predict environmental changes that affect the entire globe. Topics include: oceanography, meteorology, hydrology, atmospheric chemistry, ecology, biogeochemical cycling, paleoclimatology, applied math, data assimilation, computer science, and satellite remote sensing.

From the school: “CGCS seeks to better understand the natural mechanisms in the ocean, atmosphere and land systems that together control the Earth’s climate, and to apply improved knowledge to problems of predicting global environmental change. The Center utilizes theory, observations, and numerical models to investigate environmental phenomena, the linkages among them, and their potential feedback in a changing climate.”

In addition to the academic programs offered by these colleges, students can also take advantage of a variety of extracurricular activities that focus on climate change and the environment to gain hands-on experience in climate research and advocacy.

A career in climate studies or environmental studies can be both rewarding and challenging. Climate scientists work on a variety of projects, from developing new technologies to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They also work to educate the public about climate change and its impacts. If you are passionate about making a difference in the world, a career in climate studies or environmental studies may be the right choice for you.


Cover photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

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