Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45

Career in Environmental Science

Dr. Mamta Singh

Environmental science is the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment. Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including but not limited to Ecology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Soil Science, Geology, Atmospheric Science and Geography) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental Science provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. Environment has been the greatest source of life for the living beings on earth. Be it food, shelter, clothes, water, sunlight, air, or any other substance for supporting life, everything is provided to us by the environment. The rapid growth in urbanization and industrialization, however, has badly disturbed and destroyed the balance of our environment, as a result of which there has been unsustainable growth and development. Though temporarily, this growth may seem beneficial to us but in the long run, this will prove dangerous. Owing to this, there has now been greater realization and effort to protect and conserve the environment and its precious substances or components. There is a huge responsibility on the part of the environmentalist or environmental scientists to propose several environment friendly processes of develop-ment. Rising consciousness can be witnessed at all levels, international, national, state and local level to carry on the development process and yet without harming the environment in any way; but if at all that is possible or not, is a question the answer to which lies only with the environmentalist.  In order to protect our environment, research institutes are in the constant process of developing eco-friendly methods or technologies. MNCs are adopting environment friendly methods in their works. Hence wide and varied areas of opportunities have been created in the field of environmental studies.

    The process of cleaning air, noise abatement, water protection, pollution control, waste management etc., calls for new services and goods and services have helped in creating numerous jobs. A career in Environmental Science promises wonderful employment opportunities, for the environ-mental scientists, environmental engineers, environmental modelers, environmental biologists, environmental journalists and many more.

    Environmental Science is basically the study of conservation of energy, biodiversity, climatic change, ground water and soil contamination and also the many technologies developed for treating air pollution, water pollution, sound pollution, industrial pollution, vehicular pollution and plastic menace. Lately, Environmental Science has emerged as a sought after career since people all over the globe have become more aware about keeping the environment clean and protected.

    The issue involving the protection and conservation of our environment spans to a great extent. There is the need for a specialized discipline like the Environmental Science, Ecological Sciences, Environmental Technology and many more. One way to address the environ-mental problems is by way of environmental education. Environmental education first saw its mention at Stockholm Conference on Environmental Education, held in the year 1977, in Tbillisi, Georgia Republic. Here, several guiding principles were laid down for the adoption of programs in environment education, in many countries that included India as well. From 1980 onwards, many environment related programs were started in the Indian Universities and at many places; separate departments were also established for the study of Environmental Science.

    Environmental scientists work on subjects like the under-standing of earth processes, evaluating alternative energy systems, pollution control and mitigation, natural resource management, and the effects of global climate change. Environmental issues almost always include an interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes. Environ-mental scientists bring a systematic approach to the analysis of environmental problems. Key attributes of an effective environmental scientist include the ability to relate space, and time relationships as well as quantitative analysis.

Personal Attributes

Since the Environmental Science programs are multi-disciplinary and holistic in nature, they need an in-depth knowledge on the subject. One must possess a strong inclination and desire to build a career in Environmental Science. One should also have an interest in issues related to public health and the environment. Aspirants willing to make a career in Environmental Science should be self-starters and must also have the capability to work in a team or lead a team.

Courses And Eligibility

Several institutes and colleges in India, these days offer both Undergraduate and Post-graduate programs in Environ-mental Science. One can go for B.Sc or a B.E degree in Environ-mental Science. The minimum qualification required for this is 12th standard with Science subjects. The course duration is of three years. You can also pursue Post Graduate courses in Environmental Science such as M.Sc in Environmental Science. The duration of this course is two years and the minimum eligibility criterion in this regard is a B.Sc degree in Environmental Science or any other related science subject. Some institutes also offer a 2-year M.Tech program in Environmental Science, for which B.Tech or B.E candidates are only eligible. Apart from these, short-term Post Graduate Diploma programs are also there in Environmental Science and Environment Management. Doctoral or Post-doctoral programs such as M.Phil and Ph.D in Environmental Science can also be undertaken by students.

Career Prospects

Environmental Science as a career offers immense job opportunities. The word ‘Environmental Science’ incorporates within it several activities for the protection of the environment. This in turn creates immense job opportunities for the environmental scientists, Professors, environmental biologists, environmental modelers, environmental engineers and environmental journalists. A Master or Doctor degree holder in Environmental Science can get a good position/ job  according to their knowledge and experience. There is the need for them in following departments/ organizations —

National Level Departments/ Organizations

  • Industries , distilleries, fertilizer plants, mines, refineries, textile mills etc.
  • Social Development
  • Research and Development
  • Forest and Wildlife Management
  • NGOs
  • Pollution Control Boards
  • Urban Planning
  • Water Resources and Agriculture
  • Public Institutions and Private Industries and Firms
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Ministry of Environment and Forests

International Organizations:

These organizations are involved in environmental management, and conservation efforts:

  • Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Earth System Governance Project
  • Embassies and other Inter-national organization related to environment

Some Environmental Science Institutes In India

  • Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh
  • Jamia Hamdard University, Delhi
  • Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi
  • Department of Environmental Biology, Delhi University, Delhi
  • Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi
  • Jawahral Nehru University (JNU), School of Environmental Sciences, New Delhi
  • Purvanchal University, Uttar Pradesh
  • University of Delhi, New Delhi
  • GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttar Pradesh
  • Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut
  • Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Hardwar, Uttar Pradesh
  • Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
  • Awadh University, Faizabad-224001, Uttar Pradesh
  • Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar, Haryana
  • University of Jammu, Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir
  • Babasaheb B R Ambedkar University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  • B R Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
  • Anna University, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan
  • Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • Tamil Nadu GD Agricultural University, Coimbatore
  • University of Mysore, Mysore
  • University of Pune, Pune
  • Visvesvarya Technological University, AIT, Chikmagalur.

(This list is indicative only)

The Author is (Research Associate) NAIP, PIU, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), PUSA, New Delhi-110012 Email ID:

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