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Want to pursue masters in environmental science? Here’s all you need to know

As countries get together to streamline their goals and create a better global future, the environmental impact of their actions is an issue that has been gaining a lot of traction.

An analysis of the subject indicates the importance of understanding why the environmental impact of countries’ policy decisions is much more than an oversight. It amounts to a global phenomenon with far-reaching repercussions, some of them even fatal.

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Economists have argued that statistics like Gross Domestic Products are inaccurate parameters to gauge a country’s progress, mainly because they do not factor in hazards like impacts of environmental degradation and climate change.

As the world struggles to find sustainable options to balance its needs with those of the environment, there is a need for a new breed of experts who could guide governments into making more environmentally-prudent choices. It is because of these reasons that a course like a masters degree in environmental science can help youths contribute to making sustainable living a practical lifestyle.

There are many colleges in the country which offer postgraduate courses in environmental science and its allied fields. The various master’s courses offered in this field are as follows:

MSc in Environmental Science: The 2-year course provides students from diverse backgrounds an in-depth knowledge of into the functioning and state of the environment. Apart from regular course and project work, students are normally asked to write a dissertation in the last semester.

MSc in Environmental Management: This postgraduate familiarize students with principles of assessment of environmental damage and drafting policies and consulting agencies about ways to contain the destruction.

MA or MSc in Environmental Economics: This is a two-year postgraduate course which teaches students about the environmental impact of economic activities and how nations can improve their quality of life with more sustainable economic decisions.

MSc in Climate Protection: The degree enables a student to not only understand climate change but also its effects on society and resources, along with ways to mitigate the damage caused by the phenomenon.

MTech in Environmental Engineering: The course has a technical edge to it as apart from introducing students to the challenges in implementing environmentally-sustainable economic models it also requires them to find technical solutions for problems ailing the ecosystem.

MA in Environmental Studies: The two-year programme is an amalgamation of theoretical and practical concepts with a special focus on research.

Duration: In India, most of these postgraduate courses are two-year programmes, though the some of them might be followed by an internship which is usually not included in the course’s duration.

Eligibility criteria: The eligibility criterion for each of these courses differs depending on the type of programme and college one is applying to. The standard requirement is a bachelors’ degree and some universities also accept applications from students appearing for their final year in graduation, provided they pass the final examinations.

Apart from clearing high school and intermediate examinations, for an MTech in environmental engineering one needs a BTech degree or M.Sc in Environmental Science (through Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)) while for an MA in environmental economics, a student must have either opted for economics as a subject in BA or have pursued BA (Hons) in economics.

To pursue an MSc in environmental management and MA in environmental studies, a student must have had a BSc degree.

Here’s a list of some Indian universities which offer a masters’ programme in environmental studies:

  1. The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi
  2. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Guwahati, Kanpur
  3. Forest Research Institute (Deemed University), Dehradun
  4. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  5. School of Environmental Sciences, JNU
  6. Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune
  7. Madras School of Economics, Chennai
  8. Anna University, Chennai
  9. Symbiosis Institute of Geoinformatics, Pune
  10. Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi

If you are a working professional, you need not be despaired as this is not an exhaustive list and there are a number of open universities which offer a masters programme in environmental studies.

Universities like Indira Gandhi National Open University and Dr. Ambedkar Open University in Hyderabad enable students to strike a balance between professional work and an education in environmental studies, with their distance learning programmes. National Law School of India University also provides one-year post-graduate diploma course via distance learning mode in Environmental Law.

If you are keen on pursuing a postgraduate course in the field, you need to track important dates about admissions and last dates. Most colleges release admission notifications between February and April and the final selection process being conducted between May and July.

Talking about career prospects, environmental studies offer a large scope of employment, given its futuristic approach. Research and analysis, policy-making, industries, government sector, think tanks and social development sector are some of the most lucrative options available to students who venture into this field.

Professional incentives aside, being aware of the environmental hazards and the challenges faced by the ecosystem is a step in the right direction as it prepares you for the future. Professionals with expertise in environmental studies bring the hope of better future for the planet, one which uses its resources wisely rather than living in a utopia.

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