Are you preparing to study environmental science and have a cascade of confusing questions about this field in your mind? The first question that comes to mind is, is environmental science hard? The short answer is, yes, it is moderately hard because of the different courses and subjects you will be tackling during your environmental science degree.
An environmental science degree needs you to study physics, chemistry, biology, geology, mathematics, atmospheric science, etc. Furthermore, studying all of these subjects at the same time can be a little intimidating and you will need quite a bit of determination and passion to complete it. So, let’s detangle some of the factors that add to the complexity of environmental science.
Environmental Science studies the physical processes that affect the Earth’s ecosystem. For instance, air, water, soil, climate change, and more topics are being studied in environmental science. Furthermore, it studies both the natural world and humans’ interaction with it.
Environmental Science deals with the environment’s health and how to preserve it from the impact of human activities that are damaging it. This subject needs a holistic approach and that is why you need to study a wide variety of different topics and courses to understand the ways in which the environment can be sustained. So, it is an interdisciplinary study.
What Makes Environmental Science Hard?
Various factors contribute to the perceived difficulty of an environmental science degree. So, let me explain it in detail to give you a better perspective of why environmental science can be harder.
The most common reason why people find environmental science difficult is its interdisciplinary nature. Environmental science professionals need to look at the world, environment, and ecosystem. Therefore, only studying biology is not enough, and students have to embrace the interdisciplinary approach.
The interdisciplinary nature of environmental science means that it integrates the concepts, methodologies, and perspectives of various disciplines to get a broader image of complex real-world issues. Moreover, it comprises a wide range of scientific fields like chemistry, physics, biology, geology, atmospheric science, ecology, etc. Students will have to develop at least a foundational concept of these disciplines to understand how the combination of different factors leads to environmental issues.
Additionally, it requires students to have complex analytical skills to study this discipline from different angles and find holistic and effective solutions. So, you need to be good in all these disciplines to pass your environmental science class. Most people find physics and chemistry harder, and that is why they also perceive environmental science harder.
Wide Range of Topics
Environmental Science not only includes different courses but also a wide spectrum of topics from these courses. For instance, you will have to study topics from ecology and biodiversity to pollution control and climate change. This diversity of topics can be challenging and confusing for the students to cover everything simultaneously.
Hands-on and Fieldwork Requirements
Another challenging aspect of environmental science is its absolute practicality. It focuses on practical experience and fieldwork, you would have to be engaged in conducting experiments, collecting samples, and analyzing data in the real world. Moreover, it can be physically and mentally strenuous for students.
Environmental Science is experiential learning and is reinforced through practical application. Furthermore, the students are encouraged to be involved in hands-on activities to bridge the gap between theory and practical usage. You will be exposed to real-world environmental situations to be able to observe them better.
Students are asked to gather samples from soil and water to collect reliable data. The most important skill that you require in the hands-on practical aspect of environmental science is adaptability and resilience. Moreover, you will be working in different types of challenging environments like forests, wetlands, urban areas, and even industrial sites; therefore, you need to be mentally strong enough to tackle all these situations.
Mathematical and Analytical Skills
In environmental science, you will rely heavily on data-driven analysis to make sense of complex ecological systems, understand environmental effects, and come up with smart and effective solutions for those issues. Here analytical skills and an understanding of the basic level of math will be of utmost importance. Furthermore, data collection is one of the most common jobs you will be doing during your degree and in your professional life, so proficiency in math will help you design efficient data and ensure its accuracy.
Additionally, you will need math for data interpretation, statistical analysis, modeling and simulation, and quantitative assessment are all tasks that require a good grip on mathematics. Moreover, analytical skills will help you in understanding the trends in that data, assess the potential consequences of human activities on the environment, evaluate policy options, make effective decisions based on the data, and more.
Likewise, it can be demanding and difficult for students who do not have a strong foundation in mathematics. Moreover, it ensures that the data is collected, processed, and interpreted in a way to make reliable conclusions.
Environmental Science Dropout Rates
The dropout rate of environmental science degrees is noticeable. The University of Illinois Urbana has done a survey that shows that the dropout rate of environmental science in the advanced years is around 33%. This is because as the degree advances, the complexity of the course increases which makes people drop out of the course.
Is Environmental Science Challenging?
All of the factors that lead to the complexity of environmental science are mentioned. It is clear that this degree is not a piece of cake and like every degree, you need hard work and consistency to complete it. However, if you are good at mathematics, at least some of it, you will find this degree relatively easy than those who lack math skills.
Likewise, you should know calculus, dynamical systems, statistics, PDEs, etc. Similarly, this discipline is heavily interdisciplinary and includes the majority of the sciences like physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc. So, if you are good at science and math then environmental science will be easy for you even at a higher level.
Should I Study Environmental Science?
The words tough, difficult, and hard are relative and subjective. So, you should not be discouraged because whatever seems difficult to one person is easier to another.
Goals, Determination, and Personal Interest
You need to ponder carefully on your interests and goals. If your interest and future goals align with this degree then you must pursue it. Moreover, if you like math and other sciences and have a passion for preserving the environment, then there is no field better than this one.
Additionally, every degree is challenging and no matter which path you choose, you will have to struggle in one way or another to complete it. Similarly, if you are focused and consistent you can easily get a degree in environmental science. If you are interested in it, you will love studying this discipline.
Find out your Strengths and Weaknesses
Every discipline needs some pre-existing skills and concepts that you can work on. For instance, you need a math and accounting background for a major in Finance. Similarly, environmental science includes concepts and courses in aspects related to the environment and science analytical skills, and problem-solving skills.
To thrive in this discipline, you need to find out your strengths and weaknesses and then decide if it is a suitable field for you. Moreover, it will be easy for you if you have a holistic and broad range of skills.
Environmental Science Professionals’ Average Annual Salary
There are a ton of career options that you can choose from after an environmental science degree. For instance, you can become an environmental specialist with an average salary of $28,460 per year, an environmental technician with an average $34,125 salary per year, an environmental chemist with $61,413 average salary per year, and an environmental scientist with a $69,869 average salary per year.
Additionally, there are other jobs like an environmental science teacher, marine biologist, wildlife biologist, environmental consultant, environmental geologist, ecologist, environmental manager, environmental lawyer, etc.
Is Environmental Science the Right Discipline for You?
If you want to find out easily, then answer the following questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Note down your answers and by the end, you will know if environmental science is harder or not.
- Do you like taking science classes?
- Are you passionate about protecting the environment and preserving the natural world from the impact of human activities?
- Can you study for at least 40 hours per week?
- Are you good with numbers?
- Do you like to solve puzzles and find solutions to problems?
- Are you good at communicating with other people around you?
- Are you naturally curious about everything?
Is environmental science biology or chemistry?
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary field and you can expect both chemistry and biology classes in it. Moreover, you will have classes in basic biology, cell biology, genetics, chemistry, organic chemistry, conservation, etc.
Do environmental scientists study animals?
Environmental scientists study harmful chemicals and other things in the environment and their impact on the surrounding animals and plants.
In brief, Environmental Sciences can be a hard degree to study if you are not interested in it and you are not passionate about it. Moreover, those who do not like science and lack math and analytical skills will find it harder. Otherwise, if it aligns with your interests and goals and you have the necessary background information, you will find it easy and interesting.