If you’re an aspiring environmental scientist, you’ve probably been told that the best minors for your major are biology and chemistry. Well, we’re here to tell you that that’s not necessarily true.
Environmental science isn’t just about studying the natural world—it’s also about understanding how humans interact with it. And that means that a lot of the skills you’ll need for your career can be learned outside of the classroom in your spare time or even during class, if you know where to look.
So if you’re looking for a new direction in life—or just some fun new stuff to do on the weekends—here are five great options for minors that will help make you an even better environmental scientist:
Best Minors For Environmental Science
Many schools offer minors or certificates in Environmental Science. A minor is an excellent way to gain career-enhancing knowledge, or to connect with other students who share your interests. Here are 11 of the best minors you can earn as a student at a four-year college. (We’ve also included two honorable mentions.)
If you’re interested in the study of the environment and ecology, you should consider a biology minor. Biology is an excellent minor for environmental science because it teaches you about the environment and how it works. In addition to learning about ecosystems, plants, animals and more, students also get hands-on experience while they’re in class.
A biology minor could also help prepare you for graduate school or professional programs like veterinary medicine or nursing by providing another set of skills that are useful when studying these disciplines as well as teaching others about them later on down the road!
Botany is the study of plants. It’s a broad field and there are several sub-specialties, such as mycology (the study of fungi) and phytochemistry (the study of plant chemistry). In general, though, botanists work with the scientific classification of flora and fauna. They also study how plants grow in different environments and what factors impact their growth.
Botanists often work in fields like agriculture or forestry to determine which crops are best suited for certain climates or habitats and how they can be cultivated more efficiently. Other botanists might focus on studying specific types of plants—such as carnivorous ones—to understand why they evolved in such an unusual manner.
Chemistry is a great choice for those who want to go into the field of environmental science. Chemistry is the study of elements, compounds, and molecules that make up matter and energy. Environmental scientists focus on how humans affect the environment, so they need to know about these things too!
What’s more: chemistry majors may find they have knowledge that can be very useful when working with soil or water samples. They might also be able to help in other areas like testing air quality with technology or using statistics to determine if conditions are safe for people or animals in an area.
Environmental science is a broad field. You can study environmental science in many different ways and in many different fields, so it makes sense that the best minor for you will depend on what you want to do in environmental science. For example, if your goal is to work as an environmental lawyer (like our podcast host Elise Spiegel), then studying law might be a good choice for your minor; but if your interests lie elsewhere, perhaps studying economics or anthropology would be better suited to your goals.
Geology is the study of the earth and its history. Geologists study rock formations and layers, as well as plate tectonics and volcanoes, to learn about how our planet works. A geology minor would be great for someone who wants to work in environmental science, but also has an interest in that aspect of earth sciences. If you want to work in oil drilling or other areas related to geology, then a geology minor may be right up your alley!
Mathematics is a good minor to pursue if you’re interested in calculating the probability of something occurring, solving equations and analyzing data. The math minor will help you understand how to interpret data and answer questions using mathematical formulas. It’s also useful for calculating carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes (and other sources).
Physics is a great minor for environmental science because it provides a strong foundation in the laws of nature. The study of physics helps students understand how things work, which is essential to understanding any problem they might encounter in their field.
The best minor depends on what you want to do in environmental science
The best minor depends on what you want to do in environmental science. The most important thing is to figure out what you are good at, and what your passion is. Then, find a program that allows you to learn about this area of interest while also demonstrating knowledge of other areas. For example, if you want to study environmental policy or law, but also want some background knowledge on science and management practices as well, an appropriate minor would be Environmental Science & Policy with a concentration in Law and Society from the University of Washington Bothell.
If you’re not sure where your interests lie yet but still have some general ideas of what kind of career path might be right for you (such as marine biology), then perhaps pursuing an interdisciplinary degree such as Environmental Science would be most beneficial for your future plans.
If you’re interested in environmental science, we hope this article has helped you find the right major. Environmental science majors are great for students who love learning about nature and want to work outside or in the lab.