Top 10 careers in environmental science

A Science and Engineering student

Environmental science is a multidisciplinary subject that combines physics, biology and geography to examine the environment and address environmental issues.

Amid pressing environmental challenges, the importance of environmental science has risen. Demand for experts in climate change, habitat degradation and more is at an all-time high.

In the past five years, there has been a 91% increase in UK environmental science job listings (Bower Collective 2023). This growth shows the rise in demand for environmental experts and shows the importance of addressing environmental issues.

Top 10 careers in environmental science

The field of environmental science presents many exciting career paths, offering not just fulfilment in preserving the planet, but also competitive rewards, with salaries 12% above the national average in the UK for those entering the job industry (The HR Director 2021).

1. Environmental engineer

Environmental engineers tackle challenges like waste management, pollution control and sustainable infrastructure development. They design and implement solutions that promote environmental health and conserve resources.

2. Environmental health and safety specialist 

An environmental health and safety specialist safeguards both people and the environment by identifying risks, implementing safety measures and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations. Their role enhances well-being and promotes responsible practices.

3. Chief sustainability officer

Chief sustainability officers lead organisations in adopting eco-friendly practices, reducing their environmental footprint and embracing social responsibility. They develop strategies to address issues such as pollution, energy use and waste.

4. Environmental lawyer

Environmental lawyers advocate for regulations, litigate environmental cases and offer legal guidance on compliance and sustainability. By navigating the legal landscape, they play a pivotal role in upholding environmental protections.

5. Air pollution analyst

An air pollution analyst studies air quality data, devises strategies to combat air pollution and ensures compliance with air quality standards. Their work directly contributes to cleaner air and healthier living environments.

6. Wildlife biologist

A wildlife biologist studies and manages wildlife populations, habitats and ecosystems. Their efforts ensure biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource management and the preservation of ecological balances.

7. Environmental consultant

Environmental consultants advise organisations on environmental impact, sustainability practices and regulatory compliance. Their guidance allows businesses to minimise their ecological impact and make environmentally conscious decisions.

8. Geoscientist

Geoscientists explore the Earth’s physical structure, composition and processes. They uncover insights into natural resources, geological hazards and environmental changes, aiding in resource management and hazard mitigation.

9. Environmental microbiologist

Environmental biologists explore the roles of microorganisms in environmental processes such as bioremediation, waste treatment and ecological balance. Their research is used to address environmental challenges.

10. Hydrologist

Hydrologists study water resources, assess water quality, manage distribution and evaluate human impact on aquatic ecosystems. Their work ensures the responsible use and reservation of vital water sources.

Study environmental science at the University of Sheffield

Choose the University of Sheffield for your environmental science education in the UK. The University is ranked 91st in Best Universities for Environment/Ecology in the UK by US News and 104th in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2024.

With a focus on employability, the University of Sheffield has secured its place as one of the top 10 most targeted UK universities by leading employers (High Fliers Research 2022). University of Sheffield graduates can benefit from strong industry connections and career opportunities.

At the University of Sheffield, you will benefit from access to cutting-edge facilities that enrich your learning journey. From well-equipped computer teaching labs to advanced analytical and processing facilities, the University of Sheffield provides hands-on experience in analysing environmental challenges and spatial data.

Field classes and practical work are integral to Sheffield’s programmes. Environmental Science BSc students engage in extended research projects in labs and in the field during their third year, enhancing real-world problem-solving skills.

For those pursuing an MSc(Eng) in Environmental and Energy Engineering, the University of Sheffield offers cutting-edge laboratories like the Analytics lab, Thermodynamics lab, and the pioneering Pilot Plant. The Pilot Plant is the first of its kind in any UK university and includes a continuous powder processing plant. This offers students hands-on experience with innovative technologies that they can’t find anywhere else in the UK.

Pathways to the University of Sheffield for international students

As an international student, you can choose to start your study at the University of Sheffield International College before progressing to your chosen degree at the University. Benefit from a wide range of pathway programmes expertly designed to boost your academic, subject-specific and English language skills to the required level to succeed at the University of Sheffield.

To begin your undergraduate course in environmental science, choose the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering. The programme has core modules in academic skills and English language development and subject-specific modules that are relevant to your chosen field of study. Successful completion of this programme will allow you to progress to the first year of an undergraduate degree at the University of Sheffield.

If you are looking to study a postgraduate degree in environmental science, but do not meet the direct entry requirements, you can study the Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering or the Pre-Masters in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities. Both programmes equip you with everything you need to progress to your chosen environmental science-related postgraduate degree at the University of Sheffield.

Learn more about the entry requirements, fees and visa information for your chosen programme at the University of Sheffield International College.


Are there good careers in environmental science?

The field of environmental science offers many rewarding career choices with opportunities to contribute to the preservation and sustainability of the planet.

There is also a high demand for environmental science graduates in careers that offer salaries over the national average in the UK for those entering the job industry (the HR Director 2021)

What can you do with an environmental science degree?

With an environmental science degree, you can work as an environmental scientist, consultant, educator, or conservation scientist, among other roles, to study, analyse, and address environmental issues. You can also pursue careers in environmental policy, sustainability management, renewable energy, or environmental engineering.

Why should I study environmental science?

Studying environmental science allows you to understand and address complex environmental challenges, contribute to a healthier planet, and explore diverse career paths in fields like conservation, sustainability, and policymaking.