Thinking about Graduate School?

Environmental Studies graduates are employed by federal and state agencies, private and public organizations, businesses, and consulting firms. Approximately 70% of Colby graduates eventually undertake graduate study and Environmental Studies majors are no exception. Many graduates go directly into consulting firms, non-profit activist organizations, government agencies, or research institutions and many of these graduates ultimately end up in some sort of graduate program. Others proceed to top graduate programs immediately after Colby. In recent years, Environmental Studies graduates have enrolled in graduate school programs in natural resource management, environmental education, public policy, regional planning, water quality management, toxicology, occupational safety, environmental law, environmental health, ecology, microbial ecology, geology, marine biology, and oceanography.

We have two suggestions for students selecting a program for graduate study:

  1. Check with the program to learn the types and locations of jobs their recent graduates have accepted to see if these correspond to the kinds of opportunities you are seeking;
  2. See if members of the faculty at that institution are working in areas of interest to you. If you enter the PhD program, you will be working closely with a faculty member on your dissertation and that relationship will work best if your interests overlap at least to some degree.

Each fall the ES Department hosts an information session on graduate study, the presentation is shared here.


View a list of programs attended by recent graduates

Policy & Management Graduate Programs

Harvard Graduate School of Design
Bard Center for Environmental Policy
University of California, Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
Columbia University, MPA Program in Environmental Science and Policy
Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
University of Maryland, College Park
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Tufts University, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

Environmental Studies/Science Graduate Programs

University of Wisconsin, The Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Montana, Environmental Studies Program
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Public Health/Environmental Health Graduate Programs

Many schools of public health have special departments dedicated to the study of environmental health which explores the adverse influence of the environment on human health and how to control these influences. Masters degrees and PhD programs are available in this up and coming field. Please explore the websites of these schools listed below.

New York University Graduate Program in Environmental Health Sciences
University of Maryland Master of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences
Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health
University of California Berkeley, School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Public Health, Environmental Sciences
University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences
University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences
Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health
University of Illinois, Chicago, School of Public Health, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Natural Resource Management

University of California Berkeley
Colorado State, College of Natural Resources
Cornell University
University of Michigan
Oregon State University
University of South Carolina
Utah State University
University of Vermont, School of Natural Resources
University of Washington

Law Programs

Most law schools offer a range of environmental courses. Even if you plan to specialize in environmental law, when comparing schools you should look beyond the number of courses offered and also consider: academic reputation; opportunities to participate in clinics; internship and clerking options (for example, a city may offer a wider range of these opportunities); and relevant law journals.Boston College Law School
Georgetown University Law School
Harvard Law School
Lewis & Clark, Environmental and Natural Resources Law
New York University, School of Law, Center on Environmental and Land Use Law
Northeastern University Law School
Vermont Law Schools Environmental Law Center
Yale University, Joint Program Law School & School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Environmental Engineering Graduate Programs

University of Connecticut, Environmental Engineering Program
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of California–Berkeley
Harvard University
University of California–Davis
University of Chicago
Stanford University
Cornell University
University of Texas–Austin
Yale University
Princeton University
University of Arizona
University of North Carolina
Duke University
University of Michigan
University of Maryland
University of Georgia

Wildlife Biology

Texas A&M
Colorado State University
Oregon State University
University of Montana- Missoula
University of Alaska- Fairbanks

Marine Sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Columbia University
University of California- San Diego
University of Washington
Oregon State University
Florida State University
University of Rhode Island
University of Hawaii at Manoa
State University of New York- Stony Brook
Duke University
Virginia Institute of Marine Science- College of William and Mary
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware, College of Marine Studies

Helpful Links in the Search for Graduate School

On-campus Resources

  • Visit the Career Services website on graduate school preparation and selection

Searchable Databases

Application and Test Preparation

Financial Assistance

Tips for applying to Grad School

  • A nice blog post on applying for graduate school on Tenure, She Wrote.
  • More tips on applying to graduate school by the Ecological Society of America.