People tend to think of gritty industrial and manufacturing areas when they think of Michigan, or of epic pollution scandals like the Flint water crisis.And it's true that issues of industrial mitigation and environmental injustice are important here in the Wolverine state, but they shouldn't overshadow the aspects of ecology that we are nailing, either.
You're never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake in Michigan, and usually even closer to one of our almost 65,000 inland lakes. Most of those are clean and sparkling fresh and support a diverse and vibrant ecology, one that draws tourists from around the country to both our long shoreline and to the forested playground of the Upper Peninsula.
And that playground has to coexist with robust forestry and mining industries that spur employment and much of the economic welfare of the UP. In the rest of the state a healthy agricultural industry takes advantage of fertile and well-irrigated cropland.
To manage and protect both our urban and rural environment and ensure the health and welfare of the population, environmental scientists have a critical role to play in Michigan. Our state schools have exactly the right kind of education to prepare you for work in that profession.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Michigan
The state itself is a major employer of environmental scientists and technicians, in water quality, air quality, and other inspection and regulatory capacities.
The state is also home to non-profit environmental organizations like the Michigan Environmental Council and Trout Unlimited, all of which employ environmental scientists for policy or technical work.
Finally, the Big Three and their various subcontractors all employ remediation and compliance engineers who are experts in environmental engineering. So do big agricultural and forestry products businesses like Georgia Pacific.
Foresters and conservation scientists in such positions earn salaries in the mid-$60,000 range according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Environmental scientists pull in closer to $70,000, while hydrologists dealing with all our water issues earn an average of $77,050 a year.
Master's in Environmental Science in Michigan
The excellent and widespread Michigan state university system will be your primary resource for master's degrees in environmental science throughout the state.
You'll get a fight out of graduates from any of these schools if you try to pick a favorite, but no one can argue that the University of Michigan Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences isn't a major contender for the title. With a 5-year accelerated thesis option that wraps undergraduate and graduate studies together, you can get through quickly, and you can do it while studying at a school with world-class research programs spanning everything from paleoclimate investigations to hydrogeology.
Central Michigan University is also a strong contender. Their Master of Science in Biology program offers a concentration in Conservation Biology that prepares students for careers in conservation and ecological research in either the public or private sectors. Research facilities include a brand new Biosciences Building with a vivarium and state-of-the-art imaging facility that offers students the latest equipment.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Michigan
Michigan also has plenty of options when it comes to earning a bachelor's degree in an environmental science field. Scattered through the major urban centers and in tiny towns all around the state, you'll find a wide variety of interesting degree options to take advantage of as an undergraduate.
Michigan Tech can give you a ground level education in a number of different environmental disciplines to send you off well-prepared for either immediate employment or further studies in environmental sciences. Their degree programs include bachelor of science options in forestry, wildlife ecology, and applied ecology and environmental science, all of it learned in scenic little Houghton in the heart of the Upper Peninsula.
For studies in a very different kind of environment, look to little Albion University near Battle Creek. Majors in environmental science, environmental studies, and sustainability are all available at this private Christian school located Downstate.