How hard is an Environmental Science Degree?

A large number of students planning to study environmental science wonder whether will be an easy or hard degree. This article has been written to give you a realistic idea of how hard environmental science really is.

Before I continue this I would like to clarify a common confusion that many students have: what is the difference between environmental science and environmental studies?

The textbook definition suggests that environmental science is the study of the preservation and management of natural resources whereas environmental studies take on a more holistic approach by focusing on the political, economic and social aspects.

However, when you apply to college you will need to look at the curriculum of the two majors to get a better idea of what the degree consists of. Many environmental science majors include large chunks of social science and humanities. Similarly, many environmental studies majors are very scientific in nature. The difference is non-standard in real life.

As a rule of thumb, you should pursue an environmental science major for better employment opportunities and technical skills whereas an environmental studies major for getting a broader perspective of the field.

Is environmental science easy?

Environmental science is not easy but it is not difficult either. Most students are easily able to pass an introductory environmental science course. An environmental science major is relatively harder. Working in the environmental science field is much more difficult and challenging.

Is Environmental Science Hard?

Environmental science is a fairly hard subject. In Environmental science, you have to learn about physics, chemistry, geology, biology, atmospheric science and mathematics all at the same time. The highly practical and interdisciplinary approach of environmental science makes it quite difficult.

Environmental science is the interdisciplinary study of how natural and man-made processes interact with one another and affect the environment as a whole. The subject requires a holistic approach and you need to take into account various factors that could affect the environment.

Environmental science is constantly evolving. What you learn in college can become obsolete in a few years time. As a result, you have to constantly upgrade your skills and knowledge to remain relevant to the field. This is quite tough as you need to update yourself whilst working on different projects. Employers expect you to have the latest knowledge about everything related to your field

Since it is a highly interdisciplinary field, you can only learn so much about the various disciplines in your university. Therefore, you will need to consult with experts in various fields for their technical knowledge. For example, you may need to discuss with a geologist before taking any major decision about the feasibility of digging up a site.

Moreover, a degree is not sufficient to get a high paying job in environmental science. You will need to have a strong resume with relevant experience and proficiency in fieldwork. Unlike several other fields, environmental science has a great deal of both theoretical and practical work

How Hard is an Environmental Science Degree?

An environmental science degree is not particularly hard. An environmental science major encompasses content from various disciplines which makes it difficult to study. An environmental science degree is easier than STEM majors but harder than most other majors.

The environmental science degree is relatively new and is a mixture of various disciplines. It requires you to know the basics of various sciences such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, and Atmospheric Science. Therefore, you will need to learn a lot of content and apply your knowledge in many different scenarios.

The level of difficulty is highly dependent on your interest and passion for the subject. If you enjoy the major it will be easier to study and revise for the subject. If you don’t like environmental science then it will be really monotonous and tiring to study for it.

Most students find these three aspects of an environmental science degree difficult:

  • The mathematics involved. Maths is a highly abstract subject and it doesn’t come to everyone naturally.
  • The sheer volume of content. You will need to remember a lot of things from various disciplines.
  • You will need to apply your knowledge in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts.

Environmental science is not very difficult. As long as you have an interest in the subject and revise regularly you should be able to complete the major.

Is Environmental Science a Hard Class?

An environmental science class is not a hard class at all. In fact, environmental science is considered one of the easier classes in college. However, you will have to remember a lot of the content for an environmental science course. An environmental science class will cover a lot of topics but they will not be in-depth.

If you are thinking of taking an environmental science course as one of your electives then you should not really be worried about the difficulty. An environmental science course is relatively simple and introductory in nature and unless you are planning to major in environmental science you should not have any issues with the course.

Environmental science is a broad field and you should be prepared to cover a lot of content in various fields. Most introductory environmental science courses in college can help you boost your GPA. By balancing easy courses such as environmental science with your harder core courses you can get a decent GPA.


You should definitely pursue environmental science if you are passionate about the subject and if it helps you achieve your goals. If you are determined to work hard and genuinely enjoy environmental science then studying for it will not be a chore. Therefore you should not worry too much about the difficulty of the subject.