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I want a career in environmental science. Is a Ph.D or a law degree more appropriate for me?

I want a career in environmental science. Is a Ph.D or a law degree more appropriate for me? Topic: What is a research question in social science
June 25, 2019 / By Bevan
Question: I am double majoring in Environmental Studies and Marine Vertebrate Biology in undergrad at a good state school. My GPA remains a 4.0 and I'm in my final semester. My GRE score was a 166/170 for verbal and math, with a 5/6 for writing. I have worked really hard and it has paid off, but I have really become paralyzed with what I want to do after graduation. I really have two criteria: I want to enjoy my life and make a positive environmental impact with my career. For me, travel would be a big plus, as would being in the field rather than being stuck in a lab or office. So, the question is, would a Ph.D or a law degree serve me better? Working with governmental organizations or nonprofits is probably along the lines of what I would like to do. The problem is, with a Ph.D I feel as though I lack the tolerance for monotony that a lot of research is involved in, and the social isolation experienced in a Ph.D is supposed to be fairly miserable as well. With a law degree, however, I fear that I would become glued to books for a highly boring law school experience, which might be followed by a career driven by paperwork instead of anything else. Then, there's also the debate of where I could do more good for the environment, which makes me lean towards the law side; a lot of research does not in and of itself provide positive results, but instead relies upon others to pick up the results and turn it into conservation efforts. Sorry for the lengthy question. If anyone has personal experience with either of these two fields (environmental law or a graduate degree in environmental science, policy, management, etc.) I would greatly appreciate your insight. Details on funding would be appreciated too- looking from strictly a financial standpoint, it is much easier to get funding as a Ph.D candidate than it is to be funded for going through law school, though in terms of long term salary I'm sure that would not hold true. Thanks very much in advance.
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Best Answers: I want a career in environmental science. Is a Ph.D or a law degree more appropriate for me?

Abner Abner | 6 days ago
Look for a job with your state environmental protection agency. Your writing skills translate to a job in Permit Writing. Permit writers establish the amount of pollution that a permittee can discharge legally. There is field work to examine the site and then crafting the permit to ensure the discharge from the facility is within limits. The job is satisfying and allows you to go back to school part time after you have obtained real experience.
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Abner Originally Answered: Environmental Science Degree to Navy or Air Force?
I'm not sure from the way you phrased your question that the military would be a good move for you. Not once did you mention a desire to serve your country or put your service before yourself. You basically want a job that will pay off your student loans, pay for your graduate degree, let you stay with your family and have financial security and a retirement check after only 20 years. I see people every day in the military who are miserable because they joined for those same reasons and are simply trying to wait it out. If you don't go into the military with the understanding that the majority of the time the needs of the mission, your unit, your branch and the nation will be put before your own you will get a rude awakening. That being said, if you do desire to serve out of patriotism in addition to the reasons listed above and simply didn't state that then I apologize. To your question: The Navy has alot more environmental programs/positions and opportunities for graduate degrees during active duty. The Air Force has some opportunities but the area of environmental sciences is limited. The USAF already knows and accepts the vast majority of the impacts that their flying has on the environment. The Navy is constantly hampered by environmental groups with lawsuits concerning the effects of a wide-range of military systems on oceanic wildlife. They are always trying to research and stay one step ahead of the lawsuits aimed at stopping their new toys. Family life is all going to depend on what job you get. The AF does have some research and development jobs that will never see a deployment because of the sensitive nature of their research and the limited scope of their training. I am an AF Nav and I have been to OEF and OIF twice each. The Navy is probably the same. Some jobs will deploy (maybe alot) and some won't. You just have to know what job you are getting into. You also have to get yourself accepted into either AF OTS or Navy OCS. Neither one is easy. The AF has spent the last two years cutting the size of their OTS classes by 60 percent. 40,000 active duty AF members were force shaped over the last two years. Getting accepted into OTS is not easy even if you get great grades and test off the charts. There just may not be a slot for your desired afsc. The Navy is probably not any easier but I don't have first-hand experience. Just make sure that you at least have some desire to serve out of patriotism or it is going to be a slow painful crawl to 20 years.

Skyler Skyler
If you want to do the most good, get the Ph. D. If you want to make the most money, go to law school. Ph. D.s don't all sit around in the lab. Some of us spend a lot of time in the field, either in the home country or overseas. Hook up with the right consulting firm(s) and you could become a world traveller, with someone else picking up the expenses and paying you for it. Unfortunately, you spend more time in the hellholes of the world than in the vacation spots. On the other hand, become a lawyer and you can afford to travel wherever you want.
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Pleasance Pleasance
I have a graduate degree in environmental engineering. From a supervisor's (hiring official) standpoint, I think you should take a break from school and get a job and life experience actually working in the environmental field. That might help you decide which way you want to proceed but also give much needed work experience. I would much rather hire someone with an Associates degree who has actual firsthand knowledge and accomplishments in the field than someone who has been in school half their life and only has theoretical knowledge they learned from books.
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Matilda Matilda
If you wish to do probably the most well, get the Ph. D. If you wish to take advantage of cash, pass to regulation institution. Ph. D.s do not all take a seat round within the lab. Some people spend plenty of time within the area, both within the dwelling nation or foreign. Hook up with the correct consulting corporation(s) and also you would end up an international tourist, with any person else deciding upon up the fees and paying you for it. Unfortunately, you spend extra time within the hellholes of the sector than within the holiday spots. On the opposite hand, end up a attorney and you'll be able to manage to pay for to journey at any place you wish.
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Matilda Originally Answered: As a potential landscape architect, is Environmental studies or Environmental Science more useful?
Let me begin by commending you on your thoughtful question, your writing ability, and your communication skills. All will serve you well as a Landscape Architect. The profession is now more about communication (who?, what?, why?, where?, when?, how?, how much?, how many?) than, unfortunately, artful design. From Wikipedia, "Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including but not limited to Ecology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Soil Science, Geology, Atmospheric Science and Geography) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems." The emphasis sounds to be scientific. From Wikipedia, "Environmental studies is the interdisciplinary academic field which systematically studies human interaction with the environment in the interests of solving complex problems. It is a broad field of study that includes also the natural environment, built environment, and the sets of relationships between them. The field encompasses study in basic principles of ecology and environmental science, as well as associated subjects such as ethics, policy, politics, law, economics, philosophy, environmental sociology and environmental justice, planning, pollution control and natural resource management." The emphasis sounds to be humanistic. Both areas of study are relevant to Landscape Architecture. Because of global environmental impacts, science factors heavily into landscape architectural design. Landscape Architects need to be conversant in ecology, biology, botany, soil science, geology, and hydrology and with the scientists/experts/consultants that are involved in those areas of study. Landscape architectural projects initiated by governmental bodies from the city level to the federal level, often have an environmental impact report or other environmental documents to which the design has to adhere. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend that you take a career aptitude and interests test through your school's counseling office or at the local library. The results should confirm the career path you have chosen and/or provide alternatives you may not have considered. This is about the quality of your future life, so don't hesitate to call a local landscape architect and ask for a few minutes of their time and bit of their wisdom. ADDENDUM The American Society of Landscape Architects believes that the practice of landscape architecture…should be defined as any service where landscape architectural education, training, experience and the application of mathematical, physical and social science principles are applied in consultation, evaluation, planning, design (including, but not limited to, the preparation and filing of plans, drawings, specifications and other contract documents) and administration of contracts relative to projects principally directed at the functional and aesthetic use and preservation of land. "Landscape architecture is the profession which applies artistic and scientific principles to the research, planning, design and management of both natural and built environments. Practitioners of this profession apply creative and technical skills and scientific, cultural and political knowledge in the planned arrangement of natural and constructed elements on the land with a concern for the stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed and human resources. The resulting environments shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe and enjoyable purposes." Per http://www.kansas.net/~tjhittle/ladef.ht... , "Landscape architecture is the profession which applies artistic and scientific principles to the research, planning, design and management of both natural and built environments. Practitioners of this profession apply creative and technical skills and scientific, cultural and political knowledge in the planned arrangement of natural and constructed elements on the land with a concern for the stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed and human resources. The resulting environments shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe and enjoyable purposes." If you feel passionate about the aforementioned, then get your bachelors in landscape architecture and your masters in environmental studies.

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