Environmental History Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Environmental History?

Environmental History deals with the history of human impacts on nature and the interactions between humans and nature. It asks how nature influences humans, how humans intervene in nature, and how nature and humans interact.

In doing this kind of research, the contribution of other disciplines such as geography, geology, biology, and many others is important.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Environmental History in the following subject areas:

  • Environmental History (M.Phil.) – This course trains students in methods and themes that are directly relevant to the professional workplace at a time when there is an increasing awareness of the need to include the competencies and insights of the humanities in understanding and addressing environmental issues.
  • Diploma in Environmental and Planning Law – This diploma course aims to provide a comprehensive practical overview of the current legislative framework in the environmental and planning realms. 
  • Pre-University Environmental Science – An introduction to the core science modules physics, chemistry and biology along with mathematics and environmental studies. 
  • Environmental Impact Assessment – A critical overview of the theory and practice of EIA as operated within Ireland and under international legislation. 
  • Introduction to Environmental Awareness – This course covers key features which include key environmental issues and impacts, environmental aspects, and personal social responsibility.

Studying Environmental History 

Many courses in Environmental History may take place over a few days, weeks, or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Some environmental history degree courses have a placement year option. This provides the opportunity to gain practical industry experience, increase your skills and develop a network of contacts. There may also be options to undertake shorter placements and field trips during your course. You could also apply for summer internships, which are usually available with larger organizations and companies. Many environmental organizations and charities need help from people willing to carry out voluntary work. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers. 

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing an Environmental History course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the environment and its history, science, and biology.

Opportunities for environmental graduates can be found in the environmental science and wider biology sectors. Typical employers include local authorities, environmental protection agencies, Government departments, environmental monitoring organizations, environmental consultancies, nature conservation organizations, and charitable trusts.

There are also opportunities available in the utility sector with water companies and waste management companies, in planning and surveying, the media, and in environmental education and research.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours, or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Your hours may include regular extra hours, but not shifts. Weekend working may be necessary to meet client deadlines and when carrying out surveys or research work that is dependent on good weather.

Related jobs include:

  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental education officer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Environmental manager
  • Environmental health practitioner
  • Amenity horticulturist
  • Commercial horticulturist
  • Minerals surveyor
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Recycling officer
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Waste management officer
  • Water quality scientist
  • Horticultural consultant
  • Horticultural therapist
  • Landscape architect
  • Town planner
  • Toxicologist
  • Transport planner
  • Water engineer

Further study

After completing a course in Environmental History you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as ecology or wildlife management, environmental and earth sciences, environmental engineering, environmental management, geology, geophysics, hydrogeology, sustainability, and environmental management.


What is the importance of Environmental History?

The principal goal of environmental history is to deepen our understanding of how humans have been affected by the natural environment in the past and also how they have affected that environment and with what results.

What skills will I learn for a career in Environmental History?

Studying an Environmental History degree provides you with a broad understanding of current environmental issues and challenges on a local, national and global scale. You learn about the impact humans have on the environment and how to manage it.

Areas covered can include environmental biology, geography, geology, chemistry, earth science, soil science, and resource management.

Employers are also interested in the broader skills you acquire, such as:

· Problem-solving and creative thinking skills

· Competence in developing arguments from scientific, ethical, and philosophical perspectives

· Research skills and the ability to gather, analyze and report on complex environmental data

· Laboratory skills for analyzing environmental data

· Written and verbal communication skills, including presentation skills

· Flexibility to work in all kinds of environments, developed through working in the field

· Numerical and it skills, developed through the application of statistics and measurement techniques

· Planning, time management, and project management skills

· The ability to work as part of a team on projects, as well as independently.

Where can I study Environmental History?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

· Around 27,000 trees are cut down each day just to produce toilet paper

· The world has over 3.04 trillion trees in the world. However, 27,000 of them are cut down daily to make toilet paper. This translates to about 9.8 million trees annually.

· Cows require 28 times more grazing land as compared to pigs or chickens. Cattle ranching contributes to deforestation turning one-fifth of all pastures and ranges into deserts.

· About 71% of the earth is water. The oceans hold approximately 96.5% of this water and the ice caps hold about 2%. The remaining water exists in rivers, ponds, glaciers, ice caps, lakes, as water vapor and our taps, among other water bodies. Only 1% of the earth’s water is safe for human consumption.

· About five million tons of oil produced in the world end up in oceans every year.

· 78% of marine mammals are at risk of accidental deaths, such as getting caught in fishing nets.

Mariza Halliday

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