They don’t call it Big Sky country for nothing… when you look around Montana, it seems like everything is infinite… the mountains, the plains, the rivers, the trees, the snow.
But thanks to modern science, we know that it’s not that simple. Our ecology here and elsewhere hangs in the balance. One-third of our agricultural income comes from crops, which are dependent on soil health and weather patterns. Beef, dairy, and sheep are also major products here, and all require a health ecosystem in which to thrive. So environmental sustainability is key to the state’s long-term well-being.
We’re a state with a practical, hands-on perspective on the natural world and our educational approaches to the environment reflect that. Although you won’t find any high-flying explorations of public policy or deep dives into theoretical concepts about ecologically-sustainable business supply chains here, you’ll get a solid, useful education in the real day-to-day approaches to balancing environmental and societal needs using cutting-edge scientific practices.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Montana With the Right Degree
Although Montana is not overflowing with sustainability-oriented jobs today, you can find a few gems out there if you look hard enough. Most are in the educational field, so many of the same schools offering degrees in the field could be your best employment prospects after graduation!
There are also federal efforts such as AmeriCorps, via the Montana Energy Corps, looking for sustainability teachers in primary and secondary school classrooms.
From time to time, you might also find something in the energy industry, with firms like DNV GL out of Helena. Energy conservation specialists are likely to be increasingly in demand in every state as sustainable energy demand rises.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Montana
There aren’t a lot of universities in Montana in the first place, so you are probably going to end up at one or the other of our tried-and-true public schools if you are searching for a degree in sustainability. On the other hand, Montana schools are ahead of the curve for such a small state in the depth and flexibility of the degrees that they do offer.
When it comes to agricultural sustainability studies, Montana has bigger and better educational offerings than many would expect. One of the best of these is the Master of Environmental Studies with a Sustainable Food and Farming emphasis offered at the University of Montana. Diving into the complexity and vulnerability of food systems, students learn about the environmental issues confronting food production along with techniques and solutions that can be deployed to defend them.
Montana State University in Bozeman has an innovative and flexible option for master’s degrees in Environmental Engineering: you have the option of taking either a thesis or non-thesis track, for starters, but you also get the choice of earning the degree through either the Civil or Chemical and Biological Engineering Departments, which allows significantly different tracks and perspectives on environmental engineering challenges.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Montana
Montana doesn’t leave you hanging when it comes to bachelor’s degree programs with a sustainability focus, either. At MSU, the excellent Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems is a great way to lay the groundwork for a master’s degree in the field. With program options in sustainable food systems, sustainable crop production, agroecology, and sustainable livestock production, you can choose the exact path to follow for a long-term career in a sustainability field.
The school also offers an undergraduate minor in sustainability studies that you can tack on to other liberal arts degrees. That’s a good way to add a sustainability focus to a bachelor degree in almost any type of specialization, which gives you tremendous flexibility in laying the groundwork for a career in the field of your choice. The minor also includes an online study option, allowing you to complete it remotely, and allows additional focuses in Environmental Studies, Global and Multicultural, or Quaternity for even more areas of knowledge to investigate.