Q: I’m interested in studying the environmental sciences/engineering field; but I’m not sure about the differences between the two.

A: Climate change, global warming, plastic waste, melting of icebergs, unnatural flooding are all catchwords we regularly hear. The adverse effect human interface and intervention has had on our natural environment is now apparent with the fear that the worst is yet to come.

[What you can do with a criminal psychology degree]

A degree in Environmental Science would focus on this extremely relevant and socially conscious subject. This is a relative new interdisciplinary programme and includes in-depth knowledge of not only the traditional sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, and ecology but also the social sciences such as economics, business and sociology. The intention is to assimilate multiple data and different perspectives to develop a holistic understanding of natural and human environment.

Truly interdisciplinary, the subject involves not only obtaining scientific knowledge about the natural world, it also involves an understanding how mankind engages and interacts with it. This would include studying human behaviour, cultural, social, political actions and government policies that affect the environment.

Environment engineering on the other hand is a technical subject that combines the results of environmental science with engineering techniques. While both disciplines address the issue of the environment, the difference is in their remedial approach.

Environment science takes a more analytical approach with a focus on what caused the problem whereas the engineer’s focus is on how to solve the problem. An engineer is involved in developing alternative clean energy applications, waste treatment and water reclamation. The focus is on public health contributing towards sustainable development. In essence the discipline is best suited for people passionate about the environment with interest and aptitude for tech. 

Typically, manufacturing industry, agriculture industry, pharmaceutical industry, fisheries, governmental bodies are the employers in this field. The American University of Sharjah offers a BSc. in Environmental Sciences. This extensive course gives an insight into environmental modelling, historical facts, management tools such as ISO 14001 and different dimensions of ecological resources.

University of California in Berkeley, Stanford University, University of Florida, and University of Texas offer some of the best courses in the US. Imperial College, London, in the UK offers a graduate course in Environmental Science. National University of Singapore is an excellent campus for international students.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor (sanjeev@intelligentpartners.com, www.intelligentpartners.com). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.