Obtaining a more general biology degree but I still like environmental engineering

Hello! I am possibly interested in environmental engineering as a career, but I'd rather get a more general biology degree as an undergraduate so I can explore my options. Would I have to get a masters in environmental engineering after that if I decided I wanted to pursue the career, or would I just need some type of certification?
posted by Mika, Aurora on July 25, 2014

Answer by Jennifer Vilbig

Hi Mika, 

I would highly suggest starting with the engineering undergraduate degree. Yes, you will be able to get an engineering masters degree later and could also still possibly find a job in the environmental field with only a biology degree, but your pay would be significantly less and your career advancement would progress slower. Plus, most biology programs are probably geared towards medial or research, which have nothing to do with environmental engineering or environmental science. 

Typically, most engineers in the environmental field do have a masters degree. If you did want to earn an engineering masters degree it would be significantly harder without the engineering undergraduate degree as there is a lot of math skills that you would not have practiced with a biology undergraduate degree.  

With a degree in engineering the career paths are limitless! I know engineers who are working in all types of industries in traditional and non-traditional engineering roles. 

What else can you do with an undergraduate degree in biology? What would be your starting salary options? Are you getting student loans to pay for school? Could you afford to pay those loans on a salary of a biologist? 

Best of luck!