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  • Many universities now offer majors focused on sustainability.

    Even if you're not a die-hard environmentalist, a green major can be a savvy choice. After all, the green movement offers tons of career opportunities, from product design to consulting and lobbying.

    Here are eight of the hottest green majors.


    Basics: Bioethics is the study of ethical issues in science. As a bioethics major, you'll learn how to apply your values to health and environmental issues, such as stem cell research and the production of genetically modified food. With a degree in bioethics, you might work in health care, education, public policy or social work.

    Potential green application: Bioethicists are the big-picture thinkers, letting us know how the choices we make now will affect us (practically and morally) in the future. If you're interested in the philosophical and intellectual sides of the green movement, this could be the major for you.


    Basics: Whether you begin with 3 employees or 30, starting a company is no walk in the park. You'll need commitment and drive, not to mention some serious business skills. Entrepreneurship majors learn about accounting, economics, and management, as well as how to identify new opportunities and raise capital.

    Potential green application: Want to start an all-organic restaurant? How about a T-shirt printing company that uses environmentally friendly materials? Entrepreneurs are on the cutting edge of green business, but you'll need the skills to make sure your start-up doesn't close down.

    Environmental Design/Architecture

    Basics: In this major, you'll learn how to design indoor and outdoor spaces that are in ecological and aesthetic harmony with their surroundings. You'll take math, physics, drawing and computer classes.

    Potential green application: Environmental designers and architects design eco-friendly public and private spaces that are used for recreational, commercial or residential purposes. Examples of their work include parks, garden centers, green roofs, courtyards, public squares and houses.

    Fashion Design

    Basics: A fashion major can be about much more than just beautiful clothes. Fashion majors learn how to design and produce great outfits, of course. But an increasing number of schools are offering courses in sustainable design and environmentally friendly fabrics.

    Potential green application: These days, green fashion is big business. Someone has to design the latest organic shoe and come up with a catchy eco-aware slogan to splay across clothes made of organic cotton.

    Food Science

    Basics: Food scientists deal with almost every aspect of food production. They help create and enforce new safety standards, expand our understanding of what constitutes a balanced meal, and improve the ways we produce and consume food. All of this involves a lot of hard science, such as biology, chemistry and genetics.

    Potential green application: What we eat affects our health and the health of the planet. Farmers, grocers, chefs, consumers and policymakers are all looking to food scientists for guidance on sustainable, healthy food.


    Basics: Horticulture pertains to the art, science and business of growing things. Horticulturists grow food and flowers. They also manage the exterior landscapes of residences, office buildings, athletic fields and virtually every respectable golf course. As a horticulture major, you'll spend a lot of time learning about plant physiology, genetic engineering and crop cultivation.

    Potential green application: Eco-friendly horticulturists are in high demand. As households and businesses become more environmentally conscious, they'll start requesting that every aspect of their personal (and professional) environments be greener. And there is a large and growing market for organic food and sustainable agriculture.

    Marine Biology

    Basics: From the killer whale's dietary habits to the reproductive mechanisms of the tiniest saltwater microbes, you'll learn how the greatest ecosystem in the world (the ocean) supports the diversity of life forms that thrive on and because of each other.

    Potential green application: Human-created pollution has altered the delicate balance of the underwater world. Studying the ocean's plants and animals and how they've adapted to these changes will be imperative to making sure they stick around for future generations.

    Urban Planning

    Basics: Urban planning majors study how cities are designed and managed. It's a diverse academic path: your education will cover sociology, political science and architecture, among (many) other topics.

    Potential green application: As an urban planner, you will be the visionary of the cities of the future. You will help policymakers decide how to use land, improve public transportation and create people- and environment-friendly urban spaces.