Environment Careers

Bowdoin College upholds long-held principles regarding sustainability and environmental stewardship.

From Bowdoin’s commitment to carbon neutrality, reducing waste, and providing a multidisciplinary approach to environmental education, it is no wonder that so many students choose to pursue careers in the environmental sector after graduation.

Bowdoin alumni are working across the spectrum of opportunity in the environmental sector. From working as an attorney with the Natural Resource Defense Council, to designing municipal solar projects with an energy procurement company, to conducting policy research with nonprofits, and running sustainability programs for corporate offices—your interests and skills can drive an amazing career in the environmental sector.

Given the breadth of the options available within the Environmental sector, you can meet with any of four advisors in CXD. Meet with Nancy Gibson, the Director of Career Advising, about policy and law; Meg Springer about advocacy and education; Joshua Machat about conservation and communication; and Daniel Calles about consulting and the sciences. Schedule an appointment on Handshake to meet your advisors, find internships, sigh up for events, and chart your after-Bowdoin professional path.

Sample Career Paths

Environmental Policy and Advocacy: Are you interested in researching information and data that informs policy-making? Do you want to influence environmental policy-making? Then you might want to consider a career in government, at a policy organization or think tank, or working for a lobbying organization or with an advocacy group. Environmental Policy organizations number in the thousands and include the following: Ashoka, Care2, Center for Economic & Policy Research, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law Institute, League of Conservation Voters, Rocky Mountain Institute, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Environmental/Urban Planning: If you have an interest in administering the government plans that affect land use, or in gathering information and analyzing data from environmental studies, you may want to consider a career in Environmental/Urban Planning. Jobs in this sector include community and economic development, regional or transportation planning, historic preservation, urban design, land use management and public administration to name a few. To learn more about this launching a planning career, visit  the American Planning Association or Planetizen.

Environmental Consulting: Environmental consulting firms provide support to companies and organizations to address environmental and natural resource protection, laws and initiatives. Larger firms will offer services across a broad range of specialty areas while smaller companies have a targeted focus. Areas of expertise include: hazardous waste remediation and removal, waste management services, sustainability practices, green design, public policy research, strategic and economic analysis, regulatory compliance, conflict resolution, communication and meeting facilitation among others.

Conservation: A career in conservation might include protecting wildlife, habitats, water, forests, or anything else related to the environment. Jobs in conservation range from roles in the government, large NGOs, nonprofits, and corporations working on sustainability. Bowdoin alumni are working in conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Environment America, The Sierra Club, Oceana, and Waterkeeper Alliance.

Outdoor and Environmental Education: There are many pathways to being an environmental educator, including teaching for an outdoor environmentally-focused school, guiding outdoor wilderness trips or leading educational tours for an environmental organization. Bowdoin alums work for organizations such as Chewonki, Semester at Sea, HMI (High Mountain Institute), NOLS, Outward Bound, The Island Institute, Audubon, National Park Service and many more. 

Meet Alumni

Simon Ou '10, discusses his path from a gov an legal studies major at Bowdoin to a job with an environmental NGO in Shanghai.