5 online courses to deepen your understanding of environmental conservation

Professionals majoring in environmental conservation will gain a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between human societies and the natural environment.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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Did you know that World Nature Conservation Day is observed annually on July 28? The day was commemorated to create an awareness of protecting and conserving our natural resources.

Today, sustainability is high on the political agenda with the planet in dire straits. Experts in environmental conservation are needed to help us advance global conservation efforts, understand the environment and its inhabitants better, address food security issues, and more.

Sustainability has also become an important issue for many companies who are also channelling their efforts into improving their sustainability efforts.

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for jobs for environmental scientists and specialists is strong, with a projected growth rate of 8% between 2019 and 2019. Careers in sustainability are in high demand; some pay well while also serving as a deeply fulfilling career.


Professionals majoring in environmental conservation will gain a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between human societies and the natural environment to become sustainability advocates and leaders for constructive change.

Many universities offer comprehensive courses that prepare students for a career in environmental conservation. A solid education in this area will develop professionals who have the right skills to solve real-world problems and work collaboratively with diverse interest groups to facilitate policy and action toward a sustainable future.

Individuals who are interested to pursue a career in this field can opt for master’s level qualifications, but there are also many potential job paths for professionals who possess certifications in environmental conservation.

The potential careers that are available range from environmental consultancy to fundraising and political analysis.

If you’re interested in pursuing an education in this field, there are several free online courses that will give you the head-start you need to develop a career in environmental conservation. In honour of World Nature Conservation Day 2021, here are five courses worth exploring:

Climate Action in Biodiverse Landscapes

Hosted by edX, and developed by WageningenX, this intermediate Social Sciences course defines and explains the different forms of climate action. It focuses less on “why” but more on “how” action can be taken against climate change and its impacts on the earth and us. The course is four-weeks long, instructor-led, and its contents are completely free with the option to pay for a certificate. 

Tropical Coastal Ecosystems

The University of Queensland, Australia offers learners this course via edX to assist them in developing the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve tropical coastal ecosystems.

Online lectures are delivered by leading experts and those enrolled will get the chance to virtually explore challenges these ecosystems are facing such as overfishing, coastal pollution, ocean warming, acidification.

This course teaches methods and techniques on how these issues are tackled effectively. This self-paced free course takes around nine weeks to complete. 


National Geographic’s Exploring Conservation Courses

The National Geographic Society hosts six free courses on their website that collectively make up their Exploring Conservation series.

The courses offered through this series include Introduction to Conservation, Prioritising Species and Spaces, Understanding Illegal Wildlife Trade, Ocean Challenges and Solutions, Conservation Project Planning, and Scientific Expeditions for Conservation.

These courses were developed by United for Wildlife and the Zoological Society of London

Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy 

This free course is offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and hosted by Coursera. It considers existing legal regimes governing pollution, water law, endangered species, toxic substances, environmental impact analyses, and environmental risk. No previous knowledge of law or legal experience is required to enroll, and Coursera reports that 22% of learners started a new career upon completion.

Climate Change: Solutions

This course by the University of Exeter allows learners to explore solutions to man-made climate change which has become one of the biggest threats to the world. Receding glaciers, ocean acidification, and increasingly vulnerable food supply has proven that it is vital to continuously find solutions.

Topics covered in the course include mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering which can help avoid dangerous climate changes. This course is completely free with an option to pay for certification.