As environmental issues grow increasingly urgent due to our changing climate, increasingly frequent disasters and a threatening scarcity of resources, more organizations are supporting the need for action from young scholars and new innovators.
Unfortunately, resources and educational opportunities are not equitable, and so not everyone is afforded the same opportunity to attend university, to travel in order to develop their skills or to work and collaborate with other, equally passionate students. This is untenable, as these global issues require study and action from all regions in order to bring about effective change.
Environmental scholarships and sustainability scholarships can help to provide underprivileged students with financial aid to travel and attend programs in sustainability, global health and social justice. These environmental studies scholarships are especially helpful for international students who wish to attend specific programs, who, in turn, can bring different perspectives and new approaches.
Beyond helping with tuition and travel costs, scholarships can:
- Highlight a student’s achievements
- Provide connections with a wide network of contacts
- Distinguish graduates from other job candidates.
How to Find Sustainability Scholarships
There are many, many scholarships available for students, but they’re not always easy to find, and many have specific application requirements or limited timelines. For those U.S. nationals or international students looking to study within the U.S. we recommend:
- Using the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool to research potential scholarships, grants and funds related to areas of study in sustainability.
- Contacting the education agency of your state, territory or commonwealth to ask for information about available scholarships for environmental or sustainability studies.
For U.S. and international students interested in studying abroad, we recommend:
- Performing a search on International Scholarships for available scholarships and loans.
- Searching the IEFA database for international scholarships and financial aid assistance.
- Reviewing active scholarship programs offered by the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency.
Here is a list of scholarships directly related to sustainability and environmental studies (with links) that are offered by private enterprises, nonprofits and other organizations dedicated to sustainable development.
Sustainability Scholarship List
American Association of University Women International Fellowships
- Website: AAUW.org
- Amount: $18,000–$30,000
- International fellowships for women who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree, do not hold U.S. citizenship and plan to conduct full-time study or research. Eligible candidates must display English language proficiency, have extraordinary academic achievement and intend to return to their home country upon graduation.
Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarships
- Website: AKDN.org
- Amount: Tuition and living expenses for the first two years of study.
- Postgraduate scholarships for international students from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique who are studying at a U.S. or Canadian post-graduate institution. Applicants need to have consistently excellent academic records, genuine financial need, be admitted to a reputable university or program of study and committed to studying AKDN’s areas of focus – including health and nutrition, agriculture and food security or economic inclusion.
American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship
- Website: Ametsoc.org
- Amount: Nine-month stipend plus partial travel support to attend the AMS annual meeting.
- Fellowships are for graduate students entering their first year of graduate school and pursuing a degree in atmospheric or related sciences at a U.S. accredited institution. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and be a U.S. citizen or hold permanent resident status.
Do Something – See Us, Hear Us: Climate Justice
- Website: dosomething.org
- Amount: Varies
- Scholarship opportunities are for students between the age of 13 and 25 who live in the U.S. or are U.S. citizens living abroad. Applicants are expected to complete volunteer, social change and civic action campaigns tied to current scholarship opportunities listed on the DoSomething homepage.
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
- Website: fosterscholars.noaa.gov
- Amount: Up $42,000 yearly scholarship
- Scholarships for independent graduate-level studies in oceanography, marine biology or maritime archaeology. Preference will be given to women and minority students; all eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens who are admitted to a relevant graduate program at an accredited institution.
Dr. W. Wesley Eckenfelder Jr. Scholarship
- Website: brownandcaldwell.com
- Amount: $5,000
- Junior, senior or graduate students who are enrolled full-time at an accredited institution with a declared major in civil, chemical or environmental engineering and other environmental sciences. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and be a U.S. citizen or hold permanent resident status.
Fulbright Foreign Student Program
- Website: foreign.fulbrightonline.org
- Amount: Varies, stipend based on cost of living
- Fulbright offers several different grants, including ones for international students who wish to study in the United States each year. Qualified candidates must possess a first- or upper second-class honors bachelor’s degree, be accepted at an accredited graduate school, display academic merit, pass the GRE or GMAT exam, and attach a curriculum vitae. Fulbright fellows must return to their home country for at least two years after funding.
Garden Club of America Fellowship in Ecological Restoration
- Website: gcamerica.org
- Amount: Annual grant of $8,000
- This grant is open to graduate students whose field of study can range from forestry and ecology to applied plant sciences and evolutionary biology. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in a leading accredited U.S. institution in environmental sciences and be engaged in research study in the recovery of ecological integrity.
National Environmental Health Association Scholarships
- Website: NEHA.org
- Amount: $2,250 for the undergraduate and $2,500 for the graduate scholarship
- These scholarships are for students who are enrolled in an environmental health program at an institution that has gained accreditation from the Environmental Health Accreditation Council (EHAC). For consideration, all applicants must submit an official copy of an academic transcript, a faculty letter of recommendation and one reference letter from an active NEHA member.
PEO International Peace Scholarships
- Website: peointernational.org
- Amount: Up to $12,500
- Scholarships are awarded to women from outside the U.S. or Canada who are seeking their master’s or PhD degrees in the United States or Canada. Eligible applicants must be enrolled full-time at an accredited college, not hold U.S. citizenship or be a permanent resident. Applicants will need to have a full year of coursework remaining, exhibit financial need and apply before starting their dissertation research.
Recycling Education and Research Foundation National Scholarship
- Website: ISRI.org
- Amount: $5,000
- Scholarship open to graduate students enrolled in programs that support the scrap processing or the recycling industry. Eligible applicants should be in applicable fields, which include mechanical engineering, material engineering, sustainability, industrial design and water management.
Rotary Foundation and Clubs
- Website: Rotary.org
- Amount: Tuition for one to four years of study
- Additional Application details: Scholarships are for college graduates and professionals studying peace and conflict resolutions as well as for undergraduate and graduate students studying abroad to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water and sanitation, support mothers and children, promote education and grow local economies.
Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Award
- Website: SLB.com
- Amount: Up to $50,000 per year for a PhD and $40,000 for a postdoc
- Fellowships for female candidates who have been admitted to an accredited host university who are pursuing PhD and postdoctoral studies in the physical sciences, engineering, technology, biological sciences and related STEM disciplines. Recipients must be dedicated to teaching as a university faculty member in their home countries after graduation.
- Website: switzernetwork.org
- Amount: $15,000
- This one-year fellowship is for graduate students who are dedicated toward environmental improvement. For consideration applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or a refugee or asylee and must be enrolled within an accredited academic institution within California or any of the six New England states.
Theodore Gordon Flyfishers Founders Fund Scholarship
- Website: environmentalconsortium.org
- Amount: $3,500
- Available to students who are studying an environmental field and will be entering their first or second year of graduate school at a member institution of the Environmental Consortium of Colleges and Universities. Eligible recipients must be U.S. citizens and possess a 3.5 GPA within an environmental concentration.
Please note that despite the length and details of this list, it is not comprehensive – there are many more scholarship opportunities available, some specific for working in certain fields or attending specific institutions.
For additional resources of financial assistance, consider searching nonprofit and organizations dedicated toward science and technology related to the environment and sustainability. The American Geophysical Union, National Science Foundation, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education are a few to review.
Of course, you should always contact the financial aid department of the university you plan on attending.
Important Information to Remember When Applying for Scholarships
While grants are awarded based on need, scholarships are awarded more on the basis of merit. When applying for scholarships, be sure to check if you meet the listed criteria and that you are able to provide all required information.
You will have to apply for financial aid at the time you submit your application for admission to a program. Any and all students requesting any form of financial aid (like scholarships, fellowships or student employment) within the U.S. must submit applications for financial aid:
If you’re a first-generation college student then you may also be eligible to receive assistance from support networks like College Greenlight.
If you’re interested in attending the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Engineering for Sustainability and Health program, then you have assistance at your disposal. Contact the USD office of financial aid for information on scholarships, loans and other forms of financial aid.