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Environmental Science Careers

Our graduates work in a variety of environmental areas in which they apply the skills gained from their degree.


Fish and Game New Zealand

Mark: Resource Officer

Mark looks after resource consents and other planning matters which involves writing and presenting submissions. He is also involved in other issues such as negotiating access to waterways, advising the Commissioner of Crown Lands on the tenure review process from the perspective of hunting and fishing, and occasional field work.

Mark says that being able to complete his Diploma part-time has allowed him to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the course, giving him a broader perspective on environmental issues. Being able to choose papers from a wide range of disciplines and having the benefit of the contacts within the university system are the strong points of the course for Mark.


Environmental Risk Management Authority

Victoria: Hazardous Substances Advisor

Victoria works under legislation which came into force in 2001. Her role involves transferring toxic substance notifications so they are valid under the new legislation. She also undertakes risk assessment of applications for new hazardous substances.

Victoria says that the PGDipSci in Environmental Science she completed has assisted her in considering the environment in a broader perspective than that she gained from her Masters degree in Chemistry. In her work, she uses a mix of chemistry and environmental science skills. In particular, the work placement paper helped her apply the academic side of the course to the workplace, and assisted her in making personal contacts with people working in environmental science.


Environmental Science and Research (ESR)

Scott: Toxicology Technician

Scott, who recently graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Science (PGDipSc), works as a toxicology technician and his main function is to test for drugs and poisons in cases of accidents, suspicious deaths and other criminal investigations. Most of the work is done for the police and pathologists.

Scott says that the PGDipSci was very useful in developing many skills, particularly in research and writing. The course also helped broaden his perspective by allowing him to take papers from outside his major subject.

He adds that many of the skills he developed during the year at Otago can be adapted to his current job.


Regional Council

Sarah: Administration Officer

Sarah works for the Pollution Control Section of a regional council. She has been involved in pollution incidents and the council's control of them. Her assignments for the Environmental Research Section of the council have also included field work such as investigating fish barriers in streams and monitoring stream water quality and industrial drive-bys. She has also worked with GIS to determine which dairy farms comply with the council's new dairy plan.

According to Sarah, the main reasons she secured the council job were because she was studying environmental science and has taken papers in freshwater ecology. She adds that the knowledge gained from Environmental Statistics, one of the course's recommended papers, has been invaluable in helping her analyse data and critique sampling design.


Regional Council

Andrew: Compliance Monitoring Officer

Andrew checks the conditions of resource consents and makes sure that they are being abided by. He is mainly involved in water consents, checking the use of groundwater and surface water for irrigation and assessing the flows in rivers. Andrew is also involved in any pollution events that occur in the council's area.