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The demand for study on various aspects of environmental science is growing. Each day there are more and more interdisciplinary subjects related to environmental science are popping up. Among these emerging subjects, an environmental psychologist is one of them. A unique subject that combines psychology with studies on how environment influences a person, the subject is relatively new. It first started off gaining momentum in England during the 1970s, with a post graduate course started in The University of Surrey on Environmental Psychology. Read on to know more about how you could become an Environmental Psychologist yourself.

What exactly is Environmental Psychology?

Environmental Psychology is concerned with how individuals perceive the environment around them and how this may be applied to landscapes, buildings, and urban development. This is also deals with how people perceive a location’s general “feel” – the kind of attitudes it inspires and instigates.

It focuses on the reaction of individuals to their surroundings and different environmental situations, and what kind effects these have on the well being of a person, both at a mental and spiritual level. Another important aspect studied in environmental psychology is the perceptions of human psychology on environmental concerns as well the effects of environmental problems including pollution, global warming and sustainability, among others.

Where are Environmental Psychologists required? What do they do?

Environmental psychologists might work for consulting businesses, providing their advice to government agencies and other industries. Alternatively, they also may be directly engaged by housing & planning, or environmental authorities, or even in architecture companies. They may also be employed by environmental nonprofit organizations or NGOs, schools, nursing or retirement homes, and other related communities.

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Some people study environmental psychology to improve their chances of employment in disciplines like architecture, landscape architecture, planning, or design. Many go on to become professors in colleges and universities. However, a doctoral degree is required for faculty posts. Environmental psychologists investigate how the built or natural environments influence human behavior.


They might do studies on the subject, or use their knowledge to create safe and ergonomic settings that promote emotional well-being. Some responsibilities of Environmental psychologists include –

  • Designing, conducting, and analyzing research related to the psychological aspects of an environment or environmental concerns
  • Sharing findings and results of research done by publishing scientific articles as well as presenting in related conferences

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  • Collaborating with people in different sectors like architects, environmental scientists, engineers, landscape designers, policy makers, and urban planners, to work towards providing secure, healthy, and ambient environments in schools, prisons, cities, companies, industrial sites, residences and any other spaces with regular human interaction
  • Including nature, wilderness, and outdoor therapy along with standard clinical practices
  • Teaching as a faculty member in educational institutes
  • Making recommendations in policy 
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What are the qualifications needed to become an Environmental Psychologist?

A bachelor’s degree is Psychology is initially required at an undergraduate level. At Master’s degree level, one may choose to specialize in Environmental Psychology. Courses in Environmental Psychology may be oriented towards either architecture or ecology. It is important to get awareness about which one you would like to specialize in, and check the course’s curriculum before joining in an institute.

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What is a typical day of an Environmental Psychologist like?

While responsibilities of Environmental Psychologist vary depending on the focus and employer, typical day to day responsibilities of an Environmental Psychologist include –

Reviewing literature, data sets, and case studies from a subject relevant to environment, psychology and other inter-disciplinary subjects and staying updated with the latest discoveries of the field

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  • Designing experiments that could be used to assess interaction of people with a particular environmental by using different kinds of research methods and data analysis techniques
  • Constructing and administering questionnaires to consolidate data
  • Quantifying different kinds of behaviour reported towards an environmental concern or a designed environment using statistical tools and techniques, and mathematical modelling
  • Reporting the on findings of the various studies conducted upon the effects of environment on human attitudes and behaviors, or the vice versa
  • Presenting the obtained results to all stakeholders, policymakers, and the general public in simple, understandable, non-technical terms. 

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Anyone, and any profession could make a difference to save the environment, or in people’s lives. Environmental Psychologist is profession that proves the same. 

By: Srinithya Ravinuthala

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