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research proposal on environmental science

55 Remarkable Environmental Topics for Research Proposal

Explore the collection of great environmental research topics from field experts.

research proposal on environmental science

Environmental Research Topics: Features, Importance & Great Ideas

Environmental investigations entail investigating the natural world’s structure and function, the association between humans and the environment, and how people’s values, beliefs, and attitudes affect that association. Environmental research topics thus cover a wide range of subjects, including climate change, biodiversity, pollution, renewable energy, and sustainability.

How to Choose Environmental Topics for Research

Environmental investigations is a very broad field that offers a wide range of areas to investigate. So how can you choose a good one for your paper? First, always pick an issue from the area you are interested in. Working on your paper will be easier since you’ll be motivated to explore something you care about. From there, sort through your environmental topics for research to determine the following:

  • Relevance – does the proposal theme address an environmental issue with significant societal implications, such as pollution or climate change?
  • Originality –  does the investigation subject offer a new perspective on existing knowledge?
  • Feasibility – are the environmental topics to research realistic and achievable based on the scope and your available resources?
  • Scope – how broad is the matter of investigation? It shouldn’t be too broad or too narrow; it should be the right size to provide a comprehensive investigation.

When choosing environmental science research paper topics, avoid those that are too complex or require more resources and time than you can provide. Remember also to consider data availability, literature, funding, time, and ethical issues involved.

environmental research topics

Environmental Topics for Research Paper Are Not Created Equal

Environmental science topics are created differently depending on your discipline, purpose, scope, and methodology. Thus, the approach used to formulate them differs as they will serve different purposes. For example, some are explanatory and will try to explain how something happens or works. Others will try to seek more knowledge about a subject(exploratory). Then, you might also encounter a few that compare and contrast two phenomena or situations.

When assessing investigation issues, carefully evaluate your goals and interests before committing to a specific one. Otherwise, you might get stuck. Luckily our research proposal writing services are always here to help you help to get out of even the most challenging situation!

The Most Actual Environmental Science Topics for an Excellent Proposal

Natural and human-made systems that shape our planet and affect its inhabitants are one of the most interesting areas to write a paper about. Check out these environmental topics for research paper to produce an engaging proposal.

1. Consequences of Climate Change Human Societies.

2. Challenges of Renewable Energy Technologies.

3. Recycling Initiatives and Their Implications on Reducing Pollution.

4. Challenges of Sustainable Management of Freshwater Resources.

5. The Impact of Low Air Quality on Human Health.

6. Effectiveness of Conservational Policies in Addressing Environmental Issues.

7. Impacts of Sustainable Transportation in Reducing Urban Ecological Footprint.

8. Effect of Marine Pollution on Marine Ecosystems.

9. Challenges Facing Sustainable Farming Practices.

10. Impacts of Electricity Generation on the Environment.

11. Ecological Hazards of Electronic Waste.

12. Tourism’s Negative Effect on Ecosystems.

Environmental science research topics are often flexible and can be broadened or narrowed down depending on the scope of your study.

Interesting Environmental Justice Topics

Environmental justice involves advocating for fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in implementing environmental laws and policies. Here’re exciting environmental justice topics for a good proposal.

1. Effect of Hazardous Waste Facilities on Minority Communities.

2. The Influence of Air Pollution Exposure on the Health of Marginalized Populations.

3. Effect of Unequal Distribution of Parks and Green Spaces in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods.

4. Relationship Between Indigenous Communities and Conservation Efforts.

5. Influence of Climate Change on Vulnerable Communities.

6. Differential Impacts of Natural Disasters on Marginalized Populations.

7. The Importance of Environmental Education in Empowering Disadvantaged Communities.

8. Barriers to Equitable Access to Healthy and Sustainable Food Options in Marginalized Communities.

9. Geographical Inequalities in Accessing Clean Water.

10. The Intersection Between Food Justice and Ecological Concerns.

11. The Link Between Exposure to Pollutants Hazards and Adverse Health Outcomes in Socially Disadvantaged Groups.

12. Barriers to Equitable Distribution of Resources and Assistance During Post-disaster Recovery in Marginalized Communities.

The above can provide great options for a research proposal about environmental problems and how they affect specific populations.

Insightful Environmental Economics Research Topics

Environmental economics research topics aim to understand the human activities impacting on the natural environment and human welfare. So if you are looking for decent quantitative research ideas , consider the following offered by our experienced investigator.

1. Effectiveness of Economic Incentives in Promoting the Adoption of Renewable Energy Sources.

2. Effect of Pollution Regulations on Automobile Manufacturing Industry Competitiveness.

3. Factors Promoting Economic Growth in Green Industries and Sustainable Sectors.

4. The Economic Influence of Urban Sprawl on Environmental Quality.

5. Economic Implications of Water Scarcity.

6. Economic Incentives for Conserving Biodiversity.

7. Economic Benefits of Investing in Renewable Energy Technologies.

8. The Economic Viability of Strategies to Reduce Plastic Pollution.

9. Effectiveness of Carbon Pricing Mechanisms in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

10. Economic Consequences of Natural Disasters.

11. Economic Importance of Disaster Preparedness and Resilience.

12. Economic Benefits of Transitioning From a Linear to a Circular Economy Model Focused on Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction.

13. Role of Green Finance & Sustainable Investments in Supporting Eco-Friendly Projects and Businesses.

14. Efficient Water Pricing Mechanisms to Encourage Conservation.

Captivating Environmental Biology Research Topics

Environmental biology research topics will often try to assess the interaction between living organisms and their natural or human-modified environments. Check out these interesting issues to investigate for your biology research proposal .

1. Ways in Which Climate Change Affects the Distribution and Habitat Suitability of Plants.

2. Relationship Between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health.

3. Role of Keystone Species in Maintaining Ecosystem Processes.

4. Human Factors Contributing to the Decline of Endangered Species.

5. Ecological Effect of Invasive Species on Local Ecosystems.

6. Factors Contributing to Pollinator Decline.

7. Ecological Consequences for Plant-Pollinator Interactions and Food Security.

8. Ecological Effects of Microplastics in Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems.

9. Shifts in the Timing of Seasonal Events in Animals in Response to Climate Change.

10. Ways in Which Changes in Land Use Impact Biodiversity.

11. Ways in Which Deforestation Impacts Ecological Communities.

12. Effects of Agricultural Pollutants on Ecosystems.

13. Challenges of Ecotoxicological Risk Assessments.

14. Ways in Which Wildlife Populations Adapt to Urban Environments.

15. Effects of Conservation on Human-Wildlife Interactions.

16. The Impact of Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels on Coral Reef Ecosystems.

17. The Influence of Marine Tourism on Marine Biodiversity.

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Importance of choosing the right environmental research paper topics.

Choosing the proper investigation issue is crucial for the success and impact of your paper. Topics related to environment issues tend to be complicated and demand a thorough understanding of the natural and social dimensions of the problem. But with the right choice, the writing process is much easier and gives a better chance to produce a quality paper.

Poor environmental research paper topics will waste your time, resources and even cause frustration when investigators struggle to meet the word count. So, choose your subjects of investigation wisely or request expert help if you need extra support.

new environmental research proposal topics

While the above topics for environmental research papers might prove useful, sometimes picking a subject of investigation and working on a proposal can be daunting. But you shouldn’t worry. We have a large team of experienced writers ready to work on your paper and final paper. You only need to send your instructions, and they’ll embark on the task.

We’re here to help with your proposal. So drop us a line anytime you may need professional assistance!

research proposal on environmental science

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Environmental Issues Research Proposals Samples For Students

57 samples of this type

No matter how high you rate your writing abilities, it's always a good idea to check out a competently written Research Proposal example, especially when you're dealing with a sophisticated Environmental Issues topic. This is precisely the case when catalog of sample Research Proposals on Environmental Issues will come in handy. Whether you need to brainstorm an original and meaningful Environmental Issues Research Proposal topic or inspect the paper's structure or formatting peculiarities, our samples will provide you with the necessary data.

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Econometric investigation of climate change on forestation and its impact on international timber supply and demand (i.e. pricing) shows competitive advantage in wood-based biofuels, as well as potential positive effects on temperature and growth into the future (Chimeli et al. 2011). Although definitive arguments about the atmospheric relationship between GHG emissions, climate change and forestation are few, the potential for an ecological equilibrium relevant to an economic one is found in market relations.

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Research Topics & Ideas: Environment

100+ Environmental Science Research Topics & Ideas

Research topics and ideas within the environmental sciences

Finding and choosing a strong research topic is the critical first step when it comes to crafting a high-quality dissertation, thesis or research project. Here, we’ll explore a variety research ideas and topic thought-starters related to various environmental science disciplines, including ecology, oceanography, hydrology, geology, soil science, environmental chemistry, environmental economics, and environmental ethics.

NB – This is just the start…

The topic ideation and evaluation process has multiple steps . In this post, we’ll kickstart the process by sharing some research topic ideas within the environmental sciences. This is the starting point though. To develop a well-defined research topic, you’ll need to identify a clear and convincing research gap , along with a well-justified plan of action to fill that gap.

If you’re new to the oftentimes perplexing world of research, or if this is your first time undertaking a formal academic research project, be sure to check out our free dissertation mini-course. Also be sure to also sign up for our free webinar that explores how to develop a high-quality research topic from scratch.

Overview: Environmental Topics

  • Ecology /ecological science
  • Atmospheric science
  • Oceanography
  • Soil science
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Environmental economics
  • Environmental ethics
  • Examples  of dissertations and theses

Topics & Ideas: Ecological Science

  • The impact of land-use change on species diversity and ecosystem functioning in agricultural landscapes
  • The role of disturbances such as fire and drought in shaping arid ecosystems
  • The impact of climate change on the distribution of migratory marine species
  • Investigating the role of mutualistic plant-insect relationships in maintaining ecosystem stability
  • The effects of invasive plant species on ecosystem structure and function
  • The impact of habitat fragmentation caused by road construction on species diversity and population dynamics in the tropics
  • The role of ecosystem services in urban areas and their economic value to a developing nation
  • The effectiveness of different grassland restoration techniques in degraded ecosystems
  • The impact of land-use change through agriculture and urbanisation on soil microbial communities in a temperate environment
  • The role of microbial diversity in ecosystem health and nutrient cycling in an African savannah

Topics & Ideas: Atmospheric Science

  • The impact of climate change on atmospheric circulation patterns above tropical rainforests
  • The role of atmospheric aerosols in cloud formation and precipitation above cities with high pollution levels
  • The impact of agricultural land-use change on global atmospheric composition
  • Investigating the role of atmospheric convection in severe weather events in the tropics
  • The impact of urbanisation on regional and global atmospheric ozone levels
  • The impact of sea surface temperature on atmospheric circulation and tropical cyclones
  • The impact of solar flares on the Earth’s atmospheric composition
  • The impact of climate change on atmospheric turbulence and air transportation safety
  • The impact of stratospheric ozone depletion on atmospheric circulation and climate change
  • The role of atmospheric rivers in global water supply and sea-ice formation

Research topic evaluator

Topics & Ideas: Oceanography

  • The impact of ocean acidification on kelp forests and biogeochemical cycles
  • The role of ocean currents in distributing heat and regulating desert rain
  • The impact of carbon monoxide pollution on ocean chemistry and biogeochemical cycles
  • Investigating the role of ocean mixing in regulating coastal climates
  • The impact of sea level rise on the resource availability of low-income coastal communities
  • The impact of ocean warming on the distribution and migration patterns of marine mammals
  • The impact of ocean deoxygenation on biogeochemical cycles in the arctic
  • The role of ocean-atmosphere interactions in regulating rainfall in arid regions
  • The impact of ocean eddies on global ocean circulation and plankton distribution
  • The role of ocean-ice interactions in regulating the Earth’s climate and sea level

Webinar - How to find a research topic

Tops & Ideas: Hydrology

  • The impact of agricultural land-use change on water resources and hydrologic cycles in temperate regions
  • The impact of agricultural groundwater availability on irrigation practices in the global south
  • The impact of rising sea-surface temperatures on global precipitation patterns and water availability
  • Investigating the role of wetlands in regulating water resources for riparian forests
  • The impact of tropical ranches on river and stream ecosystems and water quality
  • The impact of urbanisation on regional and local hydrologic cycles and water resources for agriculture
  • The role of snow cover and mountain hydrology in regulating regional agricultural water resources
  • The impact of drought on food security in arid and semi-arid regions
  • The role of groundwater recharge in sustaining water resources in arid and semi-arid environments
  • The impact of sea level rise on coastal hydrology and the quality of water resources

Research Topic Kickstarter - Need Help Finding A Research Topic?

Topics & Ideas: Geology

  • The impact of tectonic activity on the East African rift valley
  • The role of mineral deposits in shaping ancient human societies
  • The impact of sea-level rise on coastal geomorphology and shoreline evolution
  • Investigating the role of erosion in shaping the landscape and impacting desertification
  • The impact of mining on soil stability and landslide potential
  • The impact of volcanic activity on incoming solar radiation and climate
  • The role of geothermal energy in decarbonising the energy mix of megacities
  • The impact of Earth’s magnetic field on geological processes and solar wind
  • The impact of plate tectonics on the evolution of mammals
  • The role of the distribution of mineral resources in shaping human societies and economies, with emphasis on sustainability

Topics & Ideas: Soil Science

  • The impact of dam building on soil quality and fertility
  • The role of soil organic matter in regulating nutrient cycles in agricultural land
  • The impact of climate change on soil erosion and soil organic carbon storage in peatlands
  • Investigating the role of above-below-ground interactions in nutrient cycling and soil health
  • The impact of deforestation on soil degradation and soil fertility
  • The role of soil texture and structure in regulating water and nutrient availability in boreal forests
  • The impact of sustainable land management practices on soil health and soil organic matter
  • The impact of wetland modification on soil structure and function
  • The role of soil-atmosphere exchange and carbon sequestration in regulating regional and global climate
  • The impact of salinization on soil health and crop productivity in coastal communities

Topics & Ideas: Environmental Chemistry

  • The impact of cobalt mining on water quality and the fate of contaminants in the environment
  • The role of atmospheric chemistry in shaping air quality and climate change
  • The impact of soil chemistry on nutrient availability and plant growth in wheat monoculture
  • Investigating the fate and transport of heavy metal contaminants in the environment
  • The impact of climate change on biochemical cycling in tropical rainforests
  • The impact of various types of land-use change on biochemical cycling
  • The role of soil microbes in mediating contaminant degradation in the environment
  • The impact of chemical and oil spills on freshwater and soil chemistry
  • The role of atmospheric nitrogen deposition in shaping water and soil chemistry
  • The impact of over-irrigation on the cycling and fate of persistent organic pollutants in the environment

Topics & Ideas: Environmental Economics

  • The impact of climate change on the economies of developing nations
  • The role of market-based mechanisms in promoting sustainable use of forest resources
  • The impact of environmental regulations on economic growth and competitiveness
  • Investigating the economic benefits and costs of ecosystem services for African countries
  • The impact of renewable energy policies on regional and global energy markets
  • The role of water markets in promoting sustainable water use in southern Africa
  • The impact of land-use change in rural areas on regional and global economies
  • The impact of environmental disasters on local and national economies
  • The role of green technologies and innovation in shaping the zero-carbon transition and the knock-on effects for local economies
  • The impact of environmental and natural resource policies on income distribution and poverty of rural communities

Topics & Ideas: Environmental Ethics

  • The ethical foundations of environmentalism and the environmental movement regarding renewable energy
  • The role of values and ethics in shaping environmental policy and decision-making in the mining industry
  • The impact of cultural and religious beliefs on environmental attitudes and behaviours in first world countries
  • Investigating the ethics of biodiversity conservation and the protection of endangered species in palm oil plantations
  • The ethical implications of sea-level rise for future generations and vulnerable coastal populations
  • The role of ethical considerations in shaping sustainable use of natural forest resources
  • The impact of environmental justice on marginalized communities and environmental policies in Asia
  • The ethical implications of environmental risks and decision-making under uncertainty
  • The role of ethics in shaping the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future for the construction industry
  • The impact of environmental values on consumer behaviour and the marketplace: a case study of the ‘bring your own shopping bag’ policy

Examples: Real Dissertation & Thesis Topics

While the ideas we’ve presented above are a decent starting point for finding a research topic, they are fairly generic and non-specific. So, it helps to look at actual dissertations and theses to see how this all comes together.

Below, we’ve included a selection of research projects from various environmental science-related degree programs to help refine your thinking. These are actual dissertations and theses, written as part of Master’s and PhD-level programs, so they can provide some useful insight as to what a research topic looks like in practice.

  • The physiology of microorganisms in enhanced biological phosphorous removal (Saunders, 2014)
  • The influence of the coastal front on heavy rainfall events along the east coast (Henson, 2019)
  • Forage production and diversification for climate-smart tropical and temperate silvopastures (Dibala, 2019)
  • Advancing spectral induced polarization for near surface geophysical characterization (Wang, 2021)
  • Assessment of Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter and Thamnocephalus platyurus as Tools to Monitor Cyanobacterial Bloom Development and Toxicity (Hipsher, 2019)
  • Evaluating the Removal of Microcystin Variants with Powdered Activated Carbon (Juang, 2020)
  • The effect of hydrological restoration on nutrient concentrations, macroinvertebrate communities, and amphibian populations in Lake Erie coastal wetlands (Berg, 2019)
  • Utilizing hydrologic soil grouping to estimate corn nitrogen rate recommendations (Bean, 2019)
  • Fungal Function in House Dust and Dust from the International Space Station (Bope, 2021)
  • Assessing Vulnerability and the Potential for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in Sudan’s Blue Nile Basin (Mohamed, 2022)
  • A Microbial Water Quality Analysis of the Recreational Zones in the Los Angeles River of Elysian Valley, CA (Nguyen, 2019)
  • Dry Season Water Quality Study on Three Recreational Sites in the San Gabriel Mountains (Vallejo, 2019)
  • Wastewater Treatment Plan for Unix Packaging Adjustment of the Potential Hydrogen (PH) Evaluation of Enzymatic Activity After the Addition of Cycle Disgestase Enzyme (Miessi, 2020)
  • Laying the Genetic Foundation for the Conservation of Longhorn Fairy Shrimp (Kyle, 2021).

Looking at these titles, you can probably pick up that the research topics here are quite specific and narrowly-focused , compared to the generic ones presented earlier. To create a top-notch research topic, you will need to be precise and target a specific context with specific variables of interest . In other words, you’ll need to identify a clear, well-justified research gap.

Need more help?

If you’re still feeling a bit unsure about how to find a research topic for your environmental science dissertation or research project, be sure to check out our private coaching services below, as well as our Research Topic Kickstarter .

Need a helping hand?

research proposal on environmental science

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  1. Proposal 101: What Is A Research Topic?

  2. Environmental proposal

  3. What is difference between Research proposal and Research paper/ NTA UGC NET

  4. The Research Process

  5. Engineering Capstone Research Project Ideas

  6. Environmental Science Week 5 Quiz Assignment Solution


  1. What Are Examples of Nursing Research Proposals?

    The unifying theme of successful nursing research proposals is that the author(s) observed a problem, did research to make sure the observation was not personal bias, and then wrote to describe not only the problem, but a potential solution...

  2. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Research Proposal

    Research proposals are an essential component of any academic or scientific project. They outline the objectives, methods, and expected outcomes of a research study. One of the most common mistakes researchers make when writing a research p...

  3. Step-by-Step: Using Free Research Proposal Samples for Inspiration and Guidance

    Research proposals are an essential part of any academic or professional research project. They outline the objectives, methods, and expected outcomes of a study, providing a roadmap for researchers to follow.

  4. 55 Great Environmental Research Topics for Students

    The Most Actual Environmental Science Topics for an Excellent Proposal · 1. Consequences of Climate Change Human Societies. · 2. Challenges of Renewable Energy

  5. Environmental Issues Research Proposals Samples For Students

    Water Pollution Research Proposals Example. Water is one of the fundamental elements that exist within the aquatic ecosystem. Ideally, clean and plentiful water

  6. Putting together your research proposal for the MSc Environmental

    Literature review (c500–700 words). Your MSc Environmental Science by Research will deliver an original piece of research, so you should.


    At first, based on material science theories, the environmental factors are mathematically correlated to the material rheology. Secondly, the chemical and


    Rapid urbanization is with an

  9. research proposal on environmental pollution affected at university

    The science of ecological healing and restoration has made significant progress. The most exciting career opportunities that I know add the word "environment"

  10. Proposal for a Master of Environmental Management Department of

    grant and design a research proposal. NREM majors only. A-‐F only

  11. 100+ Environmental Science Research Topics & Ideas

    Topics & Ideas: Environmental Chemistry · The impact of cobalt mining on water quality and the fate of contaminants in the environment · The role of atmospheric

  12. Research Proposal

    Research Proposal (July-2015). Mehran UET Jamshoro. RESEARCH PROPOSAL ON ENVIRONMENTAL. POLLUTION AND ITS EFFECTS ON LIFE Introduction Environment pollution


    PhD RESEARCH PROPOSAL (ENVIRONMENT) Topic Sustainable urbanization in Ghana: The role of integrated land use planning · -Disaster mitigation and

  14. The BSc thesis proposal

    Structure of a thesis proposal · in a couple of sentences, state your thesis · this statement can take the form of a hypothesis, research question, project