Best Online Master’s in Environmental Management Programs

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Updated on September 28, 2023
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An online master's in environmental management degree prepares graduates for high-level management positions within industrial, commercial, governmental, and military organizations. Students learn to craft solutions to local and global environmental challenges, such as pollution prevention and waste management, while gaining the confidence to lead.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental scientists and specialists will see a job growth of 11% over the next seven years, which makes this the ideal time to begin a career in environmental management.

What are the Best Master's in Environmental Management Programs? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 Duke University Durham, NC
3 University of Denver Denver, CO
4 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
5 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA
6 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX
7 Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO
8 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
9 University of Illinois Springfield Springfield, IL
10 Texas Tech University/td> Lubbock, TX

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Accredited Online Master's in Environmental Management Programs

Best Online Master's in Environmental Management Programs

  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    UF's master's in environmental science offers an emphasis in soil and water sciences. Required courses include the world of water, an introduction to soils, and earth system analysis. During the program's second year, students write a master's thesis.

    Over 90% of UF's soil and water sciences alumni find a full-time job soon after graduation. Students can research job opportunities and attend virtual workshops through UF's career center.

    The program accepts new students three times a year. All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in soil and water sciences and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Incoming students may qualify for institutional fellowships and grants.

  2. Duke University

    Durham, NC



    Duke's online master's degree in environmental management uses a hybrid delivery format in which students complete some coursework on the university's campus in Durham, North Carolina. Core courses include the economics of environmental management, environmental law and policy, and program management for environmental professionals. The curriculum also features a research project.

    Duke's School of the Environment offers degree-seekers specialized job hunting resources like internship opportunities and professional development courses. Students can also subscribe to a weekly newsletter and make a counseling appointment on the school's career website.

    Admission requirements include five years of work experience and employer sponsorship. All prospective students must interview with a faculty member. Duke's merit-based scholarships do not require a separate application.

  3. University of Denver

    Denver, CO



    DU's master's in environmental management program attracts business professionals who want to hone their leadership skills. Core courses include environmental protection law, an introduction to ecology, and environmental finance and economics. During the program's capstone, students write an extended essay (similar to a thesis).

    DU's career advisors provide learners with informational videos that highlight potential employers, a blog that covers career searches, and links to top job sites. Additional resources include Pioneer Careers — a gateway to virtual career events.

    DU requires a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores or recommendation letters. The university does not charge out-of-state tuition. DU's Graduate Impact Scholarship awards funding to members of minority groups.

  4. Texas A&M University

    College Station, TX



    Working professionals who want a flexible educational experience can enroll in Texas A&M's online master's in natural resource development program. The 36-credit curriculum includes required courses in grazing management and range nutrition, ecohydrology, and landscape analysis and project. Students write a professional paper in their final semester.

    More than half of Texas A&M degree-seekers receive at least one job offer by graduation day. The university supports students' professional success by offering self-assessments and job hunting tips through its career center. The career center's website also provides students with salary negotiation tips.

    Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and excellent standardized test scores. An applicant's work experience is also considered. The university awards both scholarships and grants to qualified applicants.

  5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Blacksburg, VA



    Virginia Tech's master's in natural resources program requires students to undertake an international field experience in which students visit a developing country to analyze natural resource usage. The program uses a hybrid delivery method, with online students taking some courses on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus.

    Virginia Tech provides distance learners with virtual counseling appointments and business etiquette tips. Other virtual services include an internship board and advice for students with disabilities.

    The natural resources program does not require GRE scores. Virginia residents receive a tuition discount. Incoming students should contact the Office of University and Financial Aid to learn about relevant scholarship and grant opportunities.

  6. University of Houston-Clear Lake

    Houston, TX



    UHCL's master's degree in environmental management offers numerous electives, making the program a good fit for degree-seekers who want a customizable educational experience. Core coursework covers topics like environmental law, business principles, and environmental impact assessment. The degree does not require a thesis.

    Students in this hybrid program can take up to 80% of their classes online. UHCL's career services website features career exploration guides and practice interviews. The Jobs4Hawks online service highlights many career opportunities in and around Houston, Texas.

    Prospective students must have an undergraduate degree in any field with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants with a lower GPA can still apply if they submit GRE scores. Although out-of-state applicants pay a higher tuition rate, they may qualify for the Hawk Scholars Scholarship.

  7. Colorado State University

    Fort Collins, CO



    CSU's master's in natural resource stewardship program allows students to choose a specialization in rangeland ecology and management, forest sciences, or ecological restoration. Core coursework covers topics that include analyzing environmental impacts; the ecology of disturbed lands; and economics of forests, restoration, and fire. Degree-seekers also take 9-10 specialization credits and 6-7 elective credits.

    Nearly 90% of CSU's students receive at least one job offer before graduating. The university's career center promotes students' professional success by offering virtual career conferences and a blog that covers different career paths and ways to maintain work-life balance. Additional resources include resume templates and personal finance guides.

    Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and two recommendation letters. All online learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of residency. Veterans and active-duty service members receive an automatic 15% tuition discount.

  8. University of Connecticut

    Storrs, CT



    Prospective students who want to earn a degree and gain experience in the field may be interested in UConn's online master's degree in energy and environmental management. Participants select from three concentrations: planning and management, environmental law, and geographic information systems. The program culminates in an internship or a practicum experience.

    UConn's career center provides distance learners with an alumni mentor network, a blog, and informational videos that cover remote working professional etiquette. These services help the vast majority of UConn alumni find work shortly after graduation.

    Admission requirements for this master's in environmental management program include three recommendation letters, official transcripts, and a resume. However, students need not submit standardized test scores. Out-of-state distance learners in this program pay the in-state tuition rate.

  9. University of Illinois Springfield

    Springfield, IL



    UIS offers a master's in environmental planning and management program that includes a 40-credit curriculum with required coursework in environmental natural sciences, land use and environmental planning, and environmental policy and analysis. Students create a custom concentration by selecting three electives. The program culminates in a master's thesis or a graduate project.

    Almost 80% of students who earn a master's degree at UIS find employment within months of graduating. The university's career center provides online students with internship opportunities, cover letter and resume critiques, and mock interviews.

    Students who want to earn this online master's degree in environmental management should have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. They also need to submit two recommendation letters and an essay and complete an undergraduate ecology prerequisite course. Out-of-state online students pay the in-state tuition rate.

  10. Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX



    At TTU, online students can earn a professional science master's degree in environmental sustainability and natural resource management. Graduation requirements include core and specialization courses, a student portfolio, and a capstone experience or an internship. Faculty deliver all of the program's coursework asynchronously.

    Degree-seekers can research careers on TTU's career center website. The website also offers resources like document critiques, career assessments, and mock interviews. The center's webinars cover salary negotiation and how to start a new job successfully.

    Prospective students can apply for the fall semester. Admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts and recommendation letters. Texas residents receive a significant tuition discount.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Environmental Management Program?

Some environmental management graduate programs are self-directed with asynchronous classes; students watch recorded videos and lectures on their own time. Other programs implement cohort-based or instructor-guided options, with synchronous classes that include real-time web conferencing.

Curriculum For an Online Master's Degree in Environmental Management

Environmental management master's degree online programs offer varying curricula, but a few courses most programs require are listed below.

  • Environmental law and policy: By providing legislative, executive, and judicial perspectives, this course examines the development, implementation, and enforcement of leading environmental and energy law and policy. Students discuss the historical and modern impact of U.S. federal, state, and local governments on the environment.
  • Economics of environmental management: This course applies natural resource economics to understand and address environmental challenges, such as climate change, global warming, and biodiversity conservation. Students explore cost-benefit and microeconomic analyses, as well as economic incentives as applied to environmental management.
  • Water resources management: This course examines modern water resource planning, distribution, management, and policy-making at local and global levels. Students explore challenges associated with quality, quantity, and governance of water resources, and discuss aquatic ecosystems, flooding, water scarcity, health, climate change, energy, and new technologies.
  • Ecosystem science: Coursework examines ecological patterns and processes, biodiversity, food web interactions, temporal and spatial boundaries, species-area relationships, and whole-system metabolism. Students learn to develop ecosystem management plans to manage and conserve species, populations, communities, and people.
  • Concentrations Offered for a Master's Degree in Environmental Management
    Concentration Description Careers
    Business and the Environment Students in this concentration merge business knowledge with innovative, environmentally sound solutions to industry challenges involving pollution and resource consumption. Environmental consultant for businesses
    Ecosystems and Land Conservation and Management In this concentration, students explore socio-ecological systems, including resource allocation in urban and rural landscapes. These classes emphasize biodiversity conservation and sustainable land use. Agent for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; environmental conservationist
    Energy and the Environment Students in this concentration focus on the environmental consequences of traditional and emerging alternative energy sources. They learn to address the challenges of energy generation and distribution and how to influence global energy policy. Private sector energy companies or renewable energy start-ups
    Environmental Policy Students examine industry and global policies that affect the use and allocation of natural resources. They learn to balance competing interests and accommodate various objectives to come up with ecologically sustainable environmental management strategies. Environmental policy advocate for government agencies or private organizations
    Water Resource Science and Management In this concentration, students learn about water scarcity and water pollution. They investigate the effects of human activity and climate change on water supply and quality and develop the expertise necessary to craft environmentally sustainable solutions to these problems. Consultant for state or federal environmental agencies; advocate for private environmental organizations

How Long Does It Take To Get an Online Master's in Environmental Management?

Most students complete their online master's degree in environmental management in two or three years, and most schools require students to complete the program within five or six years. But both the number of required credits and the student's enrollment status impact completion time. Most master's degree in environmental management programs comprise 36 credits, however requirements can range from 30 to 48 credits. Some programs are designed for part-time learners, while others are offered only full time.

Program format also affects the time required to earn the degree. Self-motivated learners who prefer to study independently benefit from an individually paced program, in which coursework is delivered asynchronously without set class times. Distance students who prefer to learn directly from instructors, while studying alongside other students, enjoy cohort-based programs that offer synchronous classes with real-time video conferencing.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Environmental Management Prepares For

Certified Environmental Auditor

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This certification is designed for environmental compliance officers with a bachelor's degree and four years of work experience. The exam covers topics like environmental laws and regulations, geology, environmental ethics, and environmental technology.

Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer

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Applicants must have at least two years of environmental work experience in private or government sectors. The examination covers the laws and regulations that directly relate to air and water pollution and solid and hazardous waste safety.

Registered Environmental Manager

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This is the initial certification for environmental management professionals. To qualify, applicants need a bachelor's degree in a related discipline and five years of experience, or 12 years of experience with no degree. The test covers topics such as the Clean Air Act, environmental laws, and basic regulatory processes.

Registered Environmental Professional

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This certification is recommended for project managers or coordinators. An exam is not required, but you must hold a master's degree in an environmental field. In lieu of this, you can still obtain the REP certification if you are a licensed professional, such as a certified hazardous materials manager or a state-licensed environmental assessor.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Environmental Management Degrees

Accreditation is a review process that enables higher education institutions and programs to demonstrate their willingness and ability to meet certain standards. There are two types of educational accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire school, while specialized accreditation applies to a specific department or program.

Accreditation shows dedication and commitment to meeting and exceeding educational standards. Regional accreditation, in particular, is widely recognized by institutions and employers, and a degree from an accredited school is highly regarded.

To be nationally or regionally recognized, a school, department, or program must undergo periodic review by an accrediting agency such as the U.S. Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), an organization comprising more than 7,600 colleges, universities, and accrediting agencies. The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of accrediting agencies and accredited schools.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Environmental Management Graduates

Graduates of environmental management master's degree online programs work to influence environmental ethics, health and safety, renewable energies, and environmental policy. With the industry-specific technological knowledge and practical management experience gained during their studies, environmental management graduates pursue careers in environment science, safety and policy analysis, risk and sustainability management, and compliance and regulation.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental specialists protect the environment and human health by cleaning polluted areas, working with industry leaders to reduce waste, and advising policymakers on industry-specific factors and issues. They monitor sources of pollution and contamination, investigate environmental violations, and educate others on environmental risks.

Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $45,000
Mid-Level: $57,000
Late Career: $82,000

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers develop solutions to problems concerning water and air pollution, climate change, environmental sustainability, waste disposal, and ozone depletion. They conduct hazardous-waste management studies, design municipal and industrial water supplies and wastewater treatment systems, and advise policymakers on environmental sustainability.

Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $58,000
Mid-Level: $71,000
Late Career: $102,000

Agricultural Scientists and Technicians

Agricultural scientists research methods to improve the efficiency and safety of agriculture by analyzing and assuring the quality of products and facilities. They work in laboratories, processing plants, farms, and greenhouses in such industries as research and development, manufacturing, and higher education.

Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $45,000
Mid-Level: $57,000
Late Career: $82,000

Conservation Scientists and Foresters

Conservation foresters work on privately owned land or in governments to improve, protect, and safeguard natural resources. They focus on controlling erosion, land regeneration, soil quality, and tree harvesting to manage the quality of forests, parks, ranches, and rangelands.

Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $41,000
Mid-Level: $53,000
Late Career: $68,000


Hydrologists analyze data to determine how water impacts the environment. They work closely with environmental scientists and engineers to manage and solve problems associated with water conversation, supply, quality, and availability. They may also work with atmospheric scientists to study the effects of precipitation and climate on the environment.

Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $54,000
Mid-Level: $64,000
Late Career: $96,000

Master's in Environmental Management Salary

An online master's degree in environmental management helps graduates stand out when searching for employment. Rather than beginning in an entry-level position, master's degree-holders often move straight to higher-ranking positions. Those with project management skills tend to earn higher salaries. While geographic location also affects income, the following table shows the average salaries of environmental management graduates across their careers.

Financing Your Online Master's in Environmental Management Program

Most schools offer loans, grants, scholarships and work-study programs to help students finance their online environmental management master's degree. To receive federal aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Merit-based scholarships are available through professional organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Resources for Graduate Environmental Management Students

Acres U.S.A. Magazine

This monthly magazine is a comprehensive guide to sustainable farming. Articles from farmers, researchers, and environmental consultants discuss topics like soil fertility management and alternative crop marketing.

Environment Magazine

Environment Magazine features research and peer-reviewed articles about sustainable development projects and environmental education initiatives from a global perspective.

OMICS International

This organization features hundreds of open-access publications on its website, including several journals devoted to the study of environmental management and sustainability.

Science Daily

This website covers breaking news and new developments in environmental science and fields like health and technology.

Yale Environmental Review

This online publication is curated by graduate students in Yale's environmental management program and reports new environmental research findings.

Professional Organizations in Environmental Management

Addressing complex environmental challenges requires the concerted efforts of dedicated professionals from various disciplines. Professional organizations facilitate communication and coordination among these individuals, making it possible to develop and share solutions.

Air and Waste Management Association

More than 110 years old, AWMA's members span 65 countries. The association provides networking opportunities, including an active forum to engage in discussions with fellow members, and professional development opportunities like webinars.

National Association of Environmental Management

The NAEM website features an active job board for environmental safety professionals. The organization also runs a conference each year, and attendance can count as continuing education credit for some industry certifications.

National Association for Environmental Professionals

Members pay discounted fees for NAEP's annual conference and continuing education courses, seminars, and webinars. They can also access the organization's career center, where they can search and apply for open positions and sign up for new job notifications via email.

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

This organization provides a forum for interdisciplinary exchange of information between environmental professionals committed to finding sustainable solutions to global environmental problems.

Soil and Water Conservation Society

Members have full access to the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, which contains the latest conservation news and research, an exclusive career center, and several educational, networking, and professional training opportunities. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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