An online 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 environmental management programs of 2020? 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 Lubbock, TX

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Environmental Management Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 96%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

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 Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

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.

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.

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

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.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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 STUDENTS

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

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.