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 Online Master's in Environmental Management Programs?
Texas A&M University
|College Station, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 82%||
Designed for working professionals, Texas A&M’s online master of natural resource development program can be completed in two years of full-time study. Offered in partnership through the university’s department of ecosystems science and management and department of wildlife and fisheries sciences, the program provides advanced training in environmental science and natural resource management.
After gaining admission into the program, students meet with an academic adviser to create a personalized degree plan and select three graduate faculty members to make up their advisory committee. The 36-credit curriculum examines rangeland management around the world, geospatial techniques for military land management, and management and leadership of nonprofit organizations.
Learners gain new perspectives on topics such as ecological restoration of wetland and terrestrial ecosystems, wild vertebrate ecology and conservation, and human dimensions of ecosystem management. Instead of a thesis, candidates work with their advisory committee to compose a research paper related to their area of interest. The program culminates in a final comprehensive exam.
Applicants to the master of natural resource development program must hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a GRE score in the upper 50th percentile. The admissions committee also considers a prospective student's professional training and research experience. Students can begin taking classes in the spring, fall, or summer. Distance learners may transfer in up to 12 graduate-level credits earned with a "B" or better.
|St. Louis, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Webster is a private institution located in St. Louis, Missouri. Taking a global approach to higher learning, the university promotes inclusivity and educational accessibility through distance education. Webster’s environmental management online master's degree focuses on the business aspects of environmental management, presenting ethical, financial, and legal concepts integral to managing natural resources. Students learn to assess risks, conduct environmental research, and communicate with stakeholders.
The 36-credit master of science in environmental management degree track explores environmental risk management and strategies, environmental regulations and compliance auditing, and operations and project management. Along with core environmental management coursework, candidates complete nine elective credits from other departments.
Learners can also pursue an emphasis in environmental sustainability, exploring the relationship between resource management and sustainable practices. Requiring three additional credits, this track includes courses in environmental ethics and decision-making as well as natural resource management and sustainability. Students must complete 12 graduate credits with a "B-" or better before earning status as a master’s candidate.
Applicants to the environmental management master's program must hold a bachelor's degree earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA. While Webster does not expect applicants to provide GRE scores or hold relevant professional experience, prospective students who have not completed six credits of undergraduate statistics must take a prerequisite graduate-level course in applied statistics.
All distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of their residency status. Military members enjoy additional tuition discounts and scholarship opportunities.
University of Illinois at Springfield
|Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Distance learners pursuing an online master's in environmental management at UIS build a strong scientific knowledge base that prepares them to evaluate, analyze, and manage environmental problems. Students learn to research, assess, and develop short-term and long-term solutions to environmental challenges as they strengthen their literacy in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
The 40-credit MA in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental planning and management includes 12 core credits, 24 credits concentration requirements and electives, and a four-credit culminating experience. Core courses include research methods in environmental studies, environmental natural sciences, and environmental social sciences and humanities. Candidates can choose from three closure options: a formal thesis, a graduate project, or a capstone course. Learners who wish to compose a thesis or graduate project must obtain approval from their adviser. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Once admitted, distance learners complete an online orientation session and work with an academic adviser to develop an individualized plan of study. The department chair must approve each student's academic plan. Applicants to this environmental management online master's program must demonstrate a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
UIS charges in-state and out-of-state distance learners the same tuition rate. The university also offers several institutional scholarships and financial aid opportunities to graduate students.
Colorado State University
|Fort Collins, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Featuring concentrations in ecological restoration, forest sciences, and rangeland ecology and management, CSU’s career-focused online master of natural resource stewardship allows learners to gain specialized knowledge and skills.
Many program graduates pursue careers as environmental planners or coordinators, land managers, and stewardship coordinators, taking jobs with the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the National Park Service. Taught by faculty members with practical experience in the field, the program prepares graduates to solve current problems related to natural resource management.
Offered through the school's department of forest and rangeland stewardship, this online master's program combines synchronous and asynchronous instruction. This format facilitates interactions between classmates and instructors, while allowing students to work full time and take care of other personal responsibilities. All distance students pay the same tuition rate -- no distinction is made between in-state and out-of-state learners.
Consisting of 30 credits, the curriculum includes 14 core credits, nine specialization credits, and seven elective credits. Core courses include an analysis of environmental impact, ecology of disturbed lands, and natural resources inventory and data analysis. Students also explore degraded landscape restoration processes, National Environmental Policy Act compliance, and the ways in which human systems interact with natural environmental processes. During a two-credit stewardship seminar, learners survey ethical and professional elements within environmental management as they explore career opportunities in the field.
Applicants to CSU's natural resource stewardship master's program must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students are expected to demonstrate some paid or volunteer experience in the field.
University of Houston - Clear Lake
|Houston, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Taking an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problems, UHCL’s 36-credit master of science in environmental science prepares students for careers in government and the public sector, medicine, and consulting. Distance learners who enroll in three courses each semester can graduate in just 16 months.
Featuring environmental biology, environmental chemistry, and environmental geology specializations, this program explores issues such as geospatial and geographical information systems, environmental sampling and analysis, and aquatic and marine biology. Courses cover applied statistical methods, research methods in environmental science, statistical analysis.
After completing an environmental science graduate seminar, candidates choose a faculty supervisor and select a topic for their final research paper. Prior to graduation, students present their conclusions in an online seminar. Dedicated faculty advisers help students select elective courses.
Individuals interested in earning an online master's degree in environmental management must have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA over their final 60 undergraduate credits. They must also have scored at least 290 on the GRE. Applicants with lower GPAs may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Before enrolling in graduate courses, students must complete at least 34 undergraduate credits in the natural sciences and six undergraduate math credits. Applicants should also submit a personal statement describing their academic and professional goals and two letters of recommendation.
Rochester Institute of Technology
|Rochester, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Founded in 1829, this New York institution champions experiential learning and career education. RIT holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Full-time distance learners can earn an online master's in environmental, health, and safety management from RIT's college of engineering technology in two years, while part-timers can graduate in four years.
This program introduces fundamental environmental, health, and safety management systems that enhance organizational sustainability. Master’s candidates gain technical knowledge in areas like solid and hazardous waste, air emissions, and occupational health. The 30-credit curriculum includes classes like corporate social responsibility, principles of research communications, and research methods.
After fulfilling core and elective course requirements, candidates complete a graduate project, thesis, or comprehensive exam. Each culminating experience option features slightly different elective requirements. Program graduates can go on to find employment at environmental, health, and safety consultancies; government agencies; and universities.
RIT accepts applications year round. Prospective students must hold a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and proof of some environmental management experience or academic training. All distance learners pay the same price per credit, regardless of their residency status. Online environmental management students gain access to library resources and services, career specialists, and personalized academic advising.
University of Idaho
|Moscow, ID||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
U of I offers two online master's degrees related to environmental management: a master of natural resources and a master of science in environmental science. Each degree track consists of 30 credits.
Designed for working professionals with some experience in the field, the interdisciplinary, course-based master of natural resources takes a systems approach to environmental management. Students can complete the program in just three semesters and transfer in up to 12 credits.
Incorporating coursework in biological, physical, and social sciences, the environmental science MS includes thesis and non-thesis options. Thesis students complete 26 credits of coursework and at least six thesis credits, while non-thesis students complete at least four credits of original research and 26 course credits. Learners who select the non-thesis research option must complete a substantial project under faculty supervision. Thesis students work with a three-member faculty committee to develop a proposal and deliver their conclusions.
Candidates in both tracks must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. U of I maintains rolling admissions and accepts applications year-round. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate.
While prospective students are expected to hold a undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, applicants can gain conditional admission if they demonstrate significant professional experience, present a letter of faculty support, or compose an essay sufficiently describing their academic goals. All applicants must provide three letters of recommendation from former instructors or professional contacts.
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
|Whitewater, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Presented through the university's college of business and economics, UW-Whitewater’s online master of science in environmental safety and health is well-suited for professionals seeking advanced public- and private-sector positions. The degree track is recognized by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and prepares learners to pursue the graduate safety practitioner credential after graduation.
The program features two options with different credit requirements. The 30-credit track features 24 required credits, three elective credits, and a three-credit research capstone course. Alternatively, the 36-credit track includes 24 required credits and 12 elective credits, six of which must come from designated safety courses.
Both tracks share core curricula that cover regulatory compliance, environmental stewardship, and risk management through courses in disaster planning and response, principles of occupational epidemiology, and behavioral aspects of accident prevention. Most courses last eight weeks, and full-time learners can graduate in two years. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. In-state and out-of-state online learners pay the same tuition.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college. Applicants should have completed at least 20 undergraduate credits in science, math, business, and/or engineering, along with one semester each of probability and statistics and chemistry. UW-Whitewater also expects applicants to hold at least one year of full-time relevant professional experience in environmental health and safety and demonstrate proficiency in computer programs, such as Microsoft Office.
|Prescott, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
This Arizona college began offering distance education in 1978 and continues to provide flexible, high-quality degrees for busy individuals. Prescott College's hybrid master of arts in environmental studies combines synchronous and asynchronous learning, integrating web-based coursework with in-person mentored studies and opportunities to collaborate with faculty and classmates.
After mastering foundational concepts, candidates learn to apply practical and theoretical aspects of environmental studies to current ecological challenges. Graduates pursue careers as environmental lawyers, conservation biologists, forest service researchers, and environmental managers.
The 36-credit MA in environmental studies and sustainability emphasizes customization, encouraging students to design a degree plan that matches their personal academic passions and career goals. Possible paths of study include environmental education, conservation science, and film studies. Major classes address topics such as climate justice and climate consequences, ecogender for the 21st century, and the spiritual components of environmental education. Distance learners must attend an on-campus orientation at the beginning of the program and participate in one in-person colloquium each semester.
While Prescott College's environmental management master's program does not require GRE scores or designate a minimum GPA, applicants must submit official college transcripts and a resume. Prospective students should also provide a personal essay describing their educational goals, academic background, and professional qualifications. The school accepts graduate transfer credits earned at regionally accredited colleges on a case-by-case basis. Arizona residents and out-of-state distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate.
|Troy, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Founded over 130 years ago, Troy is a public university in Alabama with a robust distance education division. Troy offers 70 web-based degrees, including a 36-credit online environmental policy degree. Emphasizing problem-solving skills, the master of science in environmental and biological sciences - environmental policy includes core courses in public health, environmental and biological ethics, and research methodology and experimental design. Learners also complete 27 elective credits, choosing from topics like biological ethics, public health and policy, and global pollution.
Classes are delivered asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. Each online course lasts nine weeks, and there are five enrollment dates throughout the year. Distance learners enjoy access to online tutoring services, virtual exam proctoring, and career assistance. Troy also offers 24/7 technical assistance online and by phone. Troy accepts up to 12 graduate-level transfer credits from regionally accredited universities earned with a "B" or better.
Prospective students must complete a series of prerequisite courses, including a junior- or senior-level biology class, ecology, statistics, and general chemistry. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, preferably in a technical or scientific field. Learners need a minimum 2.5 GPA, or a 3.0 or higher over their last 30 undergraduate credits, to receive unconditional admission into the online master's in environmental policy and management program. Applicants should also provide GRE scores and a letter of recommendation.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
- Best Online Master's in Environmental Management Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Duke University Durham, NC 2 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 5 Webster University Saint Louis, MO 6 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX 7 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 8 University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD 9 Green Mountain College Poultney, VT 10 Prescott College Prescott, AZ