2022 Best Online Master's Degrees for Environmental Science
Students interested in furthering their careers will find that these 10 colleges offer the best online master’s in environmental science degrees based on the alumni salary for each program. Environmental science students study current research about sustainability and environmental policy in order to affect change and make advancements in science. Earning a master’s in environmental science allows individuals to develop research methods, expand their knowledge, and advance their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for environmental scientists is expected to grow 8% by 2030.
2022 Best Online Master's Degrees for Environmental Science
|Rank||School||Salary Score||Median Starting Salary|
|# 1||University of Houston - Clear Lake||$68,334|
|# 2||University of Denver||97||$64,755|
|# 4||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||91||$55,619|
|# 5||American Public University System||89||$53,209|
|# 6||Arizona State University||88||$52,760|
|# 7||North Carolina State University||85||$49,395|
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2022 Online Colleges Offering Master's Degrees
#1 University of Houston - Clear Lake
The University of Houston - Clear Lake (UHCL) is a medium-sized, public institution that offers an online Master of Environmental Science requiring 36 credit hours. The curriculum aims to train students in environmental problem-solving techniques, and there are three possible specializations: (1) Environmental Biology, (2) Environmental Chemistry, and (3) Environmental Geology. To graduate, students must complete all program requirements — such as a graduate seminar and various research projects — which can take 16 months with a full-time schedule. Graduates may follow a range of career paths, including petroleum, medicine, consulting, and policy.
At UHCL, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is fully online and can be done at either a full- or part-time pace. Online students may also access the university library and student resource centers.
#2 University of Denver
The University of Denver (UD) is a medium-sized, private institution that offers an online Master of Environmental Policy and Management requiring 48 credit hours. The curriculum offers insight into modern-day environmental issues and policies. There are eight concentrations, including Energy & Sustainability, Environmental Health & Safety, and Natural Resource Management. To graduate, students must complete all courses with a passing grade, which can take 18 months at a full-time pace. Graduates are often equipped to become policy managers, environmental field supervisors, and company managers, to name a few.
At UD, students use Canvas to access their online coursework, which is asynchronous. Also, online students have access to the university library and student resource centers.
#4 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT) is a large, public institution that offers an online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Environmental Science requiring 30 credit hours. The curriculum focuses on environmental quality and human health, specifically. Within the environmental science concentration, some core classes are Communicating Research and Leadership in Agriculture and Life Science, Reclamation of Disturbed Lands, and Soils for Professionals. Besides coursework, students must also take a final exam. Overall, it can take two years to graduate with a full-time schedule. Graduates may go on to enjoy careers in natural resources & conservation, green industry, and government policy.
At VT, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online. Additionally, online students have access to the university library and student resource centers.
#5 American Public University System
American Public University System (APUS) is a large, private institution that offers an online Master of Environmental Policy and Management requiring 36 credit hours. The curriculum aims to train students in environmental strategies and policies. APUS offers a general track as well as four concentrations for this master's program: (1) Global Environmental Management, (3) Environmental Sustainability, (3) Fish and Wildlife Management, and (4) Environmental Planning. Students must complete a capstone project to graduate. Overall, it may take students one to two years with a full-time pace to finish this degree. Graduates may enter careers in renewable energy, ecosystems management, and political ecology.
At APUS, students use Sakai to access their online coursework, which is asynchronous, meaning that students have the flexibility to complete work at a full- or part-time pace. Additionally, online students have access to the university library and student resource centers.
#6 Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) is a large, public institution that offers several online graduate programs that emphasize environmental science through an action-focused lens: (1) Sustainable Tourism, (2) Sustainable Food Systems, (3) Sustainable Engineering, (4) Sustainable Leadership, (5) Biomimicry, and (6) Law and Sustainability. This wide gamut of degree options at the master's level demonstrates how to apply the theories of environmental science into real-world action for prospective students looking to make a difference. If you are having trouble choosing, graduate students can simultaneously pursue two degrees. All of the master's degrees listed above are 30 credit hours, except for Sustainable Tourism, which is 31. Overall, ASU predicts that their master's programs take students about two years to complete. However, if they take on more credit hours than the regular amount or apply transfer credits, they may graduate even sooner.
At ASU, online students use the university's own learning management system called, My ASU. The ASU online credits students earn through remote coursework are treated no differently than credits earned on campus, meaning that students can transfer them to other schools if they wish. Additionally, it's important to note that the majority of ASU's online courses can be finished entirely online from any state or country.
#7 North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University (NCSU) is a large, public institution that offers an online Master of Environmental Assessment requiring 30 credit hours. The curriculum aims to provide students with a more in-depth understanding of science-based decision-making. Some core classes for this major include Data Analysis in Environmental Assessment and Environmental Risk Assessment. To graduate, students must complete all program requirements, such as a professional project, which can take one to two years with a full-time schedule. Graduates of the program may go on to explore careers in project management, policy-making, and engineering.
At NCSU, students use Moodle to access their online coursework, which is asynchronous. This means that students can complete coursework at their own pace, either through a full- or part-time schedule. Additionally, online students may access the university library and student resource centers.