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2023 Most Affordable Online Master's in Environmental Science

By the OnlineU team | Updated 12/12/2022
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An online master's in environmental science can help prepare students to solve problems with our natural and man-made environments. Prospective students will focus on topics like conservation, sustainability, environmental policy, environmental planning, data gathering and analysis, and resource stewardship. In addition to the core curricula, many programs offer specific concentrations around planning, sustainability, or management. Some degrees also require the completion of a capstone course for graduation.

A master's in environmental science degree can lead to a wide variety of careers, including conservation management, wildlife management, environmental policy, or agriculture. Graduates often pursue positions in agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife, or U.S. Forest Service.

View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us. You can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees for some inspiration.

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Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Ohio University - Main Campus Athens (OH) $6,324
# 2 #2 American Public University System Charles Town (WV) $6,660
# 3 #3 Chadron State College Chadron (NE) $6,840
# 4 #4 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins (CO) $7,050
# 5 #5 Sam Houston State University Huntsville (TX) $7,583
# 6 #6 Black Hills State University Spearfish (SD) $7,762
# 7 #7 Mississippi State University Mississippi State (MS) $8,085
# 8 #8 University of Idaho Moscow (ID) $8,970
# 9 #9 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln (NE) $9,000
# 10 #10 Old Dominion University Norfolk (VA) $9,375
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $6,324
Annual Tuition: $6,324
Annual Tuition: $6,324

The Ohio University - Main Campus (OU) is a large public institution that offers an online Master of Sustainability, Security, and Resilience program requiring 30 credit hours. This five-semester program can be completed in 18 months and is designed for working professionals. OU's acceptance rate is 87%, and 65% of students graduate with their degrees.

At OU, online students complete their coursework using the ​​Blackboard asynchronous system. The curriculum for this degree aims to equip students with the skills and experience needed to lead organizational planning, policy, and communication in the face of rapid environmental change. Core classes include Resilience Theory and Practice, Environmental Leadership, and Energy Systems and Policy. To graduate, students will complete three stackable certificates and a capstone course. Career opportunities include city planners and elected officials, government agency staff, and research scientists.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,926
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,892
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $6,660
Annual Tuition: $6,660
Annual Tuition: $6,660

The American Public University System (APU) is a large for-profit institution offering an online Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management. Concentrations for this degree include (1) Environmental Planning, (2) Environmental Sustainability, (3) Fish and Wildlife Management, and (4) Global Environmental Management. APU also offers an online Master of Public Policy with a concentration in environmental policy. Both courses require 36 credit hours, and course length varies from 8 to 16 weeks.

Students at APU access their coursework asynchronously via MyClassroom. The Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management curriculum provides students with knowledge about environmental management tools and solutions, resource availability, and environmental data analysis, as well as the latest trends in energy, conservation, and industrial impacts on the environment. Coursework includes Environmental Management, Environmental Economics, and Environmental Ethics.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,335
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 7,914
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#3
#3

Chadron State College

Chadron (NE)
Annual Tuition: $6,840
Annual Tuition: $6,840
Annual Tuition: $6,840

Chadron State College (CSC) - a public institution with a small student body - offers a Master of Science in Organizational Management - Focus in Natural Resources. This course requires 36 credit hours to complete and is offered on a three-year course rotation.

CSC uses the Sakai learning system, and coursework is delivered asynchronously. The curriculum for this program is designed to prepare individuals for natural resource management, administrative, or leadership positions within corporate, government, or not-for-profit settings. Research Design and Data Analysis, Organizational Leadership, and Theories of Conflict Resolution and Mediation are examples of the courses offered in this program. Graduates may pursue careers in conservation, wildlife habitats, environmental consulting, and environmental policy.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 601
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 466
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $7,050
Annual Tuition: $7,050
Annual Tuition: $7,050

Colorado State University - Fort Collins (CSU) is a large public institution offering an online Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, as well as an online Master of Natural Resources Stewardship with specializations in Ecological Restoration, Forest Sciences, or Rangeland Ecology and Management. Requiring 30 credit hours, these degrees are designed to be completed in as little as 2.5 years.

Online students at CSU Fort Collins will complete their coursework on Canvas, either synchronously or asynchronously, depending on the class. Sample courses might include Conservation Biology, Management of Wildlife Habitat, and Analysis of Environmental Impacts. Graduates often go on to work in the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, or the U.S. Forest Service.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 79%
  • Average SATs: 1070 -1290
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,253
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,492
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $7,583
Annual Tuition: $7,583
Annual Tuition: $7,583

Sam Houston State University (SHSU), a public institution with a large student body, offers an online Master of Agriculture - Sustainable Agriculture & Food Environment that requires 36 credit hours to complete.

SHSU uses the Blackboard learning system to deliver courses synchronously or asynchronously, depending on the class. The Master of Agriculture - Sustainable Agriculture & Food Environment curriculum provides an applied knowledge of plants, animals, and soils, with a blend of eco-friendly practices and problem-solving skills to promote sustainable agriculture and food systems. Core classes include Agricultural Advocacy and Alternative Agricultural Enterprises, with electives like Agritourism and Soil Ecology rounding out the coursework. This program primarily serves landowners seeking ideas for sustainable agriculture enterprises as well as those seeking to increase their knowledge of sustainable agriculture.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,120
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,562
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

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