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Environmental Science has become a really hot topic in the modern world. Ever since the close of World War II, commerce, industry, agriculture, and so many other sectors have eroded the environment and depleted and destroyed so much of our natural resources. Master’s in Environmental Science online programs are designed for students and working professionals who want to preserve and conserve the environment and earth of tomorrow. These degrees examine where environmental science intersects with geography, ecology, biology, sociology, hydrology, soil science, political science, engineering, and chemistry, to maintain current habitats and keep biodiversity at the forefront. Online Environmental Science degrees provide the skills required to make a difference for those interested in studying the environment and developing environmental solutions. Multidisciplinary scientific methods are used in the coursework of Environmental Science to better understand the interaction between social and natural systems. Consequently, students develop the expertise and skills they will need to succeed in the field of Environmental Science.
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Best Masters in Environmental Science Online Programs
With hundreds of colleges offering Environmental Science programs all across the United States, finding the best ones is never an easy task. To qualify as the best, a college has to meet or exceed certain standards in aspects such as the experience and quality of faculty, infrastructure, accreditation, depth and scope of the programs on offer, affordability, reputation, and more. Based on these factors, OMC has drawn up a list of some of the best Environmental Science graduate programs:
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Understanding Masters in Environmental Science Programs
Environmental Science programs typically combine various academic disciplines to investigate how different parts of nature and human communities function and interact. Students of Master’s in Environmental Science online programs commit to the sustainable conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, as well as the regulation of biological, chemical, and physical agents in the environment, such as air, water, and soil, to avoid harmful effects on humans and other living species.
Just as the world is gearing up for protecting the now battered environment, graduates of these programs will be prepared for a range of new opportunities in the government and the private sectors of Environmental Science.
Masters in Environmental Science Degree Types
Students enrolled in online Master’s in Environmental Science programs learn how to align social and economic needs with environmental realities, how to use resources creatively for sustainable growth, and how to recognize the importance of values in problem formulation and policymaking. Students can improve natural and social science literacy, learn to objectively examine environmental issues, and devise strategies based on sound scientific practices in the curriculum. To achieve all this, students can choose from several degree types, each distinctly different and diverse.
MS in Environmental Science
While the Master of Arts or MA program takes a more interdisciplinary approach towards teaching Environmental Science, a Master of Science or MS Environmental Science takes on a more scientific and technical approach.
MPA Environmental Science
The Master of Public Administration or MPA in Environmental Science focuses on the formulation of policy and the management of organizations by understanding social, economic, and environmental perspectives of sustainability. This degree also teaches students how to handle organizational change, design various programs and policies, and explore political feasibility.
Master of Arts Environmental Studies
Branching out from the department of arts and humanities is the MA or Master of Arts Environmental Studies. This program uses an interdisciplinary approach by insights and research from areas such as sociology, applied anthropology, cultural geography, ecology, philosophy of science, economics, media studies, social entrepreneurship, and political science.
Environmental MBA Online
An Environmental MBA online looks at the study of Environmental Science from a more commercial and administrative perspective. This program prepares students for leadership, managerial, or consulting positions in a variety of industries that are committed to meeting environmental sustainability goals, standards, and regulations.
Specializations in Masters in Environmental Science Programs
Specializations, especially in Environmental Science, have become increasingly important with the advent of job opportunities and the need for expertise in more specific subject areas. There are five major fields of Environmental Science – Chemistry, Ecology, Geoscience, Social Science, and Atmospheric Science. Students who take up specializations in these or other fields/subfields are better able to work in niche areas of environmental conservation and preservation and create opportunities for themselves to advance in their careers. Master’s in Environmental Science online specializations include but are not limited to:
Apparel Merchandising and Product Development
Sustainability / Sustainable Natural Resources
Human Nutrition and Hospitality Innovation
Human Development and Family Sciences
Geographic Information Science
General Human Environmental Sciences
Water Conflict Management
There is a whole spectrum of concentrations in the field of Environmental Science, with many colleges offering some of the following Master’s programs that narrow the study down to specific areas:
Master of Science and Master of Agriculture in Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences
Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences
Master of Science in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Master of Science in Agriculture and Natural Resources
Master of Plant and Soil Science.
Master of Horticultural Science
Master of Engineering in Sustainable Energy Engineering
Master of Wildlife Science.
Master of Environmental Assessment
Masters in Natural Resources and Environmental Science
Master of Natural Resource Stewardship
Master of Science in Sustainable Management
Master of Science in Environmental Safety and Health Management
Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems
Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management
Master of Forest Biomaterials
Master of Science in Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems
Master of Environmental Health
Master of Science in Ecological Restoration
Master of Soil Science
Master of Arts in Environmental Studies
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Environmental Science Online Programs
Almost all Environmental Science online courses are research-based, but they also profoundly include traditional courses. These multidisciplinary courses build on what a student has already learned and help them gain deeper insights into a variety of topics. The curricula of Environmental Science courses also teach students how to develop and use their environmental problem-solving skills by using their scientific abilities and research knowledge.
A Master’s in Environmental Science online program typically includes various science courses as well as other interdisciplinary courses, such as politics, economics, statistics, toxicology, epidemiology, law, and economics, among others. Here is a long list of courses that often make up the curricula of Environmental Science programs:
Integrated Environmental Issues
Health Effects of Environmental Pollutants
Energy and Environment
Design of Environmental Management Systems
Multimedia Chemical Behavior for Risk Assessment
Environmental Policy Analysis
Research Methods in Environmental Studies
Environmental Exposure Assessment
Statistics for Environmental Science
History of Energy
Drinking-Water and Human Health
Environmental Law and Regulation
Environmental Risk Analysis
Environmental Social Sciences and the Humanities
Geospatial Data Processing Technique
Geospatial Techniques for Environmental Management
Advanced Climatology and Climate Change
Environmental Natural Sciences
Sampling and Analysis of Environmental Contaminants
Decision Methods in Natural Resources
Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems
Environmental Soil Science
Environmental Monitoring and Analysis
Global Environmental Law and Policy
Weather and Climate
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Environmental Lifecycle Assessment
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Environmental Planning for Sustainable Communities and Regions
Public and Occupational Health
Geography of Soils
Coastal & Marine Environments
Environmental Aspects of Urban Growth
In general, graduates of a Master’s in Environmental Science will go on to demonstrate a wide range of skills earned from their degrees, such as the ability to:
support market mechanisms that ensure accessible, sustainable, culturally acceptable, and balanced food that meets current nutritional needs;
support food and agricultural policies that encourage the production and consumption of balanced, sustainable foods;
fulfill nutritional needs and devise mechanisms to conserve food for future generations;
help businesses and organizations attain energy efficiency and also prevent them from further damaging the environment;
promote better working conditions and increased wages for producers and workers along the food chain;
enhance and ensure food security (resiliency), and build resources for sustainable food system goals;
reduce adverse environmental and health impacts of food processing and distribution;
minimize water wastage, greenhouse gas emissions, the use of synthetic fertilizer and pesticide applications, and food waste;
develop techniques and create strategies that can help prevent environmental hazards for humans and other living organisms;
create services that help people adopt healthier eating habits; and
device mechanisms to preserve soil, prevent its erosion and improve its quality.
Additionally, students would also have developed the following transferable skills:
Teamwork and independent work
Awareness of environmental issues and trends
Self-management, including planning and meeting deadlines
Numeracy and statistical and data analysis
Effective spoken and written professional communication
Ability to infer and present findings clearly and persuasively
General software and computer skills
Broad-based research skills
Ability to effectively use scientific literature
Lab and fieldwork skills
Ability to deal with issues from multiple angles
Accreditation for Masters in Environmental Science Online Programs
Students who wish to enroll for a Master’s in Environmental Science degree should always check to see if the program they’re considering is regionally, nationally, or programmatically accredited. Environmental Science degrees online accredited programs are far greatly valued than those that are not. Accreditation endorses the reach and quality of the program, as well as the credibility and capability of the college. Even if accreditation is not programmatic, regional accreditation also guarantees authenticity and value. Some organizations that accredit colleges or programs on a regional basis are:
Students would do well to reach the Accreditation Guide for more and exact information on accreditation.
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Environmental Science Online Programs
A Master’s in Environmental Science online degree usually takes about two years to obtain by full-time students, while part-timers, who may have to work and study, can take about four years or more. However, most Universities will require the student to complete the program within six years.
Some colleges even offer accelerated programs by which students can earn this Master’s degree in about one year or so.
Masters in Environmental Science Online Programs Admission Requirements
Individuals interested in applying to Master’s in Environmental Science online programs have to meet certain eligibility criteria and admission requirements. Most Master’s in Environmental Science prerequisites are akin to what one would come to expect in other Master’s programs, in that students are expected to hold a Bachelor’s degree through some specific coursework. In addition to completing an application and paying the application fee, typical requirements for admission to a Master’s in Environmental Science program are as follows:
have earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited University;
have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 and above;
Additionally, some colleges require applicants to have completed prerequisite courses in physical, biological, and social sciences, as well as in mathematics, statistics, and scientific or technical writing.
Note: In most cases, GRE and other standardized test scores are not required. However, students are advised to check the program guide or consult the college’s admissions office for exact requirements because they vary by college and program.
Masters in Environmental Science Online No GRE Programs
Free online courses Environmental Studies are offered by several online education portals. But one should be aware that many of these courses are not accredited and do not confer a Master’s degree on the student. Having said that, these courses can aid students or working professionals in acquiring more in-depth knowledge in a specific area of Environmental Science. Here are a few to choose from:
MIT OpenCourseware The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MIT OpenCourseware has a wide range of courses available, from topics on Earth Systems and Climate Science to Engineering for Sustainability, Environmental Governance, and Environmental Histories and Cultures.
Harvard University Harvard University provides a good choice of about 27 Environmental Science courses. While most of these are paid courses, a few of them can be taken up for free.
OpenLearn OpenLearn has a variety of courses, including badged courses, ‘lunchtime learning’ courses, and eBooks, all available at three different levels – Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Coursera Coursera provides courses on Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Environmental Science, Climate Change, and much more from reputed universities like the University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Cape Town, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.
Environmental Heroes Environmental Heroes provides a compilation and links to courses that are offered by the United Nations Institute for Training (UNITAR), United Nations Climate Change: Learn (UNCC), United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Learn (UN SDG), and others.
1-Year Environmental Science Programs
Students looking for a one-year Environmental Master’s will be pleased to know that a few colleges offer such accelerated programs. However, in most cases, the duration of such degrees hinges on the type of program, course content and requisites, and concentrations or specializations. For example, the concentration program of Master of Public Administration – Environmental Science Policy (MPA-ESP) offered by the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs requires only one year to complete.
How to Pay for Masters in Environmental Science Online Programs
Tuition for typical Master’s in Environmental Science online programs in the United States can add up to several thousand dollars, with the cost usually calculated on a per-credit basis. With every passing year, the cost of a Master’s program only keeps rising, forcing students to look for external sources of funding, some of which are:
Merit-based scholarships, alumnae-funded grants, and fellowships are available at several universities to deserving students. Scholarships are often given out by private entities based on academic performance, community service, cultural heritage, religious affiliation, and other factors. (Note: Read up on Scholarship Scamsto avoid being conned and cheated.)
Grants are often need-based, and they do not necessarily cover an awardee’s entire tuition bill alone. They are also used to cover other student and education-related expenditures such as books, research materials, travel, student housing, etc.
Federal loans, bank loans, and private loans can be relatively simple ways to raise funds. However, students should bear in mind that loans accrue interest, and late payments will result in higher education costs and student debt.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Research Assistantships are two options for financing a Master’s degree. Graduate Assistants earn a decent amount for supporting senior teachers with a variety of activities, including routine paperwork, class planning and preparation, and even tutoring academically weak students.
Working on Campus
Another choice for funding a Master’s in Environmental Science is for students to serve on campus as University employees. This part-time employment may be enough to cover at least some portion of the tuition fee.
The best Financial Guide covers other funding mechanisms and provides more information on funding options.
FAQs about ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE Programs
Masters in Environmental Science worth it?
A Master’s in Environmental Science can provide for a very promising career. Graduates get a deep sense of accomplishment and joy from the fact that they are helping with preserving the earth. And they can also easily find jobs and work as Environmental Scientists and Foresters, Alternative Energy Managers, or Environmental Compliance Specialists, and such, which yield very good salaries. So, investing in this Master’s degree is a good idea.
What is Environmental Science and Policy?
Environmental Science and Policy is a concentration of the larger Environmental Science Master’s program. In this program, students learn how to develop and use scientific principles, strategies, and mechanisms to improve environmental function, bring about societal change, and deal with issues harming the environment, predominantly through policy and policy change.
Who can study Environmental Science?
Students interested in sociology, anthropology, geography, and other environmental-related subjects and who harbor a deep desire to better the earth, conserve and preserve it are best suited to take up a Master’s in Environmental Science. However, it is important to note that a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field, is one of the prerequisites for admission to the program.
Where to study Environmental Science?
Environmental Science can be studied all over the Unites Stats on-campus or through distance learning programs and online programs. A list of some of the best colleges to enroll for a Master’s in Environmental Science is provided in this article.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Environmental Science Graduates
Graduation from an accredited Master’s in Environmental Science online program can lead to very promising jobs in career areas such as:
Energy and Sustainability
Environmental and Climate Science
Occupational Safety and Compliance
Government and Environmental Policy
In addition to these career areas, graduates can also carve out lucrative careers in education settings, such as universities, colleges, and technical schools, and also work in federal agencies that create national nutrition and health policies, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other settings and careers include but are not limited to:
State and Local Agencies such as the State Dept. of Health, Supplemental Food Programs, Dept. of Agriculture, etc.;
Urban Planning and Development Organizations;
Community Development Corporations; and
The typical job profiles and roles in the Environmental Science industry are:
To understand what salaries Environmental Science jobs command in the industry, here is a small list of examples that cover some key roles, and their median annual salaries, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Certifications and Licensing for Environmental Science Graduates
Although certifications are a matter of choice and not mandated by the job market, having one or more of them can certainly improve one’s prospects in securing high-paying jobs and provide ample opportunity for career advancement. Certifications endorse an individual’s knowledge and skill, and Master’s in Environmental Science online graduates would do well to certificate themselves to work in certain unique subfields of Environmental Science.
Additional Resources for Environmental Science Professionals
The preservation of our planet, conservation of natural resources, climate change, sustainability, and other such fields in Environmental Science, are global issues that require collaborated effort to take forward and make progress. Graduates of a Master’s in Environmental Science online would do well to connect with other like-minded peers to compare notes, share ideas, theorize, and work together to bring about change and achieve true success. Here are a few resources to help students and working professionals in the field of Environmental Science:
The United States Environmental Protection Agency For those interested in teaching Environmental Science, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers lesson plans, teacher guides, and other online environmental resources for educators.
Environmental Science.org For everything Environmental Science and its related fields, Environmental Science.org is akin to a Bible. The site has loads of information on Environmental Science careers and degrees and journals and articles as well.
Gale Gale provides useful tools for environmental research and education and covers topics such as ecology, pollution, sustainability, global warming, renewable energy, and more.
The Ecological Society of America The Ecological Society of America (ESA) aims to promote ecological science by improving communication among ecologists. From events to webinars, publications, journals, career development, and programs, this site has it all! There is also an online community of ecologists and environmental scientists worldwide that one could become a member of.
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