Masters in Environmental Science Online
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.
Featured Online Programs
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:Link to this Page
|College Name & Address||Tuition||Graduation Rate|
University of Wisconsin, Madison
500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
601 E John Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Auburn, Alabama 36849
103 Allen Bldg, Durham, North Carolina 27708
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21218
University of Arkansas
Administration Bldg 425, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
University of Findlay
1000 North Main Street, Findlay, Ohio 45840
90 Quaker Hill Road, Unity, Maine 04988
Montana State University
Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717
470 E Lockwood Ave., Saint Louis, Missouri 63119
Oregon State University
1500 SW Jefferson Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon 97331
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2282, Moscow, Idaho 83844
University of Illinois, Springfield
One University Plaza, Springfield, Illinois 62703
East Central University
1100 E. 14th Street, Ada, Oklahoma 74820
Louisiana State University
One University Place, Shreveport, Louisiana 71115
Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available
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:
- Environmental Biology
- Environmental Geology
- Environmental Chemistry
- Desert Ecosystems
- Apparel Merchandising and Product Development
- Sustainability / Sustainable Natural Resources
- Human Nutrition and Hospitality Innovation
- Human Development and Family Sciences
- Land-Air Interactions
- Geographic Information Science
- General Human Environmental Sciences
- Fisheries Management
- Water Conflict Management
- Water Resources
- Forest Management
- Urban Agriculture
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
- Environmental Chemistry
- Energy and Environment
- Environmental Toxicology
- Design of Environmental Management Systems
- Marine Ecotoxicology
- Applied Ecology
- Environmental Engineering
- Multimedia Chemical Behavior for Risk Assessment
- Environmental Policy Analysis
- Research Methods in Environmental Studies
- Environmental Exposure Assessment
- Statistics for Environmental Science
- Spatial Modelling
- History of Energy
- Drinking-Water and Human Health
- Environmental Law and Regulation
- Environmental Practicum
- Environmental Seminar
- Environmental Philosophy
- 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 Stressors
- 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
- Critical evaluation
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:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)
One other accrediting organization is the National Environmental Health, Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC), the only non-profit organization in the United States that accredits stand-alone Environmental Health Academic Programs.
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;
- submit all official academic transcripts;
- provide a Personal Statement or a Statement of Purpose; and
- submit three letters of recommendation.
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
Most graduate schools require students to take up standardized tests such as the GRE or GMAT and submit their scores as an admission requirement. However, and fortunately for some, many of the Environmental Science programs do not require a GRE score. Colleges such as the American Public University (APU), Johns Hopkins University, University of Findlay, Texas Tech University, and the University of West Florida offer Masters in Environmental Science online NO GRE programs. Here are a few more university that offer Masters in Environmental Science Online No GRE programs:
Free Online Courses Environmental Studies
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 has a variety of courses, including badged courses, ‘lunchtime learning’ courses, and eBooks, all available at three different levels – Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced.
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 Scams to 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 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a form used to assess a student’s financial aid eligibility. More information on FAFSA can be found here.
The best Financial Guide covers other funding mechanisms and provides more information on funding options.
FAQs about ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE Programs
|Q: Masters in Environmental Science worth it?|
|A: 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.|
|Q: What is Environmental Science and Policy?|
|A: 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.|
|Q: Who can study Environmental Science?|
|A: 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.|
|Q: Where to study Environmental Science?|
|A: 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:
- General Research
- Biological Science
- Energy and Sustainability
- Climate Change
- Water Management
- Environmental and Climate Science
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Technology
- Occupational Safety and Compliance
- Government and Environmental Policy
- Health Care
- Corporate wellness
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
- Non-Profit Organizations
The typical job profiles and roles in the Environmental Science industry are:
- Alternative Energy Manager
- Sustainability Specialist
- Water Resource Specialist
- Environmental Planner / Scientist
- Environmental Compliance Specialist
- Research Associate
- Research Scientist
- Natural Sciences Research Manager
- Environmental Consultant
- Biology Research Scientist
- Science Technician
- Research Assistant
- Climate Control Scientist
- Cell Biologist
- Molecular Biologist
- Wildlife Biologist
- Atmospheric Scientist
As for career prospects, according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Environmental Scientists and Specialists are expected to experience 8% more demand between 2019 and 2029, much faster than average. And while openings for Environmental Engineers are said to increase by 3% during the same period, those for Conservation Scientists and Foresters are predicted to go up by 5%, and Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians by a more than healthy 7%.
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):
- Geoscientist: $93,580
- Conservation Scientists and Forester: $64,010
- Environmental Scientists and Specialist: $73,230
- Environmental Engineer: $92,120
- Agriculture and Food Scientist: $68,830
- Natural Sciences Manager: $137,940
- Epidemiologist: $74,560
- Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist: $66,350
- Environmental Science and Protection Technician: $46,850
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.
Several industry-recognized bodies provide certification for Environmental Science programs. For example, the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) offers a whole range of certifications that include:
- Associate Environmental Professional (AEP)
- Certified Environmental Auditor (CEA)
- Certified Environmental Scientist (CES)
- Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer (CESCO)
- Certified Environmental Storm Water Compliance Professional (CESCP)
- Certified Environmental and Safety Financial Officer (CESFO)
- Certified Environmental and Safety Logistics Officer (CESLO)
- Certified Environmental Systems Manager (CESM)
- Certified Indoor Air Quality Manager (CIAQM)
- Certified Natural Resources Professional (CNRP)
- Certified Refrigerant Compliance Manager (CRCM)
- Certified Waste Management Professional (CWMP)
- Mold Awareness Specialist (MAS)
- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist (RELT)
- Registered Environmental Manager (REM)
- Registered Environmental Professional (REP)
- Registered Environmental Property Assessor (REPA)
- Registered Industrial Hygiene Professional (RIHP)
Here are a few other certifications for students and professionals to consider:
- Board Certified Environmental Scientist
- ESA Certified Ecologist
- Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS)
Although in most cases, careers in Environmental Science do not require any licensure, working with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), may require specific licensure. However, most make do with only an accredited Master’s degree in 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 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.