This is a list of schools and programs that focus on the Most Affordable Online Masters in Sustainability degrees in the US. There is a high demand for accelerated online Master’s in Sustainability programs in various sectors in the country.
From fashion companies to technology giants, government agencies to local nonprofit organizations, the rise in learning about sustainability science in order to apply its principles to business and government is building up a need for online programs that can keep up with the demands of working professionals who are in need of graduate education in order to advance in their degrees. And now that need has been heard by American colleges and universities, many of whom are building programs that offer features to working professionals that will make it easier for them to complete their education.
The programs listed below are just some of the programs that are available 100 percent online or as a low-residency program. These schools below also have fully functioning online platforms, complete with asynchronous or synchronous courses and a variety of term formats. Students will also note that the schools below all have degrees that can be completed in two years or less. In fact, these are some of the best programs for in-service or pre-service professionals who are interested in working in the field, regardless of whether or not they can complete an online or on-campus program.
Methodology: Ranking the Fastest Online Master’s in Sustainability
For the Fast Online Master’s ranking of the most affordable accelerated online sustainability master’s degree programs, FOM editors gathered trustworthy, accredited schools offering an online option. We rank programs by their cost, using current IPEDS information.
1. Columbia Southern University
Students pursuing an MS in Occupational Safety & Health: Environmental Management degree at Columbia Southern University, are also enrolled in one of the best online sustainability master’s programs in the country. This impressive online course has been certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), and has been honored and identified as a Qualified Academic Program (QAP) too.
Benefits like these allow graduates to seek a more direct path to earning their CSP (Certified Safety Professional) designation. This isn’t the only reason this advanced sustainability science course is one of the best online environmental master’s programs either. In addition to offering students an excellent academic program, the advanced sustainability programs at Columbia Southern are also highly ranked and often awarded. The sustainability programs at Southern Columbia University are also accredited by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM) and was awarded as one of the Top Colleges and Universities for Veterans by Military Advanced Education & Transition rankings.
2. University of Houston – Clear Lake
One of the best online environmental master’s programs is the University of Houston-Clear Lake’s master of environmental management. One of the biggest advantages of this online advanced sustainability program is its flexibility. This course is designed to promote sustainability and environmental degrees with a focus in specialized areas such as water management,renewable energy, environmental risk management, or industrial hygiene, for example.
Another wonderful feature of this advanced sustainability degree and another reason for it earning consideration as one of the best online sustainability master’s programs is the flexibility of the curriculum. With hybrid course options, evening classes, and other flex schedule course features, these advanced online sustainability science programs make it easier for working students and professionals to earn their master’s.
The University of Houston-Clear Lake is also a financial-aid and scholarship-friendly institution as nearly 70% of enrolled students receive financial assistance, with 60% also reporting receiving some type of grant or scholarship award.
3. University of Massachusetts Boston
Another one of the best online sustainability master’s programs is the master of environmental management course offered by the renowned University of Massachusetts Boston. The online advanced sustainability degree program at UMass Boston was created with working professionals in mind. Students at UMass pursuing an advanced sustainability degree will enroll in the Environmental Sciences Professional master’s (PSM) program.
This program is also open to welcoming undergraduates from a variety of backgrounds including those coming from math, science, or engineering studies. Another aspect that helps this advanced online course to be one of the best online environmental master’s programs is the aforementioned consideration of working professionals. The PSM program at the University of Massachusetts also offers the convenience of online flexibility and scheduling in addition to evening class options. While UMass may not offer the most affordable advanced sustainability degree options, nearly 90% of the student population at this esteemed educational institution receives some type of financial assistance. And every student at UMass gets a world-class education.
4. University of Maryland Global Campus
One of the main reasons for the University of Maryland Global Campus’ best online sustainability master’s programs is because of its career focus and design. The master’s in environmental management course at U of M Global prepares graduate students for advancement, moves into specialized environmental fields, and sustainability management careers. These advanced online sustainability degrees also prepare students for careers with employers across many industries including commercial, industrial, and governmental organizations.
It is also well-known that the University of Maryland Global Campus is a front runner and leader in the online learning world. That alone is one more reason U of M Global offers one of the best online environmental master’s programs. From versatility in classes and schedules, in addition to offering affordable online sustainability degree options, there is a lot to like about the University of Maryland Global Campus’ environmental master’s program.
5. Arizona State University
Students seeking the best online sustainability master’s programs can pursue an MS in environmental and resource management at Arizona State University. In addition to offering one of the most advanced online sustainability master’s programs, ASU also provides grad students with a variety of unique partnership opportunities through ASUs Polytechnic School.
In addition to offering some of the most exciting and unique learning opportunities, students at The Polytechnic School will also earn an extensive education covering topics such as the chemistry of hazardous materials, renewable energy, environmental law, and toxicology. Another reason ASU students enjoy one of the best online environmental master’s programs is because of the flexibility and convenience of this online advanced sustainability program. Arizona State University is also proud to showcase its #1 ranking from US News and World Report for the Most Innovative Colleges. There are many great reasons to consider ASU and any one of them is a good reason to consider an affordable accelerated online sustainability master’s at Arizona State University.
6. Wilmington University
The College of Business at Wilmington University also offers one of the best online environmental master’s programs for graduate students and working professionals with its online MBA in Environmental Sustainability course options. Yes, you heard that right, this is an MBA program but with a concentration in Sustainability. That also means that students of this advanced online sustainability program get the benefit of also learning about the business applications of sustainability, only adding one more reason to the list of why this Wilmington University course is considered one of the best online sustainability master’s programs.
Another strong reason for considering pursuing an advanced online sustainability degree from this respected University is price, as this is also one of the most affordable advanced degree programs in the region. Students of Wilmington University’s MBA in Environmental Sustainability program also get the benefit of having instructors who are experts and leaders in their fields, so that program graduates can go on to become experts, leaders, and successful in their own careers.
7. Portland State University
Experiential learning, real-world learning applications, and affordability make Portland State University’s Master’s in Environmental Management degree one of the best online sustainability master’s programs in the country. Students enrolled in Portland State’s sustainability program have had the opportunity to partner with operations and organizations like the City of Gresham’s Environmental Services, Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, and Community Environmental Services among others.
As one of the best online environmental master’s programs, Portland State University also provides the benefits, convenience, and advantages that come with online and remote learning options. The online advanced sustainability programs at Portland State go one step further than providing a convenient, effective, and cutting-edge online sustainability master’s course. Students enrolled in the online advanced sustainability program at Portland State will also enjoy one of the most affordable online advanced degree programs too.
8. Louisiana State University
At Louisiana State University, graduate students can take part in one of the best online environmental master’s programs by pursuing an MS in Environmental Science degree. While this storied program is no stranger to academic recognition, it is also recognized as a program for crafting, grooming, and producing future leaders. That includes being a leader by bettering our planet and your career through a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences (ENVS) degree.
In addition to being led and taught by some of the foremost and leading experts in the field of sustainability and environmental sciences, graduate students and working professionals also get the benefits offered via online learning. These are a few of the benefits and reasons the Master of Science in Environmental Sciences course is one of the best online sustainability master’s programs in the country too. The Tigers of LSU are also proud to announce their recent #9 ranking on the 2020 College Consensus list of the Best Online master’s in Environmental and Sustainability Management programs.
9. Texas Tech University
Another university often recognized for academic excellence and also one of the best online sustainability master’s programs is Texas Tech University and its PSM in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resource Management degree. This Professional Science Master’s degree (PSM) course is designed to prepare graduates for successful careers in environmental and sustainability management roles in sectors such as public, private, and government employment.
Another key aspect that earns this program consideration as one of the best online environmental master’s programs is the course options it offers. Texas Tech students can pursue two separate tracks under the online advanced sustainability program. Graduate students have the choice of earning an Ecology and Environmental Sustainability advanced degree or a Natural Resources Management master’s.
10. Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology offers one of the best online environmental master’s programs in its MS in Sustainability Energy and Environmental Management degree. The curriculum for this program involves multiple environmental and sustainability disciplines. These principles help to prepare graduate students of the program for career advancement and opportunities across various roles and organizational demands including Public Policy, Business, and Systems Engineering, in addition to City and Regional Planning issues.
Another reason the Georgia Institute of Technology is recognized for having one of the best online sustainability master’s programs is the program’s flexible 30 credit format. This includes distance learning courses, part-time scheduling options, and other practical program features for working students and busy professionals.
11. University of Wisconsin
One of the most recognizable Universities on the list of the best online sustainability master’s programs, is the University of Wisconsin and its MS in Sustainable Management program. This degree leads students to explore the relationship of humans to the environment, both natural and man-made. This course looks into environmental catalysts such as economic systems, carbon cycles, public policy, and other environmental influencers.
Also making the advanced sustainability program at the University of Wisconsin one of the best online environmental master’s programs is the flexibility and convenience it offers. This flexibility and convenience is a practical and smart solution for working students and professionals seeking an advanced degree. The online MS in Sustainable Management course at the University of Wisconsin enables students to log in, study, and take classes and tests at their convenience.
12. Southern Illinois University
One of the best online environmental master’s programs for students and professionals seeking real-world training is the PSM in Environmental Science Management degree offered at Southern Illinois University. Like some of the other leading environmental master’s programs, the PSM (Professional Science master’s) is a new and popular degree, also offered at Southern Illinois. These degrees are designed to better equip students for real-world scenarios and the practical application of sustainability management.
Another feature of this PSM degree that makes it one of the best online sustainability master’s programs are the course and curriculum focus on filling needs for today’s companies and problems. Graduates of the PSM program at Southern Illinois University leave the program ready to fill the needs of technology-based companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. These are only a few of the reasons why earning an online advanced sustainability degree from Southern Illinois is a good decision and with competitive tuition rates, it also makes it a smart choice too.
13. Harvard University
Of all the programs on the list of the best online sustainability master’s programs, the MLA in Sustainability at the esteemed Harvard University needs little to no introduction. In addition to offering one of the leading and best online environmental master’s programs, Harvard University graduates get the unique and special benefit of simply being Harvard graduates.
The online advanced sustainability degree program at Harvard University is also a specialized program unlike any other. Students of this program will be intimately involved with an expert in their chosen field of environmental and sustainability management focus. Another surprising feature of the MLA in Sustainability program from one of the world’s leading educational institutions is the surprisingly competitive tuition rates at Harvard. Not surprisingly, Harvard University traditionally ranks among the best schools in the country. Recently, Harvard University was ranked #2 in the 2021 edition of Best Colleges.
14. University of Kentucky
The master’s in Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the University of Kentucky is one of the best online environmental master’s programs for multiple reasons. The first reason could easily be the structure of this advanced sustainability degree program. Always on the cutting-edge of technology and the leading edge of change, the University of Kentucky’s advanced environmental and sustainability program prepares students like few others.
As one of the best online sustainability master’s programs, graduates of this University of Kentucky program enter an exciting and growing field, ready to begin careers in corporate, government, and public-funded roles. The University of Kentucky is also a tuition-friendly and scholarship-friendly college, with 95% of enrolled students receiving financial assistance, and more than 90% having grant or scholarship awards. This proud University is proud to support veteran education too, and ranks in US News & World Report’s top 100 for the Best Colleges for Veterans.
15. University of Connecticut
UConn’s Master of Energy and Environmental Management program is not only one of the best online sustainability master’s programs, but it is also the pride of the University of Connecticut’s online advanced graduate programs. The Master of Energy and Environmental Management (MEEM) is a graduate program that is not only an unprecedented graduate program, it also enables students to make an environment management impact through real-world projects.
This program takes a holistic approach to sustainability management, using knowledge-based teachings combined with tangible and actionable environmental and sustainability management steps. With award-winning faculty and instructors along with the flexibility and convenience of online learning, there are many reasons to consider earning a degree in environmental and sustainability management at the University of Connecticut. The University of Connecticut is ranked as the 63rd best National University based on US News and World Report college rankings.
16. Duke University
The innovative and flexible format of Duke University’s Master of Environmental Management program is one of the big reasons why it is considered one of the best online environmental master’s programs. Another big reason for this lofty consideration is because, this is Duke University, one of the leading educational institutions in the country. That flexible and innovative format of Dukes online advanced sustainability degree program is called DEL-MEM. This program allows students to adjust their schedules, classes, and maintain their program commitments.
In addition to providing practical and smart online advanced sustainability degree options for professionals and working students, graduates leave Duke ready to make a difference in roles with employers across a multitude of industries. Graduate students and working professionals seeking one of the best online sustainability master’s programs will find few that rival Duke’s Master of Environmental Management program. The US News and World Report have Duke ranked #12 on its list of the Best National Universities.
17. University of Findlay
One of the leading MS in Environmental, Safety, and Health Management degree programs in the Midwest, the University of Findlay warrants consideration for a place on the list of the best online sustainability master’s programs. Not only does this comprehensive Environmental, Safety, and Health Management Master’s degree program prepare students for positions in the environmental and sustainability management field, it also is designed to groom program graduates for leadership.
Another feature of this MS in Environmental, Safety, and Health Management degree program at the University of Findlay is that it is only one of nine programs in the country that has earned accreditation from the National Environmental Health, Science, and Protection Accreditation Council. Graduating from accredited programs like the University of Findlay’s online advanced sustainability degree program also qualifies for positions with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and US Army and Navy Environmental Science and Engineering careers.
18. Prescott College
The MBA in Sustainability Leadership program at Prescott College offers working students and professionals many benefits, and it offers many reasons to be listed as one of the best online environmental master’s programs. Those benefits include an education and online sustainability degree that prepares students for the world of environmental and sustainability management.
Another aspect of this MBA Sustainability Leadership program at Prescott that bolsters this University’s argument as one of the best online sustainability master’s programs is its expert faculty, its reputation as a leading sustainability program, and small online class settings. One of the best online environmental master’s programs and the opportunity for a successful career in environmental and sustainability awaits graduates of Prescott’s MBA in Sustainability degree program.
Degree: MBA in Sustainability Leadership
19. Webster University
Webster University is one of the smaller colleges on the list of the best online sustainability master’s programs due to the strength of its master of science (MS) in environmental management program. Graduates of Webster University’s advanced sustainability degree program leave equipped with tools to navigate the processes of environmental management.
In addition to offering one of the best online environmental master’s programs, Webster University students also appreciate the benefits of big school technology like cutting-edge online programs and small-school advantages like smaller student-to-teacher ratios. This leading University is also financial aid friendly, as evidenced by the more than 85% of the student population currently getting some form of financial aid or assistance. With multiple advanced sustainability degree courses and online program options, business professionals can earn a great ROI by investing in a degree at Webster.
20. Penn State World Campus
Earning an MPS in Ecosystem Management and Administration from Penn State World Campus means earning a degree from one of the best online environmental master’s programs too. With an advanced degree in Ecosystem Management and Administration, program graduates will leave school ready to stay ahead of the constant changes in environmental management and to succeed in the field of sustainability.
The online advanced sustainability degree program at Penn State World Campus covers ecosystem management concepts and the application of techniques such as using quantitative tools including statistics, sustainable development, financial analysis, and other systems. Penn State World Campus, a leader in online education and one of the best online sustainability master’s programs in the country.
21. Unity College
The MPS in Environmental Studies and Sustainability course at Unity College qualifies as one of the best online sustainability master’s programs for several reasons. Small class sizes and personal attention result in the most in-depth instruction. Unity College also offers online experiential programs, these courses are completely online, and they have fieldwork assignments created to be flexible enough to work around the lives of working professionals.
For one of the best online environmental master’s programs, don’t overlook Unity College based on its size. This is, after all, ‘America’s Environmental College.’ Graduates of this online advanced sustainability master’s program will also get more than the tools and education to succeed, but also the reputation and respect that precedes graduates of this esteemed college.
22. Johns Hopkins University
Another University whose reputation precedes it, Johns Hopkins University offers one of the best online sustainability master’s programs in the country. This esteemed University, in fact, has two of the best online environmental master’s programs for graduate students and working professionals. One online advanced sustainability degree track from Johns Hopkins University is the MS in Environmental Planning and Management program. This online advanced environmental and sustainability management course delves into the latest technologies aimed to create and promote solutions against environmental threats.
The other online advanced sustainability degree program offered at Johns Hopkins is the MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy program. This advanced environmental science degree looks at and prepares students for careers in tackling issues such as climate change, energy consumption, and environmental justice.
23. Tuskegee University
An exciting and excellent MS in Environmental Management program is offered at Tuskegee University, which is also one of the smallest programs on the list of the best online sustainability master’s programs. Like many smaller colleges and universities, Tuskegee uses that size to its advantage and for the benefit of its students.
One way it does this is by offering two graduate online advanced sustainability degree programs, a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and a Master of Science in Environmental Management. These options not only help this respected college to earn a spot as one of the best online environmental master’s programs, but it also makes Tuskegee a great place to start a career and take flight.
24. Franklin Pierce University
Once again proving that excellence isn’t tied to size, Franklin Pierce University is another smaller University that uses its size to its advantage and to earn a place on the list of the best online environmental master’s programs in its MBA in Energy and Sustainability degree. Franklin Pierce also hasn’t allowed its size to keep it from being seen, recognized, or awarded. The University was recently ranked #15 in Best Environmental Online master’s courses by Great Business Schools.
This program is not only one of the best online sustainability master’s programs, but it is also one of the few that combines advanced business courses in creating an environmental and sustainability management program. The focus of this online advanced sustainability degree program hones in on societal impacts, corporate responsibility, and issues like climate change under the lens of environmental and sustainability management.
25. Samford University
When pursuing an MS in Environmental Management at Samford University, students have the opportunity to earn an advanced degree from one of the best online sustainability master’s programs in the state of Alabama and the country. Samford University, in fact, is ranked as the #1 environmental and sustainability management school in Alabama, and #3 in the region. Yes, that means that Samford’s MS in Environmental Management program is also one of the best online environmental master’s programs for working students, busy professionals, and those seeking to advance their careers.
The Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM) degree program educates and equips students to step into roles dealing with environmental issues for business and industry, government organizations, sustainable development, and community responsibility. These online advanced sustainability degree programs are also designed to be flexible and are capable of being completed in twelve months.
Degree: MS in Environmental Management and sustainable development
Why Should I Get My Environmental and Sustainability Management Master’s Online?
Those considering an advanced degree, such as a master’s in sustainability management, might be interested in earning a master’s in sustainability online. That is because accredited online master’s in sustainability programs offer many benefits and advantages that traditional classes either can’t or do not.
One of the main reasons people seek out an online master’s in sustainability degree is because of its convenience. Many who are interested in pursuing a master’s in sustainability online fall into the category of the working student. Online degree options provide more flexible schedules, class options, and other benefits that make practical sense for busy or working students.
Another big reason why people choose to earn a master’s in sustainability online is the wonderful career options these degrees offer.
Is Environmental and Sustainability Management a Good Career?
Careers in environmental sustainability and career opportunities in sustainability and environmental management are worthwhile pursuits for many reasons.
A career in environmental sustainability is more than a meaningful job, and it is more than a professionally rewarding career. Careers in sustainability management are also financially rewarding.
Like pursuing any degree or career, it is always wise to learn about those pursuits, such as what kind of income does someone in environmental and sustainability management earn. Here is a look at a few of those salary ranges for various sustainability management jobs.
How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Environmental and Sustainability Management?
It is one of the most heavily weighed questions when considering any degree or career path, and there is good news for those considering a career in sustainability management. Salaries and wages for professionals in environmental sustainability roles are well above average and offer many benefits.
There are several areas in which those with a sustainability management degree can work. These include consultancy roles, engineering positions, and management and leadership jobs.
In the arena of consulting, a sustainability consultant salary according to the US Dept of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for positions in this field is $73,230. Other roles for sustainability management program graduates will earn an income similar to that of a sustainability consulting salary. That means a sustainability engineer salary, sustainability analyst salary, and other related positions can expect an income in this range.
Sustainability analyst salaries, like a sustainability engineering salary, offer excellent earnings potential but there are other areas of employment too, as previously discussed. One example of that would be the position of chief sustainability officer. Along with that title also comes a chief sustainability officer salary, or a director of sustainability salary.
Those who are earning a chief sustainability officers salary, a sustainability director salary, or perhaps even a sustainability coordinator salary are likely also stepping into the area of advanced-degree positions. A master’s in sustainability management salary will offer an average annual salary of about $107,680 based on data from the US Department of Labor statistics.
What Can I Do with a Master’s in Environmental and Sustainability Management?
Another one of the more frequently asked questions regarding these rewarding degree programs is what types of jobs in sustainability management are available? As some of the titles of the jobs in environmental sustainability suggest, jobs in sustainability can generally be counted on for two things – a good income and good deal of responsibility.
Jobs in sustainability management are often positions of considerable authority along with considerable responsibility. Jobs in sustainability can also cover a range of industries, which can also heavily impact the types of duties and the roles of those jobs in environmental sustainability. From consulting to scientific research in a laboratory, jobs in sustainability can take on many different looks.
In addition to entry-level jobs in sustainability, master’s in sustainability jobs such as those roles of director and chief, offer even greater benefits and income. These jobs in sustainability management and leadership also offer one more career option for people who are natural leaders or who have strong management skills. Entry-level and mid-level jobs in sustainability will often involve more hands-on types of activity, from data collection to testing, and other common tasks associated with sustainability jobs.
Roles such as chief sustainability officer and director for environmental sustainability, for example, have other responsibilities. These upper-level management sustainability jobs involve policy creation, planning strategies, and other decision-making measures. The direction of the organization or business, and the ability to meet its goals are typically on the shoulders of these important environmental and sustainability management jobs.