We have only one earth. Help save it with one of the nation’s best master’s in environmental management degrees!
Are you passionate about conservation and fighting the societal causes of natural degradation? Do you envision yourself leading equally passionate and talented teams? Do you want to a part of making our planet sustainable?
Then an advanced degree in environmental management may be for you!
What kind of master’s in environmental management degree should you get?
Though all these programs will provide a foundation in environmental science, each varies in emphasis. For example, while Penn offers an MBA in environmental and risk management degree Oklahoma State University offers a broad environmental science degree wherein you can specialize in management.
Here at College Choice we’ve explained the ins and outs of each program to help you find your best fit!
Something else to consider while you look through graduate programs is online education. Distance degrees are an affordable and flexible way to advance your career.
With that said, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.
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How much money do people make with a master’s degree in environmental management?
An advanced degree in environmental management has many rewards, saving the planet among them. But you will also benefit from a stable and lucrative career.
For example, environmental scientists make nearly $70,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with added experience, such as that gained from a master’s degree, that number grows. Natural science managers make around $118,00 a year!
What can you do with a master’s degree in environmental management?
When you earn a master’s degree in environmental management you’re telling future employers two important things: that you are a dynamic leader who can inspire teams of people and you’re passionate about conservation.
These valuable traits open up many doors for you. Those who’ve earned a degree from one of these 10 programs below have gone on to find rewarding careers as:
- Natural resources managers
- Conservation specialists
- Environmental scientists
- Waste management specialists
What are the requirements for a master’s environmental management degree?
These 10 master’s degrees in environmental management vary (sometimes dramatically) in structure and requirement. Though most are two-years and all will fully prepare you for a career in conservation.
In your first year you can anticipate a curriculum that provides a foundation in environmental science fundamentals. This may mean classes on ecology and environmental policy. Then in your second year you will specialize through either a formal concentration or through electives.
Many of the programs require capstone projects, research involvement, and internship experience. We’ve been sure to note which programs require what.
What are the best master’s in environmental management degrees?
While some of these degrees are offered through Ivy League liberal arts schools and others through elite research universities, they all share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best master’s in environmental management programs.
To determine the top 10 best programs we applied an exhaustive methodology to our research. We first compiled a list of all programs nationwide. Then we narrowed it down by calculating crucial factors such as academic reputation, student retention, tuition costs, and graduates’ salaries.
Our extensive research led us to the nation’s best master’s in environmental management programs.
Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
Top Master’s in Environmental Management Degrees
See our rankings methodology page.
One hardly needs to introduce Stanford University. It is one of the leading research universities in the world, known for its achievements and ongoing work in sustainability, technology, and much more. More than 9,000 graduate students attend Stanford.
Stanford’s MS in Environment and Resources program was specifically designed to be earned alongside a graduate degree in business or law. Students are therefore given a broad introduction to the science and technology behind current environmental issues. But they also become leaders in policy and management. There are even additional ways to specialize, in:
- Land Use and Agriculture
- Community Global and Environmental Health
Stanford is consistently ranked among the top five best schools in the world, by U.S. News & World Report and an array of other sources. Its proximity to the Silicon Valley makes it an elite part of a tech and innovation web. By attending Stanford you will have direct access to not only the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Studies, but to all the research facilities and connections you could hope for.
University of Pennsylvania
Ivy League University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia. It was founded by Ben Franklin, making it one of the oldest, most established schools in the nation. Today Penn is comprised of nearly a dozen colleges and professional schools. And around 22,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend.
Penn’s renowned Wharton business school houses the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership program. Through this program you can earned an MBA in Environmental and Risk Management degree that explores both private and public sector relationships to business sustainability. This is a highly interdisciplinary degree. Core courses include:
- Environmental Sustainability and Value Creation
- Risk and Crisis Management
- Environmental Management: Law and Policy
- Energy Markets and Policy
Another option for studying sustainability at Penn is to earn a joint degree. They offer an MBA combined with an MES (Master of Environmental Studies) program that is even more multidisciplinary. For those searching for a mostly liberal arts approach to environmental management, this is a great way to go.
Again, Yale rarely needs introducing. It is an Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut and is one of the world’s best schools. Organized into more than a dozen colleges and schools, Yale is home to 12,000 students.
At Yale you can earn a Master of Environmental Management degree that is a blend of science, management, and policy. You will develop a broad understanding of the natural and social systems influencing natural resources issues. And you develop your leadership style while specializing in an area of interest. There are nine concentrations, including:
- Business and the Environment
- Climate and Air
- Ecosystems and Land Conservation and Management
- Water Resource Science and Management
In addition to your coursework, at Yale you will participate in a capstone independent project. You will also complete nearly three months of summer interning or research. Yale therefore ensures you have practical, sought-after experience upon graduation.
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
Part of the illustrious University of California System, the Santa Barbara campus is a public, research university. Though founded as a teacher’s college, today UCSB is comprised of five colleges through which nearly 25,000 students are enrolled.
UCSB is home to the highly regarded Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Bren’s management master’s degree is divided in three units: the first-year core curriculum (see below) and the second year, which is comprised of specialization courses and the Eco-Entrepreneurship Project.
- Ecology of Managed Ecosystems
- Environmental Biogeochemistry
- Earth Systems Science
- Economics of Environmental Management
UCSB is a Public Ivy University, meaning its academic qualities and research achievements parallel those of its private Ivy League counterparts. This program is a shining reflection of that. With more than half a dozen ways to specialize, and then even further your focus by training in eco-entrepreneurship or strategic environmental media, you’ll graduate from UCSB a fully trained expert in your field.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Urbana-Champaign campus within the wider University of Illinois System is a flagship university. Offering more than 250 academic programs, UIUC is known for its impressive research activities, facilities, and funding. Approximately 45,000 students attend UIUC.
At UIUC you have the opportunity to earn a graduate degree either on campus or online. Both are Master’s in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and both emphasize leadership and management development. It is also possible to combine this program with a degree in law or agricultural production. Graduates have gone on to secure work as:
- Environmental Consultants
- Nature Conservation Officers
- Environmental Managers
- Sustainability Specialists
The Sustainable Endowments Institute gives UIUC high marks for its dedication to green education and sustainability. This is due to the university’s commitment to LEED gold standards, a Student Sustainability Committee, and much more. Indeed, UIUC is a leader in climate neutrality.
The University of Denver is known for its research activity and achievements in an array of fields. DU’s campus is pocked with renowned research institutions, such as the Institute for Public Policy Studies. Around 12,000 students attend DU, half of which are graduate students.
The Master’s in Natural Resource Management degree at DU prepares its students for careers in everything from management and research to advocacy, education, and conservation. At DU you will learn how to expertly craft and implement an effective conservation plan. And you’ll learn how to enforce regulatory policies through classes such as:
- Environmental Finance and Economics
- Environmental Protection Law
- Research Practices and Applications
- Introduction to Ecology
DU understands the importance of interdisciplinary study as environmental conservation becomes increasingly significant in diverse industries and sectors. For that reason, students have a lot of leeway in designing their curriculum and specialty areas. In fact, students can specialize or earn certification in such niche areas as environmental analytics and reporting.
Presidio Graduate School
San Francisco, CA
Presidio Graduate School is located in San Francisco but has campuses in downtown Seattle and on Bainbridge Island too. Offering graduate degrees specifically in sustainable management, Presidio was the first of its kind. It provides hybrid learning experiences to its students, combining immersive, distance learning with concentrated campus visits.
Because of Presidio’s unique focus, there are many ways to study environmental management. You can earn an MBA in Sustainable Management, a Master of Public Administration, or a dual degree. While the MBA sets you up for a business career – in marketing, finance, or operations – the MPA allows you to work in urban development, public sector finance, and more. Presidio graduates have gone on to become:
- Sustainable Energy Strategists
- Sustainability Consultants
- Program Managers
- Business Founders and CEOs
Regardless of where you study, even if it’s mostly online, you can study alongside others through the monthly Bay Area or Bainbridge Island residencies. During these immersive residencies you will attend workshops, quick-fire class sessions, and lectures led by leaders in the field. Presidio is literally one of a kind.
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University is based in Stillwater, OK and is a flagship campus. It serves 35,000 students and is considered an active research university by the Carnegie Foundation. OSU offers more than 200 academic programs in a diverse range of fields.
The environmental science graduate program at OSU can be paired with a specialization in environmental management. Students will take classes on issues related to regulation, compliance, reporting, impact assessment, and remediation. Additionally, they will build a sturdy foundation in all things sustainability through a core curriculum that includes:
- Issues in Sustainability
- Environmental Problem Analysis
- Genres of Environmental Writing
For those who want to go into research after graduation, this program is a solid choice. All students are required to complete a substantive research project culminating in a written or oral defense. There is even an option to complete a creative thesis with approval, which gives students the opportunity to present a film, book, curriculum design, or something else altogether.
University of Minnesota-Morris
The Morris campus within the broader University of Minnesota System was founded as a liberal arts school. Today it still honors those roots but it also offers graduate programs in a variety of areas. UMM is ranked among some of the top liberal arts schools in the nation.
UMM provides a unique opportunity for advanced study in sustainability: a Master’s in Natural Resources Science and Management degree with specialization in Economics, Policy, Management, and Society. This is an ideal program for those who want to explore how society makes decisions about the use and protection of natural landscapes. Classes include:
- Economic Data Analysis for Managerial and Policy Decisions
- Regional Economic Analysis
- Design for Sustainable Development
- Environmental Communication
UM Morris is considered one of the top ten best colleges in the country for its green initiatives and priorities. It was one of the first public colleges to create renewable power from local and on-campus resources. UMM’s commitment to sustainability can be seen throughout campus. Even the rec’s swimming pool is heated by solar panels.
Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University is located in Arcata, CA, nestled between the redwood forests and the Pacific Ocean. It is a public university and part of the larger California State University System. A relatively small school, HSU offers about a dozen graduate degrees to its 500 graduate students.
HSU offers four ways to study natural resources, including a graduate degree in environmental science and management. This is a research-based program that addresses the scientific and societal reasons behind natural degradation. This interdisciplinary program encourages you to connect with other departments, such as the biology division, in addition to the natural resources program. Graduates have gone on to become:
- Water Quality Scientists
- Waste Management Officers
- Recycling Consultants
- Environmental Education Specialist
The Humboldt Energy Independence Fund on HSU’s campus allocates funds towards renewable energy projects such as the Sustainable Living Arts and Musical Festival. HSU is also renowned for its LEED-gold buildings, its sustainably harvest landscaping, its lack of trash cans (there are more recycling bins than trash bins) and more.