Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

A ranking of the best master's in sustainability degrees. Programs ranked by flexibility, affordability, and academic quality.

Updated August 24, 2022

Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

If you have a burning desire to tackle growing environmental concerns, a master’s degree in sustainability might be for you.

“Sustainability” is far from a temporary buzzword. This field addresses the complex concerns related to the impact of environmental and social concerns on long-term business management.

Graduates of sustainability programs will have the business skills necessary to be successful in any setting, private or public, as well as the know-how to successfully manage factors like environmental and social responsibility.

What kind of sustainability degree should you get?

When looking for a degree in sustainability, consider your potential career goals and find a program that aligns itself well with those goals. These programs are highly varied, with many offering unique concentrations and formats to help any student meet his or her goals.

If you are already working and are interested in a program with added flexibility, consider an online programs. College Choice has ranked the Best Online Master’s in Sustainability.

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How much money do people make with a master’s degree in sustainability?

Average starting salaries for recipients of sustainability degrees tend to vary drastically, mainly because these programs include a vast array of courses and concentrations. Because this industry is so new, there is little information available on starting salaries.

But those working in sustainability management or energy consulting tend to make the highest starting salaries, earning upwards of $71,000 per year. Top executives and managers can earn up to $166,000, providing graduates with high and steady pay rates across sectors.

What can you do with a master’s degree in sustainability?

While sustainability is a relatively new field, there are hundreds of job opportunities for candidates with strong business abilities and comprehensive knowledge of how environmental and social issues affect business function. Individuals with sustainability degrees can work in any sector, public or private, as well as at both governmental and not-for-profit organizations.

Most candidates with sustainability degrees also pursue MBA or business-related degrees, allowing them to work in middle- to upper- management at large companies (including Fortune 500 organizations), not-for-profit organizations, and smaller start-ups.

What are the requirements for a master’s degree in sustainability?

Depending on the program to which you apply, most requirements for a degree in sustainability will vary. Some schools require candidates to have prior experience in Environmental Science, Business, Ecology, or a related field, while others will accept individuals with any form of an undergraduate degree.

While enrolled in a sustainability program, you will likely take a range of core and elective courses that hone your leadership, management, communication, and collaboration skills. Many programs incorporate required internship or practicum experiences, requiring students to conduct sustainability projects with both large and small companies.

What are the best master’s in sustainability degrees?

Many schools offer courses or training in sustainability as an ingrained part of their MBA programs, but you should look for programs with explicit concentrations or specializations in that topic as well. Programs that address sustainability specifically will give you greater real-world training in this area.

Find a program with hands-on experiences in real-world sustainability issues and offer internships, study abroad options, and flexible course formats so that you can earn a degree in this topic without spending every waking moment inside a classroom.

Best Sustainability Master's Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

University of Pennsylvania

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in environmental sustainability degree from the University of Pennsylvania helps graduates pursue advanced careers. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the private institution serves degree-seekers of all types thanks to its many enrollment options. During the master of environmental studies in environmental sustainability program, learners take graduate-level courses in sustainability to enhance their understanding of the field.

Master's candidates benefit from the university's support services, which include academic and career services. For example, academic advisors recommend course selections and connect students with tutoring services. Master's degree-seekers also attend networking events and make use of library services.

University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 141

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Admission Rate: 8%

Graduation Rate: 96%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 6-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $36,254

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $36,254

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $91,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,156
Out-of-state
$51,156
Retention Rate
98%
Admission Rate
8%
Students Enrolled
26,675
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Cornell University

  • Ithaca, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cornell University stands out for its 119 master's programs, which include a sustainability program. The master's in environment and sustainability helps graduate students gain specialized training to reach their career goals. Candidates may be able to choose from on-campus and online enrollment options, adding flexibility for enrollees who need to work full time while in school.

The master's in environment and sustainability program uses a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes theoretical and practical approaches to sustainability. Internships and hands-on learning opportunities strengthen classroom skills and help students expand their professional networks. Learners work with faculty advisors to choose electives or concentrations that customize the program.

Cornell University at a Glance:

Location: Ithaca, New York

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 11%

Graduate Tuition In State: $29,500

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $29,500

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 62%

Average Tuition
In-state
$56,550
Out-of-state
$56,550
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
24,027
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

University of Michigan

  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students interested in advancing their career can earn their master's in sustainability at the University of Michigan. The public institution, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, serves degree-seekers with diverse needs by offering many enrollment options. During the master of science in sustainability and development program, learners take graduate-level courses in sustainability to enhance their understanding of the field.

Master's candidates benefit from a generous selection of college resources and support services. For example, career counselors host workshops and job fairs while also recommending resume changes. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of tutoring centers, library services, and service learning opportunities.

University of Michigan at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 140

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Admission Rate: 23%

Graduation Rate: 93%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $23,890

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $48,204

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $55,900

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,212
Out-of-state
$52,669
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
23%
Students Enrolled
48,090
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Appalachian State University

  • Boone, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Appalachian State University prepares graduates for career advancement in its master's in sustainable development program. From its Boone campus, the public institution offers graduate programs in several enrollment formats, including online options designed for working professionals. In the program, learners take graduate-level courses to strengthen their understanding of sustainability.

Master's candidates benefit from a generous selection of college resources and support services. Academic advisors help with course selections, while financial aid counselors connect students with ways to pay for their education. Master's degree-seekers also participate in tutoring sessions, counseling programs, and networking events.

Appalachian State University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 39

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Admission Rate: 77%

Graduation Rate: 73%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,839

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,271

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $34,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,242
Out-of-state
$19,049
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
19,280
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Presidio Graduate School

  • San Francisco, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

A master's certificate in sustainability from Presidio Graduate School helps students seeking career advancement. Located in San Francisco, California, the private institution serves degree-seekers of all types thanks to its many enrollment options. During the graduate certificate in sustainable business practices program, learners gain an advanced understanding of sustainability topics while strengthening their skills.

Graduate candidates participate in campus life and benefit from the university's support services. Financial aid advisors connect students with resources to pay for graduate school, while academic advisors recommend course selections. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of networking and training events hosted by the university.

Presidio Graduate School at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 1

Graduate Tuition In State: $26,900

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,900

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
120
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#6 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Clark University

  • Worcester, MA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The master's in environmental science and policy degree from Clark University helps graduates pursue advanced careers. Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, the private institution serves degree-seekers of all types thanks to its many enrollment options. In the program, the curriculum covers advanced topics in environmental science and policy.

Master's candidates participate in campus life and benefit from the university's support services. Academic advisors help with course selections, while financial aid counselors connect students with ways to pay for their education. Master's degree-seekers can also take advantage of career counseling, writing tutoring, and extensive library services.

Clark University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 25

Admission Rate: 53%

Graduation Rate: 79%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,848

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,848

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $38,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$46,850
Out-of-state
$46,850
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
3,498
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#7 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Bard College

  • Annandale-On-Hudson, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Learners seeking a graduate degree in sustainability can enroll in the environmental policy program at Bard College. The master of science in environmental policy encourages career growth through its experiential learning components. At the school, graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for working professionals.

During the program, learners complete a challenging curriculum that builds comprehensive knowledge of environmental policy. Students often complete internships and other experiential learning opportunities to build career-ready skills. Learners specialize their education by choosing electives and concentrations.

Bard College at a Glance:

Location: Annandale-On-Hudson, New York

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 65%

Graduate Tuition In State: $36,634

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $36,634

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 75%

Average Tuition
In-state
$55,566
Out-of-state
$55,566
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
2,289
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Maharishi University of Management

  • Fairfield, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Maharishi University of Management offers nine master's programs, including a highly-ranked sustainability master's degree. The MBA in sustainable business helps graduate students gain specialized training to reach their career goals. Flexible enrollment options make it easier for busy enrollees and working professionals to attend a graduate program.

The master's curriculum builds comprehensive knowledge, highlighting theoretical and practical approaches to sustainability. Students often complete internships and other experiential learning opportunities to build career-ready skills. Concentrations and electives allow learners to customize the degree based on their career goals.

Maharishi University of Management at a Glance:

Location: Fairfield, Iowa

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 81%

Graduate Tuition In State: $28,000

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,000

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 94%

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,000
Out-of-state
$16,000
Retention Rate
56%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
1,861
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners can earn their master's in sustainability from the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, which offers 70 master's program options. The sustainability program helps students advance their education and increase their career opportunities. Flexible enrollment options make it easier for busy enrollees and working professionals to attend a graduate program.

The master's curriculum builds comprehensive knowledge, highlighting theoretical and practical approaches to sustainability. Internships and experiential learning opportunities build professional connections and provide real-world experience. Learners specialize their education by choosing electives and concentrations.

University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus at a Glance:

Location: Denver, Colorado

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 67%

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,786

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,590

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 82%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $6,372

Average Price After Aid: $15,865

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,920
Out-of-state
$24,408
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
24,910
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Franklin Pierce University

  • Rindge, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners can earn their MBA in energy and sustainability from Franklin Pierce University, which offers 16 master's program options. The MBA program encourages career growth through its experiential learning components. Graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options that make it easier for enrollees to fit classes into their schedule.

During the sustainability program, learners gain theoretical and practical knowledge through the rigorous curriculum. Students prepare for the workforce with internships and other hands-on learning opportunities. Learners choose concentrations and electives to build specialized skills in a specific area of sustainability.

Franklin Pierce University at a Glance:

Location: Rindge, New Hampshire

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 66%

Graduate Tuition In State: $16,000

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,000

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 100%

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,900
Out-of-state
$35,900
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
2,114
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

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