Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

A master’s in sustainability prepares you to make that impact - to create more environmentally, socially, and morally responsible business practices and lifestyles.

Updated August 17, 2022

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Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

The words “green” and “sustainable” are often used interchangeably to mean a more environmentally-friendly society.

A master’s in sustainability prepares you to make that impact - to create more environmentally, socially, and morally responsible business practices and lifestyles. The goal of sustainability is to find a balance between risk minimization and life optimization. Students will not just take traditional science courses about the environment but will also be exposed to social theories as well as business management practices.

At the master’s level, students will be able to take more in-depth courses and complete optional internships in a field they are interested in. Because Sustainability is so broad and useful in any industry, graduates can be found working in the fields of business, agriculture, engineering, environmental sciences, and even law. Due to the growing need and trend of sustainable practices, this career is certain to increase in demand.

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What kind of sustainability degree should you get?

A typical master of arts or master of science degree in sustainability will teach you the fundamentals of sustainability problem solving. Courses may include mathematics, biology, and international development. A master of business administration with a focus on Sustainability mashes business-solving tools with sustainability practices. For those seeking management positions, an MBA may be a good option.

An online degree is a good choice for already working professionals or for people who wish to complete their degree at a quicker pace. Online courses typically do not have set meeting times and students can watch lectures and complete coursework before a set deadline. Online classes are also cheaper than on-campus ones.

Cross-reference this list with College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities to find the best program for you.

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

According to PayScale, the median salary for a sustainability manager is $71,243, with the range being anywhere from $46,579 to $105,517. Some jobs and salaries for those with an MS in sustainability include director of operations ($117,315), facilities manager ($73,104), and energy consultant ($53,995).

The top three highest paying careers within sustainability include chief sustainability executives ($166,910), natural sciences managers ($140,770), and general and operations managers ($95,150). While the majority of people may not reach high-level management within their company, this field has a steady pay rate.

What can you do with a degree in sustainability?

Careers in sustainability are available in everyday companies, nonprofits, education, or governmental agencies. Because Sustainability is quite a broad field that comprises of interdisciplinary studies, graduates are not limited to just one field. An example of potential career titles includes program managers, sustainability analysts, or teachers.

Sustainability workers combine scientific and technological knowledge with everyday practice to create more environmentally and socially responsible business practices. They also engage in advocacy and education. Depending on the person’s passion, a career could be more hands-on such as working directly in the field doing research, or more business-related in management.

What are the requirements for a degree in sustainability?

A master’s in sustainability requires a bachelor’s from an accredited university from any major. A GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale is highly preferred. Most schools will also require submission of the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test.

As a degree sustainability is interdisciplinary, students will be expected to complete core courses in math, social science, and natural science. Those who are concentrating in sustainability will have to take additional elective courses. Generally these programs can be completed within two years.

What are the best online master’s in sustainability?

This ranking by College Choice was determined by two overarching factors: institutional excellence and student success. These metrics were compiled using a variety of data points from various sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, PayScale, individual college websites, and the U.S. News & World Report.

Institutional excellence is defined by factors such as endowment size, graduation rate, and institutional reputation. Student success is defined by things such as average financial aid given, average indebtedness after graduation, and tuition costs.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus offers online graduate programs that emphasize quality and affordability. One option includes the master of professional studies in renewable energy and sustainability systems. The graduate program provides advanced training in a format friendly to those who work or must manage other obligations.

Learners complete a strong curriculum in sustainability delivered by faculty with industry expertise. This academic preparation is a prerequisite for higher-level careers in business and industry or a doctoral program in some cases.

Tuition costs $21,682 annually. Qualifying degree-seekers can use grants and scholarships to help fund their master’s.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,484
Out-of-state
$13,484
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  • Blacksburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public college in Blacksburg, Virginia. The institution’s nine online master's degrees appeal to learners who want to study from wherever they live. The master of natural resources is ideal for students interested in the environmental and sustainability fields.

Graduate students can use online education's flexibility and adaptability to accomplish longstanding goals. Caretakers, professionals, and other busy enrollees may immediately see how they can balance work, family, and their education. This institution boasts robust experience providing rigorous degrees that emphasize both rigor and flexible learning.

Applicants receive admittance at a rate of 70% per year, but some programs may vary. Master's degree-seekers usually need a bachelor's in the major or a related one. Contact the program to learn more.

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,420
Out-of-state
$29,960
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
36,383
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

University of Denver

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Denver’s master's in energy and sustainability ranks highly among similar programs and may appeal to learners wanting to study online. The program goes much deeper in training highly skilled workers in the field compared to a bachelor's. A master's prepares students for doctoral degrees and other terminal programs.

The school invests in an online platform that prioritizes user-friendliness and efficiency. Degree candidates report being able to continue their careers and engage in family life without sacrificing a master’s degree. Enrollees benefit from personalized learning from a supportive faculty.

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s to apply to this program. The school accepts around 59% of all who apply, though different programs post different averages. Once accepted, students pay $51,336 per year in in-state tuition. Learners can explore grants, loans, and scholarships to help pay for their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,336
Out-of-state
$51,336
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
12,931
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix, a public college, offers graduate programs in different fields. Among the options includes a master of science in engineering in sustainable engineering.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability attract many graduate students to this program. Professionals, caretakers, and other busy enrollees can attend virtual sessions and complete assignments at convenient times. Strong career preparation is a key program feature. The program does not sacrifice rigor for convenience.

Applicants can expect an admissions rate of 82% each year on average, though this number can vary between programs. For consideration, degree-seekers usually need the requisite background like a bachelor’s in the major or a related field. Contact the department to learn more.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$28,800
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
11,420
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Most Affordable Online Master’s In Sustainability Degrees

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Madison, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public college that offers three master's degrees online. One option is the master of science in sustainable management for students of all ages and backgrounds.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability make it an attractive choice for many graduate students. Caretakers, workers, and other busy enrollees may find it easy to work this master’s degree into their schedules. Strong career preparation is a key feature of the program, which does not sacrifice rigor for convenience.

Though this number can vary between programs, applicants get admitted at a rate of 54% each year. A bachelor’s degree in the field, or a related one, is the usual threshold for entry into a master’s program. Applicants may also need to submit official transcripts and recommendation letters. Additionally, prospective students may need to participate in an interview.

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,273
Out-of-state
$36,333
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
44,257
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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