A degree in Environmental Management will expose you to a wide variety of career options. These employees are in high demand as more stress is placed on the earth’s resources. Environmental managers tend to be driven, passionate, and analytical, and may pursue careers as environmental planners, policymakers, or researchers.
While a Bachelor’s degree in a related field may qualify you for a few of these positions, a master’s degree will open you up to hundreds of new high-paying, high-status leadership positions.
What kind of Environmental Management degree should you get?
Many universities offer degrees in environmental management, but you should consider how you would like to spend your studies. Think about whether time in a laboratory matters to you, and if you are willing to travel. What kind of learning style do you have, and what program will best suit it?
If you are already working in the field of Environmental Management, you should consider an online degree. An online degree will provide you with the flexibility and convenience necessary to pursue your degree from any location, and at any time. If you’re looking for a school with a nationally-recognized reputation for quality online programs, consider our ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with an Environmental Management degree?
While average starting salaries will vary depending on experience and industry of choice, most environmental management professionals can expect to earn high wages. This is especially true as candidates advance in the profession and work their way into middle- or upper- leadership positions.
Typically, environmental managers will earn around $69,000 per year. The job outlook for this industry is excellent, with an expected 11 percent growth by 2026. This is much faster than average and is likely the result of increasing demands on the environment as a result of population growth, as well as a growing interest in preventing environmental degradation.
What can you do with a degree in Environmental Management?
With a degree in environmental management, you will be qualified to work in many settings. These experts utilize their theoretical and practical knowledge of the natural sciences to reduce waste, influence policy, and prevent pollution. You might choose to specialize in a particular area, such as sustainability or wildlife management, or work in a field that utilizes a broad range of skills.
While many environmental managers work in offices or laboratories, a growing number of professionals spend significant time in the field gathering data and monitoring local conditions. You might work for the federal government, or for a technical consulting service. Some graduates even go on to work full-time for engineering services or management firms.
What are the requirements for a degree in Environmental Management?
To enroll in a Master’s degree in environmental management, most universities will first require a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Ecology or Biology. Some programs also require several years of relevant experience.
While enrolled in your studies, you will take a variety of hands-on and theory-based coursework. For example, you might take classes in natural resources policy or planning, or you may take a more business-oriented curriculum. Either way, most degrees can be finished in less than two years of full-time study.
What are the best Environmental Management degrees?
The best environmental management degrees are the ones that allow you to pursue elective courses that best meet your interests and career goals. Many programs will require students to take classes in specialty areas, such as sustainability, that provide them with greater depth in a given subject – making them highly marketable when it comes to hunting for jobs.
In addition, many programs include hands-on field experiences, internship opportunities, study abroad, or cooperative learning experiences that provide students with real-world training. These experiences are often integrated into online programs as well as those offered on campus, providing you with no excuse to not consider a highly flexible, convenient online degree in Environmental Management.
See our rankings methodology page.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $19,950
A private research university in Durham, NC, Duke has long been considered a leader in environmental education, offering a two-year program in Environmental Management that is designed for mid-career professionals. This program emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship as well as leadership, and take places entirely online with the exception of five in-person residencies. The degree incorporates a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from engineering, policy, business, and environmental science.
This program requires 30 credit-hours of studies, combining both individual and group-based projects. All work can be completed asynchronously, with the exception of a weekly online class meeting. Required and elective classes include:
- Ecosystem Science and Management
- Environmental Law and Policy
- Economics of Environmental Management
- Business Strategy for Environmental Sustainability
- The Science of Climate Change
Duke consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the nation, receiving recognition for its hands-on training in all fields. While most of the curriculum in Environmental Management can be completed online, Duke is unique in requiring five “place-based” sessions in which students must undergo rigorous training in leadership development and obtain critical networking connections for future employment. The program is taught by top-notch faculty who are influential experts in the field.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College Choice Score: 94.81
Average Net Price: $16,683
The online graduate program in Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recruits students of the highest caliber, providing them in turn with a degree that is highly sought-after by employers and academics alike. The university partners with dozens of environmental advocacy and research organizations, providing students with opportunities to learn from and work with programs such as the Prairie Research Institute, and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program.
Most students will take around two years to complete this program. Coursework includes real-time digital meetings, project presentations, and optional field trips. Required courses include:
- Environmental Psychology
- Nature and American Culture
- Wildlife Management and Ecology North America
- GIS for Natural Resources
- Watersheds and Water Quality
This university is one of the only in the country to offer a unique course testing policy for hesitant students. It allows students to take up to 12 credits before they are even admitted to the program, providing students with the experience necessary to determine whether this program will be a good fit. The program has been offered since 1999 on campus, and online for nearly ten years.
University of Illinois at Springfield
College Choice Score: 87.88
Average Net Price: $11,444
The University of Illinois at Springfield is a relatively new university, opening only in 1969. The university initially offered only upper-division courses, allowing first-year students to enroll beginning in 2001. The Environmental Studies program incorporates a strong liberal arts curriculum and prepares students by ingraining them with a balanced understanding of how environmental realities and socioeconomic factors commingle to influence policy and human behavior.
Available entirely online, this program requires 40 credit-hours of studies and emphasizes professional development and natural resources planning and policy. The curriculum allows students flexibility to choose a specialty field and also complete a final capstone project and approved internships. Other required courses include:
- Women and the Environment
- Earth Science
- Literature and the Environment
- Introduction to Environmental Sciences
- Introduction to Sustainability
This program features an additional optional concentration in Environmental Planning and Management, making it ideal for recent graduates of bachelor’s programs as well as mid-career professionals. The organization of this degree is unique in that each student is designated a devoted faculty advisor to help him or her create a specialized educational plan. This plan is tailored to each candidates’ specific interests and particular career goals.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
College Choice Score: 87.73
Average Net Price: $15,874
The innovative program in Sustainable Management at the University of Wisconsin, Madison is highly customizable. Students will take eight specialty courses and then choose two specialty areas upon which to focus their studies. This program is designed for working adults who have real-world experience, preparing them to obtain high-level leadership positions at top companies around the world.
This highly flexible program allows students to complete courses according to their own schedules. It requires only 12 classes, with coursework accessible 24/7. Key coursework includes:
- Policy, Law, and the Ethics of Sustainability
- Economics of Sustainability
- Applied Research and the Triple Bottom Line
- The Built Environment
- Cultural and Historical Foundations of Sustainability
The courses at the University of Wisconsin, Madison are taught by faculty members who have significant experience in the field, and who hail from one of five different partnering campuses. This unique blend helps student benefit from diverse and talented experts. This program is highly respected by employers and offers significant financial aid to students who might qualify.
College Choice Score: 87.67
Average Net Price: $24,717
Webster University has been a leader in online education for over 15 years, offering nearly 30 graduate-level programs in its distance learning lab. The program in Environmental Management addresses the business aspects of environmental leadership, allowing students to study the financial, legal, and societal effects of environmental policy. Offered through the College of Arts & Sciences, this program provides students with the training necessary to manage, implement, and research environmental planning procedures and strategies.
This program requires zero site visits and can be completed asynchronously. Courses may be pursued full-time or part-time, with an optional concentration in sustainability available. Required classes include:
- Environmental Science
- Operations and Project Management
- Environmental Law
- Environmental Regulations and Compliance Auditing
- Environmental Accounting
Webster has long been a leader in offering students diverse, personally- tailored experiences. Students are exposed to a diverse body of peers who hail from all over the world, working together as they learn new, real-life environmental management strategies. Faculty members combine global scholarship with professional experience, and the university even offers travel awards to allow students to study abroad for a duration of their degree programs.