The world is only getting warmer! Earn one of these affordable online bachelor’s in sustainability degrees and help save the planet.
Are you passionate about conserving and promoting the environment? Do you want to put policies and strategies in place that protect our planet? Do you envision yourself in leadership, inspiring passionate teams of people to create and encourage sustainable practices?
Then an online degree in sustainability may be the next best step for you!
Top 10 Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees
||St. Petersburg College
||Florida International University
||Arizona State University
||University of Wisconsin-Stout
||University of Wisconsin-River Falls
||River Falls, WI
||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
||Oregon State University
||University of Massachusetts Amherst
||Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
||University Park, PA
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What kind of online bachelor’s in sustainability degree should you get?
All ten of these programs will provide a sturdy foundation in conservation and sustainability. But each program varies a bit in emphasis, structure and requirement.
For example, some programs focus on management and business principles, while others are concerned with policy. Others allow you to tailor the program to fit your specific career interests.
Here at College Choice we believe that finding the best fit equals success. Seek a program that offers the experiences, both academic and extracurricular, that you seek. And know that all of these programs can be fully completed online. Distance education is a great way to flexibly and affordably advance your career. So be sure to check out College Choice’s Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with an online bachelor’s in sustainability?
Don’t delay on this degree! The planet needs your passion and expertise, regardless of which industry you go into after graduation. See more below on what to do with a bachelor’s in sustainability.
But suffice to say for now, careers in conservation pay well and are on the rise. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental scientists make, on average, nearly $70,000 a year. But with added experience and specialization, that number leaps way up. Sustainability directors, according to PayScale, can make up to $175,000 a year.
What can you do with an online bachelor’s in sustainability?
A degree in sustainability will give you access to several industries and vocational settings. Want to lead small non-profits and enact policy change? Or perhaps you want to launch your own green business? One of these degrees will help you get there.
Fortunately, several of these ten programs highlight the importance of interdisciplinary study. So you will have the opportunity to specialize, to add a minor, or to even double major. These kinds of added specialities make you even more in demand after graduation.
Indeed, graduates from the programs below have secured rewarding careers as:
- Sustainability consultants
- Chief sustainability officers
- Environmental engineers
- Environmental development manager
What are the requirements for an online bachelor’s in sustainability degree?
No matter how you specialize or train, each of these programs require two full years of general education coursework. But once you’ve completed those, you’ll jump into your sustainability major core. This includes classes on the fundamentals of sustainability.
Once your foundation is in place you will have the option to either specialize formally through a concentration or through tailored electives. Take this time to explore all the areas of sustainability that are of interest to you. Whether this means emerging technologies or green economies.
Toward the end of your degree program you may be required to complete an internship or capstone project. Both give you real-world, hands-on experience to present to future employers. We’ve been sure to note which programs make such requirements.
What are the most affordable online bachelor’s in sustainability degrees?
These ten programs are not just the most affordable, but some of the best ranked too. In fact, some of these degrees are even housed within Public Ivy universities!
To find the most affordable bachelor’s in sustainability programs we first looked at every program across the country that offers the degree online. From there we looked at tuition rates, financial resources, and scholarship opportunities to bring you the ten most affordable online programs in the nation.
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.
See our rankings methodology page.
OverviewA private school, Bellevue University is located in Bellevue, NE. From its founding the university has specialized in providing education to adult and returning learners. Around 10,000 students attend Bellevue, a majority of them older than 25. FeaturesBellevue offers an online BS in Sustainability Management degree program that is well suited for those who design, implement, and oversee sustainable projects. You’ll develop effective strategies for everything from water resource protection to biofuels, solar technologies, and urban development. And you’ll take exciting classes such as:
- Current Trends in Energy Technology
- Green Technologies and Natural Resource Conservation
- Green Project Management
- Cost of Sustainability
Bellevue’s online bachelor programs are ranked among the best in the nation. Indeed, U.S. News & World Report
consistently includes Bellevue on its annual listings of best distance education programs nationwide. Naturally, Bellevue has earned these accolades through its established and proven history providing innovative education opportunities to distance learners.
OverviewSt. Petersburg College is a state school and part of the larger Florida College System. It is based in Pinellas County, FL and is home to more than 65,000 students. St. Petersburg College is recognized as having some of the best distance education programs among all other colleges and universities in Florida.FeaturesIf you’re looking for a sustainability management degree that specializes in Six Sigma standardization, SPC has the program for you. While you still gain a comprehensive foundation in business management and sustainability principles, such as energy and environmental conservation techniques, you’ll also take classes that will make you a Six Sigma expert:
- Principles of Six Sigma
- Six Sigma Project Management
- Six Sigma Black Belt Concepts
- Six Sigma Capstone Project
St. Petersburg College offers an array of environmental science and sustainability programs across degree levels. For this reason the college has become known for its commitments to education and research in energy management, law and the environment, sustainable business, and much more.
Florida International University
OverviewFlorida International University is among the dozen members of the wider State University System of Florida. A research-driven university, FIU is classified as having some of the most active research facilities and projects by the Carnegie Foundation. More than 56,000 students attend FIU.FeaturesFIU’s School of Environment, Arts, and Society offers an online BA in Sustainability and the Environment degree. As a FIU student you will gain an understanding of the complex issues plaguing natural resource management. This includes the impact of human institutions, cultures, and technologies. Classes you’ll take include:
- Energy Flow in Natural and Man-Made Systems
- Environmental Resources and Pollution
- Introduction to Environmental Economics
- US Environmental Policy
Of the many elite members in the large State University System of Florida, FIU is ranked first when it comes to energy conservation and sustainability. And, on top of being nationally ranked as a whole, many of FIU’s departments receive individual recognition. For example, the biological sciences and earth sciences programs are nationally ranked too!
OverviewArizona State University is a public school well known for its many prestigious research contributions. It is located in and around Phoenix and has a highly reputable global campus as well. Around 72,000 students attend ASU.FeaturesASU offers an online BA in Business degree where you can specialize in Sustainability. This is an ideal program for those who want a broad business foundation. For example, you will study business principles such as finance and risk assessment, but you’ll also look at the ins and outs of management as it relates to environmental awareness. You’ll therefore take classes such as:
- Sustainable Cities
- Business and Sustainability I and II
- Sustainable World
- The Economics of Sustainability
Arizona State University is consistently called one of America’s “Most Innovative Schools” every year, frequently making first place. In addition to its general academic achievements, ASU is well regarded for its sustainability degrees, commitments, and research projects. For example, the School of Sustainability was the first school in the US to introduce sustainability degrees!
University of Wisconsin-Stout
OverviewThe Stout campus within the illustrious University of Wisconsin System is home to nearly 10,000 students. It is a public school and designated as the state’s polytechnic university. UW Stout is a leader in career-related degree programs, particularly those in industry, technology, health, and science.FeaturesUW Stout’s BS in Sustainable Management degree is notably interdisciplinary. The program covers everything from economics to policy, resource management to information systems. You’ll therefore graduate as knowledgeable in the numbers game of accounting as you will in saving the planet. Some of the classes you’ll take at UW Stout include:
- Economics in Society and Sustainability
- Technical Writing for Sustainable Management
- Ecology for Sustainable Management
- Global Environmental Chemistry
UW Stout is ranked among the best universities in the Midwest according to U.S. News & World Report
. Furthermore, it is considered among the nation’s top 50 most military friendly universities. And its online bachelor programs are nationally recognized too!
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
OverviewThe River Falls campus within the University of Wisconsin System is a liberal arts school. It is based in Minneapolis and St. Paul and home to more than 6,000 students. UWRF offers around 40 majors across all departments and subjects, but is known for its programs in the sciences.FeaturesWhen you earn your BS in Sustainability from Wisconsin River Falls you will build a foundation in the economics of environmental sustainability. You will explore policy and international management, and you’ll graduate a leader who can inspire teams of like-minded conservationists. Graduates from this program have gone on to become:
- Global Supply Managers
- Sustainability Program Coordinators
- Chief Sustainability Officers
- Sustainability Specialists
The renowned St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development is based on the UWRF campus. Indeed, the mission of the institute is to become one of the most concentrated hubs for sustainable development and research. It comes as no surprise then that UWRF earns straight A’s on its College Sustainability Report Card.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
OverviewYou can earn not only an affordable online degree from the flagship campus within the University of Illinois System, but a well-sought after degree too. UIUC is a top-ranked university that serves nearly 50,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students. Its online programs offer the same amount of rigor and prestige as the actual campus.FeaturesUIUC offers an online BS in Liberal Arts and Sciences that focuses on Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability. This program uniquely explores the intersections between the environment, society, and national and global economies. Additionally, at UIUC you can specialize in an array of areas, including:
- Environmental Informatics
- Sustainable Business
- Sustainable Policy
The Sustain Endowments Institute frequently lauds UIUC for its LEED gold standards, the Student Sustainability Committee, and the efforts put forth from the Office of Sustainability. In fact, leadership at the university has explicitly stated their interest in being a leader in sustainability and progressing toward climate neutrality.
OverviewYou can’t go wrong with earning a sustainability degree from one of the nation’s most green states. Oregon State University, based in Corvallis, is a research university with strengths in agriculture, sustainability, and the earth sciences. Around 30,000 students attend OSU.FeaturesThrough OSU’s ecampus you can earn either a BA or BS in Sustainability. An important thing to note is that this program can only be completed as a double major degree. Meaning, you will pair your sustainability major with another, which will give you a unique leg up in the real-world. Study business, health, policy, or art, and then dive into a curriculum that covers:
- Sustainable communities
- Environmental economics and policy
- Social dimensions of sustainability
- Sustainability assessment
When you study at OSU you study at a university with a forestry and agricultural sciences program ranked ninth in the world. And narrowing it down to just local statistics, those programs are ranked seventh in the nation. Furthermore, the environmental science programs come in at 20th nationally.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
OverviewThe Amherst campus within the University of Massachusetts System is the flagship university. More than 30,000 students attend UMass Amherst, which offers more than 200 academic degree programs. Indeed, the university is consider the largest in New England.FeaturesUMass Amherst offers a BA in Sustainability Studies that prepares you to become a leader in emerging green economies. You’ll graduate ready and eager to start your own sustainable business, launching green initiatives and inspiring teams of passionate people. And at UMass Amherst you can create your own concentration, an opportunity to tailor a program you won’t find elsewhere. Classes cover:
- Farm Management, Planning, and Marketing
- Food Justice and Policy
UMass Amherst’s commitments to sustainability are reflected in many of its programs and services. For example, the Combined Heat and Power generation facility on campus has received numerous awards for its environmental benefits. One such award was the Sustainable Campus Leadership Award from the International District Energy Association.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA
OverviewPenn State is a sprawling research university with campuses and research institutes scattered throughout the state. Its online platform, the World Campus, is highly renowned and offers an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Nearly 100,000 students attend Penn State through one of its physical campuses or online.FeaturesPenn State offers an online BA in Energy and Sustainability Policy degree. As a Penn State student you will learn how to research, analyze, and collate information regarding trends in energy and technologies. You’ll become proficient in a foreign language, which pairs with Penn State’s emphasis on global perspectives. And you’ll take a number of important courses, such as:
- Energy in a Changing World
- Global Energy Enterprise
- Energy and Sustainability in Society
- Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems
Penn State is considered a Public Ivy, meaning its academic programs are on par with those of its Ivy League counterparts. In fact, Penn State is ranked 50th among all universities and colleges nationwide. Likewise, several of its individual departments are nationally ranked, including its life sciences and natural sciences programs.