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20 Most Affordable Master’s in Environmental Management Online for 2020

If you’re a tree-hugging professional with a desire to advance in the field of environmental studies but you don’t have time to attend school on-campus, then an online master’s in environmental management may be exactly what you need. These convenient distance education programs enable students to complete their coursework on their own terms and are often comparable in quality to their on-campus counterparts. In this ranking, we explore the top 20 most affordable online master’s in environmental management programs.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $18,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

Flexibility of the Program (asynchronous course delivery, hybrid options, part-time/full-time schedule, etc. ) – 1 point per item
Online Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, etc.)— 1 point per item
Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item (5-pt cap)
Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item
“Wow” Factor – 1 point

Ranking the Top Most Affordable Online Master of Environmental Management Programs

To develop this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of 36 online master’s in environmental management programs. To narrow this initial pool, we applied a tuition filter, eliminating any program with a net price of over $25,000. We then applied the rating and ranking methodology above, using data from College Navigator, Payscale.com, and each school’s website. In cases of a tie, the more affordable school was awarded the higher ranking.

#20—Prescott College

Prescott, Arizona

Online MBA in Sustainability Leadership

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Points: 5
Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZThe online environmental management master’s option from Prescott College is a 30-credit hour online MBA in Sustainability Leadership. Signature courses comprising the curriculum for the program include Intercultural Leadership in Sustainability Organizations, The Economics of Sustainable Organizations and Communities, Organizational Behavior through a Sustainable Lens, and Organizational Transformation and Sustainable Leadership. The curriculum is specifically designed to prepare graduates for careers as sustainable business consultants, sustainable design consultants, lead sustainability specialist, corporate responsibility coordinators, and more. Prescott College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the master’s credential in environmental management online. U.S. News & World Report has placed the school among the leading regional universities in the West.
Net Price: $22,968

#19—University of Massachusetts-Boston

Boston, Massachusetts

Online Environmental Sciences Professional PSM

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 6

The online master of environmental management program from the University of Massachusetts- Boston’s School for the Environment is a PSM program. Students enrolled in the program must take 30 credit hours of coursework, including Environmental and Energy Economics, Coastal Zone Management, Environmental Law and Policy, and Analytical Writing in Management, for example. An internship is also required as a capstone element of the program. UMass-Boston is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the master’s in environmental management online degree. U.S. News & World Report has identified the university as one of the top public schools in the country.
Net Price: $12,412

#18—University of Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Online Master of Energy Business

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Points: 7
Top 10 Colleges For An Online Degree Near Tulsa, OklahomaThe online master of environmental management program from the University of Tulsa is a Master of Energy Business offered through the school’s Collins College of Business and the Department of Energy Economics, Policy and Commerce. Coursework required for the degree includes classes such as Financial Management in the Energy Enterprise, Energy Policy and Sustainability, Legal and Regulatory Environment of the Energy Industry, and Analytical Tools for Energy Business Management. Students will also choose two elective classes from offerings such as Energy Analytics and the Digital Energy Enterprise, Energy Markets and Commodities Training, Economic Evaluation of Energy Assets, and International Energy Finance, for example. The University of Tulsa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the master’s in environmental management, and the program itself holds separate accreditation from the American Association of Professional Landmen. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 60 best value schools in the United States.
Net Price: $25,436

#17—University of Findlay

Findlay, Ohio

Online MS in Environmental, Safety and Health Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 7
The University of Findlay offers an online master of environmental management program that can be completed entirely online or via a hybrid format. Students enrolled in the program must take core courses such as Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Public Policy and Communication, and Risk Management for Managers. Elective classes include Solid Waste Management, OSHA Laws and Regulations, Topics in Environmental Management, and Air Pollution Control. Certificate programs are also available. An integrated project and project report are required prior to graduation. The University of Findlay is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the program itself is separately accredited by the National Environmental Health, Science, and Protection Accreditation Council. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top national universities in the country.
Net Price: $24,122

#16—Webster University

Saint Louis, Missouri

Online MS in Environmental Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Points: 7
The online master of environmental management program from Webster University is an MS in Environmental Management with an emphasis in Environmental Sustainability. Required courses for the degree include Environmental Regulations and Compliance Auditing, Environmental Risk Management and Strategies, Operations and Project Management, and Management of Land and Water Resources, for example. Students will also take classes in environmental sustainability such as Environmental Ethics and Decision Making, Energy Policy and Sustainability, and Natural Resource Management and Sustainability. Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the master’s degree in environmental management online. The school has been ranked among the 20 best regional universities in the Midwest as well as the top 60 best value schools in the United States.
Net Price: $22,727

#15—Penn State World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Professional Studies in Ecosystem Management and Administration

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 7
Penn State University-World Campus offers a 30-credit hour online master’s in environmental management. Technically an MPS in Ecosystem Management and Administration, the program features optional graduate certificates in Leadership and Communication Skills for Ecosystem Managers and Ecosystem Measurements and Data Analysis. Required courses for the degree include Environmental Law and Policy, Ecosystem Monitoring, Leadership in a Global Context, and Making Maps that Matter with GIS. A capstone experience is also required before graduation. Penn State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award the online master’s environmental management degree. It’s been ranked among the top 60 national universities and the top 20 public schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
Net Price: $21,678

#14—Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Online Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resource Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 7
texas-tech-universityTexas Tech University offers an online master’s in environmental management program featuring separate tracks in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resources Management. Courses required for the degree include Natural Resource Biopolitics, Ecology of Renewable Natural Resources, and Environmental Sustainability, for instance. Elective offerings include Advanced Landscape Ecology, Population Estimation and Dynamics, and Wildlife Conservation and Management. A professional portfolio and internship or capstone experience are also required for the degree. Texas Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the master of environmental management master’s online degree.
Net Price: $15,531

#13—University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, Maryland

Online Master’s in Environmental Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Points: 7
university-of-maryland-college-parkThe University of Maryland Global Campus offers a robust online master’s in environmental management degree. Core courses required for the degree include Environmental Communications and Reporting, New Technologies in Environmental Management, Environmental Risk Assessment, and Principles and Practices of Waste Management, for instance. A capstone course in environmental management is also required before graduation. For students interested in participating in extracurriculars, an environmental management club is open for membership. University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award this graduate credential in environmental management. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the university as one of the 20 most innovative schools in the country.
Net Price: $13,672

#12—Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

Online Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Environmental Sciences: Sustainable Business/Environmental Entrepreneurship

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Points: 8
oregon-state-universityOregon State University’s online master of environmental management program is a comprehensive 45-credit hour PSM in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Sustainable Business/Environmental Entrepreneurship. In addition to core courses such as Environmental Perspectives and Methods and Environmental Analysis, students enrolled in the program will take environmental business classes like Environmental Decision-Making, Ecological Policy, Project Management for Environmental Scientists, and Environmental Law and Business, for example. An internship is also required prior to graduation. OSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to award the online environmental management master’s credential. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the top 65 public schools and the top 35 most innovative schools in the country.
Net Price: $18,625

#11—Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Fort Collins, Colorado

Online Master of Natural Resource Stewardship: Rangeland Ecology and Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 8
The online master’s in environmental management degree program from Colorado State University-Fort Collins is a unique 30-credit hour Master of Natural Resource Stewardship (MNRS) with a concentration in Rangeland Ecology and Management. The curriculum for the program is comprised of core courses such as Natural Resources Inventory and Data Analysis, Ecology of Disturbed Lands, and Analysis of Environmental Impact. Specialization classes include Ecology of Grasslands and Shrublands, Rangeland Herbivore Ecology and Management, and Advanced Rangeland Management. CSU- Fort Collins is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the master of environmental management online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the top 100 public schools and the 100 most innovative schools in the country.
Net Price: $17,914

#10—University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho

Online Master of Natural Resources (MNR): Fire Ecology and Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Points: 8
The online master of environmental management degree option from the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources is a Master of Natural Resource (MNR) featuring a certificate in Fire Ecology and Management. The program requires 30 credit hours of coursework, including course titles like Fuels Inventory and Management, Restoration Ecology, Principles of Sustainability, and Natural Resource Policy Development, for instance. A final research project is also required. The University of Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to award the online environmental management master’s credential. The university has been ranked among the top 80 best value schools and the top 90 public schools nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.
Net Price: $15,061

#9—Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware

Online MBA in Environmental Sustainability

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Points: 8
The online environmental management master’s offering from Wilmington University is an accelerated MBA in Environmental Sustainability. The program is comprised of 36 credit hours of coursework and can be completed in just one year. The curriculum for the program is comprised of MBA core courses like Organizational Behavior and Ethical Leadership, Global Marketing Management, and Business Strategy, for example. Concentration-specific classes include Economic and Financial Analysis of Environmental Issues, Environmental Regulations and Ethical Issues, Principles of Environmental Sustainability, and Project Management with Sustainable Green Technologies. Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award the online master’s in environmental management, and the program itself is separately accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
Net Price: $13,814

#8—University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Whitewater, Wisconsin

Online MS in Environmental Safety and Health

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 8
uw-whitewater cheapest online master's degree programsThe master’s in environmental management online program from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics is a unique part-time MS in Environmental Safety and Health. The curriculum for the program includes breadth courses such as Principles of Occupational Epidemiology, Advanced Ergonomics, Disaster Planning and Response, and System Safety Analysis. Elective offerings include Construction Safety Management, Principles and Methods of Industrial Hygiene, and Occupational Safety Management. Graduates who complete the program successfully are well-qualified for leadership roles in environmental management such as corporate safety officers, liability claims specialists, safety directors, and worker’s compensation specialists. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the master of environmental management credential online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 65 regional universities in the Midwest and the top 15 public schools nationwide.
Net Price: $12,094

#7—American Military University

Charles Town, West Virginia

Online MS in Environmental Policy & Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Points: 10
The online MS in environmental management from American Military University is a comprehensive 36-credit hour program designed to be completed within two years of full-time study. All courses can be completed entirely online, and convenient monthly start dates are available. The program is also highly versatile, featuring concentrations in Environmental Planning, Global Environmental Management, Fish and Wildlife Management, Environmental Sustainability, and more. Core courses required for the degree include Environmental Economics, Global Environmental Change, Applied Statistics, and Environmental Ethics, for example. American Military University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the environmental management master’s online credential.
Net Price: $10,366

#6—Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Online Environmental Leadership Master of Environmental Management (DEL-MEM)

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Points: 11
The online environmental management master’s degree offering from Duke University is a hybrid Environmental Leadership Master of Environmental Management program. Offered through the renowned Nicholas School of the Environment, the program is interdisciplinary in nature and specifically designed for working professionals. The curriculum for the program is comprised of four core courses: Environmental Law and Policy, Ecosystem Science and Management, Economics of Environmental Management, and Program Management for Environmental Professionals. Elective offerings include The Science of Climate Change, Green Development, and Business Strategy for Environmental Sustainability, for example. Independent study opportunities are available, and a master’s project in environmental leadership is required prior to graduation. Duke University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the master of environmental management degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 10 national universities as well as the top 10 best value schools nationwide.
Net Price: $19,785

#5—University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut

Online Master of Energy and Environmental Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Points: 11
university-of-connecticutThe master’s in environmental management online program from the University of Connecticut features three distinct concentration options: Planning and Management, Environmental Law, and Geographic Information System. Sample course titles comprising the curriculum for the program include Decision Methods in Natural Resources and the Environment, Environmental Planning for Sustainable Communities and Regions, Geospatial Data Processing Techniques, and Natural Resources Law, for example. Graduates of the program are qualified for positions as natural resource managers, data scientists, environmental assessors, and policy analysts. The University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the master of environmental management online credential. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 65 national universities and the top 25 public schools in the country.
Net Price: $19,650

#4—University of Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Online MS in Sustainable Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Points: 11
university-of-wisconsin-system-onlineThe flexible online master’s environmental management program from the University of Wisconsin features tracks in Supply Chain Management, Sustainable Water Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Waste Management Resource and Recovery. The program is asynchronous in nature and can be completed entirely online. Core courses required for the degree include Economics of Sustainability, The Built Environment, Cultural and Historical Foundations of Sustainability, and Applied Research and the Triple Bottom Line, for instance. A capstone project is also required for program completion. The University of Wisconsin is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the environmental management master’s online.
Net Price: $14,169

#3—University of Illinois-Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

Online MS in Environmental Sciences: Environmental Planning and Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Points: 11
The online master of environmental management from the University of Illinois-Springfield is an MS in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Management. The program requires three core courses: Environmental Natural Sciences, Research Methods in Environmental Studies, and Environmental Social Sciences and Humanities. Students will also take additional classes in the concentration, including Land Use and Environmental Planning, Natural Resources: Policy and Administration, and Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems. A master’s thesis or capstone project is required prior to graduation. An on-campus program is also available through the university. UIS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the master of environmental management online. The university has received top accolades from U.S. News & World Report, including a top 10 ranking in its list of leading public schools and top 50 placements in its ranking of best value schools and top regional universities Midwest.
Net Price: $10,733

#2—Harvard Extension School

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Online Master of Sustainability: Natural Resource Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Points: 13
harvard-universityThe online environmental management master’s degree program from Harvard Extension School is a Master of Sustainability with a focus in Natural Resource Management. The program can be completed mostly online but requires one three-week on-campus course. Sample courses comprising the curriculum for the program include Intermediate Geospatial Analytics, Practical Sustainability for Small Organizations, Life Cycle and Supply Chain Sustainability Assessment, and Fundamentals of Ecology for Sustainable Ecosystems, for instance. At the culmination of the program, students will choose either a thesis or capstone research project. Harvard Extension School is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the online master of environmental management degree. U.S. News & World Report has named Harvard the #2 best value school and #2 top national university in the country.
Net Price: $17,590

#1—Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

Online MS in Energy and Environmental Management

Website
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Points: 14
Georgia Tech’s master’s in environmental management online program is a 30-credit hour multidisciplinary offering featuring a part-time track. Offered through the university’s School of Public Policy and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, the program is comprised of two required courses: Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management and Economics of Environmental Policy. Additional classes include Big Data and Public Policy, Energy Policy and Markets, and Earth Systems, for example. A professional paper is also required prior to graduation. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the online master of environmental management credential. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Georgia Institute of Technology among the top 10 public schools and most innovative schools in the nation.
Net Price: $16,950

About Online Master’s in Environmental Management Programs

Online master of environmental management programs are convenient pathways to the credentials necessary for advanced leadership positions in the environmental and sustainability industries. These are typically two-year programs designed specifically for working professionals or other busy adults. Despite their flexibility, online master’s in environmental management offerings aren’t small undertakings. These degree plans are often as rigorous or even more challenging than their on-campus counterparts. In some cases, the only distinguishing factor is the mode of delivery.

Types of Online Master of Environmental Management Degree Programs

Though most environmental management master’s online programs are both convenient and challenging, this is where their similarities often end. These programs can be unique and vary from school to school. Below are some of the common types of online master’s in environmental management options one may encounter.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Online Environmental Management Master’s Programs

The labels “asynchronous” and “synchronous” in relation to academic degrees refer to the way in which online content is delivered. In an asynchronous program, students are afforded a great deal of flexibility in terms of when they complete their coursework. These are truly self-paced study options. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, are still flexible, but less so. Students enrolled in these types of online master of environmental management programs will be required to log in to their classes at specific times of the day or week, for example. They may also be held to stricter deadlines. Not all online programs are completely asynchronous or synchronous in nature; some blend the two content delivery methods.

Part-Time Versus Full-Time Master of Environmental Management Online Degrees

Many online master’s environmental management programs are either part-time or full-time offerings, but some offer students both scheduling options. This affords them a higher level of flexibility in scheduling their classes and balancing their academic and life responsibilities. Part-time programs are clearly less burdensome in the short-term, but they may take longer to complete. Full-time environmental management online master’s degrees can usually be completed in two years, or even less in some cases.

Hybrid Versus 100% Online Environmental Management Master’s Programs

Generally, when one thinks of an online master of environmental management program, they envision a degree plan that can be completed without ever attending campus. While these certainly exist, they are not the only option. An alternative is a hybrid program that combines elements of online and on-campus learning.

Admissions Requirements for Environmental Management Master’s Online Programs

The admissions requirements for environmental management master’s online programs are similar to the entry criteria for other graduate programs. That means that in most cases, you’ll need to submit documentation of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a specified field (i.e., environmental science, life sciences, etc.)
  • Minimum GPA (ranging from 2.0 to 3.0)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores

These admissions requirements can vary somewhat from school to school. For instance, some colleges may accept a bachelor’s degree in any field, not just science. Other schools may waive GRE requirements.

Additional requirements may also be mandated by some universities. These extra documents could include writing samples, letters of reference, and personal statements, for example. In a few cases, you may be asked to participate in an interview process prior to being offered admission.

Master’s in Environmental Management Online: Curriculum

The curriculum for an environmental management master’s online program will vary to some degree depending on which college or university you attend. Still, most programs will cover the following fundamental topics in environmental management:

Core Environmental Management Courses

Core environmental management courses will cover the fundamental topics that make up the study of this specific discipline. All students enrolled in a master’s program in environmental management are required to take these core classes. Though their titles may differ from school to school, they’ll cover much of the same material. Some examples of core environmental management courses are listed below for your reference:

Environmental Policy Evaluation

Environmental Law

Environmental Risk Assessment

Environmental and Natural Resources Economics

Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management

Big Data and Public Policy

 

Environmental Management Elective Classes

In addition to environmental management core courses, most master’s programs in the field will allow students to choose elective classes in the discipline. Unlike core classes, these electives are not specifically required for graduation. Instead, they may be applicable to a certain career path or a student’s area of interest.

Earth Systems

Energy Technology and Policy

Environmental Ethics and Decision Making

Research Methods in Environmental Studies

Environmental Social Sciences and Humanities

Analysis of Environmental Impact

Culminating Element

Most online master’s in environmental management programs will end in a culminating element. This component of the program enables students to integrate their learning and demonstrate their newfound knowledge in the field of environmental management. A program’s culminating element can vary in format from a scholarly research paper to an applied project, or practicum, for example.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Online Master’s in Environmental Management Degrees

Deciding to pursue a master’s degree in environmental management is a big deal. You can bet it’s going to require a great deal of time and effort, not to mention financial resources. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. In order to help you make up your mind, we’ve listed some of the common questions students have about academic programs of this kind. Keep in mind that the information provided here is general in nature. For specific information about a particular school or program, it’s best to speak to an admissions counselor.

Q: How long does it take to earn a master of environmental management online degree?

A: Approximately two years for most programs. However, part-time tracks may take longer to complete. Accelerated tracks may also be available, enabling students to earn their credentials in less time.

Q: Are online master’s in environmental management programs legitimate?

A: Yes, many of them are. To ensure the credibility of a program (online or otherwise), check for national or regional accreditation.

Q: Can I complete my online master of environmental management program on a part-time basis?

A: Yes. Many of these distance learning options are designed specifically for working adults and offer flexible scheduling options, including part-time tracks. If you’re considering this option, keep in mind that it may take you longer than two years to complete the requirements for the degree at this pace.

Q: How much does an online environmental management master’s program cost?

A: Like on-campus programs, costs for online degree offerings vary significantly from school to school. Most colleges and universities charge somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 per year in tuition. There are some programs with tuition expenses well over $25,000 annually, however.

Career Questions Regarding Master of Environmental Management Online Degrees

Q: What can I do with a master’s in environmental management?

A: There are many opportunities for environmental management master’s degree-holders. Some of these include occupations as environmental policy analysts, land-use planners, environmental consultants, and sustainability managers, for instance.

Q: What will I make with a master’s degree in environmental management?

A: Payscale.com reports that professionals with a master’s in environmental management make $68,000 a year on average. Your exact earnings will depend on a number of different factors, however, including your employer, job title, and years of work experience in the field.

Q: What professional organizations exist in environmental management?

A: There are many professional associations and organizations in environmental management. Most of these are open to both students and professionals in the field. Examples include the following:

Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide

The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM)

The National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP)

Association of Environmental and Resource Economics

GVC Staff

February 2020

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