10 Fastest Online Master’s in Environmental & Sustainability Management for 2021

online masters in environmental management

If a person is looking for a degree program that can give a person a high earning potential along with a variety of career options, a person may want to consider earning a master’s in environmental management and sustainability. In a master’s in sustainability and environmental management program, a person learns how to preserve the environment. Therefore, a person is learning how to help plant life and wildlife more than he or she could with a bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, the individual is earning a degree where he or she can make a difference when he or she chooses to earn a master’s in environmental management and sustainability. 

Increased demand for professionals with these skills means that many colleges and universities have developed accelerated online master’s programs to get students through the program and into the field quicker, without a loss in educational quality. With a masters in sustainability and environmental management, a person can take on a leadership role in the field. He or she may not have been able to obtain this role without a masters degree. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Master’s in Environmental Management and Sustainability 

While speed is a crucial factor in an accelerated online program, Great Business Schools editors based the ranking of the best accelerated master’s in sustainability and environmental management on more than just speed. Only accredited, reputable institutions are featured, ranked based on their cost, potential salary, and student satisfaction. 

1. Harvard University

Students searching for a masters in environmental management and sustainability will likely find that the MLA in Sustainability offered by Harvard University’s extension school more than meets their needs. The program consists of 12 graduate courses, one of which is required to be taken on campus. Two of the required courses are proseminar: critical analysis of environmental systems and introduction to sustainability and environmental management. Students can choose between a thesis track or two capstone tracks: one for independent research and one for consulting.

Harvard Extension School caters to students seeking online courses or part-time instruction. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates, with over 900 courses available. Graduates of the Extension School walk at commencement and can join the Harvard Alumni Association, just like any other Harvard graduates.

Highlight Students must take ENVR 101 and ENVR 210 and pass with a B or better to be eligible for the sustainability program.
Degree MLA in Sustainability 

2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Tech offers an MS in Sustainability Energy and Environmental Management. This master in sustainability and environmental management is a multidisciplinary program that includes courses from multiple schools throughout Georgia Tech, including economics, civil and environmental engineering, city and regional planning, industrial and systems engineering, business, and public policy. Students can take classes full- or part-time, on-campus or online. The program consists of 30 credits and integrates both practice and theory.

The School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech strives to become a global leader in governance, policies, and knowledge of the innovation, engineering, and scientific ecosystem. The school is dedicated to using technological innovation and science to find solutions to public policy problems. Students learn to analyze problems with multinational perspectives and multidisciplinary approaches. The school’s areas of expertise include energy, climate, and environmental policy; economic development and smart cities; and science, technology, and innovation policy.

Highlight The curriculum is flexible, but includes two required classes: economics of environmental policy and sustainable energy and environmental management.
Degree MS in Sustainability Energy and Environmental Management

3. Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an MS in Environmental and Resource Management. The program is available both online and on-campus at the ASU Polytechnic campus. Students enrolled in the program from around the world typically take two courses per semester and complete the program in two years. Students can choose between the thesis option, an applied project, or a comprehensive written exam. There is a 4+1 program available for students who want to earn an undergraduate degree in environmental and resource management as well as their MS. Students can concentrate on international environmental management and sustainable development or environmental management.

The Polytechnic School at Arizona State University is a hands-on campus where students are focused on learning by doing. The school concentrates on making new things and using collaboration to solve problems.

Highlight Students from many different educational backgrounds are eligible for the environmental and resource management program.
Degree MS in environmental and resource management 

4. University of Massachusetts – Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston offers an MS in Environmental Sciences and a PSM in Environmental Sciences Professional. The PSM program is designed for working adults who want an advanced degree that is not based in research. Students should have a bachelor’s degree in a science, math, engineering, or technology field or work experience in one or more of those areas. For the convenience of the students, online and evening courses are available. The program consists of 30 credits, three of which are in the form of an internship.

The School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston is focused on finding a way to give our planet a solid future. The school brings together students from all over the world who are interested in environmental management, marine science, sustainability, and urban planning.

Highlight The curriculum can easily be customized to suit the student’s interests.
Degree Master of Environmental Management

5. University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a master’s degree in Environmental Management. The program trains students to implement waste management and pollution prevention strategies to help our country meet its clean water and air goals. Students learn environmental science, industry-standard technology, and business management skills. The program is great for students who are in the middle of their careers and need a professional boost. Students learn to assess environmental hazards and threats, analyze and communicate those risks, and create a plan to comply with environmental regulations.

The University of Maryland Global Campus is an online state university with more than 90 programs and specializations to choose from. The school is dedicated to providing quality education for working adults. UMGC is the biggest online public university in the nation. The school’s online courses are designed to be collaborative and interactive.

Highlight A capstone course in environmental management is part of the program.
Degree Master’s in Environmental Management 

6. Portland State University

Portland State University offers a Master’s in Environmental Management that gives students the skills and knowledge they need to address today’s environmental challenges and to be prepared for whatever challenges come in the future. Students learn to manage ecosystems for the benefit of humans while ensuring the survival and health of the ecosystem. The program can be completed online, on campus, or in a combination of online and on campus classes. Students gain real-world experience working with organizations like The Freshwater Trust, Tualatin Watershed Council, and Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services.

Portland State University is a public research university where students can test their ideas and complete projects that make a difference in the world. The school is innovative, diverse, and affordable. There are over 200 degree programs available.

Highlight Students complete a 6- to 12-month project that involves applying their knowledge and skills to a real environmental issue.
Degree Master’s in Environmental Management

7. Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville offers a PSM in Environmental Science Management. This degree prepares students for careers in technology transfer and research management as well as environmental management. The program requires at least 36 hours of courses, including courses in business, statistics, and environmental science. All students must complete a six-hour internship. The program ends with a final thesis or research paper based on the student’s internship experience. Graduates qualify for positions like environmental project manager and waste management specialist.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides an affordable, high-quality education that prepares students for successful careers and lives. The school offers real-world experiences and hands-on research to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in the global marketplace. The school has degree programs in engineering, business, human behavior, health, education, nursing, and the arts and sciences.

Highlight The program can be completed through daytime or evening courses or online.
Degree PSM in Environmental Science Management

8. University of Houston Clear Lake

The University of Houston-Clear Lake offers a Master of Science in Environmental Management that was developed with the input of several government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. The curriculum was designed to give students the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers. Students can enroll in the program regardless of their undergraduate major, but the program complements engineering and science degrees especially well. Students gain an understanding of how to minimize risk to the environment and how decisions that impact the environment are made.

The University of Houston-Clear Lake gives students opportunities to form connections with expert faculty members in their areas of study. The school has over 9000 students and more than 70,000 alumni. There are more than 90 graduate and undergraduate degree programs to choose from.

Highlight Students can take up to 80% of the coursework online, and on-campus classes are usually held in the evenings.
Degree Master of Environmental Management 

9. Wilmington University

Wilmington University offers an MBA in sustainability that is a good choice for students looking for a masters in environmental management and sustainability. Since this is an MBA degree, it provides a solid foundation in business and is a great choice for anyone who strives for a career in management. Students learn networking, communication, decision-making, and analytics while becoming outstanding problem-solvers, not just on environmental issues but on any issues that might come up in the business world.

Wilmington University has more than 20,000 students and boasts a student-faculty ratio of 17:1. Its program are career-focused, with an emphasis on skills that will help students succeed in the real world. Students can transfer up to 90 credits, so it is a good choice for those who already have some college credits.

Highlight At Wilmington, your instructors are not just teachers but mentors who will help you succeed in your career.
Degree MBA in Environmental Sustainability

10. Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University offers an MS in Occupational Safety and Health: Environmental Management. The program’s instructors are experts in both safety and environmental issues, including air quality, pollution prevention, and hazardous waste management. The program is recognized as a Graduate Safety Practitioner Qualified Academic Program by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, which allows graduates to take the Certified Safety Professional exam without first taking the Associate Safety Professional exam.

Columbia Southern University is an online school that strives to make students’ lives better through high quality education. The school offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as certificates. Its support services are responsive and personal, focusing on helping students achieve their academic goals. CSU provides challenging curriculums that integrate the latest instructional technology. The school provides a diverse and affordable learning experience. Its values are organizational health, humility, exceptional service, flexibility, excellence, and relationships.

Highlight This program is approved by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.
Degree MS in Occupational Safety & Health: Environmental Management

What if I Already Have a Degree?

If a person already has a masters degree in environmental management or another similar science degree, a person may want to look into environmental management certificates. Environmental management certificates don’t take nearly as long as another degree, such as a second master’s degree or a doctorate.

A graduate certificate in sustainability can open up new opportunities for a person that he or she may not have been able to obtain without it. A graduate certificate in sustainability can show a prospective employer that a person took the initiative to go the extra mile. Additionally, a sustainability management certificate can help a person earn a new position with his or her current employer, possibly a management position.  

A certificate in sustainability management can help a person earn a higher salary, just like another degree program can do. A person can see a substantial difference in his or her salary from before he or she earned a certificate in sustainability management when compared to before the person had a graduate certificate in environmental management and sustainability. 

With a certificate in sustainability management, a person may be able to take on a leadership role. Additionally, when a person earns a graduate certificate in environmental management and sustainability, a person can be more in control at a position, which could be more meaningful and rewarding. 

In addition, a person can benefit from a graduate certificate in environmental management and sustainability since person can choose to specialize in a specific area of environmental management and sustainability. This is important when a person considers that a graduate certificate in environmental management and sustainability in a specialty area can open up doors that a person couldn’t once obtain. The jobs may pay more or be in an area that interests a person.  

Fortunately, another benefit of a certificate is that a person can earn an online graduate certificate in sustainability. With an online graduate certificate in sustainability, a person doesn’t have to worry about going to a school and trying to manage his or her schedule for school around his or her work schedule and home life.

What Can I Do with a Master’s in Environmental and Sustainability Management?

Jobs in sustainability vary in terms of the positions a person can take on as well as where a person can take on a job at. For instance, one of the jobs in sustainability is a corporate sustainability specialist. This person is the one who works on how a company plans to reduce its carbon footprint throughout the years. A corporate sustainability specialist is one of the jobs in sustainability management that allow a person to make an impact on how a corporation affects the environment. 

Another one of the jobs in environmental sustainability is a consultant. This is the person who someone speaks to about how to change current practices to have an effect on the environment. 

A person could even take on a role, as one of the jobs in sustainability management, that allows him or her to educate politicians on ways to better the environment. 

An individual may want to consider one of the jobs in sustainability management in teaching. A person can earn a teaching certificate and take on jobs in sustainability management that allow a person to teach others and prepare them for a career in this particular field. As one of the masters in sustainability jobs, a person can choose to teach about this or another similar area of science in a community college. A person could also manage a team of consultants or specialists as another one of the masters in sustainability jobs. Keep in mind that these are just some of the job options a person will have in this field. 

The job outlook for these positions is great. The growth rate of jobs in this field with this degree are projected to grow throughout the years. Plus, you may be able to work in other countries with this particular degree.

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl