Sustainability covers many concepts as they relate to actively shifting global climate change. This multidisciplinary career path looks at a myriad of subjects including social justice activists, educators, engineers, scientists, business entrepreneurs, among others. The good news is this is one of the leading industries that is projected to have a large growth spurt in the coming years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a career outlook that suggests there will be a 105 percent increase in “green jobs” between 2016 and 2026. There are many ways to plug into the fields of sustainability. In fact, there are several labor-related professions in the world of sustainability that you can easily access with an associate’s degree in sustainability. A two-year degree can be beefed up with an easy transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. A bachelor’s degree in sustainability can be a powerful foundation to get to the front of the green industry in all disciplines. It is also an excellent basis for a future master’s degree in the field, which will allow for additional leadership opportunities.
We have done some of the work for you to find the best bachelors in sustainability programs. We ranked the top 25 programs based on the following metric:
- Graduate Success Rate
University of Illinois
The University of Illinois offers a bachelor of science in sustainability that is delivered in a flexible format. That’s right, the whole degree is offered online for both convenience and as much ease as possible. This program is offered through the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, and the degree is called Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability. Students have a lot of agency over their path of study, for example, there are lots of disciplines for which students can specialize including sustainability policy, sustainable business, environmental consulting, geographic information science, among others. This is a very transfer-friendly program. The online degree is the exact same as the degree path offered in person. Most of the classes in this program are actually offered in an asynchronous format, meaning students are able to work at their own pace and balance their lives in a way that suits them.
Degree Type: BS in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability
The University of Florida offers a bachelor of science program in environmental management that can be completed entirely online. This bachelor of science in sustainability program covers many bases, especially for those who are interested in finding ways to plug into leadership roles in the field. Technically, the major is in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on environmental management in agriculture and natural resources. UF Online offers many virtual information sessions for prospective students to understand the ins and outs of the program. Graduates of the program can easily matriculate into careers such as environmental consultants, conservation scientists, restoration ecologists, hydrologists, conservation officers, natural resource managers, and more. There are many transfer options, however, there are several prerequisites for those who are interested in transferring in from other programs. There are some in-depth chemistry requirements as well as the recommendation of public speaking, statistics, and biological sciences.
Degree Type: BS in Environmental Management
University of Maryland
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a bachelor of science in Environmental Management program that is offered entirely online. This course of study emphasizes emergencies and resource management for disaster aversion. Students will look at environmental issues such as air quality, global warming, health and security, water scarcity, and overall community wellness. The program teaches students to plan, and implement as it relates to all aspects of environmental management. The program is made up of 120 credit hours. There are 33 required courses and 46 minor and elective courses. The required major coursework includes environmental and ecosystem principles, global and environmental management issues, introduction to geographic information systems, environmental technology, and occupational health and safety. This is a career-focused degree program that enables students to learn a myriad of on the ground skills. There are many student life offerings through this program by way of the greater university.
Degree Type: BS in Environmental Management
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin offers a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management program that is delivered entirely online. This is considered one of the top bachelor of science in sustainability degrees with the flexibility and convenience to make it a perfect fit for adult learners and those that need a non-traditional education plan. This multidisciplinary program is made up of 63 credits and 21 classes. The program is designed to bring together the business aspects of the field including business, sustainability, natural resource management, systems thinking, triple bottom line accounting, climate change, and corporate social responsibility. Even though the program is entirely online, students are invited to utilize all of the in-person campus resources that are beneficial for them. The University of Wisconsin has a multi-campus partnership that enables students to study from faculty all over the state with different niches and relevant expertise.
Degree Type: BS in Sustainable Management
Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers a bachelor of arts program in business with an emphasis on sustainability. The goal of the program is to train students to be part of a large scale solution in terms of creating improved environmental and social quality of life for generations to come. The entire program is made up of 120 credit hours, which includes 40 courses, each of which lasts 7 and a half weeks. Some of the featured classes include business and sustainability, sustainable world, the economics of sustainability, and business and sustainability 2. Students can easily go into a variety of fields upon graduation including green marketer, greenhouse manager, business analyst, office manager, wind energy project manager, solar sales representative, logistics manager, and warehouse manager. The faculty in the program are prestigiously recognized for not only their research but all their impact.
Degree Type: BA in Business: Sustainability
Bellevue University offers a bachelors of Arts program in sustainable management that is delivered entirely online. This course of study is designed to bring students to the front lines of environmental protection. The entire course of study is made up of 127 credit hours. The general education requirements are made up of 37 credit hours and the major credit hours are 40. The electives make up 50 credit hours. As you can see, there is a lot of freedom embedded in the program, as students can choose the courses that inspire them. The coursework synthesis disciplines such as engineering, science, and engineering. Students will have the opportunity to strategize how to practically and scientifically effect change on topics such as energy resources, land management, energy resources, biofuels and bioenergy, urban development, solar technologies, and wind technologies. Bellevue University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Degree Type: BA in Sustainable Management
Florida International University offers a bachelor of arts program in sustainability and the environment that is delivered entirely online. Students in this program will learn how to effectively manage the natural resources that are around us with protection plans for the future. Students will be able to consider the ways that certain factors contribute to the sustainability of human-created institutions, cultures, organizations and technologies, and technologies. Though this program is offered entirely online with a flexible format that is convenient for working professionals, there are many opportunities for students to study on campus if that is their preference. An exciting aspect of Florida International University is that they have an Environmental Studies Pathway that enables students to achieve a Bachelor of Science degree at the same time as a Master’s of Science. They have advisors on hand to support the journey of each student.
Degree Type: BA in Sustainability and the Environment
Drexel University offers a bachelor of arts in environmental studies and sustainability that can be completed entirely online. The program gives students the tools to engage with the environmental problems of today with solution-oriented tools to shift the tide. Students will look at the loss of biodiversity, water pollution, global warming, the impact of urban sprawl. Not only will students utilize scientific tools and methodologies when approaching these problems, but they will also be trained in working with the cultural, social, and ethical implications of this work. This is an innovative program, as it is designed for students of environmental studies who are interested in addressing these large scale global issues from the standpoint of the humanities. One unique aspect of this program is that students have the opportunity to utilize the co-op experience to gain hands-on learning opportunities.
Degree Type: BA in Environmental Studies & Sustainability
The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a bachelor of science program in sustainable community development. This program is under the umbrella of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. Some of the classes that students have access to in this program include: transforming your world: intro to community engagement, city planning, awareness of the visual environment, landscape architecture program, sustainable cities, research issues in community development, writing in community development, and landscape, and research issues in community development. Students in the program will choose from a variety of concentrations including city and society concentration, concentration in the build environment, climate change and green infrastructure concentration, landscape design and build concentration, and an independently designed concentration. They offer both a three-year path and a four-year path for students. In addition, they have a 4+1 accelerated bachelors and masters in the regional planning degree program.
Degree Type: BA in Sustainability Studies
The Pennsylvania State University Global Campus offers a bachelor’s of arts program in energy and sustainability policy that is delivered entirely online. This program is designed with as much flexibility as possible to enable students to study while working full time or participating in relevant internships. The entire course of study is made up of 120 credit hours with affordable per hour tuition. The coursework is responding to the need for skilled thinkers and laborers in the multidisciplinary green industries. Students will learn how to understand renewable and conventional energy sources and the implications they have on the environment. Communication skills as well as critical thinking and analysis are heavily emphasized in the program. Students will also benefit from the global perspective that this program offers, which includes access to foreign language learning and global cultural understandings. Students will also have the opportunity to engage with areas that interest them beyond the major.
Degree Type: BA in Energy and Sustainability Policy
Oregon State University offers a bachelor of science program in sustainability through their e-campus. This bachelor in sustainability. This program was designed for students who are interested in learning in a flexible format. They offer four start dates each year, making it easy to matriculate. Students are only required to complete 32 credit hours or 45 plus to complete the program, as it is very transfer-friendly. The coursework dives into the reality that sustainability impacts every industry including global business, society and economics, and politics. Students will also focus on environmentally and socially responsible products and deconstructing the reliance on traditional energy sources. This program is primarily designed for people who have graduated from Oregon State, but if they have not, they will be required to engage in 45 credit hours at minimum. Oregon State University is a known leader in sustainability education.
Degree Type: BS in Sustainability
Maryville University offers a bachelor of science in sustainability program that is delivered entirely online. There are many benefits to this program including the no-fee application process. In fact, prospective students are not even required to sit for the SAT or ACT. There are many financial aid offerings for the program, making it easy to participate regardless of your budget. Another perk is that it is extremely transfer-friendly. There are three concentrations students can choose from including environmental science, business, and policy. There is also the option for a more generalized approach to the disciplines at hand. Even though the program is delivered online, there are many opportunities for immersive learning experiences that ensure students will have the hands-on learning necessary to succeed in the job market. Students will be able to participate in relevant internships. Some students might want to survey waterways and landscapes as part of their learning plan.
Degree Type: BS in Sustainability
Bismarck State College offers a bachelor of applied science that is delivered entirely online. This is a four-year degree plan that was created for students to deeply engage in energy management and the reversal of climate change. The flexibility of this offering enables students to continue working full time and/ or participating in relevant internships. Bismarck helps students set up tuition reimbursement programs that will ensure their debt will ultimately be minimal. Some of the benefits of the program include the fact that students can start the program at any time. Not only does the admission process work on a rolling basis, but students will be able to apply any time as well. The content of this program is all industry approved and in many cases industry lead, as it is taught by industry lead experts. Emphasized in this program are leadership skills that will enable students to play managerial roles in the fields of energy.
Degree Type: BAS in Energy management
Franklin University offers a bachelor of science in energy management program that can be accomplished using an entirely online format that is both flexible and convenient. This program is designed to create competitive candidates for leadership roles in the complex fields of energy and energy management. Even though all of the coursework is offered online, students will be able to gain experiential hands-on learning experience that will give them the skills to develop strategies for business energy. Students will be able to finish their degree programs at an accelerated pace at Franklin. The major foundational courses for this program include managerial accounting, financial accounting, marketing, principles of finance, business law, and introduction of microeconomics. Some of the major electives embedded in the program include project and team management, global business issues, operations management, organizational supervision, and human resources management. There are many opportunities for advising in the program as well.
Degree Type: BS in Energy Management
Roosevelt University offers a bachelor of arts program in sustainability studies that can be completed entirely online. This program kicked off in 2010 in response to the desperate call to de-escalate global climate change. They emphasize the three E’s of sustainability including economy, environment, and equity. The Chicago campus offers many resources for students to put their sustainability practices to the test. Not only does their mission tackle the scientific and cultural implications of sustainability studies, but they heavily emphasize social justice and environmental justice in the program as it relates to all aspects of the discipline, including community development, environmental justice, and ecological restoration. The coursework is designed to be incredibly flexible, with the hope that it will make space for hands-on learning opportunities. Students will have the option to do research on-site at nature centers, urban farms, museums, among other relevant public spaces.
Degree Type: BA in Sustainability Studies
St Petersburg College offers a bachelor of applied science program in sustainable management that can be completed as an online option. Students will learn the ins and outs of developing sustainable practice business plans which include leadership and management. Some of the skills students will gain include: economics, people, technology, natural and energy resources that give students comprehensive preparation for what are referred to as “green-collar” jobs. Students will be able to plug into the international call for sustainable experts to aid in the reversal of global climate change from this starting point. Some of the classes include sustainable business strategies, legal aspects of sustainability, energy and environmental management, as well as green construction and urban planning. The program outlines a recommended academic pathway that includes: introduction to environmental science, developing and coaching self-directed work teams, concepts of lean and six sigma, marketing management, among others.
Degree Type: BAS in Sustainable Management
Columbia Southern University offers a bachelor of science program in environmental management that is delivered entirely online. This course of study is made up of 120 credit hours. It is transfer-friendly and enables prospective students to transfer up to 90 credit hours. They offer students access to Life Pace learning, which enables participants to move beyond coursework that they already have a handle on. This is the best way to have an accelerated and simultaneously thorough experience. The classes engage pertinent topics of today including best practices for environmental industry-led compliance and environmental management. Students will learn the investigative skills necessary for the effective remediation of environmental hazards. They will develop a foundation in the technologies and theories necessary for remediating environmental problems. The program emphasizes effective team building and the necessity for collaboration when combating such large scale environmental issues.
Degree Type: BS in Environmental Management
Liberty University offers a bachelor’s of science program in business administration and green and sustainable management. This course of study is delivered entirely online utilizing an eight-week course schedule. They are incredibly transfer friendly; in fact, students can transfer up to 75 percent of their degree from another institution of higher learning. There are multiple start dates, making it easy to matriculate at the student’s convenience. The entire program is made up of 120 credit hours. It can be completed in as little as 3 and a half years. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The featured courses include environmental and sustainability, geographic information systems, energy resources, and efficiencies, and environmental science and policy. Liberty grants students life experience credits for relevant hands-on experience. Liberty’s research portal is extensive, with global resources that all of their students can access.
Degree Type: BS in Green & Sustainable Management
DeVry University offers a bachelor’s specialization in renewable energy that can be completed entirely online. Much of this specialization is centered around understanding the ins and outs of renewable energy as it relates to alternative energy generation and the complexities embedded in green technology. Some of the key subtopics include economics, environmental science, sociology, and project management. This is a very transfer-friendly program offering, ensuring students can transfer significant coursework from another institution of higher learning. Even without transfer, students can complete their entire degree program in as little as three years’ time. The specializations can be connected to the bachelor’s degree program in engineering technology in electronics. Students will also learn additional hands-on skills such as maintenance and repairs, engineering and technology, fundamentals of power and alternative energy sources, complex problem solving, and data analyzation.
Degree Type: Bachelor’s in Specialization in Renewable Energy
Prescott College offers a bachelor’s of arts in sustainability management that can be completed entirely online. This offering gives students the skills to engage in the developing industry of green design and business as it relates to reversing global climate change. Students in the program can choose to place their focus on rural or urban communities as they relate to the industry at large. They will also focus on holistic community well being, which includes the physical community environments at hand and practices and values systems. This course of study utilizes the moodle learning management system for all of their coursework. They offer students many resources for the support that can be accessed from a distance, including advising. The program also includes project-based learning, as students will have the opportunity to participate in projects that are authentic to the needs of their own communities.
Degree Type: BA in Sustainability Management
The Southern New Hampshire University offers a bachelor’s of science program in natural resources and conservation. This course of study is designed to be both flexible and convenient for busy adult learners, as well as traditional students who are interested convenient learning methods. Students will have the option to work on real-world geoscience projects that will not only stand out on a CV but enable much of their learning to be hands-on. Some of the unique aspects of this program include skill building for map development by way of geospatial data, making ethical and responsible decisions as they relate to the field of geoscience. Students will also learn the skill-set to utilize the necessary tools to plug into the industry, including technology, and scientific principles as a way to problem solve and visualize. There are two concentration options including natural resources and conservation and data analytics in science. Many graduates of the program go into career paths such as geologists, compliance managers, environmental specialists, and environmental inspectors.
Degree Type: BS in Geosciences: Natural Resources and Conservation
Excelsior College has Technology Management Renewable Energy Technology Bachelor of Professional Studies delivered through an online format. Technology and renewable sustainable energy are the focus of this program, created as a degree option for students to build upon their technical field. Choose from four concentrations like Electrical Technology, Information Technology, Nuclear Technology, and Renewable Energy Technology. This program accepts a minimum of 71 transfer credits towards this technology management degree, which includes training received while in the military or on the job experience. This degree program course of study will include developing a cohesive written and oral arguments in renewable energy, critically evaluating the legal ethical, and social implications congruent with renewable energy. Graduates of this program must complete a required 120 credit course load with a mandatory 15 credits of core professional course applied to your concentration. Some of the professional core courses required are Business Leadership, Financial Accounting, Project management, introduction to energy utilization.
Degree Type: BPS: Technology Management Renewable Energy Technology
Sierra Nevada University
Sierra Nevada University’s B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sustainability is a course of study in sustainability innovation. Take a whole view approach to environmental impact and climate change, this degree offered collectively by the Liberal Arts and interdisciplinary studies departments of SNU. Start tackling climate change while earning your degree, as a student you can choose a sustainability issue and develop and implement a solution, and it all goes towards your degree. Students will go out into the field and work with organizations partnered with the program to conserve Lake Tahoe. Don’t wait until summer break to get into the field! Although there are a lot of on-campus requirements, students can take a bulk of the required courses online with this hybrid degree. If you are a student that learns better while doing this multiple format degree is the online sustainability solution.
Degree Type: B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sustainability
Unity College offers a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Business management Renewable Energy that is delivered entirely online. While the growing demand for renewable energy professionals increases each year, so does the offering of concentrated courses of study in renewable energy. Leaving prospective students with a lot of options, for this reason, Unity College has created a program geared to prepare students to enter the workforce fast. Students can complete the entire 120 credits with UC, although they only require a minimum of 30 credits to be taken to graduate. Students will complete courses like Transformational Leadership, Sustainable solution to Globalization, The warming planet, and Understanding the Sustainable Business Landscape. Unity college’s mission is to help individuals passionate about sustainability realize their potential, by employing a staff of industry leaders to instruct a growing student body of environmental enthusiasts. With this degree, graduates can obtain positions as Camplainces Specialist, Sustainability Coordinators, and Program Managers.
Degree Type: BS in Sustainable Business management Renewable Energy
Everglades University Bachelor of Science in Land and Energy Management offers an online learning format for individuals wanting to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a dual focus. Land and Energy management is an online bachelor in sustainability, this course of study emphasizes the key elements of land use planning and sustainable energy modules. For degree completion of this 4-year degree, students must obtain 123 credits. While this degree is online students will not miss a beat, as there is only an upside to choosing the flexible method, as well as the opportunity to decrease one’s carbon footprint by not traveling to campus. Students can expect to find their way into managerial roles with this degree program, which focuses on the skills needed to manage and advise businesses on how to maintain energy sources and renewable resources involved in land and mineral rights. Not only is the program designed to understand land uses and renewable energy resources, but focuses on negotiation communication with the energy sector.
Degree Type: BS in Land and Energy Management
What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Sustainability?
There are many places one could go with a bachelor’s in sustainability degree program. The career path is ever-expanding with new opportunities every day in response to the devastating impact of global climate change. Let’s take a look at some of the potential job offerings for those who are interested in investing in this pathway:
First off, as you can see from many of the programs mentioned in the top 25 list above, jobs in sustainability management are highly in demand. In order to be a good fit for such positions, you should emphasize management and/ or leadership in your coursework. Jobs in sustainability consulting are also highly sought after. Consulting is an excellent profession for those who are interested in maintaining flexibility in their career paths with the option of being your own boss. You will notice that there are many business-related sustainability career paths that offer a myriad of skills that are transferable to many different career disciplines. In addition, you may want to consider a career as a sustainability specialist. This is somebody who focuses on green procurement plans and green building practices. This can also be considered one of the jobs in sustainability consulting. Climate change can ostensibly fall under the same category, though their responsibilities fall under the umbrella of policy and advocacy. In fact, they are the ones that research policy developments related to climate change and make effective recommendations for awareness campaigns, legislation, and even approaches to fundraising. Another way to use this degree path could be engaging in the field as a supervisor of production and overseeing workers. This is someone who is impeccable at coordinating and managing workers. In many cases, they act as plant supervisors. There are also positions always available, for people who have this coursework under their belt, to be campaign managers/ campaign specialists, project managers, and data analysts.
How Much Can I Make with a Degree in Sustainability?
There is a pretty wide range for a sustainability management salary. According to payscale, the average for sustainability manager salaries is $73,694. This is certainly variable as these positions are vast with many different implications associated with the profession. Once again, there is a wide range, but payscale projects the average for a sustainability specialist salary is $60,477. The lower range for a sustainability manager salary is $45,000 and the high end is $89,000. There are many salaries in between, as there are many ways to become a specialist in this vast and epically growing field. Many of these jobs have the promise of salary increases with the appropriate experience under your belt. This field is still relatively new, so experts in any related pathways have the opportunities to continue to shape the disciplines as we know them. If you are interested in project management, you are looking at a solid $58,000 salary. Once you get into consulting, it appears that the salary jumps to the $60,000s.
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