Affordable Online Master’s in Sustainability Degrees

An online master’s in sustainability covers a broad range of academic topics and prepares students for careers in a variety of disciplines, including business, technology, environmental stewardship, advocacy, and public policy. Most online sustainability programs include a curriculum that covers several different topics, such as economics, environmental science, ethics, and politics. This field has become increasingly important in recent years as organizations look to maximize their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints.

In an online sustainability master’s degree program, you will learn how to bring sustainability practices to a variety of settings, including government, small business, the corporate world, and non-governmental organizations. Earning a master’s degree can also provide you with greater employment opportunities and allow you to command a higher salary. A master’s in sustainability online can also help you advance to management positions within a business or organization.

Graduates from sustainability master’s programs online can pursue a wide variety of high-paying positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chief sustainability executives can make more than $100,000 per year, while a natural science manager can earn an average of about $119,000 per year. Environmental engineers and campus sustainability managers also garner competitive salaries while also making a meaningful impact on the businesses and organizations they serve.

The following ranking has been developed to help you find the best online master’s in sustainability programs in the country. Our ranking highlights fully accredited schools with low tuition rates, and seeks to help students find a college where they can get a great return on their investment.

Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Sustainability
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University of Wisconsin-Stout

Value Score 9.27
Average Tuition $6,613
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 73
Number of Online Programs 12

Working adults interested in the emerging field of sustainability can earn an MS in sustainable management from UW-Stout. It is a collaborative program that's taught by distinguished faculty from the University of Wisconsin System. The program prepares graduates for leadership positions at various organizations. The 34-credit curriculum includes the study of waste management, sustainable design, law and ethics of sustainability, and corporate social responsibility.

Students are required to take two courses from one of four tracks: corporate social responsibility, supply chain management, sustainable water management, or waste management and resource recovery. Students have the opportunity to earn certificates in sustainable enterprise management and sustainable management science. The online sustainability master’s degree prepares graduates for emerging careers in fields such as construction, manufacturing, and professional and business services. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA; no GRE is required.

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National University

Value Score 6.52
Average Tuition $10,962
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 66
Number of Online Programs 39

Since 1971, NU has provided educational opportunities to a diverse student population. The school offers more than 60 online programs, including the School of Engineering and Computing’s MS in sustainability. The program provides students with a comprehensive overview of the field while teaching them engineering and sustainability concepts used in the management of the environment, buildings, and energy. The curriculum includes the study of energy management, sustainable innovation, life cycle and risk assessment, and sustainable buildings.

Students in the online sustainability master’s degree are exposed to the theories and practices of the field from a business and practical engineering perspective. Graduates are prepared for careers as engineers, sustainability analysts, operations managers, and environmental consultants. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in engineering, the sciences, business, or a similar field with a minimum 2.5 GPA and college-level statistics. GMAT, GRE, or MAT scores must be submitted if your GPA is lower than the requirement.

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Black Hills State University

Value Score 4.70
Average Tuition $7,763
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40
Number of Online Programs 5

BHSU offers an online sustainability master’s degree that immerses students in the theoretical and practical subjects of the field. The 33-credit MS in sustainability teaches the relationship between environmental factors, natural systems, economics structures, legal frameworks, socio-political forces, and policy options. Coursework includes the study of environmental economics, communication and change, human dimensions in sustainability, and global climate change. A required capstone course has students develop a solution to a proposed challenge in sustainability.

The interdisciplinary program teaches students to become problem solvers who work toward a more sustainable society. Graduates are prepared for careers as construction managers, city planners, policy analysts, industrial technologists, and architects. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Black Hills offers one of the best sustainability master's programs online.

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University of South Florida-Main Campus

Value Score 4.30
Average Tuition $8,350
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 35
Number of Online Programs 19

USF’s Patel College of Global Sustainability provides students with the education and internship experiences necessary to help them become sustainability professionals. The 30-credit MA in global sustainability prepares graduates to address the regional, national, and global issues in the field and how to apply their ideas to address these challenges. Course subjects include concepts and principles of sustainability, economics and finance in sustainability, and systems thinking. The curriculum's capstone internship requires students to develop a study on sustainability.

The program is unique because of its nine concentrations, which include sustainable business, climate change and sustainability, coastal sustainability, entrepreneurship, food sustainability and security, and sustainable transportation. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The school has a number of global sustainability certificates in areas such as building sustainable enterprise, coastal sustainable management, energy sustainability, and food sustainability that serve as an entryway into the online master’s in sustainability; all credits are transferrable to the main program.

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