Online Bachelor's in Environmental Sciences: Program Summary

Get information about an online bachelor's degree in environmental science. Read on to learn about program requirements, course descriptions, as well as information about career options and continuing education.

Essential Information

A few schools offer bachelor's degree programs in environmental science that are completely online. Students must have an up-to-date computer with a fast Internet connection in order to download recorded lessons and access course materials. They can generally view the classes at a time that suits their schedules. Some programs have a blended format and require on-campus classes as well as a few online courses.

These programs usually require about four years of full-time study. Applicants to these programs need a high school diploma with a minimum 2.0 GPA or a GED. As in any bachelor's degree program, students majoring in environmental science must complete general education courses in subjects such as English composition, mathematics, and social studies. These programs generally call for core courses in biology, chemistry, geography and geology.

Environmental science students may take courses that cover topics such as environmental toxicology, environmental economics, environmental geology, and environmental sustainability. They also look at global change, energy, environmental law, and ethics.

Bachelor of Environmental Science

An online bachelor's degree program in environmental science synthesizes biology, chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology and other disciplines to impart a comprehensive understanding about the natural world and how its parts function as a whole system. Programs also review the impact of environmental law and policy on economic development and public health. Applicants to a bachelor's degree program need to have a high school diploma with a grade point average of 2.0 or better, or a GED. Candidates with prior coursework in natural sciences may get preferential consideration for admission.

Program Information and Requirements

Schools may give students the option to complete an online bachelor's degree program in environmental science entirely online or as a hybrid of online and traditional instruction. Course content is accessible through a school's website. Although assignments have set deadlines, students may otherwise work at their own pace. Interactions with instructors and other students are handled via message boards, e-mail, and phone. A bachelor's degree is typically earned in four years.

A personal computer, Internet access, and basic productivity software are required to participate in an online program. Schools may use educational content management systems such as Blackboard.

List of Common Environmental Sciences Courses

A bachelor's degree program generally requires liberal arts courses in social sciences, arts, and humanities. The portion of a degree program dedicated to environmental sciences may be further divided into a set of core courses and specializations in conservation, environmental policy, and wildlife management.

Environmental Science Introductory

This course surveys the fundamental concepts and principles underlying current thinking about the workings of ecosystems and examines methods of identifying and analyzing solutions to environmental problems. Biological diversity, the effects of pollution on human health, resource types, and sustainability are among the topics covered.

Environmental Law

Students in this course learn local, state, and federal regulations that form the bulk of environmental protection policy. Coursework explains the creation and conceptual justification for particular laws, environmental laws enforcement, and jurisdiction resolution among governing bodies.

Field Methods

This course explains how scientists collect, process, and experiment on field samples. Techniques for working with fish, wildlife, and vegetation are considered.

Environmental Policy

This course analyzes environmental issues using theories and tools drawn from economics. Students learn to understand resource availability in terms of the supply and demand dynamic and to assess the short and long term consequences of resource use decisions.


Career Information

An online bachelor's degree in environmental science qualifies graduates for entry-level positions as environmental scientists, conservation scientists or foresters. Energy companies and local, state and federal agencies employ each type of professional. Some states require foresters to be licensed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of environmental scientists and specialists is expected to grow 11% from 2014-2024, driven by the need for improved resource management to counter the environmental impact of an expanding population. BLS also reported that as of May 2015, environmental scientists earned median salaries of $67,460, conservation scientists earned $61,110 and foresters earned $58,230.

Continuing Education Information

Degree holders who want to take a leading role in conservation research or have more authority to influence environmental policy decisions can consider earning a graduate degree in environmental science, environmental studies, or environmental policy management. Several schools offer online master's degree programs, but doctoral programs are typically completed in residency at a university.

Students can earn an online bachelor's degree in environmental science to study environmental law, field methods and other science courses. Graduate degree programs in the field are available for students who want to pursue further education, or graduates can find work as foresters, environmental scientists and conservation scientists.


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