Online environmental management degree programs are available at the bachelor's and master's levels. These programs can usually be completed entirely via distance learning, though field experiences are often recommended or required. A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum educational level required for a career as an environmental scientist or specialist. A master's degree may be required for advancement.
Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Management
Students wanting to study environmental management can enroll in an online bachelor's degree program. A bachelor's program in environmental management requires completion of courses that cover both the natural and the social sciences. The program aims to prepare the student with a thorough understanding of how ecological systems can be effectively managed, leading to either employment in environmental management or postgraduate work in the field.
Program Information and Requirements
An undergraduate program in environmental management commonly requires successful completion of 120 credit hours, which includes core general education classes and major electives. An understanding of chemistry and biology are fundamental to studying environmental science and must be included in required courses for an online environmental management degree. These courses are taught alongside the principles of business management and equip graduates for a leadership career in environmental organizing.
Online learning typically consists of receiving course packets, assignments and lecture materials over the Internet, which the student then completes remotely. Many online bachelor's programs also offer career guidance and the opportunity to gain credits for working experience in the field of environmental management.
Coursework for a bachelor's degree in environmental management typically includes many introductory courses, which cover various foundational environmental principles, such as sustainability, biodiversity and basic chemistry. The courses aim to prepare students for entry-level jobs in environmental science.
Introduction to Environmental Policy and Law
This course introduces students to regulations that control environmental management in the United States. Topics include water quality, use of natural resources and how governmental policy changes over time.
A class on environmental health at the undergraduate level might include studying the physical effects of the environment on human or animal health, analysis of radiation or noise pollution in urban areas, and critical thinking about ways in which environmental hazards can be minimized.
An undergraduate course on environmental strategies would typically teach problem solving, concept development and team building methods relating to ecosystems and resources. The aim of the course is to prepare students to come up with effective plans and policies for environmental control.
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Master of Science in Environmental Management
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program have the option of progressing to postgraduate work in environmental management by enrolling in a Master of Science (M.S) degree. The M.S builds on work done at the undergraduate level by further developing management skills and encouraging more sophisticated problem solving. A master's program may be oriented toward vocational teaching, as many students enrolled in the program may already be pursuing a career in the discipline of environmental science.
Program Information and Requirements
An online master's degree in environmental management can usually be completed in two years of full-time study. The program format often relies primarily on independent study and requires a long-term project or thesis. Alongside an individual thesis, students are expected to complete a set number of elective lecture courses, which can be completed remotely online. Unlike at the undergraduate level, master's students typically have few core requirements; therefore, a master's program is usually more specialized in its focus.
At the graduate level, an online degree program in environmental management requires the student to take advanced level courses that equip them for high-level jobs in the industry. Online courses taken at the master's level typically require intensive reading and writing.
Graduate Research Methods
This is a required course in most online environmental management master's programs. It teaches students the fundamental principles of research and writing at the graduate level, focusing on their concentration through individualized advice from a relevant faculty member.
This course concentrates on the ecological impact that humans have on the biosphere. It aims to teach students who already have a basic understanding of biology how effective management of environmental initiatives can affect against loss of biodiversity on earth.
Sustainable Business Practices
This course aims to prepare students for business management that incorporates sustainable models of practice. Students learn about topics such as environmental economics, corporate responsibility and ecological politics.
Graduates of an online environmental management degree program might choose to concentrate on one specific area of management for a career, such as waste management, toxicology control or managing a study on greenhouse gas emissions. Careers for graduates of these programs focus on core environmental issues and blend business management skills with a strong understanding of environmental science. Graduates of the master's programs might also choose to pursue a career that is politically active, in fields such as governmental advising or policy organizing. Doctorate degrees in environmental management are not usually necessary for a career in the field, unless the graduate wishes to teach the subject at the college level.
The continued need to effectively manage environmental projects and ensure the quality of air, water and land means that careers in the field have favorable prospects. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of environmental scientists and specialists increased by 11% (faster than average for all occupations) between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that environmental scientists and specialists earned a median annual wage of $67,460 as of May 2015.
Bachelor's and master's degree programs in environmental management are available fully online, but may incorporate field experience to more fully prepare students for careers as environmental scientists and specialists. Students will study topics including environmental biology, research methods, environmental health and environmental law.