Environmental Planning Graduate Programs Online

Feb 23, 2018

Environmental planning is a field that focuses on a variety of concerns regarding the environment and land use. Graduate programs are commonly found online resulting in a master's degree. Read about sample courses and common admissions requirements.

Most of the online graduate programs in environmental planning are available as master's degrees. Some programs are dual and grant a degree and certificate. Below you'll find a sample of courses available in these programs.

Online Graduate Environmental Planning Program Information

Graduate environmental planning programs often include courses that introduce you to the ethical concerns of land use, the legal requirements of such developments, and the tools used in the process. These programs - which can be up to 50 credits - can be generalized or take into account specific contexts, such as environmental planning in an urban context. The following are just a few of the courses you can expect to find.

Geographic Information Systems

A geographic information system is a tool for managing data and mapping. Students learn more about the sensing technology that is used when working in an environmental engineering context. This course also gives students a chance to learn about digital image processing, database design, and spatial data analysis.


Sustainability coursework can focus on a range of topics addressing the environment, society, economics, and politics. Sustainability courses can look at strategies for developing sustainable landscapes in urban environments or general principles of sustainability that are applicable in multiple situations. Students also get an opportunity to look at examples of how sustainability has been implemented in various projects.


Environmental policy coursework includes an examination of the policies and practices that impact environmental issues. This course also gives students the opportunity to become familiar with specific policies protecting the environment. Finally, the course discusses approaches to unifying sustainable approaches to development while considering a variety of other concerns, such as legal and financial ones.


Ethics courses examine debates that surround environmental issues. Students are expected to learn more about the environmental justice movement and how demand for environmentally sustainable approaches have impacted policy and landscape planning. Students also become familiar with a number of issues that impact planning, including economic issues, concern for endangered species, and how a project might impact future generations.

Planning Theory

Planning theory courses focus on how planning a landscape should be conducted. Various responsibilities must be balanced in the creation of an environmentally sustainable landscape. Students in these courses are expected to learn more about planning proposals that have succeeded and failed, as well as to become more familiar with the theories related to the field.

Admission Requirements

While every university may carry their own specific application requirements, you will often be asked to meet the following standards for admission. First, transcripts are always requested from schools, and often, you will need to demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, unlike other graduate programs, you may not be required to submit any type of graduate exam, such as the GRE. You will often be asked to have completed prerequisite coursework in courses such as ecology, biology, or statistics taken. An undergraduate degree in a major like engineering, planning or natural science may be required.

Your online environmental planning graduate program is designed to acquaint you with both the principles and concerns of the field, including the tools used in environmental planning, the laws that apply to land development, and the ethical concerns involved. Upon completion, you will be able to take into consideration a wide range of factors when dealing with sustainable land development.

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