Environmental Sustainability Degree Programs

Environmental sustainability degrees are offered as both arts and science degree programs. Students can focus their studies on specific sustainability issues, such as energy, or pursue general studies in this field.

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Overview of Environmental Sustainability Bachelor's Degree Programs

How do countries and businesses develop without consuming environmental resources? The relationship between mankind and the environment takes center stage in a degree program that focuses on environmental sustainability. Students will learn about the ethical issues related to development and the economy and will explore ways to protect the environment through policies or other initiatives. Graduates from an environmental sustainability program are ideally suited to help determine how to meet society's needs while ensuring that resources are not depleted.

Admission Requirements for Environmental Sustainability Programs

Students must be accepted by the college or university offering the environmental sustainability program, which involves completing an application and submitting high school transcripts and standardized test scores for consideration. Students may be expected to complete a specific number of high school courses in different subject areas. Some schools may also have grade or test score requirements that applicants must meet to be eligible for acceptance. Application essays and reference letters may also be required.

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  • Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Studies

Environmental Sustainability Program Coursework

Students who pursue a major in environmental sustainability will typically be required to complete introductory courses in environmental sustainability, math and communications. Advanced studies will introduce students to a range of topics. Some programs offer a Bachelor of Arts degree while others offer a Bachelor of Science degree, so the specific courses offered may vary in focus based on the nature of the student's program.

Environmental Politics

What is the relationship between the environment and politicians? How do their decisions impact the health of the planet? Students will explore environmental laws and regulations and learn about the impact of government on environmental practices.

Urban Planning

What environmental factors can impact city planning decisions? What are the theories that urban planning decisions are based on? Students are introduced to the factors that influence decisions regarding the structure of urban areas, where different types of development are permitted and how to determine which infrastructure is needed to meet local demand. Students will also learn about urban planning efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices.

Environmental Ethics

What are the implications of abusing the environment? What are the ethical considerations that may impact a government's decisions about environmental policies? Ethics is a critical factor in environmental policy and students will be introduced to some of the ethical issues that have been key factors in environmental decisions in the past and that may be factors concerning environmental policy and practices in the future.

Energy and Climate Change

What is climate change? How are mankind's energy demands affecting climate change? Students will learn about how Earth's climate is changing, what's causing these changes and ways to reduce climate change.


As more materials are moved throughout the world there are some negative impacts, such as transporting invasive species into a new region. There are also business practices that are affecting the number of endangered or extinct species. Students will explore issues related to protecting regions and wildlife, such as why biodiversity matters and how species can be preserved.

How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Sustainability Program

Students can opt to pursue a degree in environmental sustainability at public or private non-profit schools and the type of school may impact the tuition costs and admission requirements. Some schools offer online studies, which may also be a consideration for students who do not want to move to attend school. Every program in this field may have a slightly different emphasis and it's a good idea to review course options to ensure that the program you choose has the widest range of courses that suit your academic and career goals. It's possible to pursue studies that include concentrations on food systems, energy or other sustainability topics.

Career Options with an Environmental Sustainability Degree

Studying environmental sustainability can prepare graduates to work as urban and regional planners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), urban and regional planners are expected to see a 13% job growth rate from 2016 to 2026. The BLS reported that in 2016 the median income for urban and regional planners was $70,020 per year. It's common for those with a bachelor's degree to start out as junior planners. Other career options include:

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