Since it is an emerging field, finding a master's program in the area of industrial ecology may be a challenge. However, there are a few master's programs in related fields that you might consider.
Career Options with an Industrial Ecology Master's Degree
Although you'll be hard pressed to find a master's program in industrial ecology, many programs in sustainable practices can put you on track for a rewarding career in environmental engineering. Environmental engineers can expect to find jobs in areas from government to consulting services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor provides statistics for a number of jobs related to industrial ecology, as shown below.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*|
|Industrial Safety and Health Engineers||$86,720 (for all health and safety engineers)||9% (for all health and safety engineers)|
|Urban and Regional Planners||$70,020||13%|
|Sustainability Specialists||$69,040 (for all business operations specialists, all other)||9% (for all business operations specialists, all other)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Graduate Degrees Related to Industrial Ecology
Industrial ecology views industry--the economic system involving raw materials and manufactured goods--as its own ecosystem, complete with byproducts and waste. This field also deals with how these systems operate and how to address issues of sustainability. As a result, degrees dealing in green technology and sustainable systems are related to the master's in industrial ecology.
Master of Science in Sustainable Systems
This program helps students better understand the principles that underlie sustainability practices. Typically, students must complete 24 hours of course work as well as finish with 6 credits in either their thesis or capstone project. This program typically requires students to already be bachelor's degree holders with a GPA of at least a 3.0. Before completing their program, students will typically take courses that teach them about risk analysis, sustainable systems, and sustainability practices.
Graduate Certificate Program in Industrial Ecology
This program does not award a master's degree but does award a certificate recognizing that the student understands ecology methods. This certificate recognizes the student's specialization in the field. The course requires that students provide their GRE scores and transcripts as part of the enrollment process. The program also only requires 15 credit hours to complete in courses that teach about topics such as urban sustainability, sustainable energy systems, and environmental law.
Master of Science in Green Technologies
This master's program reviews multiple areas of engineering, from fossil energy to energy conservation. Students are expected to complete courses such as sustainable infrastructure systems, renewable energy in power systems, and process efficiency, while finishing at least 27 units of coursework. This can typically take up to two years to complete. Prior to applying to the program, students are expected to have a degree in engineering, math, or a hard science, in addition to their GRE scores and a sufficient GPA.
Even though a master's program in industrial ecology is hard to find, you can still specialize in the field through a certification program. You can also get a master's degree in a related program dealing with sustainability and green technologies. Each degree has its own requirements for graduation, so check with the school that you are applying to for graduation specifics.