Best Bachelor's Degrees in Environmental Management

Mar 05, 2021

Top Degrees in Environmental Management

1. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9115 70% 76% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

2. Glenville State College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7308 No Available Data (2019-2020) 39% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

3. Fort Lewis College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8872 91% 41% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits

4. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8270 85% 60% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

5. Everglades University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18320 75% 52% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

6. Shepherd University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7784 96% 49% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

7. Florida Gulf Coast University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6118 67% 50% 77% Yes Yes AP Credits

8. University of California-Berkeley

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14253 16% 93% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits

9. The University of Tennessee-Martin

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9748 64% 47% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

10. Humboldt State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7864 92% 49% 83% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

11. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9943 28% 82% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits

12. Bemidji State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8940 65% 48% 90% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

13. Angelo State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7637 77% 40% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

14. University of Rhode Island

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14566 75% 69% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

15. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11962 75% 68% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

16. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$16540 23% 93% 65% Yes Yes AP Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Environmental Management Degrees

Environmental management degree programs are designed to teach students how to develop and utilize various management tools and practices relating to natural resource conservation and planning. Students typically gain research, analytical thinking, project management, and collaboration skills to best communicate findings and mitigate and resolve key environmental issues.

Many colleges and universities offer environmental management degree programs on campus, online, or in a hybrid learning environment of both digital and in-person classes.

Graduates with degrees in environmental management may seek employment in government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, consulting firms, academia, or research.

What Kinds of Environmental Management Degrees Are There?

Environmental management degrees are obtainable at all degree levels from associate to doctorate. Certificates are also available in environmental management and related subject areas. We will explore these different degree options below.

Associate Degrees in Environmental Management

An associate degree in environmental management aims to deliver fundamental knowledge of environmental issues and the measures taken to respond to increasing ecological and conservation concerns. Associate-level curriculums typically provide hands-on training through field trips, lab work, and collaboration with peers, faculty, and professionals.

Associate degree programs can usually be completed in two years and typically include 60 credits of general coursework in writing, math, and science; environmentally focused topics, and electives. Students pursuing an associate environmental management degree may gain several competencies, such as critical thinking, written and oral communication, effective interpersonal skills, and a familiarity with environmental management standards and strategies that are applied to entry-level positions. Others may choose to transfer their degree and continue their education in a four-year undergraduate program.

An associate degree is usually an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Environmental Management. Similar degree program titles may include Environmental Studies or Sustainability and Environmental Management.

Bachelor's Degrees in Environmental Management

Bachelor's degrees in environmental management provide a multidisciplinary approach to solving environmental problems related to conservation and natural resources. Students typically examine how environmental decisions are made and the consequences of those decisions on the economy, politics, and society.

Students are usually encouraged to choose a concentration as part of their major curriculum in order to gain skills and expertise in a specific discipline, such as natural resource conservation, soil science, watershed management, etc.

Bachelor's degrees are typically a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Technology (BT) in Environmental Management, however similar program titles include Environmental Technology and Management, Environmental Resource Management, and Environmental Management Systems. Graduates with a four-year degree often seek careers as research analysts, environment specialists, or land-use planners.

Master's Degrees in Environmental Management

Students who wish to advance their education beyond the undergraduate level may decide to enroll in a master's degree program. Master's-level environmental management degrees tend to offer a deeper examination of applied environmental problem-solving, policymaking, and management practices and students may apply their learning to hands-on internships and professional training.

A master's degree typically requires 30 to 36 credits, although some programs offer a curriculum of up to 60 credits. Students typically have the option to concentrate in an environmental management discipline and usually need to complete a thesis/dissertation or capstone project prior to graduation.

A master's degree in environmental management or a related subject area is usually a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA) and may pave the way for career advancement. Additionally, some programs offer a combined MS and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Environmental Management.

Doctoral Degrees in Environmental Management

A doctorate in environmental management is the highest level of scholarship students can obtain and is ideal for individuals who wish to pursue careers in research and post-secondary education. To be admitted into a doctoral program, students should hold a master's degree in environmental management or a related subject and maintain a minimum 3.0-grade point average.

Typically, doctorates require 45 to 60 credits of rigorous coursework in environmental management or a specialization. Many doctoral programs allow students to develop a unique curriculum with a senior faculty member based on their academic and research interests. Additionally, students may be required to partake in professional development, training, and teaching apprenticeships, as well as submit a thesis/dissertation and defense.

Doctorates are typically a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Management, but program titles may vary. Depending on a student's career aspirations, a Ph.D. in Environmental Policy or Environmental Law is also common.

Certificates in Environmental Management

Undergraduate and graduate-level certificates in environmental management aim to deliver foundational learning in key environmental management principles and policies. Certificates often allow students to gain new or improved skillsets for entry-level employment and are usually ideal for individuals interested in a career change or who are seeking advancement in their current industry.

Certificate programs normally require about 15 to 18 credits and take about a year to complete, although program lengths and credit requirements tend to vary. Additionally, students may decide to pursue a certificate program in a related subject area, such as geospatial, natural resource policy, environmental education, climate change, and environmental planning.

Students who do not wish to enroll in a college certificate program may sign up for free online environmental management courses instead, although these courses typically do not offer college credit or lead to a degree.

Environmental Management Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

Bachelor's degrees in environmental management usually allow students to concentrate in a specific area of study. Because program concentrations vary from school to school, students should compare different environmental management programs to decide which curriculum best meets their educational and career aspirations. The following study tracks are examples of concentrations commonly available in this major:

Natural Resources Conservation

This concentration is designed to offer a multidisciplinary approach to natural resource conservation, environmental policymaking, and best management practices that seek to protect biodiversity and ecosystems. Students who pursue natural resource conservation tracks often study land and aquatic ecological functions and are likely to gain practical training and skills that prepare them for careers as foresters, ecologists, environmental technicians, land-use planners, and policy-makers.

Geospatial/Geographic Information Science (GIS)

This concentration focuses on spatial analysis and remote sensing technologies to solve environmental problems. Students in these concentrations typically acquire practical technical and analytical skills which they may apply to land-use mapping, marine mapping, surface modeling, emergency response and utility planning, and natural resource management. GIS tracks often prepare students for careers in which they can assess environmental risks, mitigate ecological hazards, and develop models for planning decisions.

Soil Science

This concentration examines soil productivity and subsurface water resources, providing a foundational understanding of problems related to natural resource conservation, land use, waste, and restoration and remediation of disturbed lands. Courses in this concentration usually cover soil microbiology, plant biology, geochemistry, and mineral nutrition. Students enrolled in a soil science concentration often gain practical experience and expertise for careers in government, environmental consulting, agriculture and crop management, and research.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Management

Environmental management bachelor's degree curriculums are usually multidisciplinary, drawing from the natural and social sciences. Typically, four-year programs dedicate the first half of the program to general courses, followed by major requirements and electives. Although environmental management programs vary, many curriculums offer courses that cover conservation and restoration, environmental policy, risk assessment, and environmental planning.

The following titles are examples of environmental management courses typically offered at the bachelor's degree level:

  • Conservation Biology
  • Principles of Soil Science
  • Statistics
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Land Use Planning and Management

Conservation Biology

This introductory course examines the biological and social issues associated with the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. Students have the opportunity to review several case studies to gain an understanding of present-day conservation management techniques. Common course topics typically include a study of biological diversity, habitat fragmentation, land-use change, and landscape ecology.

Land Use Planning and Management

The Land Use Planning and Management course incorporates a study of soil science, hydrology, policy, and GIS applications to address key environmental issues; such as restoration, storm-water runoff, water contamination, waste removal, and future sustainability. Students in this course often learn how to develop management practices to assess and resolve land-use change, urbanization, and the development of natural areas.

Environmental Risk Assessment

This course is designed for students to learn the techniques and tools used to evaluate anthropogenic hazards in the environment, such as toxins, pollutants, and waste; as well as the regulations and policies that drive environmental planning and decision-making to mitigate these issues. Students are likely to investigate actual environmental impact cases to better understand the management indices and practices that help monitor and predict the hazardous effects on humans and ecosystems.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Environmental Management?

Bachelor's degrees are typically four-year programs that include approximately 120 credits. Several factors may determine how long it takes to graduate, such as if a student is enrolled as part-time or full-time. Additionally, special program requirements, for example, seminars, internships, and summer course offerings may affect program durations.

Some colleges and universities offer dual degrees or accelerated programs in which students can pursue a combined bachelor's and master's degree in environmental management. These types of programs may take longer than the average bachelor's degree program, but less time than a master's degree.

Enrolling in a School for Environmental Management Bachelor's Degree Program

First-time college students should visit their prospective school's website to find out what the application steps are. Typically, colleges require that students fill out an online application through the school's website or the Common Application. Supplemental documents usually include academic records (e.g. high school transcripts and transferable credits), test scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. Generally, colleges charge a nominal fee to submit an application.

Transfer students from another college follow similar application procedures, such as submitting an online application and sending in the required supplemental documents (official transcripts from their previous schools and test scores). Some colleges also require transfer students to maintain a minimum grade point average.

Students who intend to enroll in an environmental management bachelor's degree program should visit the program website to see if there are additional admission criteria, such as a minimum grade point average or a personal statement demonstrating an interest in the field of study. Some programs may require that a student completes prerequisite courses before being admitted into the program, as well.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Environmental Management Degrees

Schools and programs that achieve high standards of academic excellence are given accreditation through certified accrediting organizations. The criteria for accreditation are usually based on a school's ability to meet its students' learning needs through exemplary curriculum and instruction, as well as several academic and professional resources. Students seeking federal financial aid, scholarships, and gainful employment typically must attend an accredited college or university.

Degree programs can also receive specialized accreditation. For example, the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (NEHSPAC) is the only organization that accredits environmental health programs in the United States. In order to gain accreditation through the NEHSPAC, these degree programs must offer an intensive study of the natural sciences, and students must apply their learning to a practical internship as part of their curriculum.

For additional accreditation information, students can visit their school's website or search the U.S. Department of Education's database of accredited colleges and universities.

Environmental Management Licensure & Certification

Certified environmental managers are able to demonstrate their expertise in the field and stay relevant in their industries. Although certification isn't always required to work in the field, the National Registry of Environmental Professionals offers a Registered Environmental Manager (REM) credential for professionals who are adept at managing environmental health and safety tasks, such as hazardous materials transport, environmental assessment, auditing, etc. Individuals seeking a REM credential should hold a bachelor's degree in an environmental discipline, have a minimum of five years of professional experience in environmental health, engineering, or management; and pass an exam.

Additionally, the Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) certification is available through the Soil Society of America (SSSA) and is ideal for soil scientists, teachers, soil science researchers, and professionals working at various environmental management companies and government agencies. Prospective recipients should have a bachelor's degree in soil science or a related degree program, at least five years of professional experience, approval from the credentialing board, and must pass an exam.

Professional Organizations in Environmental Management

Professional organizations, such as the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), offer membership to individuals in the environmental field seeking networking opportunities, career resources, and access to the latest industry trends for environmental planning, management, and research. To join the NAEP, individuals must fill out an online application and register as one of several membership categories according to their educational and professional backgrounds. Fees tend to vary by membership types.

The Society for Rangelands Management also offers membership to professionals and students who are involved in rangelands stewardship. Prospective members should fill out an application online for access to peer-reviewed publications, professional development and training, and networking opportunities with other organization members.

Many professional organizations offer student memberships and provide affiliated chapters through colleges and universities. Students who join professional organizations typically have access to volunteer, internship, and employment listings; networking opportunities, and gain enhanced subject-matter expertise.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Management?

There are several career options available for graduates of environmental-related programs. Individuals with bachelor's degrees in environmental management are often prepared for careers in government, education, the energy sector, research, nonprofits, and private businesses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019, individuals who worked in environmental management careers had a median salary of:

  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists: $71,360
  • Environmental Managers: $129,100
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technicians: $46,540
  • Conservation Scientists: $62,410
  • Resource Economist: $105,020

How to Become an Environmental Manager

Environmental managers, or natural resource managers, are responsible for supervising a staff of science professionals while leading, coordinating, and monitoring research and development projects, as well as quality control, risk assessments, and production activities. Environmental managers may work in offices or laboratories and typically possess strong leadership, communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills with the ability to multitask across several departments.

Many environmental managers maintain a research background themselves, and some working managers may lead smaller teams to allow them more time to continue conducting their own research in the field.

According to the BLS, job growth for environmental managers is expected to increase by 5 percent (2019-2029).

How to Become a Conservation Scientist

There are several types of conservation scientists, for example, range managers, soil and water conservationists, land managers, urban foresters, and conservation educators, among others. In general, conservation scientists are responsible for supervising various conservation activities in accordance with environmental regulations, developing management plans, and generating stakeholder alliances with private landowners, agricultural specialists, and governments in order to protect habitats and natural resources.

Many conservation scientists possess critical and analytical thinking, decision-making, and effective communication skills. Additionally, some conservation scientists may pursue credentialing through the Society of American Foresters (SAF) or the Society for Range Management to demonstrate their expertise.

According to the BLS, job growth for conservation scientists is expected to increase by 5 percent (2019-2029).

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Environmental Management Degrees

The costs of tuition differ at each school and may depend on whether a student attends in-state or out-of-state, or if it's considered a two-year or four-year institution. Federal financial aid is available to students who need assistance in covering the costs of their education, and students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility. Applicants will need to demonstrate financial need, provide proof of citizenship or eligible noncitizen status, and be enrolled at an accredited school.

Scholarships, grants, and fellowships are also available and can be searched for and applied to online. Additionally, tuition reimbursement programs may be offered through an employer, and active military members and veterans should check to see if financial aid is available as part of their benefits.

For more information regarding tuition, financing, scholarships, and other financial aid options, students should visit their college's financial aid office.

Dr. Arthur A. Kezian DDS Science Scholarship

The annual Dr. Arthur A. Kezian DDS Science Scholarship is offered to students from the United States or Canada who are attending an accredited college and majoring in a science discipline. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and should submit an application, an updated resume, test scores, official transcripts, and an essay explaining why they deserve the scholarship. Additionally, students may choose to submit a video introducing themselves, although this is optional. One winner will be selected for a $1,200 award.

David M. Dolan Scholarship

The David M. Dolan Scholarship is offered to graduate students enrolled in an accredited school who intend to study environmental statistics and modeling at the Great Lakes. Students should submit an application form, an abstract of proposed research, an updated resume, official transcripts, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. One winner will be selected for a $3,000 scholarship award and will be given a one-year membership free to the International Association of Great Lakes Research (IAGLR), as well as a subscription to the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

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