The field of environmental studies involves a variety of disciplines, such as environmental policy, environmental science, business, and sustainability. In Massachusetts, all of the schools that offer graduate degree programs in environmental studies do so through master's degree programs; at least one doctoral degree is also available. Students must hold an undergraduate degree prior to admission, preferably in a science-related field, although it is not absolutely required. Concentrations and specializations are possible, and students should prepare to complete a thesis, final research project, or internship.
The following eight Massachusetts schools have graduate degree programs in environmental studies or other closely related areas.
Boston University is located a few miles from downtown Boston and is the largest school in Massachusetts. The university's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (CEES) offers two interdisciplinary master's degree programs that focus on the relationship between environment and energy. Required courses in the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in energy and environmental analysis include energy and society, quantitative methods, ecological environmental principles and environmental policy. Students also take concentration and interdisciplinary breadth curriculum to complete this 40-unit graduate program. Credit may be earned for an environmental internship. The M.A. in International Relations and Environmental Policy is a joint degree program with CEES and the school's international relations department. During the 48-credit program, all students must take a course in environmental negotiation and policy in addition to completing an M.A. paper. Program participants may also choose electives to gain expertise in a defined area of study.
Located less than an hour from Boston in Worcester, Clark University was originally founded in 1887 as the first all-graduate school in the U.S. Clark offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in environmental science and policy through its International Development, Community and Environmental division. The program faculty has research backgrounds in climate, energy and sustainability; environment and human health; and environmental management and policy. Program participants are encouraged to choose an area of specialty study from these research areas. Required curriculum includes environmental management and policy, environmental pollution policy, climate change and environmental science. Clark also offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in sustainability, which prepares graduates for environmental studies work with a business degree that focuses on environmental sustainability and development. Some of the electives in this program include sustainable corporate strategies, energy management, green marketing, sustainability consulting and greening corporations. Students can also choose a 24-credit dual degree program to earn both the M.S. and MBA.
Harvard University is in Cambridge, just outside of Boston, and offers a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) degree program in sustainability through its extension school. The program curriculum is offered through a combination of on-campus and online classes. Students can study topics such as green design, sustainable management, social responsibility and ecotourism. Participants can complete either a master's thesis or a capstone, which can include an internship. Students have 5 years to complete the program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), located in Cambridge, offers an MBA with a certificate in sustainability. Alongside business coursework, students in the program can pursue training to learn how to incorporate environmental change into organizations. Certificate program requirements include classes in sustainable business strategy and system dynamics, as well as lab, seminar and capstone courses in sustainability. Elective topics include trade and the environment, environmental policy and planning, environmental science and industrial ecology.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is located in Western Massachusetts. The Department of Environmental Conservation offers both M.S. and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs in environmental conservation. Available concentrations for the programs include environmental policy and human dimensions; wildlife, fish and conservation biology; water, wetlands and watersheds; forest resources and arboriculture; and building systems. Students can pursue either a thesis/dissertation option or a non-thesis (professional) option for these programs; the non-thesis option culminates in a master's degree.
The university also has an M.S. degree program in sustainability science with concentrations in sustainable agriculture and food systems, environmental quality, urban sustainability and water sustainability. Some of the available curriculum includes population and environments, environmental economics, urban environments and environmental law. Participants are required to complete a project.
University of Massachusetts - Boston
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) campus in Boston is about five miles from downtown and offers several graduate-level programs through its Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences (EEOS) department. The EEOS department boasts state-of-the-art earth, ocean and environmental labs and facilities and offers interdisciplinary M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs that combine studies in social and natural sciences.
The 30-credit M.S. program includes thesis and non-thesis options, while students in the 60-credit Ph.D. program must choose a specialization. A few of the Ph.D. concentration areas include environmental law, policy and administration, population and environmental biology, environmental physiology and toxicology, and environmental microbiology. The M.S. degree also has a professional track for students working in the environmental sector who want to gain business and management skills. Additionally, the EEOS department also has a graduate certificate program in clean energy and sustainability, which involves four classes and an internship. Some of the certificate program coursework could include business and climate change, environmental economics, environmental accounting and environmental management. For students who want to earn a full business degree, UMass - Boston offers an MBA program with a specialization in environmental management, which involves completing credits toward the previously mentioned graduate certificate in clean energy and sustainability.
University of Massachusetts - Lowell
The University of Massachusetts in Lowell is roughly 30 miles north of Boston and is the only school in the state that offers a graduate degree specifically in environmental studies. The 30-credit M.S. degree program has concentrations in atmospheric science and environmental engineering. The atmospheric science track focuses on the interplay between atmosphere and the environment and has required core classes in environmental law and policy, chemistry for environmental studies, boundary layer meteorology and environmental economics. Students can complete an optional thesis and may take elective classes that address issues such as energy and the environment, air pollution control, air quality modeling, aerosol modeling and environmental monitoring. The environmental engineering track highlights water and solid waste pollution and has required studies in water resources management, solid waste engineering and air pollution. Program participants may take electives in topics such as environmental fate and transport, environmental aquatic chemistry, environmental toxicology and environmental policy.
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
The University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth is located in North Dartmouth, about 60 miles south of Boston. The university has an MBA program with environment-related concentrations in environmental policy and sustainable development. The 10-course MBA program includes core business courses in accounting, marketing and strategic management alongside concentration coursework. The online track in environmental policy is designed for students interested in developing policy for organizations and includes some curriculum in environmental policy, environmental law and ocean policy. The sustainable development track is also offered online and educates learners about social responsibility in business. Some of the courses for this specialization include globalization and the environment, sustainability leadership and environmental law.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Environmental Studies Graduate Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Boston University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Master of Arts in Energy and Environmental Analysis,
Master of Arts in International Relations and Environmental Policy
|Clark University||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy,
Master of Business Administration in Sustainability
|Harvard University||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city||Master of Liberal Arts in Sustainability||$35,000 (2019-2020)**|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city||Master of Business Administration with Certificate in Sustainability||$54,976*|
|University of Massachusetts - Amherst||4-year, public; large suburb|| Master of Science in Environmental Conservation,
Master of Science in Sustainability Science,
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Conservation
|$15,782, in-state; $30,845, out-of-state*|
|University of Massachusetts - Boston||4-year, public; large city|| Master of Science in Environmental Sciences,
Graduate Certificate in Clean Energy and Sustainability,
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Sciences,
Master of Business Administration (Environmental Management)
|$18,231, in-state; $35,287, out-of-state*|
|University of Massachusetts - Lowell||4-year, public; large suburb||Master of Science in Environmental Studies (Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Engineering)||$15,060, in-state; $26,840, out-of-state*|
|University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth||4-year, public; midsize suburb||Master of Business Administration (Environmental Policy, Sustainable Development)||$16,337, in-state; $29,141, out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Harvard University