Accredited Online Environmental Science Schools and Degree Programs

An environmental science degree is a great option for students who are interested in improving environmental health, without sacrificing a good paycheck. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental scientists earn a median annual salary of $63,570. This guide will help future environmental science students find an accredited program, and it will detail various career options and schools.

If you would like to quickly search for schools based on subject, state and degree type, use our school directory tool at the bottom of this page to look for online environmental science degrees.

  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Career Options
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies

For the purpose of this guide, the only accreditation agency specific to environmental science programs, rather than entire institutions, is The National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).

Career Options

Graduates of an environmental science degree program will have the option to work in a variety of positions, the most common of which are listed in the following table along with employment statistics and wage information. To make yourself marketable for a specific job post-graduation, choose the career that appeals to you and speak with your college about tailoring your education to suit that job’s requirements.

JOB TITLE NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT MEAN HOURLY WAGE MEAN ANNUAL WAGE
Environmental Scientists and Specialists 90,000 $30.56 $63,570
Conservation Scientists and Foresters 34,200 $28.40 $59,060
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians 32,800 $19.83 $41,240
Natural Sciences Managers 51,600 $55.64 $115,730
Teachers, Postsecondary 1,267,700 n/a $68,970

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

Notable Schools

You will likely spend two or more years in any given liberal arts degree program, which is why it’s important to find one that suits your individual needs and maintains strict standards for coursework, professors and student support services.

Online

If you are a student who appreciates flexibility and the option to attend school from the comfort of your home, then an online environmental science degree is for you. The following schools are known for their notable online environmental science degree programs:

Montana State University

Bozeman, Montana / Online

Montana State University offers a Master of Science in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences program. This 30 credit, online degree program was created for students “interested in understanding and managing landscapes at multiple scales through integrated and multi-disciplinary coursework and independent study.” Courses include, but are not limited to: Insect Ecology, Herbicide Physiology, Environmental Biophysics, and Landscape and Ecosystem Ecology.

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina / Online

North Carolina State University offers two master’s degree programs in relation to environmental sciences: the Master of Environmental Assessment and the Master of Environmental Engineering. The Master of Environmental Assessment degree is built upon an interdisciplinary approach and offers courses like Environmental Stressors and Global Environmental Law and Policy. The Master of Environmental Engineering degree is ideal for engineering students or professionals who have a special interest in environmental engineering with a focus in air pollution prevention, water resources or groundwater hydrology, among other specialties. Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in engineering may require additional courses before admission into the Master of Environmental Engineering program.

Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon / Online

Oregon State University is ranked as one of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Online Bachelor’s Program,” for 2014. This Northwest college offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Sciences online. Students are given the opportunity to choose a degree focus that most interests them. Areas of specialization include: fisheries and wildlife, geography, horticulture or business and entrepreneurship. In addition to this major, OSU offers online students the option to minor in one of several areas of study.

Campus Only

The following schools offer high quality, campus only ES programs. These programs offer students a wealth of benefits, including personal instruction, student activities, clubs and resource centers.

University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, Colorado

The Environmental Sciences major at the University of Colorado-Boulder is offered for both undergraduate and graduate students. The undergraduate program offers a broad but intensive education in environmental science, based on a solid foundation in subjects like policy, math, ethics, writing and economics. Both undergraduate and graduate students must choose a specialization. For undergraduates, the choice may include a focus in climate and energy or natural resources. For graduate students, the choice is pulled from three areas of focus: Sciences, Policy and Values, and Theory.

Columbia

New York, New York

Columbia University’s environmental science major requires students to acquire basic knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. Students have the option to complete a special concentration in environmental biology; classes include Forests and Environmental Change, Ecotoxicology and Hydrology, among many others. Columbia students are given the opportunity to participate in clubs, leadership activities, Greek life and Student Council.

University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, California

University of California-Berkeley’s Environmental Sciences programs are offered by the College of Natural Resources. While this college does not offer a graduate degree or Ph.D. in environmental science, it may offer one of those degrees in a similar, environmentally-based subject. This college is considered outstanding for its fantastic faculty, and they can boast that 29 alumni of UC-Berkeley have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. U.S. News and World Report ranked UC-Berkeley at #20 on their national best colleges list.