Worried about global warming, or how we can conserve species for generations to come? You might be a future environmental scientist and should pursue a Best Online Bachelor’s in Environmental Science.

Environmental Science is the exciting field of science pertaining to ecology, wildlife biology, natural resource conservation and management, and any other topics related to the vast and diverse world we live in. You’ll work in the lab as well as in the field, and use your skills to better the ecological world around you.

If you enjoy exploring the relationships between all organisms and how those relationships impact the global community, an Environmental Science degree might be the degree for you.

What is an Environmental Science degree?

A degree in Environmental Science allows graduates multiple opportunities for career specialization and personal exploration. While most degrees offer endless pathways, most students will begin by earning a basic undergraduate degree that includes courses like ecology, chemistry, geology, and biology.

As an Environmental Science student, you will also begin to demonstrate your knowledge in these topics by extending them to real-world environmental issues in the field and lab. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to work in a variety of fields, such as renewable energy, wildlife conservation, or environmental engineering, as well as to explore further studies.

How much can you earn with an Environmental Science degree?

Average earnings of Environmental Science graduates vary.  Most earn at least $69,400 per year, with the highest paid professionals working for the federal government and in engineering services. Other well-paid individuals are those working for local governments or in consulting.

Environmental Science fields are facing increasing demands as the public becomes more interested in environmental protection. As our global population grows and more stress is placed on the environment, we need professionals to help analyze environmental problems and to respond to potential issues. As a result, graduates have good job prospects with an estimated 11 percent growth by 2026.

What is required for an Environmental Science degree?

Environmental scientists develop strong scientific, mathematical, and analytical skills. You will need to be a good problem solver and take basic coursework in topics like biology, chemistry, statistics and geology. Many students will also pursue customized plans with electives such as Wildlife Management, Ichthyology, and Environmental Engineering and Planning.

Some states and municipalities will require graduates to pass certain examinations before beginning their new careers, but internships and other work-related experiences are generally more desirable to potential employers. You will need to have extensive experience in the lab and field to be successful in your career.

What are the best Environmental Science degrees?

We have compiled a list of the 9 Best Online Bachelor’s in Environmental Science. Our ranking system first evaluates the overall quality of the program, which we determine based on factors like faculty expertise and student satisfaction. We know that career success is important to you, so we also give you an idea of the required courses and tuition rates. Our statistics evaluate acceptance rates, earning potential, online program quality, retention, and satisfaction – all of which culminate in a final program score.

We know how passionate you are about the environment, so we work just as hard to ensure that you are matched with the school that will help you to succeed.

  1. Oregon State University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $26,216/$44,706
    Acceptance67
    Earnings Potential33
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention78
    Student Satisfaction83
    Reputation100
    Pros
    • Offers multiple specialization areas, such as aquatic biology
    • All courses are developed by world-renowned faculty
    • Full range of support services, like career centers and disability access
    Cons
    • High out of state tuition
    • Cost per credit does not include related expenses
    • Curriculum requires extensive, challenging mathematics courses
    100%OSR Score

    This program, requiring 180 quarter credits, can be started at one of four convenient start times per year. It is the most military-friendly school on the list, offering a wide variety of support services and generous financial aid. Students can also pursue related certificates and minors in topics such as environmental policy, agriculture, and water resources.

  2. American Public University System

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $16,280/$16,280
    Acceptance82
    Earnings Potential51
    Online Presence30
    Online Program Quality90
    Retention78
    Student Satisfaction82
    Reputation90
    Pros
    • Program is taught by expert practitioners in environmental management
    • Allows students to transfer up to 90 credits
    • Free transcript evaluation and quick application process
    Cons
    • Students are expected to complete all lab exercises at home, not at a research site
    • 30 credit hours of general education classes before completing major
    • Can take up to four years to complete
    95%OSR Score

    This 120-credit program is taught by current professionals in areas such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, and more. Students can complete their coursework entirely online, and even have access to a one-of-a-kind mobile application that allows them to complete assignments offline. This affordable program provides multiple financial aid options, including a credit for textbooks and extensive military assistance.

  3. University of Florida-Online

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $17,656/$30,360
    Acceptance83
    Earnings Potential41
    Online Presence7
    Online Program Quality88
    Retention67
    Student Satisfaction57
    Reputation89
    Pros
    • Generous financial aid – 50 percent of graduates have no student-loan debt
    • Online tuition rate is less than what is paid by in-state students
    • Coursework has extensive research and professional development
    Cons
    • 60 credit hours of required courses before taking major coursework
    • Difficult general education coursework, like calculus and chemistry
    • Chemistry labs must be taken face-to-face – cannot be completed online
    95%OSR Score

    This program enables graduates to make a difference in the health of the planet. With 120    credit hours required, graduates are prepared to work in a variety of fields, including agriculture, natural sciences, and conservation. Each student in this program earns the same elite degree they would receive on campus, benefiting from close attention by experienced faculty instructors.

  4. The University of Alabama

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $29,424/$46,744
    Acceptance86
    Earnings Potential33
    Online Presence3
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention100
    Student Satisfaction76
    Reputation85
    Pros
    • Applications are accepted year-round
    • Dozens of scholarships available for distance learners
    • 500+ student organizations, many of which can be accessed online
    Cons
    • One of the more expensive options for out of state students
    • Career-goal proposal required before beginning specialization coursework
    • Selective admissions process – only 53 percent of applicants accepted
    89%OSR Score

    At the University of Alabama, students learn to succeed in the field of Environmental Science by choosing from a variety of classes that build upon a general curriculum. This degree is one of the most customizable on the list, and provides students with access to distinguished faculty members. These faculty also serve as student advisors, connecting students with tailored coursework and research opportunities.

  5. University of Maryland-University College

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $28,576/$33,616
    Acceptance71
    Earnings Potential55
    Online Presence16
    Online Program Quality75
    Retention78
    Student Satisfaction72
    Reputation100
    Pros
    • Interdisciplinary program that includes diverse coursework
    • Student organizations like the Environmental Management Club
    • Training to conduct risk assessments and environmental monitoring
    Cons
    • Charges one of the highest application fees of $50
    • Does not offer college credits for non-collegiate experiences or exams
    • Very few scholarships available for online students
    88%OSR Score

    This award-winning program prepares students to plan, develop, and moderate all aspects of environmental management. It is taught by world-class faculty members who are currently employed at organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and have extensive experience in the field. Online students receive access to an extensive library system, 24-hour technical support, and even online writing feedback and job search assistance.

  6. Southern New Hampshire University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $50,266/$50,266
    Acceptance62
    Earnings Potential67
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention89
    Student Satisfaction74
    Reputation95
    Pros
    • Courses can be completed over six 8-week terms per year
    • No application fee and a seamless application process
    • Up to 90 credits can be transferred in
    Cons
    • Higher tuition rate for out-of-state students
    • SAT and ACT scores required for admission
    • 42 credits of General Education courses required before major studies
    83%OSR Score

    The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Southern New Hampshire University is one of the most unique, giving students the ability to pursue the stand-alone degree or add a concentration in Natural Resources and Conservation or Geospatial Technologies. Students will engage in interdisciplinary coursework that is designed in conjunction with local companies and governmental agencies. This is one of the most technologically oriented programs, and also offers students the ability to network with relevant instructors and prominent alumni.

  7. Excelsior College

    Tuition in State/Out of State: not reported/not reported
    Acceptance72
    Earnings Potential53
    Online Presence7
    Online Program Quality50
    Retention74
    Student Satisfaction72
    Reputation76
    Pros
    • Generous transfer credit for previous college and real-world experiences
    • All classes are asynchronous and available at any time of day
    • Flexible tuition payment options
    Cons
    • Only 33 credits are in the concentration area
    • Courses offer few specializations and electives
    • Final capstone project is required
    77%OSR Score

    This natural sciences program is designed for working adults and offers one of the most flexible structures of all the schools on this list. Students work with award-winning faculty advisors and benefit from instructors who teach at institutions all around the world. The school offers affordable tuition and partners with various organizations to offer discounts on fees and other related costs of attendance.

  8. Ashford University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $23,787/$23,787
    Acceptance90
    Earnings Potential59
    Online Presence11
    Online Program Quality82
    Retention63
    Student Satisfaction76
    Reputation88
    Pros
    • Up to 90 transfer credits accepted
    • Courses offered in five week segments
    • No SAT or ACT required
    Cons
    • Only one course can be taken at a time
    • Introductory Orientation Courses required
    • One of the lowest retention rates of all schools on this list
    75%OSR Score

    Ashford believes that Environmental Science students should be exposed to all aspects related to the environment, and as a result has created a program that covers topics like energy production, biology, and even ethics. Students will learn to incorporate and deal with all environmental factors as well as those related to socioeconomic and cultural dilemmas. Each student may tailor their degree by choosing up to 44 credits of diverse electives.

  9. Prescott College

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $39,953/$39,953
    Acceptance67
    Earnings Potential58
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention66
    Student Satisfaction79
    Reputation90
    Pros
    • Four different start dates each year
    • Credit available for life experiences
    • Hybrid program allows for local collaboration with community partners
    Cons
    • On-campus orientation required
    • SAT or ACT scores required
    • More selective admissions process
    74%OSR Score

    This diverse program offers accelerated pathways to a Prescott master’s degree in environmental studies and sustainability, one of few colleges in the nation to do so. The program is heavy in liberal arts and develops profound ecological literacy in all students, giving them the ability to pursue careers in environmental law, planning, and more. All online programs are flexible, giving students the ability to complete all coursework remotely.