Best Online Master’s in Environmental Science

Consult on environmental impact assessments with one of the best online master’s in environmental science degrees.

Earning a master’s degree in environmental science is where sustainability meets science. Environmental science majors understand 

science on a biological, agricultural, social, and ecological level. If you have an interest in government environmental standards, experimenting with nature, or advocating conservation, then this is the degree for you.

Demand for environmental science graduates is growing with the massive increase in the population and use of natural resources.

What is a Master’s in Environmental Science Degree?

A master’s degree in environmental science educates students further on natural and social sciences in regards to specific fields such as wildlife, laboratory work, agriculture, and forestry. Most programs will require students to choose a degree track that focuses on one discipline. Common disciplines offered throughout most programs include ecology, environmental education, climate change, or sustainability.

It can take anywhere from two to four years to complete this master’s program. Some institutions will offer accelerated and part-time programs, whereas others require full-time commitment.

How Much Can You Earn with a Master’s in Environmental Science Degree?

According to Payscale, the median salary for individuals who hold a Master of Science in Environmental Science make $61,000 per year. Environmental science graduates have a variety of career choices to pick from. There are roles for these types of professionals at federal government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, state governments, engineering firms, or farming businesses.

The job possibilities are varied and growing. Here are a few median salaries for working professionals who hold this degree:

  • Environmental Scientist: $53,000
  • Environmental Consultant: $57,000
  • Environmental Engineer (consider a Master’s in Engineering): $70,000
  • Geologist: $67,000

What is Required for a Master’s in Environmental Science Degree?

Applicants will be required to hold a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Depending on the program, it may be required that your undergraduate degree is in you may be required to have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related discipline.

Most master’s programs require students to complete a capstone course prior to graduating. Capstone courses vary by program but commonly include a written report, presentation, internship, seminar, or senior exit exam.

What Are The Best Master’s in Environmental Science Degrees?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

  1. Oregon State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $12,339(in state) / $22,761(out of state)
    • Total of 45 credit hours
    • Four start terms per year
    • Environmental science tracks offered

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.40%
    Admission Rate79%
    Programs offered online20

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School5.76%
    100%
    OSR Score

    Oregon State University offers the best online master’s degree in environmental science. The program teaches students scientific disciplines and business principles. Students can choose from nine different areas of concentration to focus their curriculum the way they want. Prior to graduating, students are required to complete an internship approved by their PSM advisor.

  2. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,492(in state) / $23,967(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credit hours
    • No entrance exam required 
    • No thesis required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.60%
    Admission Rate51%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School3.23%
    75%
    OSR Score

    Protect the environment from potential risks by earning your master’s in environmental assessment from North Carolina State University. This program is designed for working professionals who are interested in the management side of environmental science, rather than the research side. Throughout this program, students will learn how to make scientifically-based decisions for a variety of environmental assessments.

  3. University of Houston-Clear Lake

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,308(in state) / $16,290(out of state)
    • Total of 36 credit hours
    • Specialization required 
    • Major paper and public seminar presentation required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.20%
    Admission Rate72%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median Debt$28,508
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School1.85%
    66%
    OSR Score

    At the University of Houston-Clear Lake, students can obtain their master’s in environmental science entirely online. Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge in the engineering or science field, this degree provides the courses necessary to advance your career. Students are required to choose one of three concentrations including environmental biology, environmental chemistry, or environmental geology. 

  4. Tuskegee University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $19,210(in state) / $19,210(out of state)
    • Total of 32 credit hours
    • GRE test scores required 
    • Graduate project required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.60%
    Admission Rate50%
    Programs offered onlineNot Reported

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School1.10%
    65%
    OSR Score

    Earn your master’s degree in environmental science from Tuskegee University without jeopardizing your career. This program is designed for working professionals who want to expand their knowledge in environmental science and complete their graduate degree at their own pace. Each student’s concentration is chosen in consultation with the advisory committee.

  5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $15,186(in state) / $28,773(out of state)
    • Total of 32 credit hours
    • Thesis and non-thesis degree track offered  
    • Capstone requirement

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.80%
    Admission Rate62%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    63%
    OSR Score

    If you’d like to further your education in disciplines related to natural resources and environmental sciences, then this is the master’s program for you. Through part-time study, students can earn their master’s in natural resources and environmental sciences through a thesis or non-thesis degree track. Regardless of degree track, all students must complete one of the capstones offered, including a research project, internship experience, or group research project.