Top 10 Online Masters in Sustainability Degree Programs

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Now more than ever, it is imperative that our infrastructure, scientific research methods, construction and design, and political systems adapt to changing trends and needs in order to ensure the safety and survival of the planet. In order to accomplish such a mammoth endeavor, it is imperative that individuals receive a proper, thorough education in their field. There are many different sectors of the sustainability discipline, and this list of the Top 10 Online Masters in Sustainability Degree Programs will help introduce curious students to impressive and challenging online institutions.

Whether students are searching for an education and career in politics, research, engineering, or advocacy, there is a school and major on this list that will suit everyone’s needs, budgets, and interests.

Methodology for this index includes several important factors: standouts, accreditation, tuition, financial aid, 100% online availability, program and course variety, and course flexibility. At OnlineSchoolsCenter.com we do not believe in ranking academic institutions from best to worst, or vice versa, as all the schools on our lists are unique in their own ways.

GREEN MOUNTAIN COLLEGE

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Program Standouts:
Green Mountain College, known as the “greenest school in the nation,” offers four very fine and highly involved online Masters in Sustainability programs. In 2015, Bill McKibben, an renowned environmental author, was artist in resident, offering his well-thought out views and ideas on sustainability.

Campus Location: Poultney, VT

Accreditation: New England Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $33,898 per year—full tuition
  • $1,442 per year—miscellaneous fees

Financial Aid: Federal and state grants, loans, and scholarships

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Admission Considerations:
All applicants must submit all official transcripts (a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is preferred), three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, GMAT or Assessment of Quantitative Skills, and at least 3 years of work experience and a current resume. A portfolio on the desired field of study is highly recommended for several programs.

Program Options:

  • Master of Business Administration in Sustainability
  • Master of Science in Environmental Studies
  • Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems
  • Master of Science in Resilient and Sustainable Communities

Course Flexibility:
These programs are 100% online, although several involve community involvement within local agencies in order to gain more experience and apply knowledge gained in the program in a relevant field. There are no required visits to campus. Students have fabulous options, resources, and a strong support system of well-trained faculty and advisors.

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MARYLHURST UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
This Masters in Business Administration degree program is intended for critical thinkers who can use creative problem solving to address real-world situations. A team of world-class faculty awaits eager students who will add to a close-knit online academic community.

Campus Location: Portland, OR

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition and Fees:

  • $628 per credit hour—tuition

Financial Aid: Federal and state loans, grants, and scholarships, as well as student employment opportunities.

Acceptance Rate: 71.4%

Admission Considerations:
Applicants for this program must submit an application and fee as well as official transcripts from all relevant academic institutions, two letters of recommendation, five years of employment experience and an up-to-date resume, an application essay, and an academic interview.

Program Options:

  • Renewable Energy
  • Green Development
  • Food Systems Management

Course Flexibility:
Students gain valuable skills and business techniques in their classes and can then apply what they’ve learned to make their company/workplace more sustainable! Online students gain massive amounts of real-world experience in this way.

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WILMINGTON UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
As it is elegantly stated on the Wilmington University website, “The [online] program is designed with an emphasis on executive skills development, quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques, and the knowledge and professional capabilities necessary for the execution of complex managerial duties in today’s global business environment.”

Campus Location: New Castle, DE

Accreditation: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association

Tuition and Fees:

  • $434 per credit hour—tuition
  • $25 per semester—registration fee

Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and student employment opportunities

Acceptance Rate: 97%

Admission Considerations:
Students must submit official transcripts, complete the online application, and must meet with a program director in order to be considered for application. A substantial amount of professional experience is expected and a degree of professionalism must be applied to one’s academic experience as well.

Program Options:

  • Environmental Regulations and Ethical Issues
  • Management Using Sustainable Green Technologies
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability

Course Flexibility:
This curriculum is designed to gives students the necessary experience and coursework to be able to adapt to many different types of businesses and not-for-profit organizations that are seeking to advance their sustainability platforms. Thus there are many different classes and class structures to prepare students for a competitive job market.

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FRANKLIN PIERCE UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Students in Franklin Pierce University’s online program are exposed to world-wide energy markets and have access to techniques and sustainability practices in global industries. They gain a firm understanding of corporate responsibility and ethical business operations.

Campus Location: Rindge, NH

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Tuition and Fees:

  • $645 per credit hour—tuition
  • $1,935 per 3-credit course

Financial Aid: Federal and state grants and loans, private scholarships, and Veterans’ benefits

Acceptance Rate: 93%

Admission Considerations:
Applicants must submit official transcripts, an online application, supplemental materials in a portfolio, and a current resume and grad students are expected to have several years experience.

Program Options:

  • Building a Sustainable Enterprise
  • The Future of Energy, Business and Society
  • Energy Economics

Course Flexibility:
This 100% online MBA in Sustainability program is one of the best ranked in the country. FPU is dedicated to making the program as accessible as possible to busy professionals and working parents and accommodates to personal schedules to deliver a proper education.

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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

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Program Standouts:
This Masters in Sustainable Systems Engineering program from the University of Wisconsin-Madison prepares students to adapt to the changes of their profession in a competitive job market. With a degree from UW-M, graduates will have the skills and understanding to create positive change.

Campus Location: Madison, WI

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $760.65 per credit hour—in-state tuition
  • $1,593.58 per credit hour—out-of-state tuition

Financial Aid: Federal grants, loans, and work-study; assistantships, fellowships, and trainees.

Acceptance Rate: 47.5%

Admission Considerations:
Applicants must hold a bachelors degree from an accredited undergraduate institution and must also submit three letters of recommendation, and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. International students must submit TOEFL test results. Applicants are not required to submit standardized test results.

Program Options:

  • Energy Production and Distribution
  • Facilities and Built Environment
  • Public Infrastructure

Course Flexibility:
Three areas of concentration allow students to focus in an area that most closely conforms to personal and individual career goals. Students in online learning platforms have the opportunity to apply their experience and knowledge first hand. Internships and fellowships give students yet even more opportunities to gain first-hand skills.

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VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE

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Program Standouts:
The Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability emphasizes the need for communication and partnerships with local establishments to create a stronger, more sustainably focused community environment. Graduates have access and connections within many strong corporations and industries.

Campus Location: Blacksburg, VA

Accreditation: Southern Association of College and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $745.75 per credit hour—in-state online tuition
  • $1,452.25 per credit hour—out-of-state online tuition

Financial Aid: Federal loans, work-study, and grants; institutional assistantships and fellowships.

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Admission Considerations:
All applicants must hold an undergraduate degree and must also have prior work experience in their field. Other documentation required for admission includes: letters of recommendation, resume, transcripts, goal statement, and a $75 non-refundable application fee. All students must have an interview as well. No GRE required.

Program Options:

  • Landscape Systems & Strategies
  • International Environmental Law & Policy
  • Global Issues in Natural Resources

Course Flexibility:
Virginia Tech is constantly adapting its core requirements and electives to keep up with current trends within the market, students can find coursework that will give them the information and skill they need for their particular field of sustainability.

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UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

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Program Standouts:
Students studying in the University of Denver’s online Masters in Energy and Sustainability Degree Program learn many valuable skills including to recognize and assess trends in renewable energy, craft sustainability plans and reports, develop environmental policies, and advocate for the use of sustainable practices.

Campus Location: Denver, CO

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $599 per credit hour—tuition
  • $4 per credit hour for each class taken for credit—technology fee

Financial Aid: Grants, scholarships, loans, and student employment

Acceptance Rate: 68%

Admission Considerations:
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited academic institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants whom University College believes may successfully engage in graduate work, but who have not met the previously stated GPA requirements, may be admitted to a degree program on a provisional basis. The GRE and the GMAT are not required.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Sustainability: Policy & Practice
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Green Building

Course Flexibility:
Students may customize their degree with concentration courses and working with faculty and advisors to create a personal curriculum. As an online program they may access many other methods and real-world application within their community.

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WALDEN UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
In Walden University‘s Master of Public Administration in Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities, students learn the ins and outs of approaching sustainability from an political and administrative standpoint—effecting change within the local political system. Developed by local political leaders, this program nurtures critical thinking skills and political candor.

Campus Location: Minneapolis, MN

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $455 per quarter hour (45 total)—tuition
  • $20,930—full tuition
  • $120 per quarter—technology fee

Financial Aid: Federal and state grants and loans, merit-based scholarships, and payment plans.

Acceptance Rate: 98%

Admission Considerations:
Students must submit an official transcript from a bachelors degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must have two professional letters of recommendation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Tools for Sustainable Community Development
  • Elements of Sustainable and Livable Communities
  • Strategic Planning: Collaboration, Cooperation, and Coordination

Course Flexibility:
In this program, students will “gain the skills to develop effective strategies for promoting growth and enrichment in [their] community.” This program is designed for students with a passion for local government and effecting change at a political level. Coursework gives students the necessary tools for maneuvering political systems and implementing methods of sustainability.

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PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Blending together many disciplines of environmental studies and sciences, Penn State has created an online Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems program that educates students in areas of policy, applications of the technology in society, the energy economics, as well as the entire project development process.

Campus Location: State College, PA

Accreditation: Middles States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $805 per credit hour (less than 12 credits)—part-time tuition
  • $9,664 flat rate (12 or more credits)—full-time tuition
  • $86 per 5 credit hours or less—technology fee
  • $189 per 5-9 credit hours—technology fee
  • $252 per 9+ credit hour—technology fee

Financial Aid: Military benefits, payment plans, scholarships, and loans

Acceptance Rate: 55.5%

Admission Considerations:
In order to be considered for admission students must submit official transcripts from regionally accredited academic institutions, and GRE scores. International students must submit English Proficiency scores.

Program Options:

  • Sustainability Management and Policy
  • Bioenergy
  • Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy

Course Flexibility:
Penn State offers this impressive online program that draws from four colleges and eight academic departments from within the University gives students an comprehensive education in sustainability systems and practices that adapts to a rapidly changing environment.

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ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
ASU has two very strong Masters programs in sustainability that will prepare any student for a myriad of sustainability scenarios, opening up a great number of career opportunities—teaching, scientific research and development, or executive and corporate businesses.

Campus Location: Tempe, AZ

Accreditation: North Central Association of College and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $492 per credit hour—tuition

Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, federal work-study, loans and outside resources.

Acceptance Rate: 80.2%

Admission Considerations:
Students must submit an application fee of $75 and official transcripts, test results, some students may be asked to submit a writing sample, personal essay, or portfolio along with their other documentation.

Program Options:

  • Sustainability Leadership
  • Sustainable Tourism

Course Flexibility:
Students have the opportunity to learn from a team of world-class experts who are steeped in experience and understanding of the field. Upon graduation students will not only have an understanding of their field beyond many others, they will also have a solid references and networking connections.

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