Online Conservation Science Degree Programs

Read about the various types, levels and concentrations of online conservation science degree programs. Explore some of the courses you'd take as a bachelor's- or master's-level conservation science student, and learn how online programs work. Schools offering Natural Resources & Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Conservation Science Degree Program?

Online degree programs in conservation science teach you about the physical characteristics of natural environmental resources. These may include forests, soil, crops, watersheds, plants, fish, livestock and endangered species. You'll learn about the biology of various wildlife species and the components of the environments in which they live. You'll also learn how to fight for their survival and protection in political, legal and social arenas.

Depending on your educational background, you can earn either a bachelor's or master's degree in conservation science or a related area, such as crop science, natural resource studies or fisheries and wildlife. Online graduate programs in these areas are more common than undergraduate ones; however, bachelor's degrees are also available. Exact required courses vary depending on degree level and program type, and thesis requirements vary from one master's degree program to the next.

Online Conservation Science ProgramsStudy environmental resources, biology, legal and social aspects
Common Bachelor's Degree CoursesEnvironmental policy, wildlife conservation management, geology, climatology, environmental chemistry
Common Master's Degree CoursesEnvironmental sustainability, natural resource restoration, soil and water conservation, rangeland management
Online ProgramsOnline teaching and learning platforms
Median Salary (2016-2026)$61,340 (Conservation Scientists and Foresters)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% growth (Conservation Scientists and Foresters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Do Online Bachelor's Degree Studies Entail?

Online bachelor's degree programs may focus on general environmental conservation management or a specific area of conservation science, such as wildlife and fisheries. Most programs include courses teaching you about both the physical characteristics of the environment and its inhabitants. You also learn about the social, legal or cultural elements of natural conservation. While some programs focus mainly on environmental policy, others are more based in environmental science, and the curricula can differ widely from one program to the next.

Environmental management programs educate you in current public policies and laws affecting natural resources. They also teach you how to secure public or private approval and funding to protect the environment. Programs in wildlife and fisheries place a stronger emphasis on science. They educate you in the biology of animals found in ecosystems and teach you about the environmental conditions in which they must live to prosper. Courses in online bachelor's degree programs related to conservation science may include the following:

  • Environmental policy law and economics
  • Fish, bird and wildlife conservation management
  • Geology and preservation of national parks
  • Environmental program financing
  • Climatology
  • Environmental chemistry

What Do Online Master's Degree Studies Entail?

Master's degrees may be conferred in the general area of environmental science conservation or in specific types of natural resources like crops, soil or rangelands. To be admitted to some programs, your bachelor's degree must be in a related area, or you must have completed numerous science prerequisite courses as an undergraduate student. Most master's degree programs will teach you about the scientific and socio-political sustainment and preservation of natural environmental resources and their inhabitants. Programs that focus on a specific type of natural resource tend to offer most required courses in that area, while general environmental programs require courses in natural resources of all types.

Most program curricula offer some flexibility, allowing you to take numerous courses in the conservation science area that interests you most, such as natural resource biology, management or public policy. In virtually all programs, you will be required to take numerous courses in environmental science and at least one in environmental research methods. A thesis may be required as well, although some programs have non-thesis options. In lieu of a thesis, you may be able to complete an applied project in a relevant area of conservation science or take a comprehensive exam before graduation. Topics commonly covered in courses required for online conservation science master's degree students may include the following:

  • Environmental sustainability
  • Plant breeding
  • Natural resource restoration
  • Rangeland management
  • Wildlife policy administration
  • Soil fertility
  • Crop disease control
  • Land use planning
  • Soil and water conservation

How Do Online Programs Work?

As an online student, you can earn the same degree you'd get from an on-campus program without having to visit your school. The vast majority of required courses are transmitted through online teaching and learning platforms. Some lectures may be in CD or DVD format; these are generally sent to students by mail. Many programs carry applied studies requirements, such as internships or capstone projects.

The online teaching and learning platforms allow you to access and submit all materials required to pass your courses, including lectures, readings, assignments, exams and mandatory class discussion responses. You can use their e-mail, chat and message board functions to communicate with professors and fellow students. All you'll need to complete your courses is an Internet-connected computer and perhaps some additional software, such as Windows or Adobe Reader.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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