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Environmental Economics Master's Programs in California

Explore schools in California that offer environmental economics master's degree programs. Learn how long these programs take, what prerequisites are required, and what classes they include.

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Sometimes referred to as Cal Poly Pomona, this school offers a Master of Science in Economics with the option of taking electives in environmental and natural resource economics in addition to core courses in economic analysis and econometrics. This program could be helpful to students interested in working in economic research positions, businesses and government and allows students to complete a thesis or research practicum in an area of their choice.

Presidio Graduate School

Presidio Graduate School offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sustainability program that gives students a deeper understanding of management theories and practices as well as environmental and sustainability considerations. Students can choose some of their classes from a list of approved electives and will take core courses in sustainable energy, climate responsibility and economics of society.

University of California - Davis

UC Davis offers two different tracks for a Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics, one with a thesis and one that has a final exam. Students are required to complete between 32 and 36 credit hours of coursework, including three required field courses. Students can select several of their courses from a list of approved options, such as resource policies, agricultural resources and economic optimization.

School Name Programs Offered Tuition (2019-2020)
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona MS in Economics $7,176
Presidio Graduate School MBA in Sustainability $26,900
University of California-Davis MS in Agricultural and Resource Economics $11,442

Tuition represents the in-state (graduate) rate for the 2019-2020 school year and is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

How to Earn an Environmental Economics Master's Degree

Environmental economics master's degree programs usually require students to have completed a bachelor's degree program. Students don't need to have a bachelor's degree in a similar field for admissions to most of these programs, but they may need to have completed some prerequisite coursework (such as statistics or microeconomics). Most programs can be completed in two years of full-time study, and some schools offer flexible, part-time options as well. Although courses vary by program, some of the classes that are commonly included in environmental master's degree programs are listed below.

Environmental Economics

Students learn about methods for analyzing environmental economics as well as their application to policy creation and implementation. They explore methods for evaluating existing and potential policies by considering their effects on the environment and public. Topics covered can include market failure theories, welfare economics and a variety of quantitative valuation methods, such as impact and cost-benefit analyses. Some programs also include advanced courses on this topic that allow students to focus on such aspects as externalities and non-market valuation.

Natural Resource Economics

Similar to an environmental economics course, this course provides instruction in methods for examining the economics of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources as well as the policies used to guide their use. Students examine such topics as capital theory, exhaustible resource usage and supply and scarcity. They can also investigate policy issues particular to resources like soil, wildlife, groundwater, forests and watersheds.

Economic Analysis

The study of economic analysis usually includes a sequence of courses. In some programs, one course might focus on microeconomics and the other on macroeconomics. Other programs include a series of courses specifically on microeconomic analysis. In either case, students examine the tools used to analyze consumer and producer behavior or economic activity at the national level.

Managing Sustainability

This course can be offered under varying names and explores the relationship between economics and the environment. Students learn about how current business and societal practices affect the environment as well as current problems in sustainability. Topics covered can include global concerns, financial considerations for sustainability and government influence and policy.


In this course, students learn about statistical methods and theories that are used in economics. Course topics can include economic variables, statistical verification and models, estimating results and more. This course can help students develop skills for effectively analyzing economic data and drawing conclusions as well as addressing statistical problems.

Several schools throughout California offer master's degree programs that involve the study of environmental economics, which provide students with a better understanding of sustainable considerations and practices for business. These programs include coursework in econometrics and natural resource economics and can be completed in two years of full-time study.