Master's Degree in Environmental Economics

A master's degree in environmental economics should give students a solid understanding of research methods, statistics, and environmental ecology and enable them to pursue a range of careers. Schools offering Environmental Policy & Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn a Master's Degree in Environmental Economics

A master's degree in environmental economics may be available as specialization or combined with another subject such as urban planning or environmental policy. A graduate degree focused on environmental economics should provide students with an understanding of economics as they relate to the environment and natural resources. Many programs can be completed in less than two years and may include some of the courses listed below.

Research Methods

Research methods courses give students an overview of the methods and practices of research that are applicable to environmental economics. Topics covered may include foundational theories, project design, professional reporting and how to utilize criticism. Students may also explore the scientific method, communication, ethics, and individual responsibilities in research.

Quantitative Research

In quantitative research courses, students develop the necessary skills for extracting, analyzing, and presenting data of environmental characteristics and processes. Students may work with databases and other applications to practice not only data retrieval but also design, management, and interpretation of the data. Other topics covered may include time-series analysis, varying data, curve fitting, and data sets.


Econometrics courses combine economics and statistics and teach students how to properly test economic hypotheses. Students may learn about t-tests, multiple linear regression, data mining, and analysis of cross-classified data. In addition, courses may utilize various software so that students build familiarity with different programs.


These courses explore the components of the ecosystem and may provide specific approaches or concentrations such as biological ecology and/or aquatic ecology. Students may learn about population ecology, the ecosystem, animals, and sustainable development. Topics may also include causes of extinction, minimum viable populations, and economics of reserve design.

Environmental Economics

Students in environmental economics courses learn the basic methods and theories of economic analysis applied to the environment. Students may explore cost-benefit analysis, regulatory policies, and environmental resource valuation methods. Other topics covered may include issues and supply of natural resources, pollution control, and agricultural policy.

Admittance Requirements for Environmental Economics Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in environmental economics require incoming students to have earned a bachelor's degree. Some programs may require students to have completed some college prerequisites (such as statistics) as well as have some work experience relating to the degree. Depending on the chosen program, students may also need to have completed the GRE or an equivalent exam with a satisfactory score. In addition, most programs require students to submit a personal essay, a resume, and around three letters of recommendation.

What Can You Do with a Master's Degree in Environmental Economics?

Environmental Economist

Environmental economists analyze the environment and natural resources such as energy, land, and water. Using qualitative and quantitative skills, they assess costs, benefits, and impacts of various proposals and may also present reports on their conclusions. A master's degree in environmental economics gives graduates a strong foundation in analytics and economics as well as environmental law and processes.

Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers educate students beyond high school in colleges, universities, and various other settings. Postsecondary teacher duties can vary but may include teaching students in classrooms and/or online, creating courses content and assignments, and providing feedback and assistance to students. Earning a master's degree in environmental economics may enable graduates to teach courses in economics, environmental sciences, and environmental economics.

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners create plans for land use as well as programs that may develop communities, revitalize areas and towns, and accommodate growing populations. Other duties may include gathering and analyzing data, conducting investigations, ensuring regulatory compliance, and making recommendations. A master's degree in environmental economics may have an urban development emphasis that enables graduates to have the necessary knowledge for these positions and articulate their preparation through their degree.

Job Title Average Median Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Environmental Economist (Economists, 2018) $104,340 8%
Postsecondary Teachers $78,470 $11%
Urban and Regional Planners $73,050 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Environmental economics master's degree programs can be completed in around two years and may include classes such as ecology, econometrics, and quantitative research. Graduates possess a unique understanding of economics as they relate to the environment and natural resources that can be applied to a variety of careers.

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