Master's Degree Programs in Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability master's programs teach students how to conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and ensure the well-being and social justice for living things. Read on to learn about requirements, typical courses, and possible careers. Schools offering Environmental Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Master's in Environmental Sustainability: Program Requirements and Coursework

In addition to a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, there are additional admissions requirements that vary by college. Undergraduate work in a related field helps, and typically schools require a GPA of at least 3.0, the completion of related prerequisites like statistics and introductory courses, and possibly an entrance exam. Students will often have to choose a concentration or area of focus to guide their studies, such as food systems or renewable energy, and may have the option to choose either a thesis or capstone project. Some environmental sustainability master's programs may be offered as part of a doctoral track or a subfield of environmental studies. Specific coursework will depend on each individual's concentration, but all programs offered under the environmental sustainability umbrella will cover environmental topics, sustainability concepts and practices, problem-solving, research, data collection and interpretation, policies, and ethics.

Master's in Environmental Sustainability: Degree Options

Master's in Sustainability Programs

Many colleges incorporate sustainability philosophies and practices into their graduate majors, as environmental concerns are widespread and students from all academic disciplines are needed to contribute to the cause. There are even colleges with entire sustainability departments and the 'green' colleges known for their exemplary eco-friendly policies, practices, and programs. Some schools offer sustainability or environmental sustainability as a graduate major, where the focus will be on 'big picture' concepts like resource management, emissions reduction, self-reliance, and green technologies, many of which can be practiced on the campus itself. But as previously stated, many universities require students to choose a concentration, which may be environmental sustainability or some of the following.

Master's in Agricultural and Resource Economics

These programs specifically prepare students for work in agriculture management, financial analysis, consulting, policy, or other related positions. They'll need an undergraduate degree in agricultural studies, economics, business, or a related field. In a two-year program, students will study advanced mathematics, data interpretation, economic principles, and both science and business as they pertain to the farming industry. With a focus on sustainability, they might work for organic farms and regenerative/holistic agriculture operations.

Master's in Environmental Science

Environmental science encompasses many subfields, and students may choose a specialization such as ecology, marine or watershed science, soil science, or natural resource management. The health of the environment and its organisms, life sciences such as biology, and sustainability, and ethical practices may also be studied. Students may be required to take statistics, research methods, and other graduate courses to enter/complete this program.

Master's in Sustainable Energy

Renewable resources and clean energy options like wind and solar power are the focus of these programs, which are intended to prepare students for a career in the energy sector or energy policy. The curriculum is based on science, technology, business, and policy, and in a two-year sequence, students take courses in sustainable energy, energy science and technology, environmental studies, and ethics. They may also need to complete electives, capstones, and laboratory requirements.

Master's in Sustainable Food Systems

Food issues are considered one of the front lines of sustainability, and this program will focus on solving issues of the food supply chain from food production to processing and logistics to consumption and waste management, as well as laws and policies affecting food systems. In a two-year sequence, students take courses in food systems, environmental topics, sustainability concepts, and public policy. Depending on the program, they may spend summers doing electives and capstone projects.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master's in Sustainability Programs 2 years Undergraduate degree Varies depending on degree concentration; see below
Master's in Agricultural and Resource Economics 2 years Undergraduate degree Agricultural Economist, Agricultural Manager (Farmer, Rancher, etc)
Master's in Environmental Science 2 years Undergraduate degree Ecologist, Geoscientist
Master's Sustainable Energy 2 years Undergraduate degree Mechanical Engineer, Environmental Engineer
Master's in Sustainable Food Systems 2 years Undergraduate degree Food Service Manager, Food/Agricultural Scientist

Students who seek a Masters in Environmental Sustainability will find that the discipline overlaps many others, offering numerous degree and career options. Typical master's programs last about two years, usually require thesis or capstone projects and may require the student to choose a concentration that can help them seek employment in fields such as agriculture, food systems, environmental sciences, natural resource management, and renewable energy.

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:

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