Top online MBAs in environmental management offer an advantage over bachelor's degrees. They prepare learners for leadership and/or consulting roles in the many industries striving to meet environmental sustainability goals, standards, and regulations.
Given the increasing demand for this specialized skill set, environmental managers can enjoy meaningful, high-paying careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), environmental scientists and specialists earned a median salary of $71,130 as of 2018.
This page highlights the benefits, curricula, and characteristics of high-quality MBA programs in environmental management. It also familiarizes readers with scholarship programs and professional organizations for environmental management MBA students.
What Is an MBA in Environmental Management?
As climate change awareness grows and governmental regulations tighten, companies increasingly rely on environmental managers to help them meet new sustainability standards. MBA in environmental management programs prepare students for careers evaluating and aligning business practices with environmental regulations.
Like "green" MBAs, or MBAs in sustainable business or corporate responsibility, MBA programs in environmental management combine environmental science and sustainability coursework with core business skills in project, operations, financial, and marketing management.
Online MBA programs in environmental management can lead to lucrative positions, such as environmental manager, environmental scientist, environmental engineer, or environmental science and protection technician. The industries employing the most environmental managers include management and scientific consulting, government, and engineering. Top-paying industries include electronics, water transportation, and natural gas transportation.
Why Should You Get an Online MBA in Environmental Management?
Environmental management MBA programs cultivate the knowledge and skills needed to expand learners' career options and assist in career transition, promotion, or salary advancement. Business and scientific professionals may pursue this degree as part of a transition into another role, field, or industry.
Environmental technicians and related professionals may pursue this MBA to qualify for higher-level management positions. Entry-level environmental manager positions typically require natural sciences-related bachelor's degrees, but the added specialization afforded by an MBA can lead to leadership positions. By enrolling in flexible, online MBA programs, working professionals often advance their careers without relocating or giving up their day jobs.
Professionals with advanced degrees and/or in leadership positions tend to make more money, as well. Environmental technicians make a median annual salary of $46,170, according to the BLS, whereas the environmental engineers, managers, scientists, and specialists who supervise technicians and lead projects often make $70,000-90,000 annually.
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What Can You Do With an MBA in Environmental Management?
Companies hire these professionals to identify risks, prevent hazards, and assure compliance with governmental regulations. EHS managers conduct evaluations, training, analyses, and reporting. They make a median salary of $82,042 annually, according to PayScale.
These professionals mitigate environmental damage by helping companies improve their practices regarding waste management, pollution control, and public health. Knowledgeable in environmental sciences and regulations, these professionals employ skills in communication, project design, data analysis, and technical support. As of May 2018, the BLS reported that environmental engineers earned a median annual salary of $87,620 and projected a 5% job growth from 2018-2028.
These specialists generate and implement environmental safety and operations policies to meet compliance standards. Research safety specialists require knowledge and skills in regulatory compliance, emergency response, and training program development. These professionals make a median salary of about $62,000 annually, according to PayScale.
Usually supervised by environmental scientists or specialists, these technicians perform environmental health and safety inspections, which often involve using monitoring equipment, collecting samples, and analyzing samples in laboratories. According to the BLS, these technicians earned a median annual salary of $46,170 as of 2018, and they can expect a 9% job growth from 2018-2028.
This category of specialist includes industrial ecologists, climate change analysts, and environmental restoration planners. Many environmental scientists and specialists work for government agencies. These professionals design data collection methods, collect and analyze data, and create plans for addressing environmental issues. BLS data projects an 8% growth in jobs for environmental scientists and specialists from 2018-2028. Moreover, these professionals made a median annual salary of $71,130 as of 2018.
Online MBA in Environmental Management Curriculum
All online environmental management MBA programs cover foundational business administration topics, such as operations management, and specialized topics like environmental regulatory compliance. However, online environmental management MBA curricula vary by school and program, so compare curriculum options carefully.
This course introduces students to government compliance programs and corresponding business regulatory objectives, plans, and implementation strategies.
This course examines interconnections among social, environmental, and technological problems and solutions. Students learn how companies have changed their approach to environmental issues over time based on new data, theory, technology, and environmental changes.
This course familiarizes students with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's compliance objectives. Students learn to apply these objectives to actual scenarios.
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How to Choose the Right Online MBA in Environmental Management Program
Although environmental program titles can sound similar, these programs can differ widely in curricular focus. Master's programs in environmental engineering typically focus heavily on scientific skills, systems, and technologies, while master's programs in environmental science may cover more general concentrations such as renewable energy or health and safety. MBAs in environmental science, often synonymous with MBAs in environmental management, blend business management skills with advanced environmental science skills.
Online environmental science MBA programs also vary in terms of attendance timelines and formats. Some programs allow part-time enrollment options, ideal for busy professionals, while others offer intensive, accelerated timelines geared toward students with more available time. Many online programs allow asynchronous attendance, enabling students to view lectures at any time, while hybrid programs may require synchronous attendance, on-campus residencies, or on-site internships.
Since visiting campus can provide networking opportunities, even distance learners may want to consider schools within driving distance of home. Often more familiar to prospective employers, some schools may partner with local businesses to provide internship and mentorship opportunities.
Applicants should also consider program quality measurements such as accreditation and outcome data. Schools accredited by regional accrediting agencies garner more prestige than nationally accredited schools. Regionally accredited schools may charge higher tuition, but they often provide more financial aid, as well. Some schools boast higher graduation rates or salary outcomes, so check objective sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics to compare prospective programs.
Scholarships for Environmental Management MBA Programs
As you find ways to finance your degree, consider applying for the many scholarships offered by schools, governments, professional organizations, and private funders. Depending on the scholarship, you may qualify based on identity, financial need, academic merit, or some combination of these factors. The scholarships described below provide funding to students in environmental programs.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship provides financial assistance to WEF members enrolled in graduate programs related to water environments. Application requirements include official transcripts, recommendation letters, and degree/career objectives.
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Who Can Apply: Graduate students enrolled in or currently graduating from natural and/or cultural resource-related programs at accredited schools may apply. Applicants must demonstrate excellent training and/or research skills in this field, plus effective communication skills and enthusiasm for assisting the National Park Service.
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Who Can Apply: NGC offers up to 41 scholarships annually to legal U.S. residents enrolled full time in horticulture or environment-related, U.S.-based undergraduate or graduate programs. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.25 GPA.
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Who Can Apply: Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate students who have completed four or more semesters in geo-environmental science-related programs. Applicants must have a 3.4+ GPA, financial need, and high potential in their fields.
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Who Can Apply: New England and California graduate students studying environmental law, conservation, science, or technology full time at accredited schools may apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with demonstrated leadership capabilities and financial need.
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Professional Organizations for Environmental Management
Professional organizations for environmental management help students and professionals stay abreast of current trends and opportunities in their field. The professional organizations described below offer continuing education, employment resources, networking, and leadership opportunities. These organizations also advance the field through research, publications, and conferences.
A nonprofit organization designed to support corporate leaders in improving environmental practices, NAEM offers current research, conferences, and webinars. It also provides blogs and reports on relevant topics, including sustainability management, health and safety, and software and data management.
This international society of 3,000+ conservation leaders engages in policy work, conservation projects, and professional development. SWCS also holds networking events, publishes journals and books, and collaborates with organizations providing public education on conservation.
This nonprofit provides professional development for environmental and safety industry professionals. The NREP maintains a job bank and runs many relevant certification programs and workshops.
Since 1968, this international organization has sought to integrate environmental teaching, research, and theory. To this end, EDRA offers publications, conferences, awards, and a career center.
NAEP provides networking, education, and other career resources for environment-related professions. These resources include conferences, training, awards, and a job board.
Top Online MBA Programs in Environmental Management
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern offers a 50-credit online MBA in sustainability. The curriculum includes 13 core courses and five elective classes, which learners complete in as few as two years. Three out of the five electives can apply to a concentration in sustainability.
The MBA core at Northeastern emphasizes decision-making capabilities through coursework in value creation through finance, information analysis, and strategic implications in accounting data. Additional core classes in managing people and organizations, global enterprises, and ethics in the workplace and marketplace prepare students for leadership roles in business settings.
Concentration classes emphasize sustainability as it relates to leadership, economics of markets, supply chain management, and the business environment.
To apply, students must submit transcripts from previous college coursework, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and five years of experience in a professional setting as well.
Founded in 1915 as a Catholic women's college near St. Louis, Missouri, Webster now functions as a nondenominational institution. The online MBA in environmental management at Webster includes 51 credit hours of coursework.
Required core courses in Webster's MBA emphasize managerial and financial aspects of business. Learners study business statistics, corporate finance, strategy and competition, managerial accounting, economics, and operations.
Twenty-four credits of environmental management classes explore environmental science, law, accounting, and regulations. Additional classes include air quality, land, and water resource management; waste management and pollution control; and environmental risk management and strategies.
Applicants must submit documentation of a minimum 2.5 GPA from previous college coursework for consideration. Candidates must complete prerequisite courses in business, accounting theory and practice, and economic analysis prior to beginning the degree. Online students pay $780 per credit hour tuition regardless of location.
The fourth largest institution of higher learning in North Carolina, ECU offers an online MBA with a certificate in sustainable tourism. ECU's MBA integrates seven foundation courses, eight core classes, and three electives. Students add an additional two classes to complete a 54-credit MBA with a certificate in sustainability tourism.
Foundation classes in ECU's online MBA include financial and managerial accounting, comparative and marketing management, and quantitative methods. Students with an undergraduate degree in business or previous coursework in these areas may receive course waivers.
ECU's online MBA core emphasizes strategic and financial management, accounting, and organizational behavior. Five concentration classes in topics such as environmental systems and sustainability, policy and planning, and development and management of sustainable tourism build analytical and decision-making skills applicable to careers in the hospitality field.
To apply, students submit a resume, transcripts from previous college coursework, and GRE or GMAT scores for consideration. Individuals may receive GRE/GMAT waivers based on previous academic and professional work.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA
Offered through Penn State's World Campus, the online MBA in business sustainability strategy includes 48 credit hours. Students complete 39 credit hours of core coursework alongside nine credit hours of specialized classes.
Penn State's online MBA core emphasizes financial accounting, leadership communications, and global strategic management. Learners build decision-making and leadership skills through coursework in ethical and responsible business, data analytics, and team performance. The team performance course includes residency requirements.
Business sustainability strategy classes train students to develop, implement, and administer sustainable business practices. Learners explore economic, social, and environmental motivators for establishing sustainable business models. They also assess challenges and changes associated with managing a sustainability strategy.
Additional coursework in supply chain chain management focuses on practices, processes, and considerations applicable to reducing the environmental and social impact of business practices.
For consideration, applicants must submit transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, an essay, and two references.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Part of the University of Houston System, UHCL offers online MBAs in environmental management and sustainability. Both online MBAs include 36 credit hours of coursework, which learners can complete in as few as 14 months. Students may need to complete an additional three-credit course in business principles depending on their educational background.
The MBA core at UHCL includes 24 credit hours of coursework in accounting, global business, and management science. Students also study managerial economics, corporate finance, and executive decision making.
The 12-credit environmental management concentration explores environmental law and environmental risk management. The sustainability concentration focuses on global sustainability and environmental economics.
To apply, students must submit transcripts from previous college coursework, three letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a statement of their career goals. Applicants with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours of their undergraduate coursework must submit GMAT scores, as well.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
UW-Whitewater, one of 13 universities within the University of Wisconsin System, offers an online MBA in environmental health and safety. Students complete 36-50 credit hours of foundation, breadth, emphasis, and elective coursework.
Depending on their educational and professional background, learners may need to complete foundational classes in accounting, economics, and finance.
Required breadth classes in the online MBA at UW-Whitewater include persuasion and negotiation strategies, business valuation using financial statements, and fundamentals of project management. Marketing courses in leadership, business policy, and quantitative analysis accompany economics classes in managerial economics and business analysis.
Students choose nine credit hours of environmental health and safety coursework. Class options include advanced ergonomics, system safety analysis, and disaster planning and response.
Applicants must submit transcripts, a resume, and GRE or GMAT scores for consideration. Admission requirements vary by academic record and professional experience. Individuals with a qualifying cumulative GPA from previous college coursework and requisite professional experience may receive a GMAT/GRE waiver.
Southern New Hampshire University
Located between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire, SNHU offers an online MBA in sustainability and environmental compliance. Learners can transfer up to 12 graduate credits into the 36-credit MBA, earning a degree in as few as 15 months.
SNHU's MBA core includes 27 credit hours of coursework in business innovations and entrepreneurship, organizational leadership, and operations management and technology. Students study finance, economics, and decision-making; government impact upon business; and ethics, corporate culture, and social responsibility. The program culminates in a comprehensive capstone requirement.
The nine-credit concentration emphasizes environmental issues, energy and society, and environmental compliance and sustainability.
Online learners pay $627 per credit hour. To apply, students must submit transcripts from previous college coursework.
Based in New Castle, Delaware, WilmU offers educational programs throughout the mid-Atlantic United States. WilmU's online MBA in environmental sustainability blends 21 credit hours of MBA core coursework with 15 credit hours of concentration classes.
WilmU's online MBA core includes coursework in managerial finance, accounting, and global marketing. Students complete classes in data analytics, organizational behavior and ethical leadership, and business strategy, as well.
Environmental sustainability courses include project management with sustainable green technologies and strategic planning for sustainable organizations. These classes prepare learners to promote and manage ecological practices in business settings. Additional specialization classes include economic and financial analysis of environmental issues, environmental regulations and ethical issues, and principles of environmental sustainability.
Applicants must submit transcripts from previous college coursework for consideration. Prerequisites include mathematics, finance, accounting, and economics.
University of Colorado Denver
CU Denver offers more than 140 academic programs from campuses in Denver and Aurora. CU Denver's online MBA in managing for sustainability includes 45 credit hours of coursework, which learners can complete in as few as 16 months.
The MBA core at CU Denver integrates 30 credit hours of business fundamental coursework. Students study leadership, data analytics, economics, and strategic management. An additional three-credit international business course includes a residency in Denver or a study abroad case study. Learners also complete a consulting project requirement.
The specialization in managing for sustainability trains students to reduce operating costs, pursue and thrive in new markets, and improve overall financial performance and customer loyalty through sustainable business practices.
To apply, learners submit GMAT or GRE scores, transcripts, essay responses, and a resume. Applicants may receive a GMAT waiver based on their academic record.
Concordia University-Ann Arbor
CUAA, a member of the Concordia System, holds affiliation with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. CUAA's online MBA in sustainability management and analytics includes 39 credit hours of core and specialization coursework.
CUAA's MBA core incorporates comprehensive coursework in managerial economics and econometrics, ethics and organizational leadership, and applied statistical methods. Additional core classes in human resources, accounting, corporate finance, and management science precede a strategic management capstone requirement.
The sustainability management and analytics concentration prepares students to implement successful sustainability policies and practices through 15 credit hours of coursework. Learners choose courses such as sustainable business practices, environmental law, ecological economics, and industrial ecology.
Students may participate in an internship or in a week-long study abroad opportunity as part of the program. To apply, learners must submit a statement of professional goals, a resume, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.
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