Top 8 Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental Management

Environmental managers rest easy each night knowing that they've protected natural habitats for future generations. Typical employers for environmental management professionals include state and federal agencies, universities, and corporations. A manager works with scientists, technicians, and specialists to gather data on natural environments. Data collection can take the form of gathering water, soil, foliage, and air from specific sites. Environmental managers ensure that samples are collected based on best practices, and findings are presented in accurate and ethical ways. This information can be used to clean polluted rivers, develop environmental protection plans, or provide baselines prior to new developments. Managers also work with their staff members on continuing education and research to stay abreast of environmental issues. 

The environmental management field can lead to global travel and unique opportunities. National Geographic has highlighted green jobs around the world with a few options for intrepid managers. Water quality technicians and managers oversee public water systems with opportunities from California to South Africa. Recycling companies and public agencies will need waste management experts to keep up with the demands of eco-conscious consumers. Solar panel, electric vehicle, and green housing manufacturers need managers who are well-versed in best practices to minimize the impacts of their products on the natural environment. 

An online bachelor's degree in environmental management emphasizes the skills necessary for a successful career in the field. Managers need to be endlessly curious about changes to the environments they study and humans' interactions with their surroundings. Clear written and verbal communications are also essential, so that environmental data are not misinterpreted by stakeholders. Employers also expect environmental leaders to understand the analytical software and tools needed to properly gather data. Finally, an environmental manager needs to work well with his or her colleagues and direct reports, especially in jobs with lots of fieldwork or high-pressure situations. If this sounds like you, it is worth considering additional reasons to become an environmental manager. 

Why Become an Environmental Manager?

A young professional's investment in an environmental management degree should be more than repaid, thanks to strong salary outlooks. In May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) placed the median salary for environmental engineers at $87,620, while environmental scientists and specialists received average salaries of $71,130 per year. In 2019, PayScale listed an average salary of $81,423 for environmental managers, with a top salary of $123,000. These salaries can also be boosted by benefits, corporate shares, and bonuses for exceptional work. Environmental managers and associated career paths far exceed the national average salary of $50,650. 

The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment's 2018 survey of environmental managers in the United Kingdom shows the intrinsic rewards for this work. Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated that were satisfied with their jobs. The IEMA also found that 74% of managers were challenged by their careers, and 56% were ready for challenges in the upcoming year. Responding managers noted that their jobs had impacts beyond the United Kingdom and presented opportunities unavailable through other careers. The IEMA further noted that 61% of respondents were in the same job from 2017 to 2018, indicating high satisfaction levels among established professionals. An environmental management career can be fulfilling for a professional dedicated to the field's changing dynamics. 

Young professionals pursuing engineering management careers can expect high demand for their services in the next decade. The BLS projected an 11% growth in available jobs for environmental scientists and specialists from 2016 to 2026. With a projected 7% growth among all careers, environmental careers mean plenty of job opportunities for new graduates. Working professionals who want to work toward environmental leadership positions should consider online bachelor's degrees. The programs ranked below offer flexible scheduling, specializations, and ongoing assistance to help students achieve their goals. 


Top Management Degrees uses seven data points to rank college programs. Here they are, in order of importance:

  1. A reputation aggregate score from other rankings
  2. Graduate average salary
  3. Alumni reviews
  4. Percentage of admitted students who graduate
  5. Price
  6. Admitted students' test scores
  7. Acceptance rate

#8. Southern New Hampshire University – Manchester, New Hampshire

Online Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Program Website

The Online Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Southern New Hampshire University appeals to working professionals and transfer students. The program's courses are designed to accommodate students, regardless of their schedules. There are six student intakes per year, allowing applicants to quickly jump into their studies. To expedite degree paths for transfer students, the university accepts up to 90 credits from other institutions. Environmental science students select from geospatial technologies or natural resources and conservation specializations to prepare for management careers. The natural resources and conservation track features required courses in conservation biology and waste remediation, while geospatial technologies students receive lessons in technical skills like geospatial programming and remote sensing. 

Southern New Hampshire University's virtual degree programs extend beyond environmental science to fields such as game design and digital photography. Washington Monthly named the school in its ranking of the "12 Most Innovative Colleges for Adult Learners" in 2018. The university was recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its cutting-edge techniques, with a No. 1 rank in Most Innovative Schools for 2019. Southern New Hampshire University also received a No. 112 placement in the Regional Universities North index. This New Hampshire-based university started as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science in 1932. Since its founding, the school expanded to two additional campuses in New Hampshire, before choosing to focus primarily on online degrees in 2009. 

TMD Ranking Score: 74.88


#7. University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management

Program Website

The University of Florida's "UF Online" platform presents 22 undergraduate degree options, including a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management. After completing general education requirements, students build their knowledge bases with courses in agricultural ecology and pest management. The program requires completion of an internship or research project in soil and water science prior to the senior year. Upper-level courses in environmental hydrology and nutrient management round out a student's degree path. The University of Florida houses institutes such as the Odum Center for Wetlands and the Water Resources Research Center, which are used to educate future environmental managers. U.S. News & World Report recognized UF Online's programs with a No. 5 ranking in its Best Online Bachelor's Programs for 2019. 

Traditional and online students at the University of Florida enjoy good returns on investment for their degrees. Money ranked the school No. 23 on its "Best Colleges For Your Money 2018" list. The university reached No. 20 in America's Best Value Colleges for 2019, as determined by Forbes. Additional rankings from Forbes included a No. 68 place in Top Colleges and a No. 13 rank in Public Colleges. The university has grown from a small seminary in 1853 to a global institution with an international studies center in China. Past graduates of the University of Florida range from Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Marshall Nirenberg. 

TMD Ranking Score: 77.00


#6. Wilmington University – New Castle, Delaware

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy

Program Website

Wilmington University has expanded from its New Castle campus, founded in 1968, to 14 learning sites and partner campuses in the 21st century. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy shows how much the Wilmington University brand has grown. Students can complete this undergraduate degree via online courses, or through in-person classes. Elective courses covering topics like climate dynamics and technology in the sciences help students customize their degree paths. This BS program can be augmented with certificates in compliance, applied statistics, or community engagement. Partnerships between the university and the Delaware Space Grant Consortium and Delaware INBRE provide opportunities for internships and scholarships. 

Wilmington University's course offerings go beyond environmental science, with more than 120 online degrees in fields such as behavioral science and liberal studies. U.S. News & World Report recognized Wilmington University's growing reputation with a No. 230 rank in National Universities for 2019. The publication also placed the school No. 237 in High School Counselor Rankings. Part-time students make up 64% of the university's student body, according to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard. Wilmington University is a small school, but has earned multiple national titles in cheerleading and regional championships in baseball and golf. Students near the main campus can participate in organizations including the Game Club and the Young Professionals Association. 

TMD Ranking Score: 79.84


#5. University of Maryland University College – Largo, Maryland

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management

Program Website

The University of Maryland University College trains future environmental leaders through its online Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management program. A 33-credit core of major courses includes environmental technology, human health and disease, and occupational health and safety. Students select from sustainability and toxicology specializations, depending on their long-term career goals. Graduates of this BS degree path can advance to graduate programs in environmental management or biotechnology management. The university's Environmental Management Club connects members with researchers and prospective employers through webinars and community projects. Academic advisors work with students via online chats from their entrance into the program through graduation. 

Learning centers under the University College name span from the Washington, D.C. metro area to more than 100 U.S. military bases in Europe and Asia. This branch of the University of Maryland was created in 1947 to provide continuing education to working students. Niche's 2019 college grades gave the school an A- for Diversity. The site also gave the University of Maryland University College a No. 581 ranking among the Most Diverse Colleges in America and a No. 746 placement in the Best College Locations in America. Most students at the university complete their degrees around work schedules, with a 77% part-time student body in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Education

TMD Ranking Score: 80.76


#4. Columbia Southern University – Orange Beach, Alabama

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management

Program Website

Columbia Southern University encourages transfers into its Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management by allowing up to 90 transfer credits. The program's required courses explore topics such as hazardous waste management, toxicology, and safety supervision. Electives in leadership, human resource management, and accident investigation prepare upper-level students for career demands. Columbia Southern University allows environmental management students to follow prescribed course lengths or self-guided courses lasting up to 18 weeks each. The structured approach to the university's programs features 11 intake dates each year and weekly assignments. The latter option allows students to enroll at any point in the year, rather than waiting for the beginning of the next semester. 

Columbia Southern University has been dedicated to distance learning since opening for business in 1993. The university's first degrees were conferred in occupational health and safety and environmental engineering. Today, students can select from programs ranging from a certificate in hospitality to a doctorate in business administration. College Factual ranked the university's Natural Resources & Conservation programs No. 48 in Most Popular. The site also placed the school's Fire Protection and Criminal Justice & Corrections programs at No. 1 and No. 9, respectively, as Most Popular in their categories for 2019. Niche evaluated the return on investment for Columbia Southern University with a B in Value and a No. 1,130 rank for Best Value Colleges in America. 

TMD Ranking Score: 82.67


#3. American Public University – Charles Town, West Virginia

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Program Website

American Public University's online offerings range from single courses for personal enrichment to doctoral programs. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science brings high-quality courses in the field to students around the world. Five specialized paths allow future environmental scientists to concentrate on topics like fish and wildlife management and community environmental planning. The last step before graduation is the completion of a senior seminar in environmental science that uses previous learning to solve environmental issues. Students can quickly embark on this degree path by selecting from courses that begin each month. American Public University accepts up to 90 transfer credits from other institutions, to expedite degree completion. 

American Public University came to life in 1991 under the name American Military University. The school's early mission was to provide intelligence and counterterrorism training to military personnel. American Military University switched from mail to online courses in 1998 and adopted its current name in 2002. Despite the school's virtual degrees, students participate in clubs such as Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Niche recognized the university's affordability for students with a B in Value for 2019. College Factual offered some distinctions to American Public University's programs, including Top 1% Rankings in Popularity for International Studies, Homeland Security, and Conservation programs. 

TMD Ranking Score: 90.29


#2. Oregon State University – Corvallis, Oregon

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences

Program Website

Oregon State University's Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences prepares students for post-graduate careers through specializations. This 100% online program offers seven specialty tracks, including applied ecology, environmental agriculture, and environmental policy. Students can also complete a geographic information science certificate through online courses. As students progress through the program, they take courses on environmental law, climatology, and urban forestry. The environmental science major can be supported by minors in business and entrepreneurship, leadership, and resource economics. U.S. News & World Report ranked Oregon State University No. 3 in Best Online Bachelor's Programs for 2019, thanks in part to its strong online degree options. 

Founded in 1868, Oregon State University's reach now extends to its Bend satellite campus and the Ecampus learning platform. Forbes ranked the university No. 152 among America's Best Value Colleges for 2019. The financial publication placed the school No. 265 in its "Top Colleges" list. Oregon State University reached No. 151 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2018. This global ranking also placed the school at No. 59 among American colleges and universities. Students and alumni have witnessed the university's athletic success, including three national titles in the 21st century for the men's baseball team. Online program graduates join prominent alumni, including astronaut Donald Pettit and chemist Linus Pauling. 

TMD Ranking Score: 99.15


#1. Florida International University – Miami, Florida

Online Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and the Environment

Program Website

Florida International University improves online students' success by assigning success coaches for one-on-one consultations. This level of assistance makes programs like the Online Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and the Environment navigable for working students. Upper-level requirements focus on the ecology and ecosystems of southern Florida. Students then advance to classes in sustainable resource development and ecosystems management. Florida International University requires BA students to complete capstone courses and courses in media and sustainability prior to graduation. Faculty members who teach online sustainability are also responsible for world-class research on ecological trends. High-performing students can apply for the FIU Honors College, which strengthens post-graduate resumes through study abroad experiences and theses. 

Online students use the FIU Online platform to pursue degrees ranging from international relations to recreation and sport management. Money recognized Florida International University as a good value for students, with a No. 206 place among the "Best Colleges For Your Money 2018" list. Niche's A- overall grade for the school in 2019 included an A- for Academics, an A for Diversity, and a B+ for Value. The site placed Florida International University No. 95 in Top Public Universities in America and No. 219 in Colleges with the Best Professors in America. Since its founding in 1965, the university has increased its reach with campuses in Washington, D.C., Italy, and China. 

TMD Ranking Score: 100.00