Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (2023)

Universities have started offering degrees specifically focused on sustainability. These degrees can focus on policy management, science, engineering, and other concentrations. A degree in sustainability is valuable in the modern, environmentally conscious world.


Written by CC Staff Writer Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process.

Updated August 18, 2022

Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (2)

Are you ready to find your fit?

Do you want to protect the environment? Want to make sure the earth stays healthy and vibrant forever? Companies will pay you to help!

Businesses care about the environment now more than ever, and they need help from trained professionals.

Universities have started offering degrees specifically focused on sustainability. These degrees can focus on policy management, science, engineering, and other concentrations. A degree in sustainability is valuable in the modern, environmentally conscious world.

You can get paid while changing the world for the better!

What kind of sustainability degree should you get?

A sustainability degree is a gateway to many different professions. Sustainability professionals work in business, construction, government, or health and safety sectors.

One of the benefits of getting a sustainability degree online is the the flexibility of choosing classes. Many colleges listed here offer interdisciplinary online courses, or give credit toward a sustainability-related degree if a student takes classes outside of that major.

If you want to expand beyond sustainability, College Choice has a list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities regardless of major.

How much money do people make with a sustainability degree?

Because of how flexible a sustainability degree can be, direct salaries are hard to measure. shows median salaries for sustainability management positions ranging from $47,115 for Sustainability Coordinators to $104,995 for Sustainability Directors.

Sustainability science professions make similar amounts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for conservation scientists in 2012 was $61,100. Operations Research Analysts made $72,100. Environmental Engineers made $80,890.

You can make a six figure salary while saving the planet!

What can you do with a degree in sustainability?

Every year companies hire more sustainability professionals. In 2016, Greenbiz reported that 46 percent of businesses had an increase in sustainability related positions at their company.

Most highly successful companies have sustainability departments. In 2015, 72 percent of companies with over $1 billion in revenue had sustainability budgets.

Sustainability careers come in a wide variety. They can focus on policy, science, agriculture or management. Here are some related professions:

  • Sustainable Forestry Managers
  • Water Conservationists
  • Health and Safety Engineers
  • Sustainability Policy Managers

What are the requirements for a degree in sustainability?

There aren’t any general license requirements for a degree in sustainability. Some programs require previous college credits in order to enroll, but that is at the discretion of the school.

Combining degrees can strengthen your degree in sustainability. For instance, Sustainability Directors may have a degree in business, and Water Conservationists may have a Master’s degree as well as their sustainability Bachelor’s.

(Video) Introducing the Online Master's Program in Sustainable Development

What are the best sustainability degrees?

All of the online programs below are regionally accredited, and for most, you get the same degree online that you would if you attended classes on campus! Our researchers took into account student satisfaction with the university, the affordability of the program, and the quality and reputation of the school.

Data on expected earnings come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Researchers looked at industry publications such as U.S. News and World Report, Greenbiz, and to find you the most worthwhile programs.

Best Online Sustainability Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School Information
Location Champaign, Illinois
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (4)

People interested in a flexible education that prepares them for a career in the sustainability field should check out the BS in earth, society, and environmental sustainability at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The bachelor's program is available remotely for the 20,199 online learners receiving a premier education at the public college.

Students prepare for a successful career with the tools they gain in the BS in earth, society, and environmental sustainability program. Enrollees take classes on a variety of subjects, covering both foundational and advanced concepts in the field. Degree-seekers can deepen their industry knowledge with experiential learning opportunities to further their career goals. Internships, externships, and applied research projects provide learners with valuable knowledge. During the degree, students can talk to their academic advisor and career counselor to receive guidance.

Scholarships, fellowships, and other internal and external funding opportunities let applicants decrease their educational expenses. At the college, 64% of degree-seekers receive aid from the online education leader to support their academic journey.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (5)


University of Massachusetts

School Information
Location Amherst, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (6)

A Massachusetts school, the University of Massachusetts offers premier online degrees for students looking for a competitive program from its campus in Amherst. The public institution supports 4,643 distance learners across 9 online bachelor’s degree programs. The rigorous, industry-relevant education provided by the BS in sustainable community development appeals to degree-seekers interested in sustainability careers.

Connecting with classmates and instructors in the virtual classroom space helps participants gain the full benefits of the programs' supportive online learning community. Classes covering foundational and advanced topics in provide enrollees with relevant knowledge for their future careers in the field. The hands-on practice learners get in internships, research projects, and other experiential learning opportunities builds their competency for a future profession in sustainability. The institution provides degree-seekers with access to student success-focused resources, such as career and academic advising, throughout the course of the program.

When preparing for the costs of a degree, students should meet with the financial aid office to discuss funding opportunities. Students at the college enjoy many funding opportunities, including scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. At the institution, 90% of enrollees receive some form of financial assistance.

(Video) Treating Cancer, Autoimmune Diseases, and More with Diet for Over a Decade with Dr. Zsófia Clemens!

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (7)


Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (8)

From its campus in Miami, Florida International University offers premier online degrees for students looking for a competitive program. Online enrollment at the public institution totals 39,863 virtual learners, who can choose from 36 bachelor's programs available remotely. The rigorous, industry-relevant education provided by the bachelor of arts in sustainability and the environment appeals to degree-seekers interested in sustainability.

The sustainability program's virtual classroom space lets participants connect with peers, professors, and other members of the distance learning community. Enrollees gain knowledge relevant to their future careers from classes covering foundational and advanced topics in sustainability. Learners can do experiential learning opportunities, like internships and research projects, to develop skills for a future sustainability job. Degree-seekers enjoy access to institutional resources focused on student success, such as career and academic advising, throughout the course of the program.

Learners can lower the cost of a degree in sustainability by working with a financial aid officer to find funding opportunities. The college offers many fellowship, scholarship, and federal aid opportunities. In all, 90% of all students receive some form of aid.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (9)


Penn State World Campus

School Information
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (10)

Penn State World Campus's bachelor's in energy and sustainability policy is a great choice for individuals seeking a flexible education to prepare them for careers in sustainability.

The BA in energy and sustainability policy gives students the tools they need for success in a future career in the field. The curriculum includes a variety of coursework, giving enrollees broad knowledge of both foundational and advanced topics. Degree-seekers can deepen their industry knowledge with experiential learning opportunities to further their career goals. Internships, externships, and industry-specific give valuable knowledge to learners. Academic advisors and career counselors assist students through the course of their degree.

Qualified applicants can offset the cost of their degree with external and internship funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships.

(Video) Ali Velshi | The Mary Trump Show

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (11)


Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (12)

Liberty University's BS in green and sustainable management suits individuals seeking a flexible remote education in sustainability. The 30 industry-relevant online bachelor's programs at the private institution educate 78,511 remote degree-seekers. A supportive virtual community and other institutional resources benefit distance learners at the Lynchburg, Virginia, college.

Interactive classes provide students with industry knowledge. The curriculum includes general education and advanced classes, with the opportunity to customize courses and pick electives. Enrollees can supplement their learning through experiential learning opportunities. Internships, externships, and research projects give degree-seekers first-hand experience of working in the field.

Prospective students can learn about enrollment criteria by talking to the admissions office. Some form of financial aid is awarded to 99% of all enrollees, so students should check with the financial aid office to explore eligibility requirements for funding opportunities. Fellowships, scholarships, and other types of aid allow learners who meet the proper criteria to bring down degree costs.

Visit Site Most Affordable Online Sustainability Degrees (13)

(Video) Is An Online Master’s Degree Worth The Money?

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.



What major is good for sustainability? ›

Top 10 Green Degrees
  • Environmental architecture and environmental design.
  • Environmental engineering.
  • Environmental health sciences.
  • Environmental Law.
  • Environmental science and sustainability.
  • Horticulture.
  • Marine Sciences.
  • Energy.

Where is it best to study sustainability? ›

Top 50 global universities for Sustainability Studies based on popular rankings
QS rankTHE RankingUniversity
14University of Oxford
23University of Cambridge
36Harvard University
49University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
46 more rows
12 May 2022

Is a degree in environmental and sustainability worth it? ›

Yes, a sustainability degree is worth it for many students. Jobs in the sustainability industry are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8% job growth for environmental scientists and specialists and 5% job growth for conservation scientists over the next ten years.

What can you do with a sustainability studies degree? ›

Career Paths in Sustainability
  • Sustainability Coordinator.
  • Environmental Consultant.
  • Research Scientist.
  • Animal Rehabilitation Technician.
  • Residential Energy Efficiency Program Coordinator.
  • Director of Community Outreach.
  • Grant Writer.

What are the 4 major areas involved in sustainability? ›

The term sustainability is broadly used to indicate programs, initiatives and actions aimed at the preservation of a particular resource. However, it actually refers to four distinct areas: human, social, economic and environmental – known as the four pillars of sustainability.

Is there a demand for sustainability? ›

There is high demand for sustainability workers and an increase in supply of sustainability jobs, but there is still a sense of randomness to how sustainability jobs are getting filled.

What are the three 3 main Recognised areas of sustainability? ›

Sustainability has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social.

What are the 3 main areas of sustainability? ›

The figure at the top of this page suggests that there are three pillars of sustainability – economic viability, environmental protection and social equity.

How do I get an ESG certification? ›

Simply create an account with the CFA Institute, and look for a link to register for the certificate in ESG Investing program via email. Once candidates register for the program, they will have up to one full year to schedule the exam if registered by December 1, 2022, or six months if registered after that.

How much money can you make with a sustainability degree? ›

What is the average sustainability major salary in the US? Sustainability major graduates in America make, on average, $55,980 a year or $26.91 per hour. If you are in the top 10 percent, you will make over $108,000; however, if you are in the bottom 10 percent, you will earn less than $28,000 per year.

Which environmental job pays the most? ›

According to Unity College, Indeed and Zip Recruiter these are some of the highest paying jobs for environmentalists listed below.
  • Environmental lawyer.
  • Solar energy consultant.
  • Environmental engineer.
  • Hydrologist.
  • Environmental manager.
  • Geologist.
  • Environmental scientist.
  • Urban planner.
10 Jun 2022

Is environmental science the same as sustainability? ›

This leaves us with environmental science being interdisciplinary among sciences to conclude findings and come up with scientific solutions to environmental issues, while sustainability works across both science and other disciplines to create change in societal structure.

How do I get a career in sustainability? ›

How to Build a Career in Sustainability
  1. Educate yourself on the three pillars of sustainability.
  2. Identify your area of expertise.
  3. Upskill.
  4. Apply to the right companies.
1 Feb 2022

How do I move to a sustainability career? ›

Here, Bergkamp shares her insight on how best to start a career in fashion's growing sustainability sector.
  1. Choose Your Sustainable Path. ...
  2. Identify Your Market Sector. ...
  3. Broaden Your Knowledge. ...
  4. Use the Right Resources. ...
  5. Gain Field Experience. ...
  6. Make the Business Case. ...
  7. Create Reasonable Expectations. ...
  8. Create Change Before Coverage.
15 Apr 2019

How do you get into the field of sustainability? ›

Below are six steps to help you enter the field of sustainability.
  1. #1: Clarify your top areas of interest.
  2. #2: Familiarize yourself with the sectors of the economy.
  3. #3: Focus on your strengths.
  4. #4: Identify your target organizations.
  5. #5: Gain experience through volunteering and projects.
  6. #6: Build relationships.
5 Jul 2020

What are the 5 P's of sustainability? ›

At the heart of the 2030 Agenda are five critical dimensions: people, prosperity, planet, partnership and peace, also known as the 5Ps.

What are the 5 types of sustainability? ›

Thus, the recommended Five Domains of Sustainability are Environment, Social/Culture, Technology, Economics, and Public Policy.

What are the 6 stages of sustainability? ›

Life-Cycle Sustainability Assessment: The 6 Stages of Creating an Environmentally-Friendly Product
  • DESIGN. ...
  • PRODUCT USE. ...
8 Apr 2022

Do you need a degree to work in sustainability? ›

A career in sustainability can offer innovative ways to address the concern of ecological balance and the earth's sustainability. Generally, a career in sustainability may require a bachelor's degree in the field to enter the industry.

What age group is most concerned with sustainability? ›

Although concern for the environment was very high across all groups surveyed, younger children and those with higher household income were most likely to be concerned. Children and young people aged 8-11 were more likely to agree that looking after the environment was important to them than those aged 12-15.

What are the decent green jobs of the future? ›

Green means jobs
  • Urban farmer. Urban or vertical farming uses a combination of innovative architecture and the latest agricultural technology, sometimes including AI, to grow crops in cities. ...
  • Eco-builder. ...
  • Renewable energy engineer. ...
  • Recycler in the new 'circular economy' ...
  • Sustainability expert.
26 May 2022

Are there 3 or 4 pillars of sustainability? ›

Sustainable development is based on three fundamental pillars: social, economic and environmental. The Brundtland report, which sustainable development is gets its name from – delineated the development of human resources in the form of reducing extreme poverty, global gender equity, and wealth redistribution.

What are the 8 challenges to sustainability? ›

Top 8 Environmental Sustainability Issues We Need to Address
  • #1: Climate Change. ...
  • #2: Natural Resource Use. ...
  • #3: Waste Production. ...
  • #4: Water Pollution. ...
  • #5: Deforestation. ...
  • #6: Overfishing. ...
  • #7: Ocean Acidification. ...
  • #8: Air Pollution.
26 Oct 2021

What is LEED certification? ›

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.

What is sustainability and CSR? ›

CSR is a business commitment that contributes to corporate social sustainability. Corporate social sustainability works with employees, their families, local communities and society at large to improve human-life quality, the environment and the economy in the long-term.

What is 3 P's concept of sustainability? ›

The 3Ps of sustainability are a well-known and accepted business concept. The Ps refer to People, Planet, and Profit, also often referred to as the triple bottom line.

What are pillars of sustainability? ›

The three pillars of sustainability are planet or environment, social or people, and profit or economics.

How much does ESG certification cost? ›

Exam Fees, Costs, and Scheduling

You can register for the Certificate in ESG Investing, USD 675. You may choose to purchase a hard copy of the syllabus (the Official Training Manual) after registration for an additional USD135 + shipping. Read about changes to the 2023 ESG Curriculum before you register.

Do ESG jobs pay well? ›

The average salary for jobs that require the skills of ESG framework & methodologies is $182,009 based on United States National Average.

Is ESG well paid? ›

Kaizen Recruitment's salary guide for ESG analysts with up to three years' experience is between $100,000 and $120,000 while the real challenge is finding those with 10 to 15 years' experience in fund management, says Kaizen principal recruitment consultant Simon Gvalda.

How long does it take to become a sustainability officer? ›

Two to five years experience in a supervisory role in business, with increased responsibility, are valuable gateways to becoming a sustainability officer.

What degree do you need to be a sustainability officer? ›

To become a chief sustainability officer (CSO), you should have a bachelor's or master's degree in business or an environmental science field, such as biology. The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) also offers a professional certification if you wish to pursue this career.

What is the job outlook for sustainability? ›

The portion of green talent — workers with the knowledge or skills needed to support environmental sustainability now and in the future — in the global workforce rose from 9.6% in 2015 to 13.3% so far in 2022 — a 38.5% growth rate, according to LinkedIn's new Global Green Skills Report 2022.

What 3 fields have the highest paid salaries? ›

Get Matched!
  • Anesthesiologist. #1 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Surgeon. #2 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist. #3 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Orthodontist. #4 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. #5 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Physician. #6 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Psychiatrist. #7 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Prosthodontist.

What is the highest paid outdoor job? ›

High-paying outdoor jobs
  1. Environmental engineer. National average salary: $84,744 per year. ...
  2. Civil engineer. National average salary: $82,580 per year. ...
  3. Petroleum engineer. National average salary: $79,273 per year. ...
  4. Construction manager. ...
  5. Marine engineer. ...
  6. Geographer. ...
  7. Landscape architect. ...
  8. Wildlife biologist.

Is a environmental science degree worth it? ›

Environmental science is a good degree for individuals who care about the environment and public health, too. The average annual salary of environmental science majors is $80,090. Some of the highest earners are those working in pipeline transportation ($108,170) and natural gas distribution ($107,350).

Which is easier sustainability or environmental science? ›

Environmental Science or Sustainability? The Environmental Science Badge requires thorough research but can be finished in under a week, whereas the Sustainability Badge requires less research but will take at least a month to complete.

Is sustainability a STEM major? ›

Despite popular belief that sustainability is only a focus for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students, sustainability is relevant to all who consider themselves decent human beings. Even some STEM students question how sustainability education fits into their major.

What are the 4 types of environmental science? ›

Ecological health, bioscience, sustainability, oceanography and marine biology comprise the field of study.

Is ESG a good career? ›

Becoming certified in ESG can lead to potential opportunities for those employed in numerous sectors. For example, wealth managers and investment practitioners can particularly benefit from such certifications.

What is sustainability manager salary? ›

How much does a Sustainability Manager make in the United States? The average Sustainability Manager salary in the United States is $126,443 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $103,131 and $146,341.

What is the best course for sustainability? ›

  • Sustainable Business Strategy Course. ...
  • Oxford Leading Sustainable Corporations Programme. ...
  • Beyond Smart Cities: Emerging Design and Technology Online Short Course. ...
  • Corporate Sustainability Management: Risk, Profit, and Purpose Online Short Course. ...
  • CAM Sustainable Supply Chain Management.

What is the most sustainable career? ›

Top 25 Green, Sustainable, and Alternative Energy Careers Best Jobs for 2021
  • Air Quality Engineer. ...
  • Chief Sustainability Officer. ...
  • Conservation Scientists. ...
  • Energy Analyst. ...
  • Energy Engineer. ...
  • Environmental Consultant. ...
  • Environmental Engineers. ...
  • Environmental Health & Safety Specialist.

What degrees are in sustainability? ›

Top 10 Green Degrees
  • Environmental architecture and environmental design.
  • Environmental engineering.
  • Environmental health sciences.
  • Environmental Law.
  • Environmental science and sustainability.
  • Horticulture.
  • Marine Sciences.
  • Energy.

How do I start a career in ESG? ›

There are a few considerations if you are interested in ESG analyst jobs.
There are 3 options for those in the broader finance or asset management sector:
  1. CFA Institute's Certificate in ESG Investing.
  2. EFFAS' Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA) program.
  3. CFA UK's Certificate in Climate and Investing (CCI)
30 Jun 2022

Do you need a masters to work in sustainability? ›

To pursue a sustainability leadership career, you will eventually need a graduate degree. Although the type of degree can vary, typically aspiring environmentalists will pursue a master's or law degree for business or policy work and a master's or Ph. D for an education career.

Is sustainability a science major? ›

Sustainability majors can specialize in human, natural, analytical, or science issues. Course work will focus on social and urban systems, agriculture, and interactions of humans with the environment around them.

Is environmental sustainability a major? ›

Students majoring in Environmental and Sustainability Studies choose one of four concentration areas: The Biodiversity and Sustainability Concentration integrates the humanities, arts, and sciences to explore the variety of life and the role of biodiversity in sustaining the symbiosis between humans and nature.

Is sustainable development a good major? ›

Sustainable Development is one of the most commonly cited degrees in the requirements for job applications. Alumni of Sustainable Development Masters have good career prospects with some Masters reporting that 90% of their alumni are in paid positions after a short time span.

Is sustainability a stem? ›

Sustainable Development is “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (UNESCO) This kind of human progress necessitates embracing the underlying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) information, new research, ...

What is a good sustainable salary? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $124,000 and as low as $19,500, the majority of Sustainable salaries currently range between $38,500 (25th percentile) to $71,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $96,000 annually across the United States.

How do you start working in sustainability? ›

While many hands-on careers in sustainability, like wind turbine technician and environmental engineering technician, start with vocational training or an associate degree, most green jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. For example, engineers need only a bachelor's degree to start their career.

What are the 5 major field of environmental science? ›

These five fields are atmospheric sciences, ecology, environmental chemistry, geosciences, and social sciences.

What is a college major in sustainability? ›

Sustainability degrees focus on the intersection of environmental, social/cultural and economic systems through the lenses of the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Is environmental science a respected degree? ›

A Human environmental science degree is ranked extremely high across the world in institutions – it is an important subject that is valued and respected worldwide.

Which degree is best for 2030? ›

The Best Degrees of the Future
  • Public Health Degree. ...
  • Communications Degree. ...
  • Economics Degree. ...
  • Digital Media Degree. ...
  • Social Work Degree. 10 Year Growth Rate: 12% ...
  • Information Technology (IT) Degree. 10 Year Growth Rate: 11% ...
  • Education Degree. 10 Year Growth Rate: 10% ...
  • Marketing and Advertising Degree. 10 Year Growth Rate: 10%
13 Jun 2022


1. Inclusive Spaces: Religious Infrastructure in the City
(The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment)
2. The environmental cost of free two-day shipping
3. Online MPA - Masters in Public Administration - Sustainability
(Claremont Lincoln University)
4. How Virtual Restaurants Could Become a $1 Trillion Industry
(VICE News)
5. Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | TED
6. Swansea Council - Scrutiny Performance Panel: Education 17 November 2022
(Swansea Council)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 12/24/2022

Views: 5900

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.