Online Bachelor’s in Environmental Science Programs 2021

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Environmental Science Degree Online

Environmental scientists study changes in the environment. They conduct studies, collect data, and make recommendations to corporate and government entities about environmental policy. An online environmental science degree prepares students to work as scientists in laboratories, government organizations, and educational institutions.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% growth in environmental science jobs between 2019-2029. The BLS reports that environmental scientists earn a median annual salary of $73,230.

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This guide ranks the best online bachelor’s in environmental science programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for environmental science students.


Top 10 Programs for Environmental Science

? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
Rank School Avg Net Price ? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
1 Eastern Michigan University $8888
2 Canisius College $33282
3 University of Southern Mississippi $7224
4 The University of Alabama $10170
5 University of Bridgeport $28800
6 University of Saint Joseph $34530
7 Auburn University $8808
8 North Carolina State University $6220
9 Adelphi University $32380
10 University of Northern Colorado $6372

Studying Environmental Science? Questions and Answers About the Degree

  • Is an environmental science degree worth it?

    Environmental scientists often enjoy rewarding careers helping to reduce negative human impacts on the environment, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.

  • What kinds of jobs can you get with an environmental science degree?

    Environmental science degree jobs include ecologist, climate change analyst, and environmental health and safety specialist.

  • Are environmental scientists in demand?

    The BLS projects environmental science jobs to grow 8% between 2019-2029, which is faster than the national average for all jobs.

  • Do environmental scientists make good money?

    Environmental scientists earn a median salary of $73,230 annually. Senior scientists can make over $100,000 per year, according to the BLS.

Why Get a Degree in Environmental Science?

An environmental science degree enables learners to work in fields like ecology, environmental restoration, and climate safety. Most jobs in these areas require a bachelor’s degree at a minimum.

Graduates with an online bachelor’s in environmental science degree may also seek further education. Some jobs require candidates to hold a master’s degree or doctorate in environmental science.

Earning an online environmental science degree often gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Plus, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

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How Much Does an Environmental Science Degree Cost?

Tuition costs for environmental science degrees vary by factors like school type, location, and program length. Public universities typically charge less than private colleges, and in-state students at public schools typically pay less in tuition than out-of-state students. Schools in urban areas, like New York City and Chicago, may also cost more than similar institutions in rural areas.

In addition to tuition, environmental science programs may charge lab fees for classes in biology, chemistry, and other core scientific subjects. Learners may also encounter general fees for student activities and technology services.

Students can often save by enrolling in an online environmental science degree program. For instance, online students often save on some of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

The ACO affordability calculator factors in tuition, income, expected financial aid, and other common expenses to help students determine how much they can afford to pay for a degree.

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How Much Do Environmental Science Majors Make?

Salaries for environmental scientists vary by factors like location, job type, and experience. While most environmental science jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, some require applicants to possess a master’s degree or higher.

According to the BLS, environmental scientists earn a median salary of more than $70,000 per year. Environmental scientists in the engineering sector tend to earn more than those who work for local governments. Professionals in these industries earn median annual wages of $75,780 and $69,840, respectively. Environmental scientists who work for the federal government make even more, garnering a median $103,180 annually. The top 10% of earners make over $120,000 per year.

Certifications and further education opportunities can help environmental science professionals advance their career and earning potential.

Courses in Environmental Science

Environmental science degrees combine core courses in general science subjects with specialized classes on environmental topics. Core courses in environmental science include introductions to environmental policy, research methods, and geology. Specialized classes train students in topics like marine science, energy resources, and geographic information systems (GIS).

Most environmental science programs require students to complete multiple field experiences. These experiences provide learners with hands-on training in environmental science. They also allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations.

Courses vary by program, but the following list describes three common environmental science courses.

  • Ecological Principles and Field Methods

    The class introduces enrollees to the main principles of ecology. Students learn about the relationships between populations and ecosystems. The course also covers biogeochemical cycles, energy resources, and sustainability. Students can expect to participate in hands-on projects and discussions of environmental research methods.

  • Environmental Ethics

    Learners in this class study ethical considerations related to the environment. The course includes discussions of morality, sustainability, and environmental policy issues. Students learn to apply contemporary ethical theories to environmental concerns like climate change. The class prepares students to make ethical decisions as environmental scientists.

  • Geologic and Oceanographic Applications of GIS

    This specialized course trains students to apply the fundamental techniques and tools of GIS to geologic and oceanographic issues. Students learn how to use GIS in fields like mining and petroleum geology, physical oceanography, and resource assessment. The class combines readings with weekly lab assignments.

Certifications and Licensure for Environmental Science

Certifications provide environmental science degree-holders with career advancement opportunities and further education. Specialized programs enable professionals to master new skills while obtaining an industry-standard credential. The list below highlights three certification opportunities for environmental scientists.

Hazardous Materials Certification

The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management hosts a certification program for professionals who work with hazardous materials. Candidates need an environmental science bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and relevant professional experience. They must also pass an exam.

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Professional Ecologist Certification

The Ecological Society of America sponsors a program leading to a professional ecologist certification. Candidates must complete at least 30 credits of coursework in biology and ecology to qualify. Applications must include a resume, cover letter, references, and transcripts.

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Environmental Scientist Certification

The National Register of Environmental Professionals hosts a certification for environmental scientists. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in an environmental discipline and three years of relevant experience. They must also pass an exam.

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Scholarships for Environmental Science

Scholarships help learners pay for tuition, textbooks, and other college-related expenses. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for environmental science students.

  • Bioworks IPM Sustainable Practices Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The American Floral Endowment sponsors annual scholarships for students interested in floriculture. This scholarship supports learners pursuing careers in sustainable practices or integrated pest management. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    Amount: Varies

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  • Apprentice Ecologist Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Nicodemus Wilderness Project awards three annual scholarships to learners studying ecology. Applicants must submit an essay and demonstrate their commitment to ecology. Only students between ages 13-21 may apply.
    Amount: Up to $1,750

    Explore Here

  • Arborjet Taking Root Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Arborjet, a plant health solutions company, sponsors a yearly scholarship for graduating high school seniors who plan to major in forestry, plant sciences, or a related environmental field. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

    Amount: Up to $10,000

    Explore Here

Online Bachelor’s in Environmental Science Programs 2021

See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. Eastern Michigan University

    Ypsilanti, MI



  2. Canisius College

    Buffalo, NY



  3. University of Southern Mississippi

    Hattiesburg, MS



  4. The University of Alabama

    Tuscaloosa, AL



  5. University of Bridgeport

    Bridgeport, CT



  6. University of Saint Joseph

    West Hartford, CT



  7. Auburn University

    Auburn, AL



  8. North Carolina State University

    Raleigh, NC



  9. Adelphi University

    Garden City, NY



  10. University of Northern Colorado

    Greeley, CO



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