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Top 10 Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Environmental Science

Environmental science is a broad field that covers many disciplines in the sciences, such as biology, geology, technology, conservation, ecology, chemistry, and management of natural resources. With this diversity, the areas of specialization are broadened for those seeking a career in this profession. Even the United States military hires environmental scientists for environmental health jobs, which relate to the effects that the environment has on human health. Renewable energy is a relatively new industry that focuses on discovering new technology for creating usable energy without tapping into non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels.  Solar energy companies, wind power companies, and even oil and gas companies looking to expand their methods and techniques, requiring the need for environmental scientists.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an 11% growth in this occupation from 2014-24, or the addition/change of 10,200 jobs. These statistics are based on a Bachelor’s degree; the median income in 2014 was stated as $67,460. For the science-minded person, this may be a degree to consider due to the employment prospects.

1. Columbia Southern University

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Columbia Southern University (CSU) is an online university based in Orange Beach, Alabama, that strives to change and improve lives through higher education. A subsidiary of Columbia Southern Education Group, CSU offers online degree programs at the associate, bachelor and master degree levels in a multitude of areas such as occupational safety and health, fire administration, criminal justice, business administration, human resource management, health care administration and more.

CSU provides student-centered support services that are personal, responsive and geared toward assisting students in achieving their educational goals. Caring, highly trained faculty and staff create innovative educational programs that incorporate the latest instructional technology with challenging curriculums. The school is an accredited member of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), and an institutional member of the American Council on Education (ACE).

Columbia Southern University’s College of Safety & Emergency Services offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management that  includes opportunities for students who demonstrate a depth of knowledge in environmental theory and technology necessary to function at the environmental professional level in the industry.

This program which is designed to be completed within 5 years consists of 36 hours of General Education (GE) Requirements, 36 of Major Requirements and 48 hours of Electives. The GE curriculum covers such topics as Humanities  Fine Arts, History, English Composition, and Mathematics. The Major Requirements delve into the subjects, such as: Environmental Law. Toxicology, Hazardous Materials, OSHA Standards, and Risk Management.

Tuition: $210 per credit hour

2. Florida International University

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As an educational leader in a changing economic, technological, and social environment, Florida International University‘s College of Engineering and Computing is committed to excellence, quality, sustained growth and access while offering our students an outstanding and rigorous education in an environment that supports intellectual growth. This is supported by the fact that their faculty includes 32 post-doctoral fellows, research scientists, and professional staff supported by external grants. FIU house 25 state-of-the-art research facilities, including research centers, institutes and laboratories.

FIU has been ranked among the 10 largest public universities in the U.S. and Washington Monthly ranks it 17th among top American universities. It has been designated as a top-tier research institution because FIU emphasizes research as a major component in the university’s mission. Their colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, including a variety of fully-online programs, and have collectively graduated nearly 200,000 alumni.

FIU’s 126 credit program’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Engineering program combines sub-disciplines of Civil Engineering with the core subjects of the engineering program. The technical interdisciplinary courses are in the areas of biology, geology, chemistry, ecology, atmospheric sciences, geotechnical engineering, urban planning, water resources engineering, pollution prevention and waste management. Graduates of this 126 credit program will have the skills and knowledge to seek employment in these areas:

  • Water treatment and efficiency management
  • Air pollution reduction control
  • Hazardous waste management studies
  • Wildlife protection
  • Environmental consulting

Applicants will need a high school degree from an accredited institution, official SAT/ACT scores, transcripts from all other colleges you’ve attended. If you’re transferring from a public university or college in Florida, you must submit passing scores from the College Level Academic Test (CLAST). Up to 90 academic credits may be transferred from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).  Students must  also meet the University Foreign Language Requirement.

Tuition: $215.94 (FL residents); $333( Non-FL residents)-includes fees

3. Oregon State University

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Oregon State University’s Ecampus has earned a Top 10 ranking for the second year in a row in 2016 by US News & World Report. All classes are developed by the school’s renowned faculty, who are known worldwide for their research, expertise and innovation. More importantly, Ecampus offers a full range of support services to help their students be successful, such as online tutoring, career services, library services and disability access. Plus, every degree-seeking student has an academic advisor to offer guidance in selecting courses and staying on track for graduation.

All of OSU’s online degree programs are developed by Oregon State’s renowned faculty, who are known worldwide for their research, expertise and innovation. Their Ecampus has earned  earned a top 10 ranking for the second year in a row on a list of America’s best online bachelor’s programs. Graduates from the Online programs receive the same diploma and transcript as OSU’s on-campus students. Also, the school is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

OSU’s online  Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences offers an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problem solving. This 180 credit degree program offers a diverse selection of specialization areas to focus your study toward your career goals. Specialization areas can be completed through an approved option or certificate.  Students work with an academic advisor to determine which area best meets their career goals. Current specialization areas available to Ecampus students include a Geographic Information (GI) Science certificate or one of these options:

  • Applied ecology
  • Aquatic biology
  • Conservation, resources and sustainability
  • Earth systems
  • Environmental agriculture
  • Environmental policy and economics
  • Environmental water resources

This Environmental Sciences degree focuses on the “hard” sciences and on hands-on field research so there is much more traditional science coursework. In order to succeed in the degree program, students must pass and be proficient in fundamental mathematics all the way up to calculus. Students are encouraged to get their math requirements done prior to starting this program.

Tuition: $280 per credit

4. Southern New Hampshire University

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The state of New Hampshire in 1963 granted the university its charter, which gave it degree-granting authority. The first associate degrees were awarded that year, and the first bachelor’s degrees were conferred three years later. The university’s faculty of professionals believes in the mission and the desire to provide affordable access to quality higher education to all.

Today, the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offer more than 200 career-focused online college degrees and certificates and one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. Our affordable undergraduate and graduate online degree programs are designed to meet your needs as a busy adult learner. Their online education services consist of: 24/7 tutoring from 2,000 tutors, one-on-one career counseling, 24/7 Technology Help Desk, Online library, and Online Bookstore.

SNHU’s online Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree helps you give voice to cultural and environmental challenges by exploring the past to ensure an interconnected future. You’ll delve into the complexities of biological change and adaptation, investigate identity through a combination of modern and historical events and promote cultural awareness and change. Learn to think holistically about cultural, biological and archaeological issues with an experiential online bachelor’s in anthropology that bridges the sciences and humanities. Choose one of two innovative concentrations – environmental sustainability or geospatial technologies – and explore how to help people live more efficiently and effectively in their environment.

In the environmental sustainability concentration, you’ll examine ethical, practical and technical skills – and contribute to and view the world through a social, historical and evolutionary lens. You’ll not only be a good steward of the natural world, but you’ll also be ready to enter the booming green economy as many firms recognize the importance of environmental impact. This 120 credit program may be completed at your own pace, over six 9-week terms per year. Up to 90 credits can be transferred toward this undergraduate degree.

Tuition: $320 per credit hour or $960 per course

5. Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU also offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science online. This BS degree program gives you a strong foundation in natural and physical sciences along with a required concentration in either Natural Resources and Conservation or Geospatial Technologies. As Environmental scientists you’ll learn to analyze environmental issues and develop practical solutions. You’ll have the knowledge to repair and prevent damage caused by climate change, overpopulation, loss of biodiversity and other crises.

In the natural resources and conservation concentration, you’ll focus on the conservation and management of natural resources and remediation of natural and human hazards. The geospatial technologies concentration will give you practical, real-world experience in geographic information systems (GIS) technology, including spatial awareness, remote sensing and imagery analysis. These technologies are an essential planning, analytic and management tool used in the field of environmental sciences to help GIS professionals visualize data in a geographic model.

Geospatial technology is an emerging green industry that’s worth an estimated $270 billion a year. According to O*NET, the employment of geospatial scientists, GIS technicians and remote sensing technologists will increase 7 percent through 2022.

6. Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU offers a third degree in this field-a Bachelor of Science in Geosciences. This too has the choice of  two concentrations: Geospatial Technology and Natural Resources & Conservation.  This BS in Geosciences gives you a strong foundation in the physical sciences with a focus on geography, geology, earth systems science, physics, chemistry and spatial awareness.

In the geoscience degree online, you’ll learn how to analyze data and utilize the latest technology to study all aspects of the earth and present your findings. The skills and experience you obtain from our bachelor’s in geosciences program will equip you to step into the professional world ready to go with these skills:

  • Develop technically correct maps and products using geospatial data to visualize spatial patterns
  • Communicate the results of geospatial analyses using audience specific tools and technologies to internal and external stakeholders
  • Synthesize qualitative and quantitative data to recognize occurrences and patterns within the scope of the geosciences
  • Develop a professional identity from which to make globally, socially, and ethically responsible geoscientific decisions that are in line with legal and organizational policy requirements

SNHU is  accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE). NEASC’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a reliable authority on the quality of education for the institutions it accredits.

7. American Public University

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Founded as American Military University (AMU) in 1991 by retired Marine Corps officer James P. Etter, the establishment of AMU broke new ground by offering career-relevant education for a mobile population of military learners with unique needs. Over the next ten years, AMU greatly expanded its program offering to encompass a broader array of online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.

In 2002, AMU was reorganized into American Public University System (APUS), and American Public University (APU) was founded to provide access to the same quality, affordable, and relevant education to a broader audience of motivated working adults. Currently, the school offers more than 190 online degree and certificate programs, as well as distinguishing itself as the nation’s largest provider of higher education to the U.S. Armed Forces.

APU offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, which is designed to empower individuals seeking career-relevant education. This 122 credit degree program is suited for students interested in environmental policy and analysis as well as environmental management. This includes stewardship of natural resources, pollution management, fish and wildlife management, and hazardous materials. The ultimate purpose of the degree program is to provide students with a scientific understanding of ecological and social systems, which can be applied in a policy or management context.

Courses are taught by expert practitioners. Many are leaders in field and hold positions at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, the Nature Conservancy, and other prominent government and non-government organizations. This ensures students are exposed to the key issues and solutions driving the future of environmental management.

Tuition: $270 per credit

8. Chadron State College

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Chadron State College (CSC) was founded in 1909 by the Nebraska Legislature to provide a higher education institution in northwest Nebraska. The Board of Education of State Normal Schools selected Chadron as the location of its fourth institution in January, 1910. The school opened in June, 1911. For over 100 years, the curriculum has grown to offer programs and courses in 65 majors and endorsements and eight master’s degree programs.

The institution has embraced online education and has been recognized for its excellence in offering more than 160 courses over the Internet. The student body, which consists predominately of Nebraskans, is enriched with students from 43 states and 22 countries. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)- an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. Also to its credit, 79 percent of the school’s full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.

CSC offers an online Bachelor of Science in Geoscience that is designed to be completed within 4 years with 3 semesters per year (fall, spring and summer). The fall and spring semesters have a total of either 26 or 30 hours, and the summer terms have only 2 hours each. As a geoscience student you will get involved with issues of water and energy, geological hazards and land use. You can apply your skills for observation and working with people, your love of the outdoors and your knack for understanding complex relationships.

SCS is home to the CSC’s Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum of Geology informal learning center. Its beautiful displays of rocks, minerals and fossils are tangible examples of Earth system interaction. The museum’s trackway cast from Toadstool Park is one of the largest trace fossils on exhibit anywhere in the world. The museum started as a teaching collection of rocks, minerals and fossils developed by Eleanor Barbour Cook who taught at CSC between 1923 and 1941.

Tuition: $246 per hour

9. University of Maryland

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The University of Maryland opened its doors to 34 students on October 5, 1858. By 1864-66, the college is bankrupt forcing it to close until 1867, when it enrolls 11 students. Jumping ahead by over 100 years, the five University of Maryland campuses reorganized with the six Board of Trustees institutions to form a University of Maryland System; College Park is designated the flagship university of the new system.

The University of Maryland is ranked No. 19 among public universities and No. 21 for most innovative schools by U.S. News & World Report, as well as No. 16 among public universities by Forbes. According to The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine, the institution is ranked No. 10 overall for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 47 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. Its accreditation is with The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

For more than 65 years, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) has provided educational opportunities to students around the world, earning the university a global reputation for excellence. Today, UMUC educates more than 80,000 students. With divisions in Asia and Europe and a presence on military installations in more than 20 countries and territories,  this globally respected institution is also a leading provider of education services to the U.S military. Their broad range of support services include access to the University System of Maryland library system, 24-hour tech support, online writing feedback, academic and career advising, and job search assistance. And the school is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

UMUC offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management online (120 credits) that tackles topics as: global warming, air quality, and water scarcity are central to the safety, health, and security of our nation and of its citizens. You’ll learn how to mitigate environmental management issues, including air pollution, water pollution, solid waste, and hazardous waste. You’ll also have the chance to use software tools and practice key technologies related to risk management, geographic information systems, and environmental economics.

Tuition: $284 per credit (Maryland Residents); $499 (non-residents); $250 (Military, including spouses and dependents)

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