Best 13 Masters in Environmental Science Programs in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 13 Masters in Environmental Science Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

An environmental science degree prepares students to address the ongoing environmental issues impacting the world at present, like pollution and global warming, among many others. As these environmental concerns and problems become more urgent, environmental scientists will become an increasingly valued and in-demand career, as history has recently shown.

Environmental Science is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary degree that integrates the relevant concepts from the fields of physics, biology, geology, biotechnology, and physical science, among others. A masters in environmental science degree builds and enhances the knowledge from a baccalaureate degree in environmental science but includes more research-oriented coursework and typically a publishable thesis, depending on the degree program chosen.

A key component of a masters in environmental science degree program includes extensive fieldwork, which can be done locally or across the globe studying specific ecosystems and habitats in need of evaluation and improvement. Additionally, students enrolled in a graduate degree program in environmental science will also complete lab coursework that allows them to explore the cutting-edge techniques available that are used to analyze and interpret sample tests.

Most masters in environmental science degree programs include internships and volunteering externships, which allows degree candidates to develop valuable work experience often required for this extremely competitive field.

Masters in Environmental Science Programs

1. Montana State University (MSU)

Montana State University‘s Graduate Studies offers a professional Master of Science (MSc) degree in Environmental Sciences that can be completed 100% online in two to six years. MSU’s 30-credit master’s in environmental science degree requires classes in soil ecosystems, environmental risk assessment, natural resource law, applied watershed hydrology, plus a culminating capstone written project, among others.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 8,481 / 2 Years
  • Available Online – Yes
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Montana State University is 18 to 1.
  • Student Enrollment – 16,692
  • Accreditation – NWCCU

2. Youngstown State University (YSU)

The College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics at Youngstown State University offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Science that requires degree candidates to complete 33 credits hours to graduate. YSU’s masters in environmental science degree program includes an integrated classroom experience curriculum plus lab and fieldwork. Classes for this degree include biometry, risk assessment, environmental compliance, and ecological risk assessment, plus a thesis and research project.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 14,737 / 1.5 years (3 semesters)
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 12,110
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for YSU is 17 to 1.
  • Accreditation – HLC

3. The University of Houston (UH Clearlake)

The University of Houston offers a 36-credit Master of Science (MSc) degree in environmental science that offers students three academic specialties within the masters in environmental science degree program – environmental chemistry, environmental biology, or environmental geology. Previous internships for this degree from UH Clearlake include BP, Amazon, and Honda, and offers students a thesis or capstone research project option to finish the degree.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 15,660 (resident) / 3 semesters @12 credits each.
  • Available Online – Yes, or on-campus.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for 17 to 1.
  • Student Enrollment – 9,082
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

4. Florida International University (FIU)

Florida International University’s Arts Sciences & Education Collegeoffers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Studies that provides each student with a thesis and non-thesis track option. FIU’s masters in environmental science degree program requires students to finish 36 credit units in classes that include environments of a changing planet, intro to research in earth/environmental sciences, and natural resource conservation, to name a few. Concentrations are available based on a geographic region in Latin America, South Florida, or the Caribbean.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 16,404 (resident) / 1.5 to 2 years
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 58,711
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for FIU is 27 to 1.
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

5. The University of Louisiana  (UL Lafayette)

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Sciences/School of Geosciences offers a master’s in environmental resource science that offers both a thesis and non-thesis/internship track. UL Lafayette’s maters in environmental science degree program allows degree candidate to select elective from water resources, soil, environmental method, and biophysical relationship courses to complete this 35-credit unit degree. Students graduate from UL’s environmental science degree program and enter the workforce in the areas of environmental management, urban planning, water quality, soil science, and environmental health, to name a few.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 16,671 (resident)  / 3 semesters
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 16,933
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for UL Lafayette I 20 to 1.
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

6. The University of South Carolina (USC)

The University of South Carolina’s (USC) School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment offers a Master of Science degree in Earth & Environmental Science Resources Management that is customizable to meet each student’s career and education goals. USC’s 36-credit masters in environmental science degree program, which includes either an internship or a thesis to graduate. Classes for this degree include environmental policy, earth resource management, and decision making in environmental resource management, to name a few.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 20,601 (Resident) / 3 years (6 credits/semester)
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 35,364
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for USC is 15 to 1.
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC

7. The University of Illinois (Urbana – Champaign)

The University of Illinois‘s (UI) College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences offers a masters in environmental science degree program that can be completed 100% online. This 40-credit unit master of science degree in natural resources &  environmental sciences (NRES) offers degree candidates the opportunity to customize this degree to meet the student’s academic and career objectives. Coursework includes traditional classes plus exploratory trips and laboratory experiences to round out the degree.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 22,784 / 2 Years
  • Available Online – Yes
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for UI Urbana – Champaign is 20 to 1
  • Student Enrollment – 51,605
  • Accreditation – HLC

8. The University of New Haven (UNH)

The University of New Haven’s Arts & Sciences College offers an interdisciplinary program with its Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Sciences, including coursework from the fields of chemistry, environments, ecology, geology, and the law, among others. The school’s campus on the Long Island sound provides for real-world experience working with ocean/marsh waters. UNH’s masters in environmental science degree programs offer several academic tracks – general, geoscience, ecology, health/management, and GIS, with 38 to 40 credit units required to graduate.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 36,670 – $38,600 /2 years
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 6,793
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for UNH is 16 to 1.
  • Accreditation –NECHE

9. Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Johns Hopkins University’s Advanced Academic Programs at the Kreiger Arts/Sciences School offers a 30-credit Master of Science – an MSc in Environmental Sciences & Policy that provides degree candidates five academic tracks. This world-class program offer concentrations in climate/energy, sustainability, conservation biology, remediation, compliance & assessment, and international environmental policy. JHU’s masters in environmental science degree program requires either a residency in Baltimore/DC or an immersive learning experience in a convenient locale. Students can opt to earn a GIS certificate concurrently if interested.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 42,140 / 1 Year
  • Available Online – Yes, and on-campus.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Johns Hopkins is 6 to 1.
  • Student Enrollment – 27,079
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

10. Lehigh University

Lehigh University’s College of Arts  & Sciences offers a Master of Science (MSc) in Earth & Environmental Sciences that requires degree candidates to complete a minimum of 30 credit units in as little as 1.5 years. Research is an integral part of Lehigh University’s masters in environmental science degree programs, and all students must complete and orally defend a research-oriented thesis.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 45,000  / 1.5 years
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 6,953
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Lehigh is 9 to 1
  • Accreditation –MSCHE

11. George Washington University (GWU)

George Washington University’s College of Arts and Sciences offers a 30-credit Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental & Green Chemistry that prepares students for rewarding careers as consultants in sustainability, product developers, or patent lawyers, to name a few. Classes for GWU’s masters in environmental science degree program includes energy & the environment, green industrial chemistry, environmental analytical chemistry, and chemistry of inorganic materials, plus a capstone project, among others.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program  $ 52,950 / 1.5 Years
  • Available Online – No- Available on Main Campus and Foggy Bottom Campus
  • Student Enrollment – 27,814
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for George Washington University is 13 to 1.
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

12. Tufts University

Tufts University’s (Tuft) Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Policy & Planning that is available for both part-time, working learners, or full-time students. Tufts University’s 42 credit hour masters in environmental science degree program includes the requirement of a capstone or a thesis to graduate. Classes for this environmental science graduate degree includes quantitative reasoning for policy and planning, cities in space, place & time, philanthropy & fundraising, and negotiations & conflict resolution, to name a few.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $ 54,196 / 2 years (full-time)
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 11,878
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Tufts is 9 to 1.
  • Accreditation – NECHE

13. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

The Gosnell Life Sciences School at RIT – at Rochester Institute of Technology offers a 30-credit unit Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Science that boasts a 100% outcome rate of program graduates. Students graduate from RIT’s masters in environmental science degree program and enter the workforces as physical scientists, LiDAR technicians, operations coordinators, or research engineers, among others. Students must opt for one of the available tracks in the field of biology, chemistry, environmental microbiology, ecology, evolution, GIS, statistics, remote sensing, or public policy.

  • Total Program Costs/Minimum time to Complete Program – $  62,670 / 2 Years (18 credits per year)
  • Available Online – No
  • Student Enrollment – 16,254
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for RIT is 13 to 1.
  • Accreditation – MSCHE

Our Ranking Methodology

The colleges and universities noted ranked above include a variety of quality masters in environmental science degree programs available in the educational marketplace currently. Each of the colleges or universities have been ranked with the most affordable degree programs listed first.

The data amassed to create this list of quality masters in environmental science degree programs has been extracted from each school’s program website or the College Navigator site managed by (NCES).

Tuition information used to determine the rankings were from the academic year of 2020/2021, unless otherwise specifically noted. The information included for potential students include –

  • Total Tuition Costs for Program.
  • Fastest Time to Complete Program.
  • Notification if the Program is Delivered online, on-campus, or both.
  • Accreditation.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio is included to help identify class sizes.

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