An environmental policy degree is arguably one of the most important degrees in circulation today, as the planet's population is larger than ever, still increasing and as a result, creating never-before-seen environmental threats. Students who major in environmental policy learn about the environment across a variety of fields. Online Environmental Policy Degrees can offer flexibility and allow a student to remain employed while pursuing a degree online.

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School Program Admissions
Maryville University Bachelor of Science in Sustainability
Level: Bachelor
The online BS in Sustainability from Maryville University will prepare you to build a better, more sustainable future. Graduate in four years or less. No SAT or ACT scores required.
Johns Hopkins University AAP Multiple Master's Environmental Programs
Level: Master
Degrees in Environmental Science, Energy Policy and Climate, GIS, Regulatory Science, and more.
Johns Hopkins University AAP MS in Environmental Sciences & Policy
Level: Master
12-24 month program, online. Concentration areas in: Sustainability, Conservation Biology, Climate and Energy, and more.
Rochester Institute of Technology Master's in Architecture
Level: Master
One of the first M.Arch. programs to be offered online. GRE waivers available.
University of West Alabama MS in Conservation Biology
Level: Master
Deepen your understanding of biodiversity, natural ecosystems and humanity’s impact on the planet.
Johns Hopkins University AAP MS in Geographic Information Systems
Level: Master
Study leading-edge concepts through courses taught by thought leaders and innovators experienced in data science and GIS.
Arizona State University Online Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability
Level: Bachelor
Focuses on addressing issues related to the environment, economy and society and emphasizes issues facing the world today and in the future. The online BA in sustainability program focuses on practical, current problems by emphasizing community engagement, experiential learning, faculty collaboration, leadership development and study abroad opportunities to provide a well-rounded experience.
Arizona State University Online Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences – Conservation Biology and Ecology
Level: Bachelor
Develop practical approaches to prevent the extinction of species and promote the sustainable use of biological resources.
Arizona State University Online Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science
Level: Bachelor
The online GIS degree teaches practical computer programming skills with important applications to geography. You’ll learn how to use GIS software to solve problems related to climate change, urban planning, cultural conflicts and more.
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Why Study for an Environmental Policy Degree?

Environmental Policy students study environmental law and policies, as well as some of the largest concerns facing the environment today such as pollution, methods to protect nonrenewable resources, economics, and statistics. They may also take courses in a more specific field of science such as marine biology, as well as management, social science and ethics courses.

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Environmental Policy Degrees

degreesEnvironmental policy covers an organization’s commitment to the laws, regulations and other policies relating to the environment and its concerns.

When an organization has an environmental policy, it is a declaration that states their position and values regarding the current state of the environment, as well as measures they may take to ensure its longevity.

Environmental Policy Degrees

Environmental Policy Associate’s Degrees

Due to the fact most who study environmental policy want to achieve administrative or management positions, a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy is usually the baseline program available to today’s students. If you want to obtain a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy but earn your associate’s first in hopes of beginning work early on in the career, then you may consider an associate’s degree in environmental science with additional courses in environmental law, international global policies and management. This curriculum will prepare you to transfer into a bachelor’s of environmental policy degree program in the future, as well as help you begin work an internship or assistant position in your desired field.

Environmental Policy Bachelor’s Degrees

A Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy is the minimum requirement for the majority of entry-level environmental policy jobs, and also great to consider due to the fact it can easily be expanded upon. You may choose to major in environmental law and policy before transferring to a law school and obtaining a law degree, or earn a master’s in environmental policy that prepares you for more advanced levels of your career.

Whatever path you decide to take, it all comes down to a well-rounded bachelor’s degree. In an undergraduate environmental policy program, students explore the current environmental laws and policies in place, such as government regulations and restrictions, the environment’s greatest concerns, as well as means in which they can be combated.

Students also study the connection between private and public sectors and the community, economics and the environment. The development of analytical and creative problem solving will be emphasized, as future careers will depend upon an employee who is able to use his or her knowledge in order to come up with affordable and effective economical solutions.

Environmental Policy Master’s Degrees

A master’s in environmental policy gives students the analytical and critical thinking skills that they’ll need to work in upper-level organization and government positions. Environmental management is often taught as a joint degree alongside environmental policy, in order to provide students with a more thorough background in the policies and laws surrounding the environment and how they can be effectively upheld and improved upon in the future.

Many students who study for a master’s degree in environmental policy will take courses regarding environmental ethics, environmental management and politics, global environment politics, environmental economics and advanced environmental science classes.

Environmental Policy Doctorate Degrees

A Ph.D. in Environmental Policy equips students with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to face the environmental challenges of the future. Some of the topics that an environmental policy doctorate student may learn are:

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Climate change
  • Corporate sustainability
  • Environmental health
  • Environmental politics and law

The PhD program for environmental policy students focuses heavily on research, usually alongside one of the school’s faculty members. This supervised research provides exploration and innovation that expatiates upon the knowledge and skills previously acquired during undergraduate and master’s degree studies.

School Spotlight

Colorado College

Colorado College of Colorado Springs offers students a hands-on experience through their two environmental majors: Environmental Science and Environmental Policy. The disciplinary majors within the degrees include disciplinary tracks in Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Physics, and a thematic Environmental Issues minor.

Their Environmental Policy major is broken down into seven different categories. The first is an introductory framework comprised of two courses: Introduction to Global Climate Change and Sustainable Development. These two courses lay the foundation of an environmental policy degree by introducing students to the largest problem facing the Earth as a whole. It then moves on to the “Natural Sciences/Quantitative” portion of the degree that requires students to complete two math courses, such as calculus and probability & statistics or their equivalent, along with Human Impacts on Biogeochemical Cycles or Ecology and the Environment.

The third portion of the program is dedicated to introductory economics and microeconomics theories. The remaining portions of the program are Domestic Policy, International Environmental Law, Environmental Humanities and two credit hours of Thematic Electives.

Seniors have three options to choose from when it comes from the two capstones required for graduation. All are required to complete Environmental Management (EV321), but the remaining capstone credit can be earned by taking Environmental Synthesis (EV421), a Senior Paper (EV420) or a Thesis (EV499).

Through this curriculum, students are exposed to both planetary, international and local environmental threats, and learn to approach these challenges with a managerial perspective that has been grounded in ethical practice.

Duke University

Duke University has a prestigious history, and the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke is no exception of its renowned reputation. In the schools own words, it is not a school of “Environmental Sciences, or Environmental Studies, but the Environment.” Their paradigm attempts to understand the Earth, its environment and the species that inhabit it as one large, interconnected web.

The school’s mission is to create “a new generation of environmentally-informed global leaders” and they do this through an offering of several degrees, including four undergraduate tracks (including an Environmental Policy and Management major), a residential and online professional master’s degree, a master of forestry and a doctorate program that includes three possible concentrations in Ecology, Toxicology and Environmental Policy to create the most modern and well-informed researchers, scientists and environmental scholars that are prepared to tackle the new and increasing challenges posed against our Earth.

The undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy and Management stresses the importance of approaching the problems of environmental sustainability from a place of understanding of the ecological systems but also of “the cultural, social, economic, and political forces that act on those systems.”

The underlying foundation of this approach rests in the basic and natural sciences. The central core course, ENVIRON 201, prompts students to explore the interdisciplinary nature of the environment. Through courses in science, probability and statistics and management, students acquire a set of skills grounded in analysis and search that enable them to approach this new, interconnected perspective of the environment.

The final portion of the undergraduate curriculum is created by the student and their adviser, and intended to give them space to address a specific theme or area of interest, such as marine life conservation or ecology.

The Master of Environmental Management at Duke allows students to choose from several concentrations that focus on a specific and important area in environmental science and policy today. Options include Coastal Environment Management, Energy and Environment, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health, Environmental Economics and Policy, Ecosystem Science and Conservation, Global Environmental Change, Water Resources Management.

There are also two non-degree programs offered at the Nicholas School of Environment for anyone from undergraduates to practicing professionals who want to immerse themselves in the wonders of the world and all it offers through the Duke Marine Lab or executive education training courses.

Kaplan University

For students who want to study online, Kaplan University is one of the world’s leading distance learning institute that offers nationally accredited degrees and instructs thousands of students worldwide. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management program is offered completely online and strives to give students a set of green-related knowledge and skills that they can apply to a variety of future careers.

Students of Environmental Policy and Management study natural science, probability and statistics, along with universal research methods, socially responsible leadership, environmental management, environmental policy and law and global environment issues.

In conjunction with the essential natural science, environmental and policy courses taken, students develop skills in analytic and research that will serve useful in a multitude of career fields. Kaplan’s undergraduate bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and management stresses professional thinking and administration from an environmentally-informed perspective.

Kaplan also offers a Master of Environmental Policy online degree that focuses on public policy, social science and business content that enhance a student’s knowledge and skill set and makes them eligible for a variety of upper-level environmental policy careers and positions throughout the government and private sector.

Career Outlook and Salary

Majoring in environmental policy gives plenty of room when you begin job hunting. Those who major in environmental policy sometimes want to become environmental lawyers or scientists, while others seek project manager or administrative positions working directly with the environment-related divisions of the government or organizations. Many environmental policy advisers work for non-profits. Regardless of the exact path you choose, the quantity of careers that depend on those qualified in environmental policy, planning and management is expected to rapidly increase over the next decade, due to the booming population growth, increasing environmental threats and climate changes, as well as the rapid development of new sustainable technology.

One of the most appealing aspects about environmental science related degrees is that green-related knowledge is needed in nearly every facet of society, from education to medicine to business, which means that most students are able to find a career that rests at a perfect equilibrium between their personal and professional interests and passions.

Some of the most popular careers for environmental policy majors are environmental accountants, environmental economists and environmental lawyers. Environmental accountants can earn a median salary of $65,080 (2013), and an environmental economist can pull as much as $93,070 per year (2013). While environmental lawyers may have to study longer in order to obtain a law degree and license, they also receive the biggest payoff. In 2013, the median annual salary for all lawyers was reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to be $114,970 in May 2014, with the top ten percent in the country earning $187,199 or more.