Best Colleges Online - Most Affordable Degrees-01In this ranking, we profile the top 30 online masters in conservation programs of 2020.

Graduate degree programs in conservation equip individuals for careers that focus on conserving biodiversity, wildlife, and habitats threatened by human activities. Graduates often engage in careers like environmental analysts, conservation experts, and wildlife and sustainability professionals. Most of these jobs require a graduate degree. We researched the top online master’s in conservation programs to help you with your search.

Top 30 Online Masters in Conservation Programs Methodology

To find the top 30 online masters in conservation programs, we looked at 88 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered this type of degree. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: regional or national accreditation, at least one pathway for an online master’s in conservation, sustainability, or a closely related degree, and at least one school or program ranking or recognition from a major publication like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the top 30 programs according to raw affordability.

Below are the results of our top 30 online master’s in conservation programs for 2020.

#30 – University of Denver

Online Master’s in Energy and Sustainability

Denver, Colorado

Website

University of Denver - Online Master's in Conservation
Finish a master’s in conservation online in just 18 months at University of Denver!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,695

The University of Denver offers an online master’s in sustainability that can be completed entirely online in just 18 months. Graduates will be prepared for a wide variety of careers where sustainability practices, design, and policy converge. Core classes may include environmental finance and economics, environmental foundations and principles, environmental protection law, and research practices and applications. The University of Denver is ranked in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #97 in national universities and #63 in best value schools. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, 2.5 minimum GPA, two recommendations, transcripts, and personal statement. No test scores are required to apply.

#29 – Harvard University

Online Master’s in Sustainability

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Website

Harvard University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
A top Ivy League school offering online master’s in sustainability degrees – Harvard University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,562

Through the Harvard Extension School, students can pursue an online master’s in sustainability from the university ranked #2  by U.S. News and World Report. Students learn about sustainability through the lens of design, policy, and technology. In addition to coursework, students are able to network and form relationships with some of the most accomplished sustainability experts in the world. While most courses are online, students are required to complete a three-week on-campus course. Courses may include deep sea biology, financing community and economic development, human impact and the marine environment, and Web GIS technologies and applications. The degree consists of 12 total courses with one three-week on-campus requirement.

#28 – Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Online Master’s in Sustainable Design

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Minneapolis College of Art and Design - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
30 credits and 5 semesters – the online master’s in conservation and sustainable design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $39,210

Minneapolis College of Art and Design offers an accredited online master’s in conservation with a focus on sustainable design. It is fully online, making it an excellent option for working professionals seeking upward career mobility in the sustainable design sector or for those looking to obtain the degree to facilitate a career change. The 30-credit program can be completed in just five semesters. Courses may include collaborative product design, fundamentals of sustainable design, making the business case for sustainability, and the practice of sustainable design. Admission requirements include transcripts, resume, portfolio, three letters of recommendation, and personal statement. No test scores are required.

#27 – Bard College

Online Master’s in Sustainability

Annandale-On-Hudson, New York

Website

Bard College - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked and accredited – Bard College – Top institution for online master’s in conservation programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $36,722

As part of its low residency MBA degree curriculum, Bard College offers an online master’s in conservation with a focus on sustainability. Students learn integral business concepts and skills while also becoming experts in sustainability. The low-residency MBA includes weekend intensives in New York City along with online courses. Bard College is ranked in multiple areas according to U.S. News and World Report. For 1029, the institution achieved a ranking of #62 in national liberal arts colleges and #4 in most innovative schools. Courses include business and sustainable development, finance for sustainability, globalization and emerging markets, and personal leadership development.

#26 – Boston Architectural College

Online Master’s in Sustainable Design

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Boston Architectural College - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked & affordable – Boston Architectural College – online master’s in sustainable design!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,994

Boston Architectural College offers one of the top online conservation programs of its kind. The institution is a leader in sustainable design and pedagogy due to its sole focus on sustainability. The program is nearly all online and takes just four semesters to complete. In addition to online coursework, students are required to attend 8-day intensives on campus during semesters one and three. Applicants with relevant experience are welcome to apply as are those looking to switch careers and break into the sustainable design career field. Graduates go on to successful careers working within design firms, construction firms, non-profit sustainability firms, real estate development firms, research foundations, and academia.

#25 – Antioch University

Online Master’s in Sustainability in Education

Keene, New Hampshire

Website

Antioch University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Antioch University does not require test scores for admission to the online master’s in sustainability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,650

Antioch University New England offers one of the most unique online conservation programs, focusing on integrating sustainable practices into an education framework. The program is designed for experienced educators to make sustainability part of the curriculum, classrooms, and institutions. Students are classroom teachers, curriculum designers, and administrators. The program follows a hybrid model that blends online learning with campus-based classes. Courses may include building inclusive learning communities, compassionate action in the world, next generation teaching and learning, principles of sustainability, and sustainable leadership. Admission requirements include essay questions, resume, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and interview. Test scores are not required to apply.

#24 – Pennsylvania State University

Online Master’s in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website

Pennsylvania State University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Penn State’s online master’s in conservation focuses on renewable energy and sustainability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,772

Penn State University World Campus offers an online master’s in sustainability through its professional studies program designed for individuals seeking the flexibility of an online education. The program is highly customizable with 11 required credits and 18 elective credits the student is able to choose with the assistance of an advisor. Required courses may include ethical dimensions of renewable energy and sustainability systems, foundations in sustainability systems, and renewable and sustainable energy systems. Students with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline are welcome to apply. No test scores are required as part of admission for the program. Applications components include transcripts, resume, three references, and statement of purpose.

#23 – Prescott College

Online MBA in Sustainability Leadership

Prescott, Arizona

Website

Prescott College - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Earn an MBA in sustainability online at Prescott College.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,566

Prescott College’s master’s in conservation online is part of its broader MBA program where students learn core business functions within the context of sustainability principles. Sustainability is integrated into the heart of each course giving students a deep knowledge of the field. Graduates go on to successful careers as sustainability specialists, corporate responsibility officers, chief sustainability officers, and much more. And with the program being delivered entirely online, students are free to maintain their current personal and professional obligations. The application consists of a current resume, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Prescott College ranks #87 in regional universities West by U.S. News and World Report.

#22 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online MBA in Sustainability and Environmental Compliance

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked and affordable – SNHU’s online MBA in sustainability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University provides one of the most innovative online conservation programs for working professionals desiring a graduate degree in a growing field. Southern New Hampshire’s sustainability program is part of the institution’s MBA curriculum where students get the opportunity to master green business principles that are becoming a fundamental way of doing business in the 21st century. Courses may include energy and society, environmental compliance and sustainability, and environmental issues. Southern New Hampshire is ranked in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #92 in regional universities North and #1 in most innovative universities. No test scores are required to apply.

#21 – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Online Master’s in Aviation and Aerospace Sustainability

Daytona Beach, Florida

Website

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Embry-Riddle’s online conservation degree focuses on a unique blend of aviation and aerospace sustainability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,618

Similar to an online master’s in conservation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers an advanced degree in aviation and aerospace sustainability where students learn sustainable practices and concepts that impact the aviation sector. As climate change becomes a more salient factor in aerospace and aviation practices, workers with a strong foundation in green technology, policy, and applied theory will be in high demand. Required courses may include aviation and aerospace sustainability capstone course, research methods, statistical analysis, sustainable aviation and aerospace perspectives, and the air transportation system. Embry-Riddle University ranks #11 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report for its 2020 rankings.

#20 – University of Saint Francis

Online MBA in Sustainability

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Website

University of Saint Francis - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Takes only 12 months! University of Saint Francis – online master’s in conservation programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,470

The University of Saint Francis Indiana offers students an online master’s in sustainability within its master’s of business administration program. Students are able to earn the accelerated degree within just 12 months of matriculating. Organizations are looking for qualified personnel well versed in green initiatives, which makes this degree a plausible option for working professionals looking for an advanced degree to propel their career forward. Saint Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is ranked in several important categories by U.S. News and World Report including #66 in regional universities Midwest and #42 in top value schools. Courses may include foundations of sustainability, integrated remote sensing, and renewable energy innovations.

#19 – University of Saint Joseph

Online Master’s in Biology

West Hartford, Connecticut

Website

University of Saint Joseph - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
The online biology master’s programs at University of Saint Joseph emphasize conservation and wildlife preservation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,532

Similar to an online master’s in wildlife conservation, the University of Saint Joseph provides students with an online master’s in biology that integrates conservation into a variety of interdisciplinary courses. The program consists of 30 credits and students are able to transfer up to six previously earned credits upon approval. The University of Saint Joseph is ranked #147 nationally and #31 in best value by U.S. News and World Report. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field. Additionally, students must submit sealed transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, and a plan of study to apply. In addition to coursework, students must successfully pass a comprehensive exam after completing 24 biology credits.

#18 – Oregon State University

Online Master’s in Natural Resources

Corvallis, Oregon

Website

Oregon State University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
OSU’s online master’s in natural resources is ideal for those seeking online master’s in conservation programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,331

Similar to an online master’s in conservation, Oregon State University offers working adults the opportunity to earn an online master’s in natural resources. The program is delivered entirely online and can be completed in just three years. Oregon State University ranks well among its peers according to U.S. News and World Report, which places the institution at #139 among national universities and #33 in innovative schools. The multidisciplinary program includes courses such as ecology and production, human systems, introduction to sustainable natural resources, and methodology. Students can choose from several concentrations including forests and climate change, sustainable natural resources, wildlife management, and more.

#17 – University of Vermont

Online Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability

Burlington, Vermont

Website

University of Vermont - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked and accredited – University of Vermont – master’s in conservation online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,272

The University of Vermont offers a degree similar to a master’s in conservation online. Its program culminates in a master’s degree in leadership for sustainability. The program is administered through the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. In addition to online courses, the program requires students participate in week long intensives in various locations such as Vermont, Durham, N.C., and the Bay Area of California. Courses may include ecological leadership, ecological leadership practicum, and leadership for sustainability. The program prepares current or emerging leaders to take on positions that enable them to pursue positive change within the sustainability sector. The University of Vermont is ranked #121 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#16 – University of Arizona

Online Master’s in Innovation, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship

Tucson, Arizona

Website

University of Arizona - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ideal for entrepreneurs and conservationists – University of Arizona’s master’s in innovation and sustainability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,044

While the University of Arizona does not offer an online master’s in conservation, the institution provides interested parties with a master’s in engineering in innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. The program is housed within the College of Engineering and includes 30 units of coursework that are broken down into 12 units of business curriculum and 18 credits in materials science and engineering. The University of Arizona is highly regarded among its institutional peers and ranks #53 in top public schools by U.S. News and World Report for its 2020 college and university rankings. The program is specifically designed for working professionals seeking to leverage an advanced graduate degree into further career opportunities.

#15 – Montclair State University

Online Master’s in Sustainability Science and Leadership

Montclair, New Jersey

Website

Montclair State University - Top 30 Online Master's in Conservation Programs of 2020
Affordability – Montclair State’s online master’s in conservation programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,837

Montclair State University offers an online master’s in sustainability designed for graduates to fulfill leadership positions in a variety of organizations from government, private business, and non-profit. The program is cohort-based and allows students to network. Montclair State ranks in several categories according to U.S. News and World Report including #166 in national universities and #79 in top public schools. Admission requirements include bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts. No test scores are required to apply. The 32-credit program can be completed full or part-time, with a minimum completion time of just one year.

#14 – University of Florida

Online Master’s in Wildlife Forensic Sciences and Conservation

Gainesville, Florida

Website

University of Florida - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
An online masters in wildlife conservation at University of Florida!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737

The University of Florida offers a master’s in conservation online focusing on wildlife forensic science and conservation. The degree program prepares students for leadership positions in several fields such as ecology, conservation biology, forensic science, and related disciplines. Offered through the Maple’s Center for Forensic Science, the program is completely online and is an excellent choice for working professionals. Students can graduate in just two years. Courses may include contemporary issues in wildlife protection and conservation, introduction to applied statistics for agricultural and life sciences, wildlife conservation laws and prevention, and wildlife crime scene prevention. The University of Florida ranks #34 in national universities according to U.S. News and World Report.

#13 – Colorado State University

Online Master’s in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Fort Collins, Colorado

Website

Colorado State University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked & accredited – Colorado State University’s online conservation biology masters degrees.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,495

Colorado State University offers an online master’s in wildlife conservation that focuses on the management of animals for their benefit and the benefits of humans. The program is designed for current natural resources professionals seeking a graduate degree in order to gain skills and knowledge to enhance their professions and increase their career trajectory. The 30-credit program features 21 core classes and nine elective credits. Courses may include adaptive fish and wildlife management, analyses for managing wildlife populations, applied sampling for fish and wildlife studies, and conservation genetics of wild populations. Admission requirements include bachelor’s degree in fish, wildlife, and conservation biology or a closely related field, minimum two years of professional experience, minimum of 3.0 GPA, three letters of recommendation, resume, and statement of purpose.

#12 – University of Northern Colorado

Online Master’s in Biology

Greeley, Colorado

Website

University of Northern Colorado - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Similar to an online master’s in conservation – University of Northern Colorado’s master’s in bio!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,444

Ranked in multiple categories by U.S. News and World Report, including #293 in national universities and #240 in social mobility, the University of Northern Colorado offers a master’s in biology similar to an online master’s in conservation. The degree program is designed for working professionals and is generally finished in 2-3 years with a typical course load of 5-8 credits per term. Courses may include advanced systemic physiology control systems, conservation biology, cultural issues in educational psychology, and statistical methods. The 30-credit program is entirely online and has a non-thesis option. Test scores are not required for admission to the program.

#11 – Western Kentucky University

Online Master’s in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Website

Western Kentucky University - Top 30 Online Master's in Conservation Programs of 2020
Community-based research! Western Kentucky University’s master’s in conservation online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,140

Western Kentucky University offers one of the most unique online conservation programs with a focus on social justice and sustainable communities. The program draws from a variety of disciplines that intersect yet are all salient factors in inequality at the individual and systemic levels. Students start off with a core set of courses that provide foundational understanding in social justice, economic policy, community building, and leadership issues. Core classes may include community based research, community building for sustainability, perspectives on social justice, and social policy and social justice. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation. Test scores are not required.

#10 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in Sustainable Leadership

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
ASU’s online master’s in sustainable leadership is ideal for those interested in a conservation degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,134

Arizona State University provides interested individuals a master’s in conservation online with a focus on sustainable leadership. Sustainability principles are needed in new entities and existing organizations and it takes qualified sustainability experts who know how to lead. The program integrates sustainability and leadership with four main drivers including leadership for sustainability; sustainability and strategy; communications and change management; and global context of sustainability. Courses may include communications and sustainability foundations of sustainability, global context, and strategic sustainability. Arizona is highly ranked in myriad categories by U.S. News and World Report including #1 in most innovative schools and #117 in national universities.

#9 – Concordia University

Online Master’s in Sustainability Management and Analytics

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Concordia University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked & accredited – Concordia University – online conservation degree!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,848

Concordia University Wisconsin offers one of the most popular types of online conservation programs that offer sustainability education within the framework of a master’s in business administration. The program combines a new formation of capitalism that blends profit with social responsibility. Students learn foundational business principles and skills in finance, economics, accounting, leadership, marketing, and management within the context of sustainability. Leaders with this type of education are in high demand, as sustainability has moved from the fringe to the forefront of organizational priorities and processes. Concordia Wisconsin is ranked #281 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report and does not require standardized test scores as part of its application process.

#8 – Clemson University

Online Master’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Clemson, South Carolina

Website

Clemson University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Clemson University’s online master’s in wildlife and fisheries biology also focuses on conservation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,602

Clemson University offers an online master’s in wildlife conservation focusing on wildlife and fisheries biology. Well-respected among its peers, Clemson ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report lists including #70 in national universities, #142 in best value schools, and #17 in most innovative schools. The wildlife and fisheries biology graduate program is designed for working professionals with experience in natural resources that desire a fully online graduate degree that will not disrupt their career. The program can be completed in as little as two years or 3.5 years by taking just one course per term. Admission requires suitable GRE scores, transcripts, two references, resume, and personal statement.

#7 – Texas A & M University

Online Master’s in Natural Resource Development

College Station, Texas

Website

Texas A & M University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked and affordable – Texas A & M University’s online master’s in conservation programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,812

Texas A&M University offers two online conservation programs: the Masters of Natural Resource Development and Masters of Wildlife Science. The program is for experienced natural resource professionals seeking a rigorous online program that allows them to continue their careers without interruption. The focus is developing practical skills and deep knowledge of ecology, economics, culture, and policy and how all of those factors conflate to create problems and opportunities within the context of conservation. Students should come into the program with a strong foundation in biological sciences and other natural resource-related disciplines and topics. U.S. News and World Report ranks Texas A&M #70 in national universities.

#6 – University of Wisconsin

Online Conservation Biology Masters

Menomonie, Wisconsin

Website

University of Wisconsin - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Study conservation biology at University of Wisconsin!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,341

The University of Wisconsin Stout offers an online master’s in conservation that tackles how to minimize human impact on the earth and its various natural systems. Graduates go on to work in public and private businesses, non-profits, and governmental agencies in occupations that work to understand how to improve the environment. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in biology, environmental science, or related field along with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students with a non-science degree will need to complete a competency course with a “B” or better, show evidence of equivalent courses, or show evidence of professional knowledge in conservation. The University of Wisconsin Stout ranks #14 in top public schools and #72 in regional universities Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

#5 – Black Hills State University

Online Master’s in Sustainability

Spearfish, South Dakota

Website

Black Hills State University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Black Hills State University’s online master’s in sustainability is ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,116

Black Hills State University offers an online master’s in sustainability that investigates all factors involving the building of a sustainable society. The program touches on several academic disciplines and frameworks from policy, sociology, economic systems, natural sciences, and more. The program is delivered entirely online allowing working professionals to pursue a graduate degree without the impediment of attending on-campus classes. U.S. News and World Report ranks Black Hills State University #117 in regional universities Midwest in its latest 2020 cohort. Courses may include communication and change, fundamentals of sustainability, human dimensions and sustainability, and quantitative methods in sustainability. Students from all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome to apply.

#4 – University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Sustainable Smart Cities

Birmingham, Alabama

School Profile

University of Alabama - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Ranked with U.S. News! University of Alabama – online master’s in sustainable smart cities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,100

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers one of the most cutting-edge online master’s in conservation programs focusing on the construction, maintenance, and viability of sustainable smart cities. The program encompasses several disciplines to give students a comprehensive viewpoint in which to build their knowledge. The program is an excellent fit for individuals pursuing careers as policymakers, local politicians, urban planners, social scientists, civil engineers, environmental scientists, and more. The program is delivered fully online and designed to be a part-time program that can be finished in two calendar years. U.S. News and World Report ranks UAB #166 in national universities and #79 in top public schools.

#3 – Indiana State University

Online Master’s in Biology

Terre Haute, Indiana

Website

Indiana State University - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Affordability! Indiana State University offers cheap online master’s in conservation biology degrees!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,616

Indiana State University offers one of the top value online conservation programs that focus on sustaining the earth’s natural resources and living organisms. The online program provides students with advanced knowledge in biological sciences that is required to be competitive for federal and state government agencies as well as private business. Because the program is delivered entirely online, students are not expected to give up their professional commitments such as full-time work. The flexible nature of the curriculum means students can access coursework when it is convenient for them. The 32-credit program requires a combination of courses and seminars that touch on systematics, physiology, ecology, microbiology, and genetics.

#2 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Biology

Kearney, Nebraska

Website

University of Nebraska - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
A generalized biology degree that covers conservation topics – University of Nebraska.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,187

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers an online master’s in conservation from a biological perspective. The program is diverse in terms of career aspirations and invites applicants from a variety of occupations such as science teachers, researchers, conservationists, and more. U.S. News and World Report ranks Nebraska Kearney #46 in regional universities Midwest, #9 in top public schools, and #24 in best value schools, which means students can feel confident in receiving a top notch online education. The program is a non-thesis program, terminal degree not designed to prepare students for doctoral studies. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree in biology, 2.75 minimum GPA, 24 undergraduate credits in biology (if no BS/BA in biology), personal statement, and transcripts.

#1 – University of West Alabama

Online Master’s in Conservation Biology

Livingston, Alabama

Website

University of West Alabama - Top 30 Online Master’s in Conservation Programs of 2020
Takes 1-2 years and is our #1 most affordable online conservation biology masters program – University of West Alabama.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,868

The University of West Alabama offers students a ranked and accredited online master’s in conservation with a focus on biological sciences. Graduates have gone on to successful careers at the EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Wildlife Refuge System, and several other organizations. The 36-credit program is designed for working professionals and can be completed in just 1-2 years. Classes may include conservation biology, critical issues in conservation biology, and teaching college biology. The University of West Alabama ranks within the top 100 of multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #96 in regional universities South and #92 in top performers on social mobility.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with an online master’s in conservation degree?

Individuals with an online master’s degree in conservation or sustainability can parlay the degree into a wide variety of career paths depending on the curriculum that makes up the degree. Conservation degrees can be based on business, natural sciences, or engineering. Below we break down the types of careers a graduate can pursue.

Business-based sustainability master’s degrees are often housed with an institution’s business department or school. Students learn core business functions in marketing, accounting, finance, economics, and leadership all within the context of meeting the needs of the firm without sacrificing the environment for future generations. Graduates of these programs often take on important management roles such as chief sustainability officer, sustainability managers, and a host of related titles.

Natural science-based conservation degrees typically lead people to assume careers as wildlife conservationists and biologists. These individuals work on preserving the natural environment and its various ecosystems and animals. They can spend time in laboratories doing research as well as out in the field.

Engineering-based sustainability careers work towards the development of technical solutions to reduce waste while reducing costs. Chemical, civil, and environmental engineers all fall within the purview of this type of sustainability degree where creating technical and science-based solutions and innovations are key components of the occupation.

How much money can I earn with an online master’s in conservation degree?

Because an online master’s degree in conservation and sustainability can lead to a host of careers, the pay varies greatly. But no matter the type of conservation degree the graduate holds, he or she should expect an attractive salary. It should be noted that the salary data does not reflect benefits.

Management and business-related sustainability careers pay salaries well above the national average of $39,000 according to salary data obtained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because these individuals often make important decisions and manage teams of personnel, the pay reflects those important responsibilities. Chief executives earn an average of $166,910 annually, which is the highest of management-based sustainability careers. General operations managers earn approximately $95,000 per year followed by industrial production managers who earn $88,000.

Science occupations also pay well above average salaries given the expertise required for these types of positions. Natural science managers should expect to earn a six-figure salary, as they are responsible for managing teams of scientists. The average pay for a natural science manager is $114,770 annually. From there, the salaries range from $59,530 for conservation scientists to $84,600 for materials scientists. Other careers surveyed for this data include biochemists, chemists, microbiologists, and environmental scientists. The average salary for these occupations is $70,000.

What is the job outlook for individuals with an online master’s in conservation degree?

The job outlook is strong for individuals with an online master’s degree in sustainability and conservation. Given the widespread demand and prioritization of “green” careers, skilled professionals with industry and academic credentials are in high demand across a wide variety of industries and economic sectors. Our research shows that growth will occur in all types of conservation related careers with some experiencing more accretion that others.

Conservation scientists and forester jobs are expected to grow by 3% from 2018-2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure is lower than the 5% average of all occupations. Although there is high demand for the position, most work for state and federal government organizations that are facing budget cuts, which impacts hiring.

Engineering jobs are expected to increase across the entire occupational spectrum, which covers 18 different engineering titles. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy will add nearly 140,000 engineering jobs to the already existing 1.7 million from the decade covering 2016-2026. This increase represents an 8.4% increase, which is 3.4% more than the five percent average of all occupations. Civil engineering jobs will experience the highest growth rate among all engineering jobs.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in conservation degree?

Online master’s in conservation degrees generally take 2-3 years to complete. Online graduate degrees are primarily designed for working professionals who are unable to attend on-campus classes and typically have full-time obligations such as work and family. Because of these added responsibilities, institutions have designed degrees that allow students to take classes without sacrificing their current lifestyles.

Business-based sustainability degrees are often part of broader MBA programs. Typical programs can be completed in 2-3 years with accelerated programs offering a 1-1.5 year time to completion. Students with a background in sustainability or business may be able to finish quicker than those switching careers.

Engineering conservation programs are similar to business and management-based sustainability degrees when it comes to average time to completion. Often designed for individuals with professional and academic engineering experience, these programs can be finished in 1-3 years depending on the structure of the program and the enrollment level chosen by the individual.

Natural science conservation degrees take anywhere from 1-3 years to complete. Similar to the above degrees, these programs are designed for the working conservation professional that desires flexibility. Programs that accept students without academic or professional experience in the field may be required to take several foundational natural science courses, which can add a substantial amount of time to the degree.

What are the degree requirements for online master’s in conservation programs?

Degree requirements for an online master’s in conservation vary greatly depending on the type of conservation degree. Additionally, some programs require students have a particular academic background while other programs accept students with no academic foundation. All of these are important factors in the degree requirements of any online conservation program.

Management and business-related sustainability programs often require potential applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related degree such as management, marketing, finance, accounting, or economics. This ensures the student comes into the program with a foundational knowledge of business principles and skills. Some programs will waive this requirement for applicants with a certain number of years of professional work experience related to the degree. Foundational courses often include undergraduate classes in statistics, economics, finance, management, accounting, and marketing.

Natural science degrees generally build on a strong foundation of natural science courses taken as part of an undergraduate degree. Applicants are generally required to have a degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, chemistry, or a related discipline. Because of narrow scope of knowledge required, it is difficult to find programs that allow students from non-science backgrounds. The programs that do generally require students to take several undergraduate science courses before applying.

Similarly, engineering-based conservation degrees require applicants have a strong background in mathematics and engineering. Most applicants are required to have an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related discipline.

BCO Staff
October 2019

Related:

Top 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) Degrees Online

Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Sustainability Online Programs

This concludes our list of the top 30 most affordable online master’s in conservation programs of 2020.