The 10 Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor’s Degree Colleges of 2021

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Would you like to learn more about the earth? Have you been recently concerned about how to save the planet and raise awareness to live greener lifestyles? If so, you may probably want to hone your skills in the environmental sector and pursue a career in it. Would you like to become a person who can significantly contribute to the improvement of the environment? An online degree in Environmental Sciences can be your first step.  

The study of environmental science, a branch of the natural sciences, takes place in an online learning environment at the undergraduate level. The program courses are biology, chemistry, geology, ecology, environmental policy, regulation, and law courses.

Due to a host of factors, climate change being the most significant, environmental specialists become increasingly important to identify patterns, predict the use of resources, and prevent and solve problems. As a result, environmental scientists are projected to experience an 8% increase in demand in the United States alone over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

With this data alone, you can tell that having a career in this industry will be sustainable in the long run. In addition, this ranking provides students with an excellent resource for discovering programs that meet their needs in online colleges offering environmental science degrees at the bachelor’s level. Get answers to frequently asked questions and more information about their course options, accreditations, admission requirements, and program features. 

What are the career tracks of a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science?

Biological, physical, chemical, and geological aspects of climate change are understood by environmental scientists who draw on ideas and data from many scientific disciplines. The result is that numerous scientific careers have some connection to environmental science. The extent to which they relate to the discipline depends on the company, the employer, the project, and the individual.

Generally, various careers in environmental science may require scientific and environmental knowledge and skills. Some jobs are accessible to those with different related degrees. Here are some common career paths:

  1. Environmental Lawyer

Environment law encompasses a wide range of topics and is becoming increasingly popular. Law that involves environmental issues is an area that requires a high level of technical understanding along with the practical skills of practicing law. Working in this field offers a chance to change attitudes and public policies as an alternative to searching for solutions to solve environmental problems.

  1. Environmental Engineer

Building eco-friendly buildings or using renewable energy is not the only concern of environmental engineering. The environmental impact of buildings and construction sites includes contamination, waste disposal, and developing systems and implementations to prevent disasters.

  1. Conservation Scientist

Environmental scientists and conservation scientists may seem very similar and often have the same education, but their roles are quite different. Environment scientists examine air, water, and soil in a broader sense; conservation scientists typically study the ecological effects of using land-based resources.

  1. Zoologist

There is no denying that numerous science branches, including zoology, influence environmental science impacts. Though zoology is a specialized field, many zoologists examine animal habitats, human behavior, and how animals interact with the environment, all of which share a strong relationship with environmental science. Scientists who have a passion for the environment find zoology especially appealing since it emphasizes research, conservation, and preservation.

How do you become an environmental scientist or environmental specialist?

  • Education and Training

Specialists and scientists in environmental science generally hold a bachelor’s degree in the subject or a related field, like biology, chemistry, geology,  or natural resources. But if you want to advance, you may need a master’s degree. Physicists and environmental specialists with doctoral degrees make up a relatively small percentage of the profession. This level of training is essential only for teaching and research positions in postsecondary institutions. However, if you’re interested in pursuing an Environmental Science professor, you should consider proceeding to a Ph.D. after finishing a bachelor’s degree.

Natural Sciences can be viewed from a broader perspective when you earn an Online Bachelor’s in Environmental Science. You’ll be studying chemistry, physics, biology, and zoology. Also included in the program are courses in hydrology and waste management. Additionally, environmental regulation and policy classes might come in handy. Ph.D. students interested in specific natural sciences, such as chemistry, biology, or physics, may find it more advantageous to major in these particular areas than pursue a general environmental science degree.

Students can gain practical experience through internships, which are often offered in environmental science programs. As part of their preparation for the occupation, prospective scientists may be interested in participating in internships after graduation. Consider taking classes or internships that focus on computer modeling, data analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These programs will best prepare students to enter the workforce. 

  • Advancement

The more experience an environmental scientist or specialist gains, the more responsibilities and independence they have and their authority in supervising others. Later on, they could become a manager, scientist, or project leader. In addition to working as researchers in both private and public sectors, including universities, other environmental scientists and specialists are trained as teachers. 

  • Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management offers certification programs for environmental scientists and specialists. This Certificate requires renewal every five years. For environmental scientists wishing to demonstrate their skills in ecology, the Ecological Society of America offers several certification levels.

  • Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Specialists in environmental protection and science often start their careers as laboratory technicians, research assistants, field analysts, or office technicians. However, it is not unusual for environmental scientists and specialists to begin their careers in fields related to environmental science, such as hydrology or engineering, and then transition into the interdisciplinary field of environmental science. Should you wish to pursue the same pathway, this will be possible and beneficial for you to hone your skills before accepting advanced responsibilities in the industry. 

What are the skills needed for Environmental Science work?

  • Interpersonal skills. A typical environmental scientist works in a team with other scientists, engineers, technicians, and other staff with designated roles. To achieve their goals, team members must all work well together while communicating effectively.
  • Writing skills. Scientists explain their methods, findings, and recommendations through technical papers, reports, and articles. Therefore, you must know how to write any report or document in different file formats. 
  • Analytical skills. Many environmental scientists analyze data and apply scientific methods in their research. Data from scientific studies is used to support their conclusions. In their analyses, they should take into account all possibilities and solutions.
  • Critical-thinking skills. Observations, lab experiments, and other research methods provide the logical conclusions environmental scientists need to draw. Observation and a careful evaluation of data are the basis for their findings. 
  • Problem-solving skills. Scientists in the environmental fieldwork to solve problems affecting the environment and culture. They must recognize and anticipate problems before they occur so that their employers’ losses are reduced, worker safety is maintained, and environmental and cultural influences are mitigated. Problem-solving skills are required in any organization related to environmental science.
  • Speaking skills. Clients, professionals, and community members without expertise in environmental issues require environmental scientists to convey their findings appropriately. In addition, they frequently present to their coworkers, managers, and public officials. Hence, confidence and good speaking skill are required in this industry.
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Are you a nature lover by heart? Are you curious about the environment and the countless elements that make it up? With an Online Bachelor in Environmental Science, you become a professional and qualify for excellent positions in the field!

You can begin this journey toward an Environmental Science job by identifying the colleges offering the degree program in the undergraduate level. In today’s educational landscape, opting for online schools puts you at an advantage. Choose only reputable online colleges offering a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science of the same instructional quality as their brick-and-mortar counterparts!

We have compiled the best online colleges and programs for you! These higher education institutions in the United States all stand out in the BS in Environmental Science degree programs they offer online. Some of the parameters used to create this shortlist include rigorous online coursework, a robust digital learning platform, and industry-expert faculty–all at reasonable tuition and fee rates.

These colleges and universities also take pride in their transfer credit programs, accelerated completion, and financial aid options for qualified BS in Environmental Science students.

Please check our Methodology for details.

Here are the top 10 best online colleges for BS in Environmental Science (listed in random order):

Columbia Southern University

1 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

This Bachelor of Science program in Environmental Management provides you as an online student with a diverse, flexible, and applicable curriculum. This will give you opportunities to demonstrate your thorough understanding of environmental theory and technology and the skills to function in a professional environmental position.

While enrolled in the program, you can learn diverse strategies for environmental hazards. You can discover and apply theories and approaches in addressing environmental issues while working individually or with teams. By assessing different practices, you can evaluate the best process.

Location:

  • Orange Beach, Alabama

Accreditation:

  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Program Features:

  • 120 total credits required
  • 90 maximum transfer credits

Course Options:

  • Air Quality
  • Environmental Law
  • Waste Management
  • Environmental Issues
  • Pollution Prevention

Admission:

  • Complete application admission for free
  • High school transcripts

Tuition:

  • $235 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • Federal grant
  • Loan programs

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • They offer a tuition discount of up to 50% for your first enrollment. 
  • There are no required login times with their online programs.
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Oregon State University

2 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

The program allows you to select a subject area of specialization that you are most passionate about. Then, with the help of your academic advisor, you can choose the area that best meets your needs. If you want a Certificate in Geographic Information Science, this online program is for you! You can also specialize in Applied Ecology, Earth Systems, Conservation, Aquatic Biology, and Environmental Policy and Economics. The courses are taught by OSU’s world-renowned faculty, renowned for their expertise and innovative thinking.

One good thing about taking up a major at Oregon State is that you have the option to add a minor to your degree program. This means while you are enrolled in an environmental science program, you can combine it with business, history, anthropology, and chemistry so you can make your resume even more competitive in today’s job market.

Location:

  • Corvallis, Oregano

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Program Features:

  • Total 180 credits required

Course Options:

  • Ecology
  • Watershed Management
  • Environmental Geology
  • Oceanography

Admission:

  • High school diploma
  • Rigor of coursework
  • Class rank
  • Personal statement on the application

Tuition:

  • $331 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • ScholarDollars
  • Need-based Grants
  • Financial Hardship Grant
  • Military Benefits and Grants

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • Students have access to top-of-the-line facilities, including library services, free online tutoring, and career guidance.
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University of Florida – Online

3 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

Offering the same as the campus setting, the University of Florida offers an online program for a bachelor of science in Environmental Management. If you study environmental management, you can positively influence our planet, its people, and their healthy being. From water contamination to air pollution, environmental managers can be driving forces behind sustainable commerce and innovation. There are numerous career options available to agriculture, environmental, and natural sciences graduates, including sustainable food and fiber production, soil conservation, stewardship of natural resources, environmental policy and analysis, water and energy resources, pollution management, and international development.

Location:

  • Gainesville, Florida

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges 

Program Features:

  • Hybrid format
  • 120 total credits required

Course Options:

  • General Chemistry
  • Biological Sciences

Admission:

  • GPA of 2.0 
  • SAT or ACT scores

Tuition:

  • $129.18 / credit for Florida residents; $552.62 / credit for non-Florida residents

Financial Aid:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Student employment
  • Loans

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • They boast in providing flexible learning options while incorporating the same elite faculty and rigor they offer in physical classes, making them a leading educational institution.
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University of Maryland Global Campus

4 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

Taking a pragmatic approach, the online bachelor of science in environmental management program combines human and environmental concerns in risk assessment and response training. Students learn about topics like environmental technology, human health, and environmental health. Sustainability and toxicology and hazard control are the two concentration options—students studying toxicology and hazard control study topics such as air quality control and hazardous materials management. In addition, the sustainability course covers topics such as global environmental challenges, pollution prevention, and stewardship.

When you choose to enroll in this program, you can create environmental management plans that comply with regulations and policies connected to safety, health, and the environment. By utilizing scientific principles, you can also learn how to manage risks that are dangerous for human health and the environment. Incorporate scientific principles, and manage risk to human health and the environment.

Location:

  • Adelphi, Maryland

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Program Features:

  • 120 total credits required
  • Four years
  • Asynchronous instruction style

Course Options:

  • Environmental Health
  • Human Health and Disease
  • Environmental Technology
  • Occupational Health and Safety

Admission:

  • High school graduate
  • Passing scores on a high school equivalency exam

Tuition:

  • $306 / credit for residents; $499 / credit for non-residents

Financial Aid:

  • Scholarships
  • Discounts for federal employees

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • They have a world-class faculty with extensive experience working in organizations like the US Armed Forces, consulting firms, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the DC Department of Environmental Protection.
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Prescott College

5 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

With this degree, students will gain a solid understanding of natural history and public policy through a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. An Environmental Studies Bachelor of Science degree offers students the opportunity for a rigorous and interdisciplinary exploration of environmental systems and processes, as well as human influence on these systems and processes. You will acquire an excellent understanding of environmental science policies and a solid background in natural sciences. 

This degree program prepares students for graduate study and employment in public or private agencies to achieve a more sustainable future. Natural history and ecology will serve as contexts in which students will embed their scientific studies. Students will pursue scientific endeavors while also addressing ethical and policy issues. EcoLeague exchanges and transfer courses can be used to gain some required courses.

Location:

  • Prescott, Arizona

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Program Features:

  • 120 total credits required
  • Asynchronous instruction style

Course Options:

  • Environmental Policy
  • Water in the West
  • Behavior and Conservation of Mammals
  • Soil Science: Fertile Ground of Growth

Admission:

  • Free online application
  • Academic focus essay
  • Reference
  • Official transcripts

Tuition:

  • $498 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • Scholarships and grants
  • Federal loans
  • Prescott College scholarships
  • Private loans
  • Student employment

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • They have an online undergraduate admission counselor who can assist and guide you with your enrollment. 
10 Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges - Divider

Wilmington University

6 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

With Wilmington University’s College of Online and Experiential Learning, you can complete 100% online, work-integrated programs. The university is a member of the NASA Delaware Space Grant Consortium, and they offer their environmental science students training in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and geography. The program prepares graduates for employment and higher education. 

Founded in 1968, WilmU operates 13 additional campuses in New Castle and Delaware, and New Jersey. It has more than 20,000 students. A commitment to combining a knowledge base across multiple disciplines with substantive hands-on experience, this environmental policy and science degree focuses on critical thinking, hypothesis testing, scholarly writing, and the use of scientific and digital tools to solve problems. 

Location:

  • New Castle, Delaware

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Program Features:

  • 40 courses, 120 total credits required

Course Options:

  • Ethics for Life
  • Environmental Science
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Earth Science

Admission:

  • Official transcripts
  • Placement test
  • Immunization record
  • Undergraduate application with $35 fee

Tuition:

  • $1170 / course (three credits per course)

Financial Aid:

  • Federal student aid
  • Scholarships

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • After finishing this program, you can develop skills that make you think like an environmental scientist and write like policymakers.
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American Public University

7 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

Full-time students are granted free books, and students may choose among five concentrations at enrollment. You can expect when you enroll in this university because you’ll have professors and educators associated with and conquered top positions in diverse sectors like the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Protection Agency, and Bureau of Land Management.

You can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at American Public University (APU) if you are passionate about protecting the environment. APU’s Environmental Science BS program offers coursework in the natural and social sciences combined with science, policy, and management courses. The environmental science bachelor’s degree online program allows you to study the scientific foundations of the environment, including science to manage natural resources, fish and wildlife, and hazardous materials.

Location:

  • Charles Town, West Virginia

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Program Features:

  • 120 total credits required
  • Ten years total allowed time to complete
  • 90 max transfer credits accepted

Course Options:

  • Soil Science
  • Statistics
  • Water Science
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Ethics

Admission:

  • High school transcripts
  • Valid government-issued ID.

Tuition:

  • $285 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • Federal student aid
  • Scholarships
  • Veterans benefits
  • Military tuition assistance

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • You can save a lot with this program as they offer no fees on application, transfer credit evaluations, and textbooks and ebooks.
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Southern New Hampshire University

8 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

The Online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Science program at Southern New Hampshire University lets you pursue your passion for nature. The program offers two concentration options: natural resources and conservation and data analytics in science. In addition to structured databases, data collection, and applied statistics, the concentrated data analytics program offers several courses related to data analytics. Conservation biology, global climate change, energy, and society are some of the Natural Resources and Conservation topics.

During lab courses, students receive kits directly from the lab provider. With this method, distance learning students can still develop skills through a hands-on learning approach. Utilize this practical experience to prepare for the future by developing conservation practices that address environmental issues affecting everyone.

Location:

  • Manchester, New Hampshire

Accreditation:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education

Program Features:

  • 120 total credits required
  • Transfer up to 90 credits
  • Asynchronous instruction style

Course Options:

  • General Biology
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • Global Climate Change
  • Environmental Studies

Admission:

  • Online application
  • High school transcripts
  • Electronic attestation form

Tuition:

  • $320 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • Grants and scholarships
  • Student loans

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • This program will provide you an opportunity for experiential learning. You can explore several topics which are related to your major.
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Unity College

9 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

Join one of the nation’s leading environmental science colleges to begin your path to a greener, brighter future. Different options for learning like on-campus, online, and hybrid offer flexibility to diverse students. Students can achieve their goals flexibly and affordably with this BS degree program in Environmental Science. After earning a degree in environmental science, you’ll be prepared for graduate school or to move forward in fields like conservation of resources, alternative energy, and sustainable farming. 

Unity College, which was founded in 1965, has evolved into a college focused on sustainability and the environment. This college enables its students to work closely with faculty and researchers by offering internships and community-based education. If you’re up for this learning style, check out their admission information and enroll now.

Location:

  • Unity, Maine

Accreditation:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education

Program Features:

  • Online and hybrid learning available
  • 120 total credits required

Course Options:

  • Environmental Issues and Insights
  • Conservation Biology
  • Population and Community Ecology

Admission:

  • Online application

Tuition:

  • $470 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • Scholarships
  • Unsubsidized loans
  • Military veterans discount

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • The program boasts different approaches to make you a well-versed by-product of their institution. They make use of one-on-one research, hands-on learning, and actual-world application methods.
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University of Phoenix

10 - Best Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree Colleges

You can make the world a cleaner place by taking small steps like getting enrolled in an online BS in Environmental Science. Through courses that provide an overview of the science and environmental issues, you will better understand the sustainable green living, renewable resources, urban infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change. In addition, in this 100% online program, you can tackle sustainability, public policy analysis, and ethics.

You will gain more experience in proposing solutions to natural environmental problems today. You can know how to manage ecological resources responsibly and sustainably. Moreover, you can expand your scientific and critical thinking skills while developing analysis and information utilization.

Location:

  • Tempe, Arizona

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Program Features:

  • 120 total credits required

Course Options:

  • Principles of Biology
  • Physical Geology
  • Environmental Law
  • General Chemistry
  • Global Change

Admission:

  • High school diploma
  • Must be at least 16 years old

Tuition:

  • $398 / credit

Financial Aid:

  • Scholarships
  • Pell Grants
  • Employer Tuition Assistance
  • Student Loans
  • Tribal Funding 
  • Private Loans

What’s Unique About The Program:

  • They offer a reliable support team who are available 20 hours a day and five days a week.
  • Their professors have been surveyed to have 90% 5-star ratings from their previous students.