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From carbon-neutral products that dominate the marketplace to start-ups specializing in creating a more environmentally-conscious way of living, sustainability is thriving in all industries. This comprehensive resource will examine acclaimed programs that prepare students to excel in sustainability-driven positions. Graduates from these institutions are prepared for various roles in the field, such as:

  • Sustainability managers, with an annual median salary of $97,970
  • Environmental consultants, with an annual median salary of $76,530
  • Renewable energy analysts, with an annual median salary of $93,000

With a focus on integrating sustainable practices into business strategies, these programs typically take 18 months to two years to complete for those studying full-time — although part-time options are available for those seeking a more flexible pace. Considering the financial aspect, tuition costs for these programs averaged $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Sustainability

Choose your area of study

While a general MBA concentrating in sustainability is an excellent way to get a comprehensive education in this field, some students prefer to choose a specialization to hone their skills toward a specific career path.

To choose your specialization, carefully consider your interests and career goals. Many MBA programs offer specializations in renewable energy, sustainable supply chain management, corporate social responsibility, and environmental policy.

Students with a passion for technology and innovation may excel in renewable energy, while those with a knack for operations and logistics may thrive in supply chain management. Those interested in the intersection of business and social impact may find corporate social responsibility appealing. At the same time, individuals with a keen interest in policy and advocacy may gravitate towards environmental policy.

Whatever specialization you choose, finding an area that aligns with your interests and strengths is crucial, as this can enhance your learning and future career prospects.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve identified a specialty you’re interested in, you should explore universities and programs known for their expertise and offerings. This research can involve reviewing program websites, curriculum details, faculty profiles, and alumni testimonials to get an idea of the program’s quality and relevance to your career goals.

Consider contacting admissions counselors, attending virtual information sessions, and connecting with current students or alums to gather additional insights into program fit and culture. Be sure to ask about any internship opportunities, capstone courses, and job placement services, as these program features can further enrich your education and make you a competitive candidate in hiring pools.

Prepare for tests and applications

While some schools have moved to test-optional policies, many still require standardized test scores from the GRE or GMAT. To prepare for these tests, utilize study guides, online courses, practice tests, and tutoring. These resources can help you develop effective test-taking strategies and improve your performance.

For admissions applications, you will want to gather all required documents, like transcripts and letters of recommendation, well before any deadlines. Those dates often come quickly, so it’s crucial to be proactive throughout the application process. Additionally, devote some time to crafting a compelling personal statement and illustrating your relevant experiences and achievements. It may also be helpful to seek guidance from admissions counselors, who can provide valuable insights and advice during preparation.

Select your program

After researching, submitting applications, and receiving acceptance letters, it’s time to evaluate your options and select your program carefully. Revisit each program’s curriculum, faculty, industry connections, and student support services. It’s essential to keep your intended specialty in mind, as you’ll want to choose a program that aligns with your career goals and values. And, of course, consider each program’s anticipated cost and your budget as well. While there are many resources to help you finance your degree and help alleviate the financial burden, choosing a program that offers a high-quality education at a tuition rate you’re comfortable with can make a significant difference in the years to come.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

There are various options to assist you in paying for your MBA. One important step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines eligibility for federal financial aid — including loans and work-study programs.

Additionally, consider researching and applying for scholarships and grants specific to sustainability or business-related fields. Many universities offer merit-based scholarships, and external organizations may provide funding opportunities.

Best 50 Accredited Online MBA in Sustainability Programs

Best Online MBA in Sustainability Programs Badge

Southern New Hampshire University

Concordia University Wisconsin

Maharishi International University

Oklahoma State University

University of Maine

Franklin Pierce University

Bard College

Prescott College

UMass Boston

Antioch University

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

Our research for this list focused on Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with a concentration in sustainability.

We specifically looked at programs that deliver all or most of their coursework through online classes to ensure accessibility to the greatest number of students, regardless of location or schedule.

This list includes programs that are offered by regionally and nationally accredited institutions. Degrees and credits from regionally accredited institutions are generally more widely transferable and recognized than those from nationally accredited schools. Many programs are also accredited by agencies like the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

We evaluated the programs based on their outcomes, cost, reputation, faculty, and flexibility. Then, we calculated an Intelligent Score of 0 to 100 for each program. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online MBA in Sustainability Program?

An online MBA in sustainability program offers a comprehensive understanding of sustainable business practices, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. You can expect to learn how to integrate sustainable strategies into various organizational functions through a combination of core business courses and specialized sustainability-focused coursework. Curriculums often include sustainable supply chain management, renewable energy, corporate social responsibility, and environmental economics coursework.

Most full-time students take 18 months to two years to complete degree requirements, depending on their chosen program and study pace. While many programs are proud to offer coursework that can be completed entirely online, some may have in-person obligations. These can include residencies, workshops, or networking events designed to facilitate practical application, collaboration, and networking opportunities. These in-person components can enhance your learning experience and provide you with valuable connections to help improve your job prospects after graduation.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online MBA in sustainability program

  • Sustainable Business Strategy: Also called “Strategic Planning for Sustainability,” this class explores integrating sustainability principles into business strategy. Students will learn how to assess environmental and social risks, identify opportunities for sustainable growth, and develop strategies to enhance long-term value creation while considering environmental and social impacts.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics: A common requirement for individuals pursuing a concentration in sustainability, this course examines the role of businesses in society and the ethical implications of their actions. Students will become proficient in responsible business practices, stakeholder engagement, ethical decision-making frameworks, and the importance of transparency and accountability in fostering sustainable business practices.
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management: When it comes to sustainability, optimizing supply chains while minimizing environmental impact is crucial. This course focuses on designing and managing sustainable supply chains. Students will gain expertise in green procurement, life cycle assessment, carbon footprint reduction, circular economy principles, and supplier relationship management.
  • Green Marketing and Environmental Product Design: An elective in many programs, this course teaches students the principles and strategies of marketing environmentally-friendly products and services. Students will explore concepts like eco-labeling, green consumer behavior, sustainable branding, and effective communication of environmental benefits.

What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Sustainability?

Career outlook

The career outlook for those with an online MBA focused on sustainability appears promising. The increased focus on sustainability and corporate responsibility across industries has created a demand for professionals who can integrate sustainable practices into business strategies. According to one study, jobs requiring knowledge of sustainable practices are increasing by eight percent each year, which outpaces the number of individuals who possess green skills. That suggests that graduates with an MBA in sustainability will find a wealth of job opportunities available to them in the future.

Career paths

The field of sustainability is constantly evolving, and new career options arise as businesses and organizations work to prioritize sustainable practices and social responsibility. Earning an online MBA in sustainability opens up diverse and rewarding career paths for those passionate about integrating environmental, social, and ethical considerations into business practices. Opportunities for lucrative, satisfying positions abound in both business and industry, as well as in government and higher education.

Here are some possible career paths available to those with an online MBA in sustainability:

  • Sustainability manager — develops and implements sustainability strategies for an organization.
  • Corporate social responsibility manager — aligns a company’s operations with ethical and social responsibility principles
  • Sustainable supply chain manager — creates sustainable and ethical supply chain practices
  • Environmental manager — oversees an organization’s environmental policies and programs
  • Sustainable finance manager — analyzes environmental, social, and governance factors in investment decisions

Environmental Specialist

Earning Potential: $46,200-$129,070
Education Required: bachelor’s degree in a science-related field; MBA in sustainability or an environmental-related field

These professionals mesh their understanding of the natural sciences with their business knowledge to protect the environment. They may work with businesses to help clean up pollution, with government entities to write and enforce policy, or with industries to help them reduce waste while maximizing productivity. They need to be skilled at data collection and able to analyze data from surveys and environmental sources. They develop plans to prevent, control, or alleviate specific ecological problems or health-related issues.  They must be skilled communicators and are often responsible for writing technical reports or presenting findings to concerned stakeholders and business leaders.

NGO Leader

Earning Potential: $60,300-208,000+
Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business or a related field: MBA in sustainability or an environmental-related field

Leaders of environmentally-oriented non-governmental organizations must have a “big picture” view of their organization’s abilities and goals, understanding a broad range of business functions, such as financial management and HR services. They lead planning groups in developing strategies that best use the organization’s resources and oversee efforts to carry out those strategies. They may be involved in hiring and training staff and will likely manage budgetary matters. They often meet with stakeholders such as volunteers, board members, donors, and government officials to further the organization’s goals.

Impact Investment Manager

Earning Potential: $65,982-$183,113
Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or ethics; MBA in sustainability or finance

Investment managers lead a team that oversees a company’s investment portfolio. Impact investment managers work to align financial investments with a company’s social and environmental impact goals. They seek investment opportunities that generate positive outcomes for society and the organization. While considering the sustainable nature of all investments, they must also ensure that they are earning a positive rate of return for the company. A deep knowledge of finance and investment principles is necessary. Impact investment managers will likely work closely with senior management to ensure all investments adhere to the company’s ethical goals.

Online MBA in Sustainability Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online MBA in sustainability degree program?

Admission requirements can vary depending on the institution, but common criteria include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

Many programs require relevant work experience in sustainability or a related field, usually three to five years. It’s common to encounter requirements for completing specific prerequisite courses, like accounting or economics, to be eligible for admission. In addition, some schools may require test scores from the GRE or GMAT, while others may offer waivers for students who meet specific criteria.

For these reasons, speaking to an admissions counselor before applying is crucial. They can provide accurate and up-to-date information about the program’s requirements, deadlines, and necessary documents or prerequisites. This conversation can help ensure a smooth application process and clarify program fit and expectations.

How much does an online MBA in sustainability degree cost?

For the 2020-2021 academic year, public institutions averaged $12,000 in tuition, while private schools were considerably higher, averaging $27,000. However, it’s important to note that tuition costs for prestigious universities or programs with additional features like residencies or workshops can be significantly higher.

When researching programs for their tuition cost, it’s essential to consider the additional costs associated with earning a degree. While online programs generally offer savings in commuting and housing expenses, some costs are specific to online learning. You should consider factors such as technology requirements, textbooks, course materials, and online learning platform subscriptions — all of which can quickly add up. If your program offers in-person components like residencies or workshops, you will also want to include travel expenses in your budget.

How long does it take to earn an online MBA in sustainability degree?

Typically, full-time students can complete their online MBA in sustainability in 18 months to two years. However, many students choose to enroll part-time, which can extend the timeline to two to three years but can offer additional flexibility and convenience for those needing to balance earning their education with other responsibilities — like a full-time job or caretaking. Some online programs allow for even longer completion timelines, allowing students to achieve their MBA on a four- or five-year plan.

When determining a program’s completion time, it’s crucial to consider the total number of required credits. Programs typically range from 36 to 54 credits. While the higher number of credits needed generally correlates to a longer completion time, students who can take a higher credit load per term can complete degree requirements faster.

Is an online MBA in sustainability worth it?

Whether an online MBA in sustainability is right for you depends on your personal and professional goals. However, it may be a good choice if you are passionate about working toward a more environmentally sound and healthier future. An MBA degree may lead to better prospects in the field and increased possibilities for advancement. The business skills you learned, and your knowledge of sustainable practices will make you appealing to employers.

This degree offers a broad range of job opportunities and may provide robust salary options. According to, sustainability specialists in the U.S. with an MBA and five years of experience earn a median salary of $81,240, but those in the top ten percent earn closer to $107,929.

Earning your degree online is an excellent choice for many students. If you have other personal or professional commitments, the flexibility of an online degree may be appealing to you. There may also be cost savings since you won’t have travel or housing expenses as you would if you commuted or lived on campus.