What Can I Expect from an Online MBA in Sustainability?

The online MBA in sustainability provides the skills and knowledge needed to implement social and ecological business practices in today’s organizations. With many businesses going green, a career in sustainability opens doors in a variety of industries. The online degree program combines the traditional education of an on-campus program with the convenience of taking classes from home. Because no two degree programs are identical, it’s important to research and find the one that most suits your goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online MBA in Sustainability

Some MBA in sustainability programs offer concentrations that focus on the environmental aspect of the degree. These programs are ideal for those following a specific career path.

Environmental Law Ideal for the individual who eventually wants to complete a Juris Doctorate. It combines the disciplines of law, policy analysis, science and economics and involves current global problems like pollution and global climate change. Environmental journalist, environmental lawyer, environmental professor, high school biology teacher and environmental scientist
Environmental Risk Management Prepares professionals to identify environmental risks and address these issues. Environmental coordinator, environmental manager, risk consultant, waste management coordinator and risk analyst

Curriculum for an Online MBA in Sustainability

Courses for a graduate degree in business with a concentration in sustainability combine core business principals with a focus on the environment. While classes may vary depending on the school, there are several common core classes you might encounter.

Business Ethics Study proper business policies and practices regarding sensitive social issues, corporate governance, insider trading, discrimination and corporate social responsibility.
Sustainable Systems Covers the advancing solutions for businesses that promote sustainability or a healthy environment.
Business Leadership Focuses on what is necessary for leaders in business to succeed and to reach career goals while managing an organization.
Data Analysis Examines data within an organization to make informed financial and production decisions.
Information Systems Explores the different types of hardware and software that organizations use to collect, process and use collected data.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MBA in Sustainability?

An online MBA in sustainability varies from 32 to 40 credit hours depending on the concentration and the university. An individual taking a full-time load can complete the coursework in approximately two years. It takes around five years when taking classes part-time, and those on a fast-track can complete the degree in 12 to 18 months.

Another factor that affects the time of completion is the method of delivery. Cohort classes group a set of students together who complete the degree on a rigid schedule. Self-paced programs let the student take classes on their own schedule.

Certifications and Licenses an Online MBA in Sustainability Prepares For

Registered Environmental Manager REM is a certification for professionals who are in charge of managing environmental health and safety projects. The certification requires at least five years of experience in an environmental position.
Certified Environmental Auditor This specialty certification is for environmental compliance auditors who conduct risk audits of equipment and procedures. It is recognized by the U.S. Air Force.
ISSP Sustainability Associate The International Society of Sustainability Professionals Sustainability Associate is for new graduates who work in sustainability or allied professionals, such as purchasing or human resources.
SSC Green Auditors Certification This certification provides proof of the skills needed to help organizations go green.
Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer This certification is intended to identify professionals who are proficient in environmental laws and regulations.

Accreditation for Online MBA in Sustainability

Accreditation is an important factor when choosing a graduate degree program. An MBA program may receive national or regional accreditation. Both types are based on industry standards and excellence; however, regional accreditation requires higher standards and is recognized as more favorable by employers. The Association of MBAs and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education are two accrediting agencies that evaluate business degrees. This accreditation may affect an individual’s ability to get certain jobs or to obtain financial aid.

Employment Outlook for MBA in Sustainability Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

In today’s competitive job market, a master’s degree can help you stand out over those with a bachelor’s degree. Some organizations understand the value of the degree and require even entry-level applicants to have one. Having a master’s increases your chances for advancement, especially if you are interested in upper-level management.

Expected Salary

An online MBA in sustainability can open doors to both business and environmental science careers. Many occupations also offer premium salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, those with a master’s degree earned $12,000 more per year than those with a bachelor’s.

Environmental careers can be found in nearly every industry. While many professionals gravitate to corporations or in the government sector, other establishments have a need for green goods and services.

Industry Sector Number of Established in 2009 Percent Distribution
Construction 820,700 38.1%
Professional and Business Services 779,100 36.2%
Repair and Maintenance 183,300 8.5%
Natural Resources and Mining 88,700 4.1%
Information 77,000 3.6%
Manufacturing 77,000 3.6%
Trade, Transportation and Utilities 49,300 2.3%

Career Opportunities

A master’s degree in homeland security prepares you for the challenges of a demanding yet rewarding career path with above-average employment growth rates and high earning potential. Your advanced degree prepares you to work in numerous sectors, including government agencies, medical facilities, large corporations and private institutions. Some common career choices for master’s in homeland security graduates are outlined below.

Operations Research Analyst Operations research analysts help an organization locate issues and find ways to solve them. $81,390 per year 27%
Management Analyst Management analysts find ways to make a business more productive and use resources more efficiently. $82,450 per year 14%
Logistician Logisticians manage a company’s products from production to the consumer. This includes how the product is acquired and delivered. $74,590 per year 7%
Market Research Analyst Market analysts study individual markets to determine the potential success of a product or service. $63,230 per year 23%
Sustainability Director A sustainability director is responsible for evaluating a company’s profits, employees, ecological outlook and all factors that affect performance and success. $69,400 per year 11%

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help individuals in their field become active in their industry. It can also give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.

NET Impact: NET Impact is a global network of professionals across the world working towards sustainability. The group hosts several conferences throughout the year and creates environmental challenges for its members.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: CSCMP is a network of supply chain management professionals. It helps members advance their careers and keep up-to-date on industry changes and provides networking opportunities.

American Sustainable Business Council: Members join together to uphold the principals of a sustainable business. The council has several levels of membership for both individuals and businesses.

National Association for Environmental Management: NAEM empower leaders in environmental, health and safety careers to advance global sustainability. The organization holds webinars, conferences and offers educational opportunities.

Sustainability Management Association: The SMA offers certifications for managers and provides networking and continuing education opportunities.

Financing Your Online MBA in Sustainability

Online degree programs are usually cheaper than traditional on-campus programs, but it can still be tricky locating financial assistance. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This gives you information on any grants, loans and scholarships you qualify for through the federal government. You can also find financial assistance through public and private organizations.



Scholarships Details
Commitment to Social Change Scholarship Award: Varies

Deadline: October 1

Eligibility: Available to students pursuing a graduate or doctoral degree at Walden University who demonstrate a commitment to social change.

Annie’s Homegrown Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships Award: Varies

Deadline: December 2

Eligibility: Applicants must be a U.S. undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in an accredited sustainable or agriculture program. The individual must submit a three-paragraph essay describing their future goals.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Awards Award: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Eligibility: The scholarship is awarded to honor students from AASHE-member institutions in an undergraduate or graduate degree program who promotes campus sustainability.

Department of Natural Resources Environmental Education Scholarship Award: Varies

Deadline: January 31

Eligibility: Eligible students should have a GPA of 3.0 or better and be pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in environmental studies.