2024 Best Online PhD in Environmental Management [Doctoral Guide]

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If you have a passion for science and the environment, then you may be interested in building your expertise with a PhD in Environmental Management.

Best Online PhD in Environmental Management

A doctorate often consists of extensive field and laboratory work, and you can be exposed to environmental issues and current environmental research.

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Many graduates of this program enter post-doctoral research. They might work in government agencies, academic institutions, private sectors, and organizations that focus on environmental sustainability and restoration.

Online PhD in Environmental Management Programs

Online PhD in Environmental Management Programs

A PhD in Environmental Management enables you to grow your professional qualifications and dive deep into a specialty in the field.

Your coursework and dissertation research can help you develop your expertise in environmental science and learn how to better carry out field and statistical research. There’s a wide range of areas you can choose for your dissertation research, including:

  • Soil pollution
  • Water quality uses
  • Carbon stock evaluation
  • Strategic management of conservation areas
  • Control of stack emissions
  • Digital soil mapping

After completing a doctorate, many graduates go on to work in higher-level environmental research or management positions. Others become university professors.

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The core courses you’ll take while pursuing your PhD will ensure that you have comprehensive environmental science knowledge. Some of the core topics covered in an environmental management program include:

  • Toxicology
  • Geology
  • Earth sciences
  • Hydrology
  • Sustainable development
  • Climate studies and meteorology

Environmental issues that impact sustainability are a growing concern, and scientific research of global ecosystems and human health has become increasingly necessary.

If you’re passionate about this field, a doctoral program in environmental management can allow you to deepen your research credentials and your understanding of environmental management.

Environmental Science and Management Careers & Salaries

Environmental Science and Management Careers & Salaries

There is a growing demand for highly trained environmental professionals. These professionals might study erosion, flooding, and biodiversity, the complex mechanisms that lead to climate change, and how contaminants spread in water, air, and soil.

Many doctoral graduates pursue roles in research and academia, but others may pursue senior or leadership positions in the field of environmental science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some career paths related to the advanced study of environmental science and management.

Career Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $179,520
Natural Sciences Managers $137,900
Environmental Engineers $96,820
Hydrologists $84,030
Geoscientists $83,680
Postsecondary Environmental Science Teachers $81,980
Microbiologists $79,260
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $76,530
Foresters $64,110
Conservation Scientists $63,750

Some environmental professionals work for federal, state, or local governments. They might verify that businesses are following regulations, conduct research, and advise on policymaking. Environmental scientists and managers may design and implement solutions, educate the public on environmental issues, and help businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

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Since environmental scientists and specialists can work in different fields—from agriculture to industry and healthcare—their tasks can also vary significantly from job to job.

Environmental Management PhD Curriculum & Courses

Environmental Management PhD Curriculum

A PhD in Environmental Management offers researchers and problem solvers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the environment.

It has courses that will provide you with viewpoints from social science, natural sciences, engineering, and law. Some of the core courses in this type of program can include:

  • Environmental Science and Contemporary Issues: This course explores the scientific understanding of current environmental issues, general ecological principles, and ways that society and science are addressing the current environmental issues.
  • Research Ethics: This is a compulsory course that provides a basic knowledge of research ethics and integrity.
  • Community Relations: This course aims to provide you with insight and hands-on knowledge to identify the community’s involvement and responsibility in environmental management.
  • Science Communication and Its Role in Society: In this course, you’ll learn how to conduct research and interpret findings.
  • Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: This is often offered as a compulsory course for PhD students who want to teach at universities.
  • Environmental Challenges: In this course, you’ll study the history of environmental science and forecast the future of environmental science, along with exploring past and present conflicts.
  • Environmental Protection Law: This course examines the fundamental laws that are implemented to protect health and the environment.
  • Environmental Engineering: This course explores environmental laws, hazardous wastes, treatment systems, solid waste, sludge processing, and the modeling of water quality.
  • Research Methods: In this course, you can develop research and measurement skills for use in a professional setting.
  • Leadership: This course equips students with fundamental leadership skills.

An environmental policy doctorate can help prepare you to pursue independent research aimed at solving complex environmental issues using different tools and methods.

Admissions Requirements

PhD in Environmental Management Requirements

Institutions can have different admission requirements for their PhD programs in environmental management, but here are some common criteria:

  • Bachelors or masters degree, often in science-related field
  • Minimum GPA, usually 3.0 or higher
  • Letters of reference
  • GRE or GMAT scores (not required by all schools)

In addition to the above, you may also be required to complete an online application and submit a detailed CV or resume with contactable references.


PhD in Environmental Management Accreditation

Before you apply to an online PhD in Environmental Management, it’s strategic to verify whether the prospective school holds regional accreditation.

It’s also beneficial to ensure the accreditation comes from a credible accrediting agency that’s recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). You can ascertain the quality of an institution through its accreditation status. A school is awarded accreditation if its educational offerings, faculty, and student services meet predetermined standards of quality.

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Schools are also regularly evaluated in order to maintain accreditation. Degrees that are earned from accredited schools are widely recognized and accepted by employers as well as other institutions of higher education.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

PhD in Environmental Management Financial Aid

There are a number of financial aid opportunities available to doctoral students who qualify, including:

  • Scholarships. This type of financial aid is often awarded based on merit or area of study and doesn’t need to be repaid.
  • Grants. Schools may offer grants to doctoral students in exchange for teaching, teaching assistance, or research services.
  • Student loans. Federal student loans typically offer low-interest rates in comparison to private loans.

To apply for federal aid, you can fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also see if your employer offers any tuition assistance programs.

What Can You Do with an Environmental Management PhD Degree?

Environmental Management PhD Degree

An environmental management doctorate can help you develop advanced skills and knowledge in areas such as environmental research, conservation, education, and sustainability.

Those with a PhD tend to pursue work in research and academia. Other graduates may pursue senior or leadership positions in the field. Your own qualifications may also depend on your degree concentration. Common career paths in this field include postsecondary teacher, environmental scientist, conservation scientist, chief sustainability officer, environmental consultant, and environmental manager.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Environmental Management Doctorate Degree Online?

Environmental Management Doctorate Degree Online

A doctoral degree in environmental management often takes 3 to 5 years to complete. Completion times can vary depending on the program design, the required number of credit hours, and whether a dissertation is required.

If the program you choose doesn’t require you to write a dissertation, then you may be able to complete your doctoral degree in 3 years if you study full-time. Some online programs allow working professionals to opt for part-time enrollment, including both doctorate and masters in environmental management online programs, which could extend the length of your studies.

Is a PhD in Environmental Management Worth It?

PhD in Environmental Management Careers

Yes, a PhD in Environmental Management is worth it for many students. Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow by 8% over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This steady growth rate will need a constant supply of environmental professionals.

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In the academic realm, employment of postsecondary teachers is expected to grow 12% over the same period (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Depending on their specialty area, doctoral graduates may pursue research or teaching positions or pursue leadership roles in the field.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Environmental Management Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Antioch University

Antioch University

The Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Studies program from Antioch University requires 69 credit hours to be completed across 4 or 5 years with a cohort. Students are expected to complete weekly online work for their courses and attend occasional intensives on campus during the summer and on weekends.

Antioch University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University offers a Doctor of Engineering Science in Earth and Environmental Engineering. Some courses are available online. Students in the program are required to come to campus to conduct research with faculty advisors. Students may enroll part-time but must finish within 7 years. Applicants must provide GRE scores and must already have a master’s degree in a related field.

Columbia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a PhD in Safety Services. This hybrid program includes a combination of synchronous online classes that meet via Zoom and face-to-face classes that meet for 2 weeks each summer. New students may only begin every other summer. The program is intended for students who work full-time.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers an online program for a PhD in Environmental Engineering. Students do need to make at least three campus visits, including one to defend their dissertation. The program requires the completion of 90 semester credits, including coursework, research, and a dissertation. UND’s online classes are identical to those on campus.

UND is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden University

Walden University offers a PhD in Public Health with a specialization in Environmental and Occupational Health. The program is designed so that students can continue to work while earning their doctorate. There are two tracks available, one for those who have a master’s degree in a related field and one for those without.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Doctorate in Environmental Management Online

Doctorate in Environmental Management Online

As the population grows, climates change, and technologies evolve, new environmental challenges and solutions can arise.

If you have a passion for environmental management and want to be on the frontline of sustainability, then you might consider an environmental management degree online PhD program. An online doctoral degree can help you develop advanced problem-solving, research, and analytical skills. You can also further your communication and leadership skill sets.

You can take the next step in your educational and professional journey today by exploring doctoral programs in environmental management from accredited institutions.

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Brian White
Brian is pursuing his Master’s degree in Global Strategic Communications and holds a BSc in Journalism from the University of Florida. His focus is education technology, online education, leadership, and engaged scholarship.