Earn an Environmental Science Degree
- $320/credit (120 credits)
- Transfer up to 90 credits
- Instructor-led labs with custom kits mailed to students
- Analyze real environmental challenges
- Get valuable hands-on experience
- No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
Online Environmental Science Degree Program
Environmental scientists are key stewards of our planet. They analyze environmental issues related to everything from climate crisis to changes in biodiversity. They are the champions of sustainability and protecting Earth's health.
Southern New Hampshire University’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Science degree online program provides a strong foundation in natural and physical sciences. It focuses on current environmental issues and explores areas of the environment, including natural resource conservation, wildlife ecology and water quality management.
Throughout the program, you'll take lab courses complete with custom lab kits for an authentic experience in testing hypotheses and analyzing data. You'll also be provided with opportunities to participate in experiential learning courses and internships that align with your career goals. These experiences will help you offer data-driven solutions to innovate how we measure, monitor, mitigate and manage the key environmental issues of today and tomorrow.
SNHU's online environmental science program also partners with SNHU’s campus Arboretum to provide a unique integrated learning experience. SNHU’s Arboretum was even the proud recipient of the 2020 Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Effective Practice Award.
The Arboretum encompasses over 24 acres of wetland ecosystems and some of the last remaining native forestland near central Manchester. As a living classroom, the Arboretum aims to inspire and develop citizens and leaders dedicated to understanding, appreciating and sustaining our environment.
What You'll Learn
- How humans and the natural world interact
- Technology, lab and field-based research methods
- Problem solving, critical thinking and data analysis skills
- Communication skills for practical and sustainable solutions
- Creative actions to address environmental issues
How You'll Learn
At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.
Ideal for Learners Who are Passionate About the Environment
"As the climate crisis persists, organizations across the world will be required to adopt sustainable practices and policies — resulting in continued demand for environmental scientists and advocates," said Tyra Davey, associate dean of science at SNHU. "Our online environmental science program offers the hands-on research, lab and field experience needed for students to help restore the health of our planet."
As an environmental science major, you have the option of customizing your degree through the 39 free elective credits, or by adding on a data analytics in science or natural resources concentration.
Data Analytics in Science
Help solve real environmental challenges through data with the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Science with a concentration in Data Analytics in Science program.
As an environmental scientist, your ability to use data to evaluate and inform decision-makers' work is critical in preserving the health of the planet. By supplementing your skills with expertise in statistics, data collection and database environments, you can take your work a step further — using data to tell stories for conservation organizations, policymakers and more.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, big data is transforming organizations across industries.1 These large volumes of data can be analyzed to identify and solve problems, provide insights on processes and inform better solutions.
Data analytics can be an especially powerful tool for an environmental scientist. Corporate entities, for example, rely on data to help improve their sustainability efforts. Government agencies tap into data to pass public policies for environmental conservation. Furthermore, data can help shine a light on public health issues, like the release of pollutants and industrial chemicals into the environment.
Courses in the data analytics in science concentration are designed to grow skills that can help set you apart from other professionals in your field. You’ll learn how to apply quantitative and qualitative models for identifying, evaluating and making predictions to solve meaningful problems.
Courses may include:
- Data Analysis Techniques
- Data Validation: Quality and Cleaning
- Emerging Technologies and Big Data
Natural Resources and Conservation
Learn techniques for conserving the many aspects of our natural environment with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Science with a concentration in Natural Resources and Conservation. This concentration is designed to prepare you to find ways of managing and preserving our planet's resources.
With this concentration, you'll explore the relationship between humans and the natural world. You'll also hone in on environmental justice and gain an ethical framework for your approach to protecting the planet.
A BS in Environmental Science with a concentration in Natural Resources and Conservation can open a lot of doors when it comes to your career. You could become an environmental health and safety specialist, working to protect the environment by setting and enforcing regulations. You could also take on the role of environmental restoration planner, assessing polluted sites and working to get them back to their original state. Or perhaps you'd rather become a soil and water conservation scientist, helping advise organizations on how to limit their impact on our natural resources through research, practice and policy. Whatever path you choose, you'll be a critical part of protecting the environment.
According to the BLS, the median annual wage of environmental scientists and specialists was $76,530 in May 2021.1 Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to increase by 5% through 2031.1
Courses may include:
- Conservation Biology
- Global Climate Change
- Ecological Principles and Field Methods
The future is bright for careers in environmental science.
A career in environmental science lets you apply your love of natural science in many ways. You will learn to protect the environment and human health.
Kylie Lorenzen ’19, who became SNHU's all-time leading scorer as a four-year standout on the university's woman's basketball team, said she plans to use her degree to make a similar impact in the environmental field.
“The environment is something that is changing, and it affects everyone,” Lorenzen said. “It affects wildlife. It affects humans. It’s a big topic nowadays and usually, we just see the policy and government side, but there’s a lot that goes into … protecting and conserving what we have while also utilizing it and being sustainable in the same way.”
Careers in environmental science lend themselves to office, lab or fieldwork. You could work for local, state or federal agencies. You may work for nonprofit organizations to promote healthy environmental practices.
Careers in environmental science include:
Environmental Health and Safety Specialist
Explore environmental health risks
Conservation Land Manager
Work to protect habitat and biodiversity
Soil and Water Conservationist
Work to prevent erosion
Protect and manage federal and state parks and forests
You may also wish to explore SNHU's online BS in Geoscience, which takes a holistic approach to understanding our Earth system.
Job Growth and Salary
With an environmental science degree, you will have many chances to apply your education to the workforce. Environmental expertise is valuable in many types of businesses, with a good outlook for job growth over the next decade.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of environmental scientists and specialists is predicted to grow by 5% through 2031, the national average for all professions.1
The median annual wage for environmental scientists and specialists was $76,530 in May 2021, which is notably higher than the median annual wage of $45,760 for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Environmental Science Degree
Why SNHU for Your Online Environmental Science Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
Prior coursework could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. You could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience, or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- U.S. News & World Report named SNHU the 2021 Most Innovative University in the North and one of the nation's "Best Regional Universities"
- Awarded the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology by The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
93.6% of online students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials:
- Completed free undergraduate application
- Prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you
- Test scores are not required as part of your application
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
If you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going:
- Complete a free undergraduate application
- Submit any additional documents required
- Work with an admission counselor to explore financial options and walk through the application process
If you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Students Are Saying
LeWard Johnson '21
"One of the major skills I’ve gained from the environmental science program is being able to utilize the scientific method. In my career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a life scientist in the water division, using the scientific method is critical when conducting investigations and analyzing data. Being able to write a scientific paper, conduct experiments and collect data are also some useful skills that help me while conducting fieldwork."
Courses & Curriculum
A degree in environmental science helps you build the competencies needed to be a leader in conserving and managing Earth's resources. To do so, it combines the natural and physical sciences (like biology, chemistry and physics) with real-world scientific lab work and fieldwork.
The program can also help you build a number of key skills, including:
- Communication and presentation techniques
- Data analysis processes
- Critical thinking abilities
- Field methods and technologies
- Research strategies
- Planning and advocacy tactics
Our environmental science major boasts 30 free elective credits. This is ideal if you're a transfer student who doesn't want to repeat courses. It also allows you to add a minor that complements your major and fits your career goals.
Another special feature of the environmental science degree is the opportunity to engage in experiential learning, which is essential to gaining the skills and professional experience needed to become a marketable candidate in the workforce. Using your free electives, you'll have the opportunity to take several experiential learning courses, with topics including:
- Animal behavior: The key component of conservation biology (the study of Earth's biodiversity) is animal behavior. In studying animal behavior, you'll gain hands-on research skills that are valuable in the field of environmental science.
- Citizen science: This topic encompasses the involvement of the public in scientific research to help address societal needs and accelerate science, technology and innovation. You'll contribute to solving real-world problems by formulating research questions, conducting scientific experiments and more.
- Research experiences in science: Extend your knowledge of the scientific method by engaging in research projects you design. The corresponding hands-on research and presentation skills you'll gain are vital in the fields of environmental science or geoscience.
- Certifications and licensures: Select a certification or license of your choosing with help from your instructor — then use the course time to study for it. Note: It's up to you to choose a certification or license for which you qualify.
- Grant writing in science: This topic provides useful experience in writing grants — a skill valuable across any discipline and profession. Since many non-profit, state and municipal entities rely on grants to support their programs and/or research, this funding can be the key to getting a project off the ground.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Due to shipping laws, lab courses requiring lab kits must be completed within the contiguous United States. New students living outside the lower 48 states may be eligible to transfer in lab credits from accredited institutions. If a currently enrolled student moves outside of the contiguous U.S., they may petition to take the labs at another institution for credit.
All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
Earn Math Credits
Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|BS in Environmental Science|
|Courses May Include|
|BS in Environmental Science Online|
|PHY 101||Principles of Physics||Principles of Physics is an algebra based course that explores the major topics in physics, such as motion and forces, gravity and projectiles, energy and work, thermodynamics, vibrations and waves, electricity and magnetism, solids and fluids, light and optics, and atomic and nuclear physics.|
|BIO 120||General Biology I||General biology course that includes mammalian cell structure and function, cellular reproduction and physiology, and Mendelian genetics. Laboratory exercises (BIO 120L) to follow lecture topics.|
|BIO 120L||General Biology I Lab||Laboratory course to follow topics presented in BIO 120.|
|BIO 315||Ecological Principles and Field Methods||This course introduces students to the principles of ecology and practical methods used in the field. Students will explore theoretical topics in the ecological systems including the level of the population, community and ecosystem; energy flow and biogeochemical cycles; and the concept of sustainability. Students will read literature and conduct research projects in the field and will use critical thinking to evaluate research, design studies, present findings and debate on the issues.|
|CHM 101||Fundamentals of Chemistry||An introductory chemistry course emphasizing the contribution of chemistry in our everyday lives. This course will enable students to look at various aspects of the world around them through the lens of chemistry. It will introduce basic concepts and applications of chemistry as well as chemical topics and their relationship to matters of societal concern.|
|CHM 101L||Fundamentals of Chemistry Lab||This course will use laboratory techniques to study the fundamental principles of chemistry. Topics such as the mole, chemical equilibria, chemical and physical properties, solutions, kinetics, etc., will all be covered along with other topics important to chemistry.|
|ENV 101||Environmental Science||This course provides an introduction to the scientific aspects of the environmental field. The first part of the course introduces students to the foundations of environmental science, while the second part concentrates on the application of these foundations to real life environmental problems. Therefore, the course not only engages the fundamentals of environmental science but also shows students how science informs sustainability, environmental policies, economics and personal choice.|
|ENV 220||Field Methods and Technologies||This course introduces students, interested in environmental field work, to the tools and technology of the profession. Students will read and discuss primary literature that use these techniques and will participate in hands-on activities to improve their skills. Main topics of the course will be the use and application of multiple environmental field research techniques and statistical and data analysis software.|
|ENV 250||Environmental Science Research Methods||This course provides students with an understanding of how to evaluate, conduct, write and design research. Required for environmental science majors, it introduces the why, when and how quantitative and qualitative methods are used as investigative tools. The course follows the scientific method and focuses on how to search the literature, write a literature review, formulate research questions/hypotheses, and design experiments to test these hypotheses. We will also explore qualitative methods and discuss their use in the field with special attention to conducting interviews, case studies, and focus groups. Students will prepare a research proposal on a topic of interest. Formulation of this project begins early, forms the basis for a final project, and is presented in a mock scientific conference.|
|ENV 305||Global Climate Change||This interdisciplinary course brings students up to date on what is known and not known about the causes and consequences of global climate change, and about viable response options. Topics include analysis of climate drivers such as greenhouse gas emissions, and land-use changes, and investigation of some climate system responses such as increased storm intensity and increased surface temperature. Students also explore some of the societal and economic impacts of global climate change. By reference to the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, paleoclimate studies, and other authoritative sources, students learn how to separate fact from fiction in the often publicized debate about the dynamics of global climate change and about how we should respond to it.|
|ENV 440||Senior Seminar||This is an issue-based discussion course designed to define and explore the multifaceted consequences of environmental science issues. Several topics will be explored from either long-standing or current environmental science issues. Students are expected to conduct extensive research on relevant topics and communicate their knowledge in both oral and written assignments.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Minimum Hardware Requirements
PC (Windows OS)
Apple (Mac OS)
Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.
Currently supported operating system from Apple.
8GB or higher
8GB or higher
100GB or higher
100GB or higher
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
SNHU Purchase Programs
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
- Laptop or desktop? Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.
- Note: Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.
- Office 365 Pro Plus is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for Microsoft 365 plans for business, education and government.
- Antivirus software: Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
|Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*||$675||$225||$6,750|
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
Additional Costs No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of jobs can you get with an environmental science degree?
Perhaps the best part of earning a degree in environmental science – other than saving the world – is that you can apply your learning in so many different ways.
"There is no straight career path, but rather a journey that SNHU's environmental science program helps shape and launch you into," said Tyra Davey, associate dean of science. "In addition to academic preparation, students in the program have the opportunity to engage with SNHU Career Services from first term through graduation to determine what their career path can look like."
Federal and state agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service, provide some of the largest opportunities for employment in this field. Local agencies and private environmental consultancy companies provide good options as well.
With this dynamic, interdisciplinary degree, you have a lot of options to take your career wherever you want it to go. You can help protect and manage our state parks and forests as a park ranger or manage and remediate environmental hazards as an environmental scientist. Not to mention the opportunities you can gain to help advance the use of renewable energy or tackle issues related to global climate change. The possibilities are truly endless.
The SNHU Career Center is a great place for career support and advice at any time in your career, even after you have graduated. You can get support with resume writing or find connections for local professional organizations. You may find projects or internships, or even prep for interviews. As an SNHU graduate, you will be part of a lifelong alumni network, perfect for networking and making connections in your field and beyond.
Is an environmental science degree worth it?
Absolutely! With a degree in environmental science, you can gain the skills needed to preserve and protect our planet and its precious natural resources.
But don't just take our word for it. Amy Hunt '21 will never forget her experience in SNHU's online BS in Environmental Science degree program. "I fulfilled a goal I set for myself by earning my degree. SNHU made this both exciting and successful by having all the tools I needed as an adult learner," said Hunt.
In addition to a strong foundation in the physical and biological sciences, you'll gain many other skills. You'll learn communication skills, gain project management experience, and receive research and analysis training. These skills aren't just valuable to the environmental sciences. They are applicable to so many other careers such as the private sector, nonprofits, in the field, in a lab or in the office.
According to Tyra Davey, associate dean of science, "There continues to be a growing need for career-ready environmental scientists, since challenges with conservation, resource management and sustainability exist in almost every industry. This offers a wide variety of career pathways for students pursuing their degree."
And with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting an 5% increase in job growth for the field of environmental science through 2031,1 the future of this career field is truly bright.
What are the 5 major fields of environmental science?
As a truly interdisciplinary field, the environmental science major includes instruction in five key areas:
- Biology examines living organisms. Zoology, botany, microbiology and ecology all fall under the biology umbrella.
- Physics is the study of matter and energy. Engineering of any kind, including environmental engineering, is based on the principles of physics.
- Chemistry studies chemicals and their interactions with one another in a substance. Biochemistry and geochemistry are subsets of this, focusing on the chemistry of living things and the chemistry of rocks, soil and water, respectively.
- Sustainability focuses on a mindset and decision-making practices that lead to humans and nature existing in ways that support our present and future generations. Sustainability is studied with considerations at the intersection of ecological health, social wellbeing and economic fairness.
- Social science studies human beings and how they interact with each other and the environment. It also examines the behaviors that result from humans receiving and interpreting information related to the environment. Social science majors offered at Southern New Hampshire University include an online sociology degree and anthropology degree online.
Collectively, these fields ensure you are well-versed in the ways that the environment and all elements of it are connected. You'll study the earth's living and non-living elements, and how all things relating to matter and energy intersect. You can also study how human populations affect and are affected by changes in the environment.
How hard is an environmental science degree?
Studying the environment, climate change and how humans play a major part in the health of our planet is exciting. Protecting the planet is a noble career. To succeed in this major, it helps to feel comfortable with science.
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this degree, you'll learn writing and communication skills, along with math and statistics. This results in a well-rounded education that positions you to be highly capable of doing great work in the career you choose.
"Students can tailor their experience by incorporating experiential learning courses, internships and volunteer opportunities into their learning paths," said Dr. Kelly Thrippleton-Hunter, adjunct faculty for science at SNHU. "This makes the learning even more fun, while also allowing them to gain desirable skills that fit with their unique career goals," she said.
No matter which area of study you decide to earn your degree in, instructors with real-world experience will be there with you every step of the way. Amy Hunt '21, a graduate of the BS in Environmental Science online degree program, said her instructors, "provided additional resources to aid in my learning of the subject and provided detailed feedback on assignments so that I could improve my understanding of the subject."
Can you get an environmental science degree online?
Yes! An online environmental science degree is a great way to learn about the natural world right where you are. Through online learning, you set the pace, so you can complete your work when and where it's best for you. Plus, your fieldwork can be performed close to home, allowing you to study the environment in your very own community.
"The online platform of this program provides our students with the flexibility they need to earn their degree and, best of all, allows them to make a difference in the world," said Dr. Kelly Thrippleton-Hunter, adjunct faculty for science at SNHU.
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Sources & Citations (1)
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm (viewed Feb. 6, 2023)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.