The country and the world are full of people who have a keen interest in pursuing sustainable practices. What we lack as a society and on a global scale are the trained personnel to implement policy decisions and to provide the planning guidance that will put sustainable policies in place. We can’t be a green society without green leadership and it will fall to the upcoming generations to provide that leadership. Universities in the United States have responded to the sustainable movement and the growing response among business ranks to environmental concerns with degree programs that focus on a number of training areas that will provide the professionals we need to make sustainability happen.
- Masters in Environmental Management (MEM) varies in curriculum among the schools that offer it. Some are based in a school of forestry, others in a department of environmental sciences. But because it is a graduate level program it is designed at all institutions to provide the leadership and management skills in a variety of settings that impact the environment. The degree prepares students for careers in environmental policy and analysis, green business, design and planning, conservation and stewardship, education, and consulting. It’s an excellent overall green management credential.
- Master of Environmental Science incorporates science and policy studies into a hybrid degree that provides the graduate with the scientific training to analyze environmental concerns combine with the skills necessary to plan and implement policy that addresses those concerns. This degree is generally a Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) with a curriculum that will incorporate environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, microbiology, hydrology, and geology with a number of policy oriented courses. There may be areas of specialization offered such as Applied Ecology, Environmental Risk Assessment or Water Resources.
- Master of Science in Natural Resources includes studies in natural resources management that may be offered by several divisions within a university. At North Carolina State for instance the program draws on courses from programs in Soil Science, Forestry and Environmental Resources, Landscape Architecture and Parks & Recreation Management. Students can bring the degree into focus by selecting one of numerous technical options which include Ecological Restoration, Assessment & Analysis, Hydrology, Policy & Administration, Outdoor Recreation, Spatial Information Systems and Landscape Architecture.
- MBA in Sustainable Business has become an acceptable major for business students, which says a lot about the tectonic shift in the business world with regard to sustainable practices. Some element of that is self serving but there is also genuine interest in sustainability and in the green approach to energy consumption and land use because of cost savings. The MBA in Sustainable Business at Duquesne University includes courses in the curriculum that reflect this blend of environmental responsibility and profitability. The class in Sustainable Theories & Models lays the groundwork for a sustainable perspective on business decisions. Courses like Systems Thinking and Applied Economics address the constraints and opportunities that emerge from a business built on sustainable principles.
- Masters in Environmental Engineering is a variation of civil engineering that approaches engineering issues from an environmentally responsible perspective. Classes for this degree are cross-disciplinary as most environmental degrees; they include hydrology, hazardous waste management, air pollution control, public health and environmental law. The University of Florida offers an online Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering Sciences that offers concentrations in Water, Wastewater & Stormwater Engineering, Systems Ecology & Ecological Engineering, and Water Resources Planning & Management. Those are three examples of the many specializations for this degree.