As an interdisciplinary degree, a bachelor’s in sustainability offers many unique opportunities for those who choose to obtain one. Sustainability isn’t just a single thing. Rather, it’s a higher education discipline encompassing any business, endeavor, environmental, private, or even public pursuit. It’s also a growing segment of the job market
The path toward a bachelor of science in sustainability includes a curriculum of environment, business, and policy courses. These are the types of courses that make for a well-rounded professional who can fit into various careers and fields. For example, a sustainability degree lends itself well to the types of sustainability concerns faced in health, law, agriculture, and business. This also includes local, state, federal, and even international governments.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Value Sustainability Bachelor’s Programs
To rank the best sustainability bachelor’s degree programs, Value Colleges editors focused on reputable, accredited institutions of higher education offering sustainability-related degrees. Programs are ranked by cost, salary potential, and student reviews, using current data from IPEDS and Niche to determine the best value and real job market impact.
1. University of California, Berkeley
The Sustainable Environmental Design major at the University of California, Berkeley is an interdisciplinary course of study. Students are prepared for careers in the design and construction of healthy, resource-efficient buildings. This program covers the basics of sustainable design. It includes course material on environmental science, architectural design, social justice, and other important sustainability topics. Thanks to its multifaceted approach, this program is one of the best choices for a bachelor’s in sustainability and great preparation for graduate programs.
UC Berkeley is the top public research university in the United States. Its cutting-edge and up-to-date education makes UC Berkeley one of the best places to study environmental science. The Berkeley College of Environmental Design has a strong focus on sustainability. The school offers many courses and majors for a student body that wants to make a positive impact on the environment, from the hard science to the liberal arts. The UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design can make an excellent school choice for aspiring architects, landscape architects, environmental scientists, and urban designers, and its school of business is one of the nation’s best.
Highlight: UC Berkeley has made many discoveries that have impacted the environment over the years. Some of those discoveries include biofuels and radioactivity detection techniques.
Program: Sustainable Environmental Design
2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
The BS in Sustainable Design program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is an interdisciplinary program. It brings together design, engineering, sustainability studies, environmental studies, and architecture. The curriculum includes studio courses that focus on issues related to sustainable design. Students learn how to create a more sustainable world. After graduation, students move on to work in nonprofit organizations, design forms, government offices, and more. With its focus on creative design, this program provides an excellent Bachelor of Science in sustainability.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is one of the top schools in the United States. This top public research university has many notable alumni hailing from its student body, including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize Winners, and more. The College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides challenging degree programs that help many students make the most of their skills. It includes fields such as architecture, art and design, and performing arts.
Highlight: US News and World Report rank the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign #21 on its list of Best Colleges for Veterans.
Program: BS in Sustainable Design
3. Bellevue University
At Bellevue University, the sustainability management BS degree shows students how to make a difference in the environment. They learn how to create sustainable practices in business and society. The curriculum includes coursework in sustainability science, economic analysis, natural resources management, environmental science, finance, management of technology, and leadership. This innovative and respected program is one of the best options for a bachelor’s degree in sustainability.
Bellevue University is a private, nonprofit university in Omaha, Nebraska. It focuses primarily on adult education. In fact, most of its student body is over age 25. Adult learners, including those who are interested in sustainability, find a like-minded community at Bellevue. Bellevue University’s education programs are focused on providing undergraduate and graduate students with skills that will allow them to succeed in today’s world.
Highlight: Bellevue’s sustainability management degree was ranked as one of the top ten online sustainability degree options and a long-time best value
Program: BS Sustainability Management Degree
4. University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin offers a Bachelor’s in Sustainability Science. This degree prepares students for careers in environmental advocacy, energy, agriculture, engineering, social sciences, and more. Its courses focus on sustainability at all levels. Through this program, students can become invaluable to organizations that include sustainability in their core values. Plus, as an online program, it offers plenty of flexibility. It’s one of the best options for an online bachelor’s in sustainability.
The University of Wisconsin has a variety of courses and programs for undergraduates from a top-tier public research university. They offer courses in the sciences, engineering, computer science, social sciences, humanities, and the liberal arts. This school thrives in innovative areas, including environmental sustainability and its business school. The school produces impactful research, much of which has a positive impact on the environment. Students here learn from a challenging curriculum and make the most of their career goals.
Highlight: 41 Pulitzer Prizes have come from the University of Wisconsin.
Program: BS in Sustainable Management
5. University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis offers an environmental design program. This program is for students who want to go into urban planning as a career. Urban planning has a huge impact on people’s lives, and this program recognizes that impact. The program teaches the best practices for sustainable living environments, showing students how their cities can make the most of resources. For students who want to plan cities, this program is one of the best choices for a Bachelor of Science in sustainability.
UC Davis is a thriving school that values diversity and collaboration. Founded to serve the state of California, the student body and faculty alike focus on ways to make the community a better place. The sustainability degree program comes from UC Davis’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Highlight: This school is dedicated to creating a better world for the people who live in it. It has many resources that help it to achieve this goal. The school is home to talented faculty and learners, and it has a positive impact on the world.
Program: BS – Sustainable Environmental Design
6. ASU Online
ASU Online offers a BA in Sustainability. This degree focuses on all three pillars of sustainability: people, planet, and profit. In other words, it shows students how to keep businesses successful while benefitting people and respecting the planet. The coursework in this program is up to date, focusing on the most current issues and solutions. Because ASU has a reputation for innovation, it makes an excellent choice for students who want an online bachelor’s in sustainability.
ASU Online makes learning as accessible as possible for busy adult college students. It delivers the same high-quality ASU education in a convenient format. Students can earn their degrees from nearly anywhere. ASU Online delivers core subjects and career-focused training. It empowers many students to succeed by preparing them for today’s job market. Much like the main ASU campus, ASU Online has earned many high rankings, awards, and recognitions, especially for their business school and liberal arts.
Highlight: ASU Online ranks among the top ten in the US for undergraduate teaching and as a best value.
Program: BA in Sustainability
7. Florida International University
Florida International University has a BA in Sustainability and the Environment. A lot of factors go into maintaining sustainability, and this program invites students to explore these factors. The program also introduces students to the most pressing issues in sustainability today. Students learn how to find solutions to common environmental problems. The program ends with a capstone project, so it’s a great bachelor’s in sustainability for those who enjoy a hands-on approach.
At Florida International University, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education combines several disciplines. This school empowers students to recognize problems and find unique solutions. As a top 50 public university, Florida International University offers a lot for its student body. It produces important research, especially in the areas of health, environmental science, computer science, school of business, liberal arts, and related fields.
Highlight: Florida International University was ranked as one of the best national universities for 2022, according to US News and World Report, and a best value.
Program: BA in Sustainability and the Environment
8. University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington offers a BS in Sustainable Urban Design. In the US, the demand for city planning has grown and continues to grow. Meanwhile, new cities need sustainable solutions that benefit people and the environment. This degree program recognizes those needs and prepares students to meet them. This bachelor of science in sustainability is the only program of its kind in Texas and the surrounding states.
UTA is a diverse and highly respected university. This challenging school keeps students engaged through hands-on learning. It has lots of opportunities like internships and research undergrad and graduate programs, so students get real-world experience as they earn their degree. As one of the largest universities in the University of Texas system, UTA has a big impact on its student body and the world. It’s also surrounded by several major cities, making it a great choice for job connections.
Highlight: UTA is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a national best value, and ranks #1 for awarding bachelor’s degrees to African American students.
Program: BS in Sustainable Urban Design
9. University of Massachusetts Amherst
UMass Amherst has a BS program in Building and Construction Technology. The program provides a full education in both construction and sustainability. This way, students can combine their skills to become green building experts. Courses cover a wide range of topics, including energy conservation, business, design, science, and much more. This bachelor’s degree in sustainability prepares students for an ever-growing field.
UMass Amherst values boldness, uniqueness, and curiosity. The school resides in a rural area, but it’s close to several major cities, so it provides its student body with the best of both worlds. Committed to change and discovery, UMass Amherst actively fights for global improvement. As a result, it attracts undergrad and graduate students who are interested in sustainability and similar topics. The school also makes an impact by providing a challenging and creative education.
Highlight: UMass Amherst ranks #26 among public research universities in the US.
Program: BS Building and Construction Technology
10. University of Colorado Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder has a B.EnvD in Environmental Design. Students learn how to build strong communities by using sustainable practices. Students may specialize in one of several areas, including urban design, environmental product design, and more. UC Boulder makes a great option for a multidisciplinary bachelor’s in sustainability.
UC Boulder offers a wide variety of courses and both undergrad and graduate programs. It performs very well in STEM topics, including topics that concern sustainability. The university’s beautiful setting makes it a good place to learn about the environment. Students can learn while surrounded by national parks and other important resources. UC Boulder provides an education that helps its student body improve their lives and careers. In turn, many of these students improve other people’s lives, too.
Highlight: UC Boulder has a long history of environmental science impact. For example, it’s ranked #8 in the nation for environmental law.
Program: B.EnvD in Environmental Design
11. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona has a BS in Sustainable Built Environments. This program is built on the belief that buildings and other structures can be made more sustainable. When building processes become more sustainable, they can positively impact society. The program offers concentrations in architecture, engineering, and environmental design. This way, students can focus their interests as they earn a bachelor of science in sustainability.
The University of Arizona has a thriving College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture. Set in the Sonoran Desert, this school provides a great setting to learn about buildings and their impact on the environment. Students learn bold solutions. They study the latest innovations in architecture and sustainability. Undergraduate and graduate programs focus on building structures that serve their communities and last for many years.
Highlight: DesignIntelligence ranked the University of Arizona as one of the top ten “Most Admired Undergraduate Architecture Schools (Public).”
Program: BS Sustainable Built Environments
12. Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University knows the importance of energy efficiency. That’s why App State offers a BS in Building Sciences with an emphasis on sustainable building. Students learn what makes a building energy efficient, how to improve design practices, and other important sustainability topics. Most students become employed shortly after graduation, but some choose to pursue grad school. Either way, this bachelor’s degree in sustainability provides the skills and knowledge they need.
North Carolina’s Appalachian State has an entire department dedicated to sustainability in architecture. Furthermore, the university as a whole is dedicated to sustainability and global citizenship. App State prepares future builders and designers for the most current careers. The school focuses on relevant career training and helping students develop their leadership potential. App State University helps students find solutions. It has earned high rankings in many academic areas.
Highlight: US News and World Report ranks App State as one of the top regional universities in the South and a best value.
Program: BS in Building Sciences – Sustainable Building
13. Penn State World Campus
Penn State’s World Campus has a BS in Energy and Sustainability Policy. Students learn about sustainable energy, learning solutions and best practices. Then, they learn how sustainable energy interacts with policy and business. Along the way, they gain communication and teamwork skills, so they can work with others to create solutions. This Bachelor of Science in sustainability helps students make the most of their options.
Penn State World Campus is a platform that combines training and flexibility. It delivers a quality Penn State education for students who want both excellence and convenience. Its undergrad and graduate programs focus on real-world needs and how students can meet those needs. They teach important problem-solving skills and encourage lifelong learning from the sciences and liberal arts. Just like students from Penn State’s main campus, World Campus students move on to become well-respected leaders.
Highlight: Penn State World Campus is one of the top ten schools for online bachelor’s degrees, according to US News and World Report.
Program: BS in Energy and Sustainability Policy
14. Oregon State University Ecampus
At Oregon State University, the BS in Sustainability empowers students to find solutions. Students learn how energy interacts with business, politics, and communities. This degree is designed as a double degree program, which means that it’s meant to go with an existing bachelor’s degree. Many of OSU’s business students take this route. The program is also available as a minor. In any case, this online bachelor’s in sustainability instills the leadership skills students will need to make a difference.
Oregon State University is a public university with a big impact. It’s the largest university in the state, and it has the resources to go with its size. Many OSU programs address environmental issues and sustainability, but the school of business is also one of the Pacific Northwest’s best. OSU has delivered high-quality programs for more than 150 years. It offers innovation and consistently evolves to deliver what its student body needs.
Highlight: US News and World Report has ranked OSU among the best schools for online undergraduate programs.
Program: B.S. in Sustainability
15. Ferris State University
Ferris State University offers a BS in Architecture and Sustainability. This program recognizes that “sustainability” isn’t just about green building materials. It examines sustainability in techniques, business, and long-term efforts. Students learn how to address challenges and maintain sustainability in a changing world. They develop their leadership and critical thinking skills so they can partner with others and create solutions. Overall, this bachelor’s in sustainability provides in-depth learning opportunities.
Ferris State University is a career-focused school that equips students for success. Courses teach the student body what they need for today’s in-demand career paths, like computer science. Students gain up-to-date skills for their current goals.
Highlight: Ferris State partners with several organizations to help students expand their learning experiences. Thanks to its innovative approach to learning, students can gain confidence in their skills before they graduate.
Program: BS in Architecture and Sustainability
16. Stephen F. Austin State University
Stephen F. Austin State University offers a sustainability degree. The program teaches students how they can make the world a greener place. The curriculum is designed to cover many aspects of environmental work. Students who major in sustainability become members of the International Association of Sustainability Professionals program. This opportunity is just one reason why Stephen F. Austin State is one of the best bachelor’s in sustainability options.
Stephen F. Austin is an independent public university that began as a teacher’s college. The campus sits on 421 acres of land, making it a great spot to study sustainability and related topics. The small class sizes and low student-to-faculty ratio provide a personalized education. At the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, which hosts the sustainability program, students gain a wide range of skills to help them maximize their success outside of college.
Highlight: SFA has one of the top time-to-degree rates in Texas.
Program: BA in Sustainability
17. Maryville University
Maryville University offers its bachelor’s in sustainability online. Students learn how sustainability works on a local level, and global level, and everything in between. And since it’s online, students can learn from whatever location works best for them. However, just because it’s an online program doesn’t mean that students miss out on real-world learning. In fact, this online bachelor’s in sustainability gives students the practical skills they’ll need to make a difference.
Maryville University is a private institution that focuses on students and their dreams. It takes a personalized approach to education, helping students take their goals to new heights. Faculty members and mentors work directly with students to make sure they meet their goals. Maryville doesn’t just teach career skills. It also partners with industry experts. This way, students get a highly relevant education that includes internships and other opportunities. Online students get the same excellent career training as the on-campus student body.
Highlight: Maryville University is a designated Military-Friendly school.
Program: Online Bachelor’s in Sustainability
18. Catawba College
Catawba College offers a BS in Environment and Sustainability. The program is also available as a minor. With these hands-on classes, students can choose one of four concentrations: sustainable planning and leadership, environment and outdoor education, environmental policy and advocacy, and natural resource management. Courses cover the different issues that threaten the environment today. In this program, students learn by doing. It’s a solid bachelor’s degree in sustainability for those who want experiential learning.
Catawba College is a small liberal arts college that provides challenge and inspiration. It makes a good choice for students who need small class sizes and a close-knit learning environment. Classes here are highly interactive, and students get to know their teachers and fellow learners. Students push their academic boundaries at Catawba College. They also explore their goals through hands-on learning. Opportunities like internships and mentorship help students grow in their careers.
Highlight: According to Affordable Colleges Online, Catawba is one of the best schools in North Carolina for return on investment.
Program: B.S. Degree in Environment and Sustainability
Minor in Environment and Sustainability
19. South Seattle College
At South Seattle College, the BAS in Sustainable Building Science Technology takes environmental skills to new levels. Sometimes, sustainability requires highly technical knowledge. For instance, it requires people who know how energy-efficient systems work. This BAS program teaches that knowledge. It’s a challenging program, but it empowers students who want to go into the technical side of sustainable building practices. Through this bachelor’s degree in sustainability, students can become professional building science experts.
South Seattle College offers relevant career training for a diverse group of students. At South Seattle College, students learn valuable skills to match their goals. Courses teach the skills that today’s workforce needs the most, helping students stand out among other applicants. With a fairly small student body to faculty ratio, students get to know their teachers. These faculty members celebrate students’ success every day.
Highlight: At South Seattle College, yearly tuition is nearly ten times less than a student could pay at a private university.
Program: BAS — Sustainable Building Science Technology
20. Woodbury University
Woodbury University’s BA in Sustainable Practices looks at sustainability from many perspectives. Those perspectives include economics, ethics, science, design, and politics. As students learn the different factors in sustainability, they also take focused courses that cover real-world problems. In these courses, students are challenged to find solutions that they might use on the job. Through this bachelor’s degree in sustainability, students get a well-rounded look at what the environment needs.
Woodbury University is a private institution and small liberal arts college that values curiosity and creativity. At Woodbury, students of all disciplines find creative ways to make the world a better place. Every program gives students the chance to work on their own and in groups to come up with solutions. Plus, the practical experiences at Woodbury help students succeed in their fields after graduation. Internships aren’t just an option here. They’re a requirement for graduation.
Highlight: Woodbury University is one of the safest campuses in its region.
Program: BA in Sustainable Practices
21. Pennsylvania College of Technology
Pennsylvania College of Technology focuses on “real-world ready” skills. That’s why Penn College’s Architecture and Sustainable Design degree includes real-world resources. For instance, students have access to design studios that they can use to develop their skills. For sustainable design, students learn the latest building practices and technologies that help the environment and minimize harm. This bachelor of science in sustainability helps students see where they can make a difference.
Penn College provides an industry-focused education. Its students study the technical fields that are growing rapidly in the United States. Students get a hands-on, career-ready education. At the same time, Penn College doesn’t skip the “soft skills” that students will also need in their lives and careers. This affordable school provides a focused but well-rounded education where the entire student body can achieve their goals.
Highlight: US News and World Report ranked Penn College among the best regional colleges in the North for 2022.
Program: Architecture & Sustainable Design BS
22. Roosevelt University
Roosevelt University has a bachelor’s in sustainability studies. It’s the first program of its kind in the Chicago area. Students learn how different parts of the environment work, and they learn how today’s practices impact the environment. Students who graduate from this program have many potential career options, like urban planning or conservation research. This bachelor’s in sustainability offers challenging courses for a rewarding career.
Roosevelt University is a Chicago-based private school that offers learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. This inclusive and innovative school prepares students for the careers of today. It also provides a well-rounded education that includes collaboration and critical thinking.
Highlight: Though it’s located in a big city, Roosevelt University is a small school, so students get the best of both. They get all the vibrance of the city and all the benefits of personalized education.
Program: Sustainability Studies (BA)
23. University of the District of Columbia
At the University of the District of Columbia, the BA in Urban Sustainability provides a well-rounded and interdisciplinary degree. Students may pursue law, policy, urban planning, or any number of options after graduation. The program helps students sharpen their problem-solving skills to come up with effective solutions. This bachelor’s in sustainability provides a new appreciation of the world’s natural resources.
UDC is a Historically Black university located in the nation’s capitol. Thanks to its location and historical backdrop, it’s a top choice for students who want to make a difference in the world around them. Sustainability is one of the core values at UDC. As a result, this school deeply values its sustainability program. Students get a high ROI from UDC. Not only does UDC offer affordable tuition, but it also trains students for rewarding careers.
Highlight: UDC students land jobs that pay more than average, according to the Federal College Scorecard.
Program: BA in Urban Sustainability
24. Boston Architectural College
At Boston Architectural College, students can earn a Bachelor of Design Studies with an emphasis on sustainable building technology. The instructors in this program don’t just understand architecture; they actually work in the field. As a result, students get real-world insight as they learn. This program provides a deep look at both architecture and sustainability. From analysis and theory to networking and practice, this bachelor’s in sustainability provides a well-rounded approach.
Boston Architectural College is a private school that focuses completely on building and design. It has a deep focus, which is why it appeals to many architecture students. Students can learn all kinds of architecture, from interior architecture to landscape architecture. BAC helps students make the most of their skills. It teaches both excellence and innovation. The school is growing and evolving to serve more students and communities.
Highlight: BAC is the largest college of spatial design in New England.
Program: Bachelor of Design Studies – Sustainable Building Technologies
25. Cascadia College
Cascadia College has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices (BASSP). This unique degree shows students how they can make a major difference in the environment. Alumni often help communities, promote social justice, help businesses become more sustainable, and more. Courses cover a broad but focused range of skills that can help students succeed in a variety of places. This bachelor’s in sustainability turns abstract ideas into concrete solutions.
Cascadia College is an active learning community that helps students prepare for exciting careers. It performs well in science, business, and related topics. For students who want to bring more sustainability into these fields, Cascadia can make a good choice. More than a quarter of Cascadia’s faculty members hold PhDs, which is the highest amount among the state’s community and technical colleges.
Highlight: Cascadia College is the #1 sustainable grounds campus in the US.
Program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices (BASSP)
Why Should I Get a Bachelor’s in Sustainability?
The bachelors degree in sustainability is a relatively new field of study. The global recognition of the need for sustainability professionals, programs, and studies means this field will only grow and become more in demand as time goes by. For those considering bachelor of science in sustainability, they can rest assured their degree offers a high level of futureproofing.
Applicants who want to enter this field can do so across a very large range of career paths. The demand for the incorporation of sustainability practices into practically every aspect of life ensures a bachelors in sustainability will continue to bring opportunities and welcome challenges for those in the field. In addition, there’s a lot of specialization in the field of sustainability.
The ability to become proficient in a sustainability niche can also help applicants stand out while avoiding a lot of competition in the field. In this way, a student with a particular goal can carve their own path once they obtain their bachelors in sustainability. And students who want to pursue an online bachelors in sustainability can do so without fearing they will miss any of these opportunities.
What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Sustainability?
The number of potential job and career opportunities for sustainability graduates is high and growing. How to start a career in sustainability typically requires an applicant to have a goal in mind, as there are so many potential paths the applicant can take.
For example, jobs in sustainability consulting exist and are plentiful. However, jobs in sustainability consulting can mean a lot of different things, because sustainability can mean different things between different industries.
Jobs in sustainability management can start with any of the entry level jobs in sustainability. Some specific jobs in sustainability, including entry level jobs in sustainability, can include:
- Urban planner
- Landscape architect
- Sustainability program coordinator
- Engineer (solar, water resource, nuclear, air quality, environmental)
- Sustainability manager
For those considering jobs in sustainability management, it’s often possible without needing to pursue graduate degrees, so a bachelors can take someone far in whatever field they choose. Building and construction represents another area containing both entry level jobs in sustainability as well as advanced work.
A lot of sustainability implementation occurs at the building and planning level. Infrastructure and sustainability go hand in hand. Infrastructure itself involves an incredible number of fields and operations, so sustainability also plays a role in every other industry attached. This makes a sustainability bachelor’s degree ideal for those who want to work in urban planning.
For example, a building project will include planning, design, policy, law, materials handling, and many other things that all require sustainability professionals. So, for those who want to find jobs in sustainability consulting or take on the responsibility associated with jobs in sustainability management, then the opportunities are there.
How Much Can I Make with a Degree in Sustainability?
With a sustainability degree salary will vary based on industry, demand, location, and job title. For example, a sustainability management salary can look a lot different from a sustainability specialist salary, even if the jobs come with similar duties.
It’s also worth noting there are many niche jobs in sustainability with names that can change the sustainability job salary amount. For example, adding “green” to a job type can often change the salary amount.
Overall, a sustainability specialist salary, as part of the environmental specialist category, has a median pay of $73.2k. A sustainability degree salary can also rise well over a $100k . Still, sustainability manager salaries can vary based on the title and field as well. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the median sustainability manager salary for general and operations management is $91.5k.
However, the sustainability management salary for industrial production managers is $88.1k. Altogether, the sustainability job salary options have a lot of flexibility and room for sustainability professionals to move up and around their profession to find the jobs and salary that works best for them.