Traditionally those looking to further their education beyond the bachelor’s degree simply went on to the next stage in their chosen fields. Those in the sciences and engineering went on to masters of science programs, and those holding degrees in business administration went on to the Master of Business Administration degree. Often a person would get the bachelor’s degree, work a few years, and then take time off for a masters degree or take night school classes. But the standard MS and MBA degrees aren’t necessarily still the best or only choices for career advancement. More and more frequently companies are seeking personnel with specialized training in environmental issues. They want graduates with green degrees. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the university programs that offer graduate programs with green degrees.
Antioch University New England just this spring proudly boasted its first green degree graduates with MBAs in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability. These nineteen students studied the traditional MBA program as well as specialized courses on a wide range of environmental issues. The purpose of the program is to train people to use all of the financial and management skills of an MBA to also seek business profits while adhering to environmental and conservation goals. The program is designed to appeal to students who already have career obligations and a regular work schedule. Classes are held on weekends and for one week during the summer in this sixteen-month program.
The University of Texas at El Paso has joined Rare Conservation in offering a master’s degree in communication with an intensive focus on conservation. Students in this two year green degree program will spend time not only in traditional classrooms but will also spend the majority of their time in the field learning how to do the very things they can expect to do once they complete the program. Graduates will be specialists in running campaigns seeking to build support for environmental issues. This combined effort of an environmental non-profit and a major university may be a model for future programs. Already similar programs are in place at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Bogor Agricultural Institute in Bogor, Indonesia, University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Southwest Forestry University in Yunnan Province, China.
Colorado State University is now offering an MBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise. This green degree program endeavors to teach students how to seek a profit while still concentrating on how to improve the environment. Each year the program admits twenty-five new students. Prospective employers include profit and nonprofit start-ups, government agencies, and multi-national companies.
Green degrees may be the hot new ticket to a high paying job. With increased focus on the environment comes the need for people with specialized training. If these programs are able to do what they claim, gone may be the days when profit and environmental responsibility were opposites. Indeed, if these degrees are able to meet their goals, we may be entering a world where conservation and sustainability are standard parts of the profitability equation.