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How Do I Choose the Best Sustainable Development Degree Program?

By Jennifer Voight
Updated May 17, 2024
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The best way to choose a sustainable development degree program is to consider the range of classes offered and make sure that the college or university offering the degree program is accredited by a legitimate accrediting body. Classes that go beyond the typical management and economics are a plus, as are field opportunities that offer the chance for hands-on experience. A good program will combine traditional learning methods with experiential learning. On a more practical note, some students may want to consider a distance learning sustainable development degree program or a part-time program. Finally, cost and availability of financial aid can be important factors when considering a program.

A sustainable development degree program tends to be a graduate-level program that offers a single master’s degree or a combination of degrees, like a master’s in sustainable development and an MBA. For those who desire a more research-oriented degree program, there are PhD programs in sustainable development. To choose, a student must be knowledgeable in the type of position desired after graduation. For many positions, a single master’s degree is appropriate, while a combined MBA or a doctoral-level degree may be more appropriate for jobs that require more knowledge or preparation.

Some colleges have online degree programs available. These are excellent vehicles for full-time workers who cannot quit their jobs to complete a sustainable development degree program. Some online programs require a certain amount of on-campus time, while others can be completely done online. It’s helpful to check out these requirements before choosing an online distance learning degree program.

As more colleges and universities offer sustainable development education programs, they are offering more options for students who want to differentiate themselves from other graduates of these programs. Internships and other field experiences are a valuable part of the learning experience that expand education from the classroom into the real world. Even if a particular program does not offer field experiences to the student’s liking, counseling offices may be able to offer assistance in obtaining an internship.

A prospective student should always make certain that a sustainable development degree program is accredited by an appropriate accrediting body and recommended by those already in the field. Reviews of educational programs can be obtained with a little online research and by asking the advice of professionals already in the field. Professional sustainable development organizations frequently have databases of educational programs they may recommend and can be a valuable resource for determining the reputation of a particular school’s program.

Tuition and financial aid availability can be deciding factors for many students. Costs for tuition and living expenses can vary widely between schools, with public universities tending to be cheaper options than private universities. Financial aid packages can narrow the gap between different tuition rates at universities and make a previously unobtainable university’s tuition rate attainable.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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