Texas Graduate Schools for Environment and Agriculture

Environment and Agriculture Graduate Schools are facing today’s growing concern for eco-friendly business models that take people, planet and profit in mind.

Whether you want to learn more about social sustainability, food studies or agricultural science, a campus program is often a great way to go. These often infuse course content with regional issues to bring the classroom to life.

What Degrees Do Environment and Agriculture Graduate Schools Offer?

Environment and Agriculture Graduate Schools offer programs that could lead to a masters or doctorate degree. Non-degree certificates, which are available at some universities could enable one to study at the graduate level without the same commitment of a full degree program.

Under the umbrella of these graduate programs in environment and agriculture, there are a wide array of degrees and courses. Two of the broad categories to know about are:

(1) agriculture graduate programs

(2) green and sustainable energy programs.

Within these areas, students could find several options that have management-focused course lists. Either way, sustainable agriculture schools could provide an integrative education and experience which may factor in the natural, economic and social sciences.

Apart from advanced courses, graduate studies often entail some independent research, lab work, and/or internships. Plus, some food studies graduate programs are offered on campus where students may have access to organic gardens.  

Together, these elements aim to prepare graduates to meet the challenges and opportunities in the multiple facets of modern agricultural, environmental, and sustainability science disciplines.  

Environment and Agriculture Masters Programs

There are a variety of different Masters in agriculture, sustainability and environment. At this level of study, students may be exposed to a series of compulsory courses along with research methods and a choice of emphasis (track) on which to focus their studies.

Many Masters in Agriculture programs entail about 36 credits. Full-time students may be able to complete their program in about 2 years.

The standard educational prerequisite for applying to a Masters in Agriculture programs is a Bachelors degree from an accredited academic institution. Some schools may want to see a minimum GPA, but the bar is different everywhere. Look for a range from 3 to 3.3.

Applicants might also need to furnish transcripts, letters of recommendation, an essay, a resume and a completed application form.


Sustainability professionals seek to improve an organization's environmental, social, and economic impact. i

MSUS: Master of Sustainability

A Master of Sustainability could be a perfect option if your goal is to explore how eco-friendly systems relate to ecological, economic, social, and business spheres. For even more management courses, some students might pursue a joint MSUS/MBA degree.

Curriculums could start students off with a basic set of skills for work and research courses stacked onto foundational principles and current ‘hot topics’. Concerns might include climate change, energy consumption, water pollution, urban ecosystems, children's environmental health, and agro-ecosystems.

To this point, some schools might use case studies based on local sustainability models. Chatham, a partner school, may offer a course that discusses the ‘green renaissance’ in Pittsburgh as an example.

From there, students might harness their strengths through electives and/or a concentration. Below is a brief synopsis of 5 of the dynamic areas that may be available. Refer to individual environment and agriculture graduate schools for more details and choices.

  1. Urban and Energy Systems: Students could analyze cities as systems where things like transportation, food, water, energy and waste could contribute to sustainability.
  2. Ecology and Resource Management: Students might study basic agro-ecological topics such as biodiversity, soil fertility, environmental statistics and U.S. Agricultural Policy.
  3. Business and Innovation: Classes cover non-profit, start-up and global business practices such as marketing, fund raising, and budgeting. In tandem, a course in sustainable decision analysis could discuss issues such as Ecosystem Services Valuation.
  4. Food Systems: Students might take courses in practical nutrition, sustainable agriculture and low impact aquaculture. A course in GIS could enable students to master the software used in food and agriculture industries.
  5. Policy and Regulation: Students may gain insight into how economists think about the environment. Other courses might help students create Social Responsibility reports and develop a deeper grasp of restorative environmental justice.

MS: Master of Science in Agriculture

A Master of Science in Agriculture could include coursework in research methods, statistics, and all major disciplines in agriculture. Some universities might also offer an option designed for students who want to pursue teacher certification in Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

Sustainable agriculture graduate programs may have a somewhat different focus. For instance, a MS in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems curriculum might approach modern farming techniques with an eye to reduce negative environmental impact. See below for sample topics.

  • Value-Added Products
  • Food Safety
  • Small Business Marketing

Environment and Agriculture Certificate Programs

There are many singular themes that might be addressed in environment and agriculture graduate certificate programs. Certificates are often structured for the working professional who wants a knowledge infusion and new credentials. With fewer courses (e.g. 12 credits), students may be able to complete requirements in about one year of full-time enrollment.

Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Practices

A Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Practices program addresses the current field of sustainable design, engineering and construction of the built environment. Participants enrolled in this type of program might be exposed to a wide array of critical skills.

  • LEED® Rating System
  • Passive Design
  • Basics of Energy Modeling
  • Life Cycle Assessment

Environment and Agriculture PhD Programs

Environment and Agriculture PhD programs curriculums are often both deep and broad to enable participants to expand their knowledge base and/or study modern methods of conservation.

Sometimes, between the core and dissertation courses, participants may need to complete about 96 credits. Frequently, students are exposed to quantitative and qualitative research methods along with literature review, writing courses and lastly, independent inquiry. For some programs, most grad schools require applicants to have a relevant Masters degree, though there are certainly exceptions.

DM: Doctor of Management in Environmental and Social Sustainability

A Doctor of Management is the highest academic award for management students. Course lists tend to reflect this with compulsory topics.

  • Management Theory
  • Leadership Theory
  • Management Ethics
  • Strategy

Students might also learn about consulting and intervention, organization innovation, and scenario thinking in the required core. As well, research methods, bibliography and writing courses are there to provide guidance for students to conduct their own research project.

For the focus in Environmental and Social Sustainability, DM students could acquire the focused knowledge to guide organizational policy and action in a direction that shows concern for resources and revenue.

Graduates might therefore take away the ability to think systematically about current environmental issues. They may also gain insight into how to develop policies for their enterprise that reflect eco-positive models

In addition to the successful completion of all credit hours with an acceptable GPA, students must also satisfactorily complete and defend their research with a dissertation. Often, DM students use this research to problem solve within their technical area of expertise.

DBA: Doctor of Business Administration in Global Sustainable Management

A Doctor of Business Administration, like the DM is a practice doctorate. Participants might study to learn how to apply current business practices to the management of businesses.

Most DBA programs start students with core courses that are tailored to this goal. These are often the topics that relate to business analytics, leadership, supply chain, marketing and intellectual property. For a ‘global’ business theme, courses might be taught from the standpoint of international and multinational practices.

Also, for a focus in sustainable management, DBA students could develop in-depth knowledge through targeted courses, such as:

  • Sustainable Lifecycle Management
  • Sustainable Accounting Management
  • Global Business Sustainability

To round out their studies, participants may have the freedom to customize electives from management, international business and entrepreneurship. Dissertation courses and final work could be similar to the DM degree.

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[i] bls.gov/green/sustainability/sustainability.htm#issues

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