As a progressive state in a sometimes not-so-progressive part of the country, it’s been pretty easy for Minnesota to stand out as a beacon of sustainable education and practice. The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, run by the University of Minnesota, has had no problem signing up a dozen different regional organizations that recognize the value of sustainability research in developing agricultural practices that can sustain farmers through the coming onslaught of global climate change.
Such programs benefit the state, but they only run with highly-trained, expertly-educated staff who are adept in both the scientific and policy aspects of sustainability. Moving far beyond just agriculture, the state’s higher education institutions can offer that kind of expertise in elements of sustainability like architecture, technology, and even business practices.
That comes together to make Minnesota one of the best bets in the Midwest to both learn about and find employment in the field of sustainability.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Minnesota With the Right Degree
Agriculture and forestry are both significant industries in Minnesota. Manufacturing and bioscience come in as the top two industries in the state, and both of them are facing renewed needs for sustainability professionals. And number three is wind power, which is essentially an entire industry focused on sustainability.
That makes sustainability jobs well-compensated and easy to come by here. 3M and Cargill, in places like Maplewood and Wayzata, are only a couple of the major corporations that regularly hire sustainability specialists for positions in Minnesota.
Of course, the state itself is also a major employer for sustainability experts, who help develop policy and track compliance for other organizations across the state.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Minnesota
You’ll also find innovative programs that don’t fit neatly into those categories, like Hamline University’s Master of Arts in Education in Natural Science and Environmental Education in St. Paul, which teaches students to become the teachers in this growing field.
The University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture and College of Design have put together an MS program in Architecture Sustainable Design that addresses the issues of a quickly urbanizing planet head-on. With a rich group of multidisciplinary courses, projects, and research opportunities, you’ll have the chance to look at the problem from all angles and discover solutions that are both innovative and practical.
For a first-rate education in sustainable design combined with all the advantages of a 100 percent online program, Minneapolis students have a great option in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Design offered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Although it’s a non-traditional approach to sustainability studies, there is no better place to explore cutting-edge theories and practical applications for art and design skills in sustainable development
Policy, Energy, and Technology
The University of Minnesota is always a solid choice for advanced studies, and the Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy offers a first-rate education designed to deal with the modern policy challenges introduced by rapid urbanization, climate change, and energy shortages. It’s one of the few programs in the country to combine natural and physical sciences with engineering and policy approaches to deliver a full-spectrum approach to sustainability policy.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Minnesota
Whether you are bound for a master’s degree in the field or just looking for a job in the expanding area of sustainability, you’ll need to start your journey at the four-year level with a bachelor’s degree.
A unique option in the region comes from Moorhead’s Minnesota State University with the Bachelor of Science in Sustainability. It’s the only such program offered in either Minnesota or neighboring North Dakota, giving it a sought-after status among students in the area. From the campus ranked as the #1 Top Innovator in the state for conservation and energy management measures, that’s a worthy status and a great place to earn your degree.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in Minnesota
Online degree options are a big deal in any field these days. The ability to study on your own schedule, in your own home, without relocating to expensive urban centers where colleges are often located, is a killer feature for not only non-traditional students who are already in the workforce, but for anyone who values flexibility and thrift.
Minnesota is ahead of the game in offering these degrees, including several of the programs mentioned above. Another is the Accelerated Online MBA program with a Sustainability and Environmental Management Focus from Saint Mary’s University, which offers a pretty great value for sustainability students on a management track. With a view toward inculcating valuable managerial skills and analytical techniques, the degree path emphasizes corporate social responsibility, sustainable marketing, and law and ethics in environmental management.