North Dakota breeds toughness. According to the National Weather Service, the highest temperature ever recorded here was 121 degrees, and the lowest was minus 60… both occurring in the same year!
With such a harsh environment, it can often seem like we’re fighting it just to survive up here—those winter blizzards and the harsh, baking heat out in the Badlands hardly seem like they need to be protected. But in fact we’re living in a delicate symbiosis with the landscape and resources here, one that is necessary to sustain both life and industry.
Life and work can be tough up here, but so is maintaining that all-important balance. That’s why sustainability experts are so important to North Dakota, and why our schools are turning out some of the best graduates in the country to step into those roles.
Sustainability Jobs Available in North Dakota With the Right Degree
There’s no question that the Bakken oil boom has turned around the state’s fortunes in financial terms, but also that it has created unprecedented environmental sustainability challenges through the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques.
But both oil companies and the state government are aware of the hazards and taking steps to mitigate the long-term effects of groundwater pollution. That makes for a lot of environmentally-oriented positions with contractors like TRC or Aspen Environmental to work in sustainability efforts.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in North Dakota
The University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks, is ahead of the curve in green energy studies through the on-campus Energy and Environmental Research Center. As a participant in the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Grand Challenge, the school offers graduate students in its MS in Energy Systems and Engineering the opportunity to participate in first-hand research and problem-solving in green energy projects. Available online, and also as a Master of Engineering degree, it’s a flexible approach from a program ranked as best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
UND also offers a Master of Engineering Management program in Earth System Science and Policy that gets away from the nuts and bolts of sustainability programs and puts you into the thick of devising policy and managerial approaches to implement them.
In Fargo, at North Dakota State University, you have a collaborative, studio-based, interdisciplinary one-year Master’s in Landscape Architecture available. With challenging opportunities in North Dakota, students get a masterclass in sustainable natural resource development that can be applied to good effect anywhere in the state or the world.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in North Dakota
A bachelor degree is the necessary first step for anyone hoping to move on to a more advanced degree or even just get a job in the sustainability field. At Valley City State University, you can get exactly what you need in the form of their Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science… one of only two such four-year degrees offered in the state.
Through hands-on lab experience and practical field trips, you’ll get the formal grounding you need in chemistry, math, earth science, and physics to serve as a strong base for further studies in sustainability, or as qualification for jobs working in water or air quality, soil sampling, or plant collection.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in North Dakota
It’s often the smaller, more rural states that are leaders in online degree programs. Out of necessity, they’ve had to put together excellent remote learning options to reach students in far-flung, low-population areas of the state who don’t necessarily have the option of relocating to the city.
So North Dakota State University is a leader in online learning, and you can take advantage of their Master of Transportation and Urban Systems to get the latest on sustainable urban transportation system design that examines the relationships between land use, security, logistics, and safety. It’s a comprehensive and unique degree that you can earn while holding down your normal nine-to-five.