Rhode Island has been inhabited long enough to have already gone through several cycles of environmental degradation and restoration. Once largely woodland, the state was nearly completely deforested by 1800, cleared for agrarian interests. The Industrial Revolution brought manufacturing to the state and saved the woodlands, allowing reforestation to occur as the economy shifted.
So we’ve been through some challenges, but even greater hurdles remain. Global climate change brings unprecedented new risks to our state: increasing risk of diseases from greater mosquito populations, sea level rise, dangerously hot days.
These are times in which the best and the brightest of us are called to jobs in the field of environmental sustainability. And fortunately for all of us, those folks can find some of the best degrees in sustainability right here at Rhode Island colleges.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Rhode Island With the Right Degree
Rhode Island is a great state for business, so you’ll find a lot of sustainability positions here focused on corporate and enterprise sustainability. Fidelity Investments in Greenville run an Environmental Sustainability Office that supports the companies operations globally, for example.
We also have big manufacturers like Hasbro in the state who need sustainability experts in logistics, materials, and safety concerns.
And every once in a while, you might find a one-of-a-kind opportunity like becoming the sustainability coordinator at Live Nation, the company behind Ticketmaster and other sales and event management concerns. Driving a move toward e-tickets and away from wasteful cardboard stubs around the world? That’s a powerful role for the lucky person who ends up with it.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s colleges and universities are well-positioned to serve students from all the major population centers on the East Coast. They pull in the kind of talent and expertise that you would expect, which makes the faculty and research opportunities some of the best around.
We may not have a lot of farmland in Rhode Island compared to the big Midwestern states, but we do have a degree program in sustainable agriculture that blows a lot of them out of the water. The University of Rhode Island Master of Science in Biological and Environmental Sciences Sustainable Foods and Agriculture Specialization is widely recognized as one of the preeminent programs in the country. Relying on the Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station and the Coastal Resources Center, SAFS offers an education in sustainability for both conventional crops and fisheries.
The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence has you covered for sustainable architecture studies in the state with their 3-year Master of Architecture program. Building on fundamental practices of the profession, the extensive curriculum extends into environmental design and modern building materials for a more sustainable built environment.
The University of Rhode Island has another innovative option when it comes to green MBA programs—or, in this case, blue. The Blue MBA is a dual-degree program that combines a Master of Oceanography with a Master of Business Administration degree to offer the first program of its kind in the United States.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Rhode Island
If all you are thinking about is a master’s degree, you’re getting ahead of yourself—you’re going to need to put in your four years in at an undergraduate program to earn a bachelor’s first.
Rhode Island is an excellent choice for this phase of your education, too, with degrees like that offered through the Environmental Studies Program at Rhode Island College. RIC delivers a degree that covers all the bases in sustainability, preparing you for either a career or a graduate education in natural resources management, international environmental relations, or urban agriculture, to name a few of the many fields of study.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in Rhode Island
Online degrees are no longer just a novelty in sustainability studies. Aimed at both professionals who are hoping to elevate their career ceiling and new entries into the field who may not have the resources to relocate to a university town or the time to take traditional daytime classes, these programs offer opportunities that simply didn’t exist a decade ago.
A particularly innovative example in Rhode Island comes from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, through their Master of Science in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development. Blending the business aspects of the tourist trade with modern necessities for ecological protection, this degree will set you up for positions in the thriving ecotourism industry or in various government roles developing and promoting sustainable tourism policies.