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Top 10 Environmental Degree Programs in the Southwest

Updated on November 14, 2012

ASU - Tempe, AZ

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Keys in the Southwest

The Top 30 Cities for Jobs in the US are best cities for a number of reasons, but the reason that is vital in the 2000s is the fact that these cities are home to universities, colleges, and vocational/technical schools that have proactively forged partnerships with business and government in order to create new jobs in the Sustainability Industry.

The Southwestern United States, especially the metropolitan areas surrounding the cities in the Southwest that are found on the Top 30 List, are highly focused on Sustainability and Alternative Energy, reclaiming and revitalizing lands and buildings, and creating new jobs. Their system of higher education is becoming increasingly key to this process for economic growth and high quality life style.

Green Oil Processed from Algae, Sunlight & Water in New Mexico

College Sustainability Status - USA and Canada

In a report released early in 2009, higher education as a whole was examined for sustainability at all levels and in all aspects of college activities throughout American campuses, including degree programs offered in North America. This work was accomplished by a foundation located in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts and sponsored beginning in 2005 by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. An interested, dedicated, and credible 12-member board directs and oversees the project and includes these well known professionals that are directors, founders, and exeuctives within their companies.

  1. Doug Bauer, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  2. Benjamin Bolger, Assistant Professor at College of William & Mary
  3. John Chandler, Williams College
  4. Aimée Christensen, Christensen Global Strategies
  5. Walter Corey, Bangor Center for Corporate Ethics
  6. Neva Goodwin, Global Development & Environment Institute at Tufts University
  7. Peter Kinder, KLD Research & Analytics
  8. Robert Monks, Institutional Shareholder Services
  9. Ian Simmons Executive Director of Foundation for Civic Leadership
  10. Charles Valdes, Board Member and Investment Committee of Calpers retirement system.
  11. Stephen Viederman, Foundation Partnership for Corporate Responsibility
  12. Gordon Winston, Director of Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education

USA's First School of Sustainability at ASU

Regeneration Roadtrip to ASU

UNM Sustainability Studies Degrees

Permaculture a High Priority in New Mexico

Top 10 Southwestern Schools in Sustainability Degrees

On can see from the following data that the fact that American postsecondary schools were evaluated for Sustainability Education previously spurred them to improve their offerings and related performance. Of the total 300 schools with the largest endownments that were evaluated, 67% improved from 2008 to 2009. The number of North American schools assessed that employ full-time Sustainability staff increased from only 37% to 67% in 2009, nearly double.

The following ten institutions scored highest in the Southwest for offering Environmental Sciences degrees. They strive to ensure cutting edge applicative results toward creating new, vital jobs and Sustainability in the 21st century. Arizona State University stands clearly above the rest in its degree and certificate programs in Sustainability and Environmentally and the Top 5 overall outdistance the others significantly,

  1. Arizona State University, Tempe – improved over last year to earn a B+, the highest grade achieved by any of the 300 institutions in the overall examination, although that grade is shared by some others. An all-around Campus Sustainability Leader among a short list extracted from the 300.This school offers an MA, MS, and PhD in Sustainability. Undergraduate degrees include the BA of Business Sustainability, BS in Environment Chemistry, BSE in Environmental Engineering, BSE in Mechanical Engineering for Energy and Environment, and the BA and BS in Sustainability. Several other degree programs offered may be applied to Sustainability applications as well. Additional minors and certificate courses are provided related to these emerging technologies as well. ASU partners with the US Army in electronics technology and plans Sustainability partnerships in the Middle East. Read about additional research and growth in Sustainability and the Environment at ASU at his link.
  2. University of Arizona, Tucson –rated better than in 2008. This schools offers a number of programs in Chemical and Environmental Engineering as well as Soil, Water and Environmental Science, with as additional Graduate Degree in Environmental Engineering. See U of A.
  3. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque – improved over last year. See link in next section under New Mexico.
  4. Rice University - Houston, Texas. See Rice Enviro-Web.
  5. University of Oklahoma - Norman. See Environmental Sciences and Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy
  6. Southern Methodist University - Dallas, Texas – improved over last year
  7. Texas A&M University - College Station – improved over last year
  8. Baylor University - Waco, Texas
  9. University of Houston - TEXAS – improved over last year
  10. New Mexico State University - Las Cruces

The next seven schools also scored high and round out the total number of institutions of higher education in the Southwestern US to actively impact Sustainability with degree programs: 17.

  • 11. Southwestern University - Georgetown, Texas – improved over last year
  • 12. Texas Christian University - Ft. Worth
  • 13. University of Texas–Dallas
  • 14. Trinity University San Antonio, Texas – improved over last year
  • 15. Abilene Christian University - TEXAS. This is the first year of ratings for this school, which offers many Environmental programs. Investment Priorities were rated A, while rating low in sustainability in on-campus facilities.
  • 16. Oklahoma State University - Stillwater
  • 17. University of Tulsa - Oklahoma

Texas A & M - National Campus Sustainability Day

Student Presentation for Sustainability

OK State University Sustainability Series Opened to the Public

Top Schools Arranged by State and City Review

TEXAS - 10 Schools

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Baylor University
  • Rice University
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Southwestern University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Trinity Universty
  • University of Houston
  • University of Texas

Review Related Texas Cities, Jobs,  and Major Employers:

OKLAHOMA - 3 Schools

ARIZONA - 2 Schools

NEW MEXICO - 2 Schools

  • University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University - The universities and colleges in New Mexico are performiing cutting edge research and development of algae based humn and animal foods and biofuels, including green oil. Ths is true in Las Cruces, Alburquerque, and Santa Fe-Los Alamos. In Santa Fe, EcoVersity is a non-profit learning center for K-12 and community programs in permaculture and other aspects of Sustainability. 

Texas - One of Only Two US Sustainable Walmarts


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    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Thanks Pattie - it's the same here, all sorts of things are St. this or the other (-:

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi Las Cruces! - Always good to see you here - Great City all around.

      LondonGirl - How are you today? The universities that reference denominations were founded as Christian schools, but have expanded and are quite diverse in student populations. I've noticed large Jewish and Muslim groups on or next to their campuses and Buddhist organizations as well as many others. They seem to work together in yearly festivals and ceremonies and such at different points in the school year.

      Princessa - Thanks for the kind words and alert about #1 Google. Hub Pages is a leader again! And a lot of fun.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Excellent information Patty, and this is reflected on the fact that this hub is a number 1 on Google's first page under "Top 10 Environmental Degree".

      Well done :)

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Interesting hub.

      I was just wondering, all those unis with church of this or Christian that in the name, are they religious institutions?

    • Las Cruces profile image

      Las Cruces 8 years ago from Las Cruces, NM


      Great hub once again. Thanks for mentioning Las Cruces. If anyone would like more information on Las Cruces you can visit our website at, or read Patty's other hubs about Las Cruces.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 8 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Cool. I hope this proves to be a quickly expanding area of study and job creation.

    • Netters profile image

      Netters 8 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      Another great article, thank you.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Exactly right, mulberry1 -- "Adapt or die" is a fact. I remember hearing older folks complaining that all the jobs for Elevator Operators were elminated by the 1970s. They spent a lot of wasted time trying to bring back those jobs.

      Thanks for driving the point home for us in a solid way.


    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 8 years ago

      Environmentally conscious and sustainable technologies are so important to our future. We can't continue to ignore this. In addition, I agree completely that changing to a career path that is congruent with the future is critical for our economic security. People just want to demand their lost jobs back but that isn't always need to prepare yourself for the jobs that are needed. Bend or break.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes, environmental science and Sustainability studies will lead to many new jobs that will take the place of a large proportion of work that has been lost in Amerca. As business changes throughout time, so do jobs. Thajks for the comments guidebaba!

    • guidebaba profile image

      guidebaba 8 years ago from India

      Education in Environmental Science can be an excellent career option for the reason that not too many people take it seriously. My personal idea is that one can make a really great career in Environmental Science and at the same time learn and understand nature and environment much better.