Program Summary

Credits Required


Tuition per Credit


Online Master's Degree in Ecosystem Management and Administration

There is a growing demand for professionals with the skills necessary to maintain efficient use of the world's natural resources in a wide range of environments — forests, wildlife communities, aquatic systems, soils, parks and other developed natural systems.

A master's degree in Ecosystem Management and Administration can help you keep up with rapid changes in applications and methodology and prepare you for higher-level positions in ecosystem management–related fields.

As a student in the program, you can develop the ability to apply quantitative tools — such as statistics, financial analysis, and geographic information systems — and a broader understanding of the economic, financial, legal, and policy context to managing and addressing natural resource problems and issues.

Course topics include:

  • spatial data and the use of geographic information management systems
  • how ecosystems are inventoried and monitored and how to analyze common natural resource data sets to support decision-making
  • project planning and management, including decision support systems commonly used in natural resource planning and management
  • communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and leadership skills
  • natural resource economics principles and cost-benefit analysis to common natural resource management problems
  • the legal and policy framework within which ecosystem management decisions are made

You have the option of starting the master's program immediately, or you can choose to enhance your professional credentials by achieving important milestones along the way. You could earn the Leadership and Communication Skills for Ecosystem Managers Graduate Certificate or the Ecosystem Measurements and Data Analysis Graduate Certificate first. All of the required credits in these graduate certificates can be applied toward the MPS in Ecosystem Management, if you apply for and are accepted into the degree program.

Why Ecosystem Management and Administration at Penn State

Unlike many traditional environmental sciences programs, the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Ecosystem Management and Administration goes beyond studying the science behind environmental resources, and focuses on the real-world, practical implementation of management projects and programs. Learning and assignments are centered around your professional goals and directly applicable to your everyday work experiences.

Earning this advanced degree in ecosystem management from Penn State can prepare you to become an effective leader, decision maker, and manager at for-profit natural resources companies; local, state, and federal agencies; consulting firms; or select non-governmental organizations.

As a complement to the challenging, but rewarding, curriculum, the online courses provide you with the flexibility and convenience to study around your own schedule without sacrificing quality. You can skip the commute and prepare for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving the comfort of your home.