Interdepartmental Graduate Degrees
M.S., M.P.S. & Ph.D.

In addition to offering our own, departmentally-based masters degree programs, Environmental Studies faculty members also participate in ESF's interdepartmental Graduate Program in Environmental Science (GPES), which offers M.P.S., M.S. and Ph.D. programs in environmental science.

Graduate Programs

The Department of Environmental Studies offers graduate degrees and certificates in environmental studies, science, and policy. Study programs integrate and balance the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences in creative, interdisciplinary contexts. The Department offers Masters degrees in Environmental Studies, and graduate certificates in Environmental Decision Making, and on Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution.

Participating Faculty

  • Paul D. Hirsch;
    integrative thinking and problem-solving, water planning, biodiversity conservation, science-policy interface, environmental thought and ethics, policy analysis, public participation and decision-making, environmental valuation, complexity, participant-observation and survey methods, discourse analysis, environmental policy, climate governance, policy science divide
  • Valerie A. Luzadis;
    ecological economics, ecosystem services, policy, social and recreational dimensions, forest management for renewable energy, watershed management, natural resources policy and values, sustainable development, renewable energy, participatory decision-making
  • Jack P. Manno;
    Inclusion and collaboration in environmental decisions, Indigenous rights and values, social theory, economic dynamics of sustainability and un-sustainability, politics of ending fossil fuel dependence
  • Sharon D. Moran;
    environmental policy, human dimensions of water/wastewater issues, political ecology, environment-society relations, green and innovative technologies, environmental issues in post-communist countries, qualitative research methods, gender and nature, sustainability indicators, emergent technologies, environmental justice, ethical frameworks in public policy
  • Andrea M. Feldpausch-Parker;
    environmental communication; science and technology communication; wildlife conservation and policy; climate change mitigation and adaptation discourse and decision-making; environmental advocacy; environmental and natural resources conflict management; qualitative and critical methods; program evaluation methods; conflict; public participation; energy;wildlife management
  • Laura N. Rickard;
    environmental communication, risk communication, science communication, health communication, qualitative & mixed methods, survey research, message design & testing, public health, national parks, risk management
  • Theresa Selfa;
    environmental sociology, rural sociology, sociology of agriculture, sociology of development, political sociology, qualitative methods, comparative-historical methods, biofuels, land use planning, water policy and politics
  • Richard C. Smardon;
    wetland assessment and management, landscape management policy, public participation and decision-making, sustainable development, eco-tourism, biosphere reserve management
  • David A. Sonnenfeld;
    sociology of environment and natural resources; comparative environmental policy, politics and governance; globalization, development and sustainability; social studies of science and technology; East and Southeast Asia; field, historical and mixed research methods

Masters Degrees

Two graduate degrees in environmental studies are offered: the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) and the Masters of Science (M.S.). ESF's Environmental Studies masters' programs help prepare students to support communities working to achieve sustainability from local to global levels. The programs integrate social, cultural and environmental knowledge and skills to address the challenges of the 21st century. Students in these programs want to make a difference. Our programs offer students a focused, yet flexible, interdisciplinary understanding of environmental issues, the problems that underlie them, and paths leading to more sustainable communities. Students examine the fundamental cultural, social, political, technical, and economic forces that drive environmental degradation as well as emerging approaches that can foster sustainability.

Graduate Areas of Study

Graduate Certificate Programs

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Environmental Decision Making

    The Certificate of Graduate Study in Environmental Decision Making is designed is designed for graduate students at SUNY-ESF and those enrolled in law, management, public administration, or information studies programs at Syracuse University. It provides an exposure to specialized environmental study that is relevant to students with related professional interests. The focus of this certificate is on environmental decision making, the processes by which stakeholders seek solutions to environmental problems.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Conflict Resolution (offered jointly with Syracuse University's Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC))
    As the world becomes increasingly dynamic, the ability to build relationships, negotiate solutions collaboratively, and use multiple approaches for conflict resolution is essential. This program allows students to engage in in-depth study of conflict theory, concepts, and skills. Students may concentrate their classes in a specific area of interest or complete a more general program of study. Students already in a graduate program earn the Certificate as part of the master's or doctoral degree, and the Certificate is awarded concurrently with the degree.

Concurrent Degrees at Syracuse University

Graduate students at ESF currently have the opportunity to pursue a concurrent Master's degree at Syracuse University in:

To be eligible for admission to such programs, students must complete at least one full-time semester of graduate-level coursework or the equivalent at ESF, and earn a 3.500 grade point average or better. ESF students interested in concurrent degree programs at SU must apply through ESF's Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies within their first year of study.

Cooperative Programs at Cornell University and SUNY Upstate Medical University

ESF and the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University provide exchange opportunities so that graduate students can take advantage of special courses, faculty, and research facilities found at the two institutions. Cornell University is in Ithaca, N.Y., about 50 miles southwest of Syracuse.

ESF and the SUNY Upstate Medical University provide opportunities for graduate students at each institution to enroll in graduate coursework or pursue coordinated M.D./ Ph.D. degrees in environmental medicine. SUNY Upstate Medical University is located within walking distance of ESF. Graduate students interested in these opportunities should inquire at ESF's Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies.

Funding Opportunities

Currently, about half of the graduate students affiliated with the Department of Environmental Studies receive some form of financial assistance. The Department is proud to regularly have among its graduate students international fellows supported by the Fulbright Program and Ford Foundation. Departmentally affiliated graduate students have been successful in receiving a variety of other external awards and fellowships, as well. Primary institutional support for affiliated graduate students has been in the form of Graduate Assistantships, most awarded as Teaching Assistants, some as Research Assistants, others as Writing Tutors -- in Environmental Studies and other programs at ESF. Faculty members offer Research Assistantships in conjunction with active research grants.

International Education and Research Opportunities

Graduate programs in the Department of Environmental Studies and SUNY-ESF have a strongly international flavor. Approximately 40 percent of graduate students affiliated with the Department of Environmental Studies are from countries around the world. Across the college, about 30 percent of graduate students are from overseas. In addition to a highly international student body, graduate students at ESF are welcome and encouraged to develop international research and internship projects. Many ESF faculty, including in the Department of Environmental Studies are engaged in ongoing international research and teaching projects.

Graduate Student Participation

Graduate students at ESF are represented in campus affairs by the Graduate Students Association (GSA), with delegates from each department/ program. Graduate students employed by ESF are represented in collective bargaining by the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU). Two graduate students are members of the department's Graduate Studies Committee, and a third represents graduate students at regular departmental meetings. Many additional opportunities exist for graduate student participation in campus clubs and organizations at both ESF and Syracuse University.


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