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Graduate Degree Programs
M.S., M.P.S., & Ph.D. in Sustainable Energy

Graduate students in the Sustainable Energy (SE) program focus on energy resource management and policy research with a strong foundation in the social and biophysical sciences.

In the face of climate change, national and global attention has turned to the energy transition – moving from reliance on fossil fuel resources to developing sustainable sources of energy.

Energy concerns include the quality and quantity of energy resources, energy security, and the impacts of energy generation, transmission and use on the environment and human health. The SE program prepares graduates to lead in addressing these concerns through the development of professional competency in transdisciplinary research and analytical skills.

As a public university in New York State, SUNY ESF is engaged in the development and implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Scoping Plan – a landmark plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the state by 2050. In particular, Sustainable Energy faculty investigate the role of the bioeconomy in meeting the state’s emissions and land management goals. Faculty research focus areas include woody biomass feedstocks (e.g., energy crops, forest materials), bio-based energy (e.g., renewable distillate fuels, sustainable aviation fuel), bio-based products (e.g., biochar, harvested wood products), bioenergy and bioproducts climate impacts (e.g., from substitution and sequestration effects, soil carbon and forest carbon monitoring), combined heat and power (CHP) systems, and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Working with Sustainable Energy faculty, graduate students have the opportunity to work on interdisciplinary research using tools such as policy analysis, lifecycle assessment, techno-economic analysis, spatial analysis, landscape modeling, biomass estimation, job and economic impact estimation, soil carbon monitoring.

SE graduates advance into careers in academia, sustainable energy administration and management, scientific research, consulting, environmental advocacy, and a variety of other specialized positions related to sustainable energy resources.


SE students take courses in energy systems and pathways, resource management, environmental engineering, law and policy, and statistical analysis, among others. Rather than follow a specific track, the curriculum path for each student will follow a mentor-based approach tailored to individual professional and research interests. Students work with their major professor and steering committee to develop their coursework curriculum, which includes opportunities for both classroom-based and lab- and field-based instruction.

  • M.P.S. students are required to complete 30 credit hours of graduate coursework.
  • M.S. students are required to take 30 graduate credit hours, including 24 hours of coursework credit and six thesis research credits; 12 coursework credit hours must be at the 600-level or above.
  • Ph.D. students are required to take 60 graduate credit hours, including 48 hours of coursework credit and 12 hours of thesis research credit.

Participating Faculty

  • Danielle Kloster;
  • Tristan R. Brown;
    sustainable energy law & policy; energy systems analysis; techno-economic analysis; and climate policy
  • Robert W. Malmsheimer;
    How laws and the legal system affect natural resources management, including how carbon accounting policies affect forest and natural resources.
  • Obste Therasme;
    Life cycle assessment; sustainable energy system analysis; net zero/negative greenhouse gas emissions systems; biomass for biofuels, energy and bioproducts
  • Timothy A. Volk;
    silviculture, forest management for renewable energy, biomass and bioenergy, energy, agroforestry, phytoremediation, management and sustainability of short rotation woody crops, life cycle analysis, ecophysiology, international forestry