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ESF Academic Catalog
About ESF

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ESF has 27 undergraduate majors, 23 leading to the Bachelor of Science degree, one leading to the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree, and three leading to the Associate of Applied Science degree. Our programs cover chemical engineering, paper engineering, bioprocessing engineering, environmental sciences, environmental health, sustainable resources management, environmental resources engineering, environmental biology, environmental design, environmental policy, environmental social science, and the utilization of natural resources.

ESF's programs are administered through eight academic departments and the interdisciplinary Division of Environmental Science. The A.A.S. programs are conducted at ESF's Wanakena Campus in the Adirondacks under the auspices of the Department of Sustainable Resources Management (SRM).

ESF's Graduate School oversees nine graduate programs, each with multiple options, and all focusing on science, engineering, or management.

ESF's academic programs rely heavily on experiential learning, including indoor and field laboratories, internships, research experiences, and applied capstone projects. In the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement (2020), ESF graduating seniors reported having significantly more research experiences, culminating senior experiences, and service-learning experiences, than peer comparison groups.

The overall student/faculty ratio is 16:1; the undergraduate ratio is 13:1.

For the class entering 2015, the six-year graduation rate calculated in 2021 was 74%. The SUNY average for the same cohort is 68%. This compares to a national average of 63%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In a survey of 2021 baccalaureate graduates (73% response rate), 92% reported employment or graduate school placement within 6 months of graduation; 84% of respondents reported working in a position related to their majors.

ESF Campuses

ESF is a multiple-campus institution that includes approximately 1 million square feet of facilities in 186 buildings on 25,000 acres of land. Facilities for education and research are provided on the main campus in Syracuse and at five regional campuses and three field stations.

About the State University of New York (SUNY)

The State University of New York's 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education.


The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry is accredited by:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
1007 North Orange St.
4th Floor, MB #166
Wilmington, DE 19801

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

The master of forestry degree; the bachelor of science degrees in forest resource management, forest ecosystem science and natural resources management; and the associate in applied science degree in forest technology are accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). SAF is recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation as the specialized accrediting body for forestry in the United States:
Society of American Foresters
5400 Grosvenor Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814-2198

The bachelor of science degrees in bioprocess engineering, environmental resources engineering, and paper engineering are accredited by:
Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET
111 Market Place, Suite 1050
Baltimore, MD 21202

The associate in applied science degree in land surveying technology is accredited by:
Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET
111 Market Place, Suite 1050
Baltimore, MD 21202

The bachelor of landscape architecture and master of landscape architecture degrees are accredited by:
Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board
603 Eye St. NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20001


Undergraduate Admission

Undergraduate enrollment for Fall 2023 was 1,726. Approximately 11.3% of our undergraduate students are transfers from other colleges and universities and 2.4% are international students; of Fall 2023 first-year students, 81% residents of New York state.

Admission at the undergraduate level is selective, with 65-70% of first-year applicants admitted.

High School Students

High School seniors may apply for admission under one of the three pathways available:

  • Early Action First-Year
  • Regular First-Year
  • Guaranteed Transfer (future entry as a sophomore or junior)

The level of the applicant’s interest in ESF and the quality of their academic performance in high school will determine which pathway is most appropriate. Admissions staff members can assist applicants in selecting their admission pathway. Students who have completed college level coursework prior to high school graduation will be considered as first year applicants.

Transfer Students

SUNY ESF welcomes transfer students in all undergraduate programs of study. Approximately 30% of our students transfer to ESF. Applicants who have completed college-level coursework following high school graduation will be considered as transfer applicants. 

Graduate School Admission

ESF is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research university. Other Carnegie descriptors include STEM dominant, high undergraduate, more selective, primarily residential, and higher transfer-in. ESF is the only Carnegie Doctoral/Research university that is classified as “small.”

Graduate enrollment for Fall 2023 was 338. Of that, 46% are enrolled in doctoral programs; 39% M.S., 15% in professional master's, and the remainder in certificates of advanced studies or are visiting students. Twenty-eight percent of graduate students are international.

Admission to the Graduate School is conditional upon review and acceptance of an applicant's credentials by appropriate faculty members and upon the recommendation of the appropriate department chairman or program director to the Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School.


International Education

The Office of International Education (OIE) services include immigration advising for F-1 and J-1 students and J-1 visiting scholars, and immigration document processing for Admissions and the Graduate School. The office also offers study abroad advisement for all students wanting to have an international experience, and the office supports international education programming and orientation for newly arrived international students and scholars. OIE serves as an emergency point of contact for students conducting research abroad, participating in international programs, and ESF faculty-led courses abroad.

Open Academy

The ESF Open Academy is an academic unit that encompasses the College's outreach programs including online education, summer semester, professional and public education, and visiting student support.

To these ends, ESF faculty, staff and students, along with our partners, pursue a diverse range of programs and projects—all with an aim to enhance leadership, education, and practice in the science, design, engineering and management of natural resources and the environment. Programs include on-campus, off-campus, and online credit and non-credit opportunities for professionals, middle and high school students, ESF students, and lifelong learners.


Research at ESF is remarkably diverse, current, and challenging, with contributions being made in fields like aquatic ecosystems, bioenergy, biotechnology, biodiversity, ecology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, remote sensing, wildlife disease prevention, and many others.

ESF is a leader in integrating the energy and excitement of research with the formal requirements of degree and certificate programs. A high percentage of undergraduates and virtually all graduate students participate in research activity as part of their educational experience.

Staff and Administration

Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs is guided by the College’s strategic goal of providing an outstanding student experience. The creative and dedicated team of professionals in Student Affairs will work to achieve this goal by creating opportunities for personal and leadership development, through community-focused learning experiences, and by offering services to promote academic and career success.

Key Policies and Procedures

Campus Safety Report

A Campus Safety Report is filed as required by the federal "Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act," or "Clery Act." The purpose of this report is to provide our faculty, staff and students with campus safety information including crime statistics and procedures to follow to report a crime.

The report is prepared and published each Oct. 1 by our University Police, Judicial Affairs and Environmental Health and Safety Department. It is also available in printed format from the University Police Department in Room 19 Bray Hall on request.

Collegewide Smoking Policy

New York State legislation regulates smoking in all workplaces. Effective July 24, 2003, smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas on College property. Individuals who choose to smoke may do so outdoors, no closer than 20 feet from building openings such as doors, windows, air intakes, loading docks or similar structures, or in any area where flammable substances or combustible materials are used or stored. Smoking also is prohibited in all College vehicles.

Student Consumer Information

This website provides student consumer information as required by the Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act and the United States Department of Education.

Title IX

Title IX is the federal anti-discrimination law that states: "No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid." (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972).

This applies to all College programs and activities including, but not limited to, academic and athletic programs, financial aid and student records and accounts, health and counseling services, and housing and residence life programs.

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination against students, employees, or third parties. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence.

VA Pending Payment Compliance

In accordance with Title 38 US Code 3679 subsection (e), this school adopts the following additional provisions for any students using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while payment to the institution is pending from the VA.  This school will not:

  • Prevent nor delay the student's enrollment
  • Assess a late penalty fee to the student
  • Require the student to secure alternative or additional funding
  • Deny the student access to any resources available to other students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the institution, including but not limited to access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities

However, to qualify for this provision, such students may be required to:

  • Produce the Certificate of Eligibility by the first day of class
  • Provide written request to be certified
  • Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as described in other institutional policies