e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Subject to Change due to COVID-19

The current ESF Catalog is online only, and is updated as needed throughout the year. To view the version officially associated with a particular year of entry to the College, please refer to the appropriate catalog of record.

Department of Environmental Studies

Benette Whitmore, Chair
106 Marshall Hall
315-470-6636
315-470-6915
(fax)

The Environmental Studies program emphasizes interdisciplinary social science, humanities and natural science approaches to environmental understanding and stewardship.

ES programs maintain a strong academic orientation, facilitating student and faculty engagement with fundamental environmental challenges and dynamics such as multiple and conflicting levels of environmental governance, participatory democracy, sustainable development, uses and limits of scientific prediction, discourses of environment, cultural expressions of nature, risk, and ecological sustainability.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies

Students may enter the Bachelor of Science program as first-year students or as transfer students. Students who are preparing to transfer to ESF as juniors must have earned at least 60 credits of college coursework, in courses comparable to the lower-division course requirements as noted below.

In the first two years of the program, students develop a foundation in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences as they relate to environmental affairs. During that time, students also fulfill SUNY general education requirements and take some open elective courses.

Option Areas

In the final two years of the program, students must select one of three specializations called Option Areas.

Environment, Communication and Society

This option focuses on how communication and social systems influence environmental affairs and shape our perceptions of the non-human world. It addresses the subjects of rhetoric and discourse; news media; public participation; advocacy campaigns; collaboration; conflict resolution; risk communication; social processes; and representations of nature in literature and popular culture.

Environmental Policy, Planning and Law

This option is concerned with how environmental policies, plans, and laws from the local to the global are created, implemented and contested. It emphasizes legislative, regulatory, and collaborative approaches to addressing environmental issues.

Natural Systems Applications

This option is designed for students interested in the interface between biology and socio-economic issues. It provides an emphasis on natural systems and their interactions with societal issues ranging from education to habitat management.

Lower Division Environmental Studies Core Courses

CourseCodes*Credits
APM 104
OR
APM 105
College Algebra and Precalculus

Survey of Calculus and Its Applications I
G

G
3

4
EFB 101General Biology I: Organismal Biology and EcologyG3
EFB 102General Biology I LaboratoryG1
EFB 103
AND
EFB 104
OR
EST 231
General Biology II: Cell Biology and Genetics

General Biology II Laboratory

Environmental Geology
G

G


3

1

3
EFB 120The Global Environment and the Evolution of Human Society G3
ESF 200Information Literacy 1
EST 132Orientation Seminar for Environmental Studies 1
EST 133Introduction to Environmental Studies 3
EST 221Introduction to American Government 3
EST 245Foundations of Environmental Communication 3
EST 255Research Methods for Environmental Studies 3
EWP 190Writing and the Environment G3
EWP 220Public Presentation Skills 2 - 3
EWP 290Research Writing and HumanitiesG3
FCH 110
OR
FCH 150
AND
FCH 151
Survey of Chemical Principles

General Chemistry I

General Chemistry Laboratory I
G

G

G
3

3

1
FOR 207Introduction to Economics G3

Lower Division Electives

Course Codes* Credits
General Education Course in two of the following categories: American History, The Arts, Western Civilization, Other World Civilizations, Foreign Language G 6
Directed Electives 27
Open Electives 18

Upper Division Environmental Studies Core Courses

CourseCodes*Credits
APM 391Introduction to Probability and Statistics G3
EFB 320 General Ecology 4
EST 321Government and the Environment 3
EST 361History of the American Environmental Movement G3
EST 494Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies 1
EWP 407Writing for Environmental & Science Professionals 3
Senior Synthesis3

Upper Division Electives

Course Codes* Credits
Upper Division Computing OR Natural Science Course 3

Environment, Communication and Society Option

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 390Social Processes and the Environment 3
EST 395Public Communication of Science and Technology 3
EST 493Environmental Communication Workshop 3
Choose two of the following five courses: EWP 495, EWP 420, ESF 300, EFB 417, EFB 3126
Option Courses (Including 3 credits in Methods)15

Environmental Policy, Planning and Law Option

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 550Environmental Impact Analysis 3
Methods Courses6
Law Option Courses3
Planning Option Courses3
Environmental Policy/Planning/Law Option Courses15

Natural Systems Applications Option

Course Codes* Credits
Field Methods GIS (Required) 3
Scientific breadth 3
Natural Applications Suboptions Natural Systems 3
Environmental Quality 3
Social Science Policy or law courses 9
Communication courses 6

Total Minimum Credits For Degree: 121-124 (total credits must include a minimum of 51 credit hours at the 300 level or above)

Graduate Programs

The Department of Environmental Studies offers degree and certificate programs in environmental studies, science, and policy, as well as interdepartmental master's and Ph.D. options, and concurrent programs with major universities.

Programs integrate and balance the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences in creative, interdisciplinary contexts.

Advanced Standing

(i) Course transfers. A maximum of six graduate credit hours with a grade of "B" or better that have not been applied to another degree may be transferred via Petition. The Petition must include an attached syllabus, and a justification of how the courses are to be included on the student's Plan Sheet. Petitions for course transfers are submitted following matriculation. (ii) Credit for prior experience (M.P.S. degree only). Applicants with a minimum of three (3) years of post-baccalaureate, full-time professional experience directly related to the intended area of study may apply for 6 credit hours of advanced standing in the M.P.S. program. Partial credit for experience cannot be awarded. When awarded for prior work experience, the 6 credit hours are applied toward the Synthesis requirement.

Master of Science (M.S.)

M.S. Program Requirements

The Environmental Studies M.S. degree program is a 30-credit-hour experience focused on advanced academic scholarship and research related to environmental affairs and sustainability. This degree requires the completion of a Master's thesis. Details on thesis proposals and expectations are available in the M.S. in Environmental Studies student handbook. All students must present a Capstone Seminar during their final semester. If necessary, the distribution of required credits may be adjusted to take into account a student's prior academic work and background. It is recommended that students entering this program have some academic background in Environmental Policy or Communication, and Environmental Science or Ecology.

M.S. Program Requirements

Core (9 Credits)

All students take:

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 600Foundations of Environmental Studies 3

All students also take at least two of the following:

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 608Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution 3
EST 612Environmental Policy and Governance 3
EST 613Urbanization and the Environment 3
EST 615Environmental Justice: Policy, Tools & Society 3
EST 640Environmental Thought and Ethics 3
EST 645Mass Media and Environmental Affairs 3
EST 650Environmental Perception and Human Behavior 3
EST 708Social Theory and the Environment 3
EST 770Ecological Economics and Policy 3
Research Methods (6 credits)

All students take:

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 603Research Methods and Design 3

And one additional research methods course, typically from the following list and typically to support their thesis research:

CourseCodes*Credits
APM 510Statistical Analysis 3
APM 625Sampling Methods 3
APM 630Regression Analysis 3
APM 635Multivariate Statistical Methods 3
EST 604Social Survey Research Methods for Environmental Issues 3
EST 605Qualitative Methods 3
EST 617Measuring Environmental Inequality 3
EST 702Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation 3
EST 705Environmental Policy Analysis 3
LSA 640Research Methods 3

NOTE: Other research methods courses may be identified in collaboration with the student's advisor.

Generalized / Thematic Area (9 credits)

All students take three courses--typically in a thematic area--in consultation with their major professor. The thematic area should be used to substantively prepare the student for thesis work. EST 898 and EST 899 may not be included as thematic area courses.

Thesis Research (6 credits)

All students with an approved thesis proposal take at least six credits of:
  • EST 899. Master's Thesis Research

Typical Course Sequence

Year 1: Fall

Course Credits
EST 600 Foundations of Environmental Studies 3
EST 603 Research Methods and Design 3
Core Course 3
Thematic Area Course 3
Total Semester Credits
12

Year 1: Spring

Course Credits
Research Methods Course 3
Core Course 3
Thematic Area Course 3
Thematic Area Course 3
Total Semester Credits
12
Year 2: Fall
Course Credits
EST 899 Master's Thesis Research 6
Total Semester Credits
6
Total Program Credits
30

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

The M.P.S. in Environmental Studies degree program is a 30-33 credit-hour experience focused on advanced academic scholarship and its application to environmental affairs and sustainability. This degree requires the completion of a synthesis experience, often involving an individual or group-based professional internship. All students must present a Capstone Seminar during their final semester. See your advisor or the Department Office for information on procedures and deadlines for setting up the Capstone Seminar. The distribution of required credits may be adjusted to take into account a student's prior academic work and background. All courses are 3 credit hours unless noted otherwise. It is recommended that students entering this program have some academic background in Environmental Policy or Communication, and Environmental Science or Ecology.

M.P.S. Program Requirements

Core (12 credits)

Four courses cover the disciplinary and methodological scope of the field and demonstrate its applicability to problem analysis and the quest for sustainability. For full-time students, these courses are usually taken in the first year of the program; Part-time students may take these courses over multiple years. These courses provide a basis of common knowledge among students in the MPS program.

Required:

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 600Foundations of Environmental Studies 3

AND three of the following:

These are the recommended courses to help develop the fundamental knowledge and skill set for Environmental Studies:

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 606Public Perception and Communication of Risk, Science and Environment 3
EST 608Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution 3
EST 612Environmental Policy and Governance 3
EST 613Urbanization and the Environment 3
EST 615Environmental Justice: Policy, Tools & Society 3
EST 616Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice 3
EST 624Nature, Recreation, and Society 3
EST 635Public Participation and Decision Making: Theory and Application 3
EST 640Environmental Thought and Ethics 3
EST 645Mass Media and Environmental Affairs 3
EST 650Environmental Perception and Human Behavior 3
EST 652Managing Sustainability: Purpose, Principles, and Practice 3
EST 708Social Theory and the Environment 3
EST 770Ecological Economics and Policy 3

Alternate courses may be identified in collaboration with the student's advisor.

Natural Sciences (3 credits)

At least one natural science course is required in order to enhance the student’s existing knowledge. Typically this would be one of the following courses, though alternatives may be considered in consultation with the student's advisor. 

Required - 1 course chosen from:

CourseCodes*Credits
EFB 518Systems Ecology: Ecology Modeling and Design 3
EFB 523Tropical Ecology 3
EFB 600Toxic Health Hazards 4
EFB 611Topics in Environmental Toxicology 3
EFB 623Marine Ecology 5
EFB 650Landscape Ecology 3
FOR 538Meteorology 3
FOR 642Watershed Ecology and Management 3
FOR 680Urban Forestry 3
SRE 525Energy Systems 3
SRE 535Renewable Energy 3

Research / Technical Methods (3 credits)

At least one research or technical methods course is required to provide skills necessary to apply environmental knowledge and pursue the synthesis experience for the MPS. Typically this would be one of the following, but an alternative course may be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Required - 1 course chosen from:

CourseCodes*Credits
APM 510Statistical Analysis 3
APM 625Sampling Methods 3
APM 630Regression Analysis 3
APM 635Multivariate Statistical Methods 3
ENS 519Spatial Ecology 3
ERE 551GIS for Engineers 3
EST 550Environmental Impact Analysis 3
EST 570Introduction to Personal Environmental Interpretation Methods 3
EST 603Research Methods and Design 3
EST 604Social Survey Research Methods for Environmental Issues 3
EST 605Qualitative Methods 3
EST 617Measuring Environmental Inequality 3
EST 627Environmental and Energy Auditing 3
EST 671Non-Personal Environmental Interpretation Methods 3
EST 702Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation 3
EST 705Environmental Policy Analysis 3
FOR 557Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems 3
FOR 659Advanced GIS 3
LSA 500Digital Methods and Graphics I 3
LSA 501Digital Methods and Graphics II 3
LSA 552Graphic Communication 3
LSA 640Research Methods 3
LSA 650Behavioral Factors of Community Design 3
SRE 679Life Cycle Assessment 3

Generalized / Thematic Area (9 credits)

Three additional courses are selected in consultation with the student's Steering Committee. The Generalized or Thematic Area courses are used to prepare the student for capstone synthesis work and post-graduation work opportunities by enhancing a solid knowledge of some aspect of Environmental Studies. Course selection is determined through the Graduate Program of Study; students will be encouraged to include courses in their plans of study that enhance their career goals. EST 898 and EST 899 may not be included as Generalized or Thematic Area courses.

Synthesis (3-6 credits)

In order to synthesize and apply their knowledge of Environmental Studies, all students take 3-6 credit hours of one of the following:

  • EST 798 Problems in Environmental Studies (3-6 cr, Synthesis Paper)
  • EST 898 Professional Experience (6 cr, Internship)

OR successfully complete a group research project or internship via enrollment in a graduate-level course with such a focus (3-4 cr), such as EST 690, International Environmental Policy Consultancy.

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 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.

Student Eligibility

Graduate students currently matriculated and in good academic standing in their graduate degree programs at SUNY-ESF and Syracuse University are eligible to apply for entrance to the certificate program.

Administrative Procedures

Application and admissions procedures, compliance with college requirements for successful graduate study and the awarding of certificates are all administered by ESF's Dean of Instruction and Graduate Studies, 227 Bray Hall. If enrollment limitations are established, acceptances will be made on a rolling basis, according to the date of receipt of applications.

Certificate Program Requirements

Core

All students take:

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 635Public Participation and Decision Making: Theory and Application 3

Choose 9 credits from the following two lists*, at least one course from each:

Environmental Policy and Law

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 609Collaborative Governance Processes for Environmental and Natural Resource Management 3
EST 612Environmental Policy and Governance 3
EST 615Environmental Justice: Policy, Tools & Society 3
EST 660Land Use Law 3
EST 702Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation 3
EST 705Environmental Policy Analysis 3
EST 770Ecological Economics and Policy 3
EST 796Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies 1 - 3
FOR 687Environmental Law and Policy 3
FOR 689Natural Resources Law and Policy 3
LAW 716Environmental Law 3
LAW 865Natural Resources Law 3
PAI 775Energy, Environment and Resources Policy 3
PAI 777Economics of Environmental Policy 3
SRE 622Energy Markets and Regulation 3

Human and Environment Interactions

CourseCodes*Credits
EST 606Public Perception and Communication of Risk, Science and Environment 3
EST 608Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution 3
EST 613Urbanization and the Environment 3
EST 624Nature, Recreation, and Society 3
EST 640Environmental Thought and Ethics 3
EST 645Mass Media and Environmental Affairs 3
EST 650Environmental Perception and Human Behavior 3
EST 705Environmental Policy Analysis 3
EST 708Social Theory and the Environment 3
LSA 650Behavioral Factors of Community Design 3
PAI 730Problems in Public Administration 3

*Alternate courses may be substituted in these two areas, by petition.


* Special Course Codes (Code indicates course meets certain program or accreditation requirements. Ignore if there is no relevance to this program of study.) G = General Education Course (GenEd), E = Engineering, ES = Engineering Sciences, M = Mathematic, NS = Natural Sciences, PE = Professional Education, S = Summer-only