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Department of Environmental Studies

Theresa Selfa, 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 Education and Interpretation

Environmental Education teaches people of all ages about the natural environment, so that they can make informed decisions on how to care for it.

Interpretation is a communications process that reveals meanings and relationships about natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources. Interpretation and environmental education work hand-in-hand to help make connections between the world of science and the public. Through the art of interpretation, students will learn how to help people make connections with the natural world and science through educational programs and materials.

Required Courses

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

Survey of Calculus and Its Applications I
G

G
3

4
APM 391Introduction to Probability and Statistics G3
EFB 101General Biology I: Organismal Biology and EcologyG3
EFB 102General Biology I LaboratoryG1
EFB 103General Biology II: Cell Biology and Genetics G3
EFB 104General Biology II Laboratory G1
EFB 120The Global Environment and the Evolution of Human Society G3
EFB 202Ecological Monitoring and Biodiversity Assessment 3
EFB 210Diversity of Life I 3
EFB 211Diversity of Life II 3
EFB 320 General Ecology 4
EST 132Orientation Seminar for Environmental Studies 1
EST 133Introduction to Environmental Studies 3
EST 361History of the American Environmental Movement G3
EST 370Introduction to Personal Environmental Interpretation Methods 3
EST 407Assessment for Environmental Programs3
EST 415Environmental Justice 3
EST 444Creative Responses to the Environment3
EST 471Non-Personal Environmental Interpretation Methods 3
EST 494Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies 1
EST 499Internship in Environmental Studies 3
EWP 190Writing and the Environment G3
EWP 290Research Writing and HumanitiesG3
FCH 150General Chemistry I G3
FCH 151General Chemistry Laboratory I G1
FOR 372Fundamentals of Outdoor Recreation 3

Electives

Course Codes* Credits
General Education Course in one of the following categories:The Arts, Western Civilization, Other World Civilizations, Foreign Language G 3
Directed Electives 30
Open Electives 21

Directed Electives: Environmental Education & Interpretation

  • Conservation Biology and Resource Management
    At least 6 credits hours must be in the subject area of advanced conservation biology and Management. Allowable courses are listed below. The list may vary slightly from year to year.
    • EFB 370 Population Ecology and Management
    • EFB 390 Wildlife Ecology & Management (4 cr.) F
    • EFB 413 Introduction to Conservation Biology (4 cr.) S
    • EFB 423 Marine Biology (4 cr.) S even years
    • EFB 487 Fisheries Science and Management (3 cr.) F
    • EST 220 Urban Ecology (3 cr.) F
    • FOR 332 Forest Ecology (4 cr.) F
    • FOR 404 Ecotourism Abroad (3 cr.) S
    • FOR 475 Recreation Behavior and Management (3 cr.) F
    • FOR 476 Ecotourism and Nature Tourism (3 cr.) F
  • Advanced Communication
    At least 6 credit hours must be in the subject area of advanced communication. Allowable courses are listed below. The list may vary slightly from year to year.
    • EST 395 Public Communication of Science and Technology (3 cr.) S
    • EST 493 Environmental Communication WOrkshop (3 cr.) S
    • EWP 390 Literature of Nature (3 cr.) F, S
    • EWP 394 The Art of Storytelling (3 cr.) F
    • EWP 407 Writing for Environmental and Science Professionals (3 cr.) F, S
    • EWP 420 Public Presentation Skills (3 cr.) F, S
    • EWP 450 Digital Storytelling (3 cr.) F, S
    • EWP 494 Creative Non-fiction in the Sciences (3 cr.) S
    • LSA 300 Digital Methods and Graphics I (3 cr.) F
  • Advanced Environmental Education and Interpretation
    At least 3 credit hours must be in the subject area of advanced interpretation. Allowable courses are listed below. The list may vary slightly from year to year.
    • EST 333 Inquiry-Based Science Education (3 cr.) S
    • EST 472 Natural History Museums and Modern Science (3 cr.) Maymester
    • EST 474 Advanced Interpretation and Environmental Education (3 cr.) S
  • Organismal Diversity
    To encourage breadth in organism-level biology, students must complete 12 credit hours in any combination from this list.
    • Earth Sciences
      • EST 231 Environmental Geology (3 cr.) S
      • FOR 338 Meteorology (3 cr.) S
      • FOR 340 Watershed Hydrology (3 cr.) S
      • FOR 345 Introduction to Soils (3 cr.) F
      • FOR 442 Watershed Ecology and Management (3 cr.) F
    • Diversity of Microorganisms
      • EFB 303 Introductory Environmental Microbiology (4 cr.) F
      • EFB 340 Forest and Shade Tree Pathology (3 cr.) S
      • EFB 342 Fungal Diversity and Ecology (3 cr.) CLBS
      • EFB 428 Mycorrhizal Ecology (3cr.) F, even years
      • EFB 440 Mycology (3 cr.) F
    • Diversity of Plants
      • EFB 326 Plant Evolution, Diversification and Conservation (3 cr.) S
      • EFB 327 Adirondack Flora (3 cr.) CLBS
      • EFB 336 Dendrology (3 cr.) F
      • EFB 337 Field Ethnobotany (3 cr.) CLBS
      • EFB 435 Flowering Plants: Diversity, Evolution, and Systematics (3 cr.) F
      • EFB 446 Ecology of Mosses (3 cr.) S
      • EFB 496 Flora of Central NY (3 cr.) Maymester
      • EFB 496 Wetland Plants & Communities of Adirondacks (3 cr.) CLBS
    • Diversity of Invertebrate Animals
      • EFB 351 Principles of Forest Entomology (3 cr.) S
      • EFB 352 Elements of Entomology (3 cr.) F
      • EFB 355 Invertebrate Zoology (4 cr.) S
      • EFB 453 Parasitology (3 cr.) F
      • EFB 554 Aquatic Entomology (3 cr.) F
    • Diversity of Vertebrate Animals
      • EFB 388 Ecology of Adirondack Fishes (3 cr.) CLBS
      • EFB 482 Ornithology (4 cr.) S
      • EFB 483 Mammal Diversity (4 cr.) F
      • EFB 484 Winter Mammalian Ecology (3 cr.) S
      • EFB 485 Herpetology (3 cr.) S
      • EFB 486 Ichthyology (3 cr.) S
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    At least 3 credit hours are required in this subject area related to the inclusion of diverse perspectives in Environmental Education and Interpretation.
    • EFB 305 Indegenous Issues and the Environment (3 cr.) S
    • EST 140 Introduction to Native Peoples, Lands and Cultures (3 cr.) S
    • EST 204 Diversity and Knowledge of the Environment (3 cr.) F
    • EST 366 Attitudes, Values and the Environment (3 cr.) F even years
    • EST 405 Gender, Culture and the Environment (3 cr.) F

Total Minimum Credits For Degree: 123

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 103
OR
APM 104
OR
APM 105
Applied College Algebra and Trigonometry

College Algebra and Precalculus

Survey of Calculus and Its Applications I
G

G

G
3

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
AND
FCH 111
OR
FCH 150
AND
FCH 151
Survey of Chemical Principles

Survey of Chemical Principles Laboratory

General Chemistry I

General Chemistry Laboratory I
G



G

G
3

1

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
FOR 232
EST 220
FOR 442
LSA 321
Ecology- Choose one of the following:
General Ecology
Natural Resources Ecology
Urban Ecology
Watershed Ecology and Management
Ecological Application in Planning & Design

4
3
3
3
3
EST 321Government and the Environment3
EST 361History of the American Environmental MovementG3
EST 494Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies 1
EWP 407Writing for Environmental & Science Professionals3
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
Critical Issues in the Environment 3

Total Minimum Credits For Degree: 122-125 (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 Policy3
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 604Survey Research Methods 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

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

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 Policy3

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.

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Environmental Leadership, Justice, and Communication

M.P.S. Program Requirements
CourseCodes*Credits
EST 555Public Relations Management for Environmental Professionals 3
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 615Environmental Justice: Policy, Tools & Society 3
EST 616Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice 3
EST 617Measuring Environmental Inequality 3
EST 635Public Participation and Decision Making: Theory and Application 3
EST 640Environmental Thought and Ethics 3
EST 798/898MPS Capstone3

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 Policy3
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.

Certificate of Advanced Study in Environmental Leadership

All students take:
CourseCodes*Credits
EST 640Environmental Thought and Ethics 3
EST 612Environmental Policy and Governance 3
EST 635Public Participation and Decision Making: Theory and Application 3

Certificate of Advanced Study in Science & Environmental Communication and Public Relations Management

All students take:
CourseCodes*Credits
EST 555Public Relations Management for Environmental Professionals 3
EST 606Public Perception and Communication of Risk, Science and Environment 3
EST 608Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution 3

* 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