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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.

Graduate Areas of Study

In addition to a master's degrees in General Environmental Studies, we offer two focused areas of study:

Master's Degrees

Two graduate degrees in Environmental Studies are offered:

ESF's Environmental Studies master’s degree programs 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.

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 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.

Graduate Certificate in Environmental Leadership

Now, more than ever, the world is ready for leaders who can tackle complex environmental challenges.

Are you ready to switch careers or step forward in your current profession? Make your move with us and realize 21st century rewards. Our certificate of advanced study in Environmental Leadership (no GRE required!) is perfect for people who want to roll up their sleeves and drive sustainable change in any setting — corporate, non-profit, or government. Enroll today!

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.

ES Graduate Program Links

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.

Participating Faculty

  • Joshua Cousins; jcousins@esf.edu
    environmental policy and governance, social and political dimensions of water, political ecology, political economy of water, green infrastructure, science and technology studies, political ecology, urban sustainability
  • Shari L. Dann; sldann@esf.edu
    Environmental education and interpretation; Place Based Education; conservation and natural resource education; science learning for K-12, non-formal, and adult programs; education for participatory natural resource stewardship and civic engagement; community engagement for conservation and land/watershed stewardship
  • Paul D. Hirsch; pahirsch@esf.edu
    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
  • Christina M. Limpert; cmlimper@esf.edu
    Assistant Professor, PhD, Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University Gender, schooling, and popular culture, urban community engagement and advocacy, youth climate activism, ethnographic and participatory action research, environmental cinema studies, environmental dimensions of violence and militarization, social media and public perceptions of environmental threats and ecosystem health.
  • Valerie A. Luzadis; vluzadis@esf.edu
    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
  • Sharon D. Moran; smoran@esf.edu
    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; amparker@esf.edu
    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
  • Theresa Selfa; tselfa@esf.edu
    Environmental Governance; Politics of Agri-Food and Energy Systems; Livelihood Impacts of Land Use Change; International Development and Social Change; Environmental Certification and Labelling; Latin America and US
  • David A. Sonnenfeld; dsonn@esf.edu
    environmental sociology; comparative environmental politics; sustainable transitions; water governance; East and Southeast Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Caribbean; field, historical and mixed research methods
  • Lemir Teron; lteron@esf.edu
    My thinking deliberates on problems related to inequality, conflict and empowerment. The implications are often times, though not exclusively, environmental. My intellectual playgrounds include urban spaces, coastal communities and sites of resilience.
  • Jill Weiss; jiweiss@esf.edu
    Socio-ecological systems, co-adaptive management, collaboration and trust, knowledge transfer, communities of practice and social networks, communication theories, landscape ecology, recreation governance and ethics, environmental education, conservation behaviors and psychologies, organizational management, strategic planning, and assessment. Subjects: stewardship, large contiguous bioregions, alpine zone, trail systems, public open space, bikes, urban forestry. Methods: Surveys, interviews, mixed method approaches, case studies, grounded theory, participatory action research.

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.