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

Environmental Studies Bachelor of Science


The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies program has a broadly interdisciplinary approach and has been carefully designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of environmental affairs. In the pursuit of these objectives, we bring together scientific, philosophical, theoretical, and practical perspectives on a range of environmental concerns.

Our program prepares students with the knowledge and experience to work towards an ecologically sustainable and socially just world. It provides opportunities for community engagement, valuable hands-on internship experiences, and multiple destinations for a semester of studying abroad.

Environmental Studies Program Learning Outcomes

  • Critical Thinking: demonstrate critical thinking skills in relation to environmental affairs.
  • Communication: demonstrate knowledge and application of communication skills and the ability to write effectively in a variety of contexts.
  • Interdisciplinary Synthesis: demonstrate an ability to integrate the many disciplines and fields that intersect with environmental concerns.
  • Ecological Literacy: demonstrate an awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the intrinsic values of ecological processes and communities.
  • Sustainability: demonstrate an integrative approach to environmental issues with a focus on sustainability.

Graduates of this program have gone on to graduate programs in multiple disciplines, including law and medical school. They have also gone on to work in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), education, government, and the private sector; pursuing careers in such areas as policy, advocacy, conservation, consulting, administration, law, and education to name just a few.

The following program learning outcomes guide our efforts:

Bachelor of Science Program

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.


Several undergraduate minors are available, including a Minor in Urban Environmental Science.

Student Participation

Environmental Studies students have formed the Environmental Studies Student Organization (ESSO) to support student participation in environmental and academic program activities. In addition, two students participate as members of the Dept. of Environmental Studies' Undergraduate Studies Committee. Environmental Studies students participate in many student clubs and organizations at both ESF and Syracuse University, including club sports teams.