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ESF Honors Program

At SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the Honors Program helps students build relationships and is an excellent way to enhance the college experience. The Honors Program provides students in all academic majors with value-added educational experiences. Academic components of the program strengthen exploration and communication skills. Students complete intensive scholarship with faculty through their Honors Thesis.

Honors Students share their Honors Program experience with each other through Honors seminars and social events. They translate their academic skills into leadership roles in student government, clubs, or community service. Honors Students receive early registration privileges and access to honors sections of courses offered at Syracuse University and ESF.

Students who successfully complete all requirements of the Honors Program receive honors medals that are worn to the College’s Commencement ceremonies and recognition on their college transcript that they graduated with Honors.

Admissions to the Honors Program

Admission to the program is extremely selective. Primary consideration is given to a student’s academic record with a high school grade point average of 95% or higher, and high school class rank in the top 10% (where rankings are available). Honors Students are expected to be well-rounded with considerable contribution to extra-curricular activities and community service. Please note that these are minimum requirements and that the typical student admitted to Honors exceeds these requirements. The College generally admits no more than 40 first-year students to the program each year. As a result, qualified students may not receive an initial invitation but will be invited, or may apply, later in their college careers.

Exceptionally qualified students who have completed one year at ESF may receive an invitation to join the Honors Program. Any student with a GPA of greater than 3.5 who is completing research with a faculty mentor may apply to the Honors Program. Eligible and interested students may also contact the Directors of the Honors Program or their department's representative to the Honors Program Advisor Council to apply to the Honors Program.

Program Requirements

Honors Students must complete the following coursework:

  • ESF 109 or ESF 209 Honors Program Seminar

  • Two courses that contribute directly to the Honors thesis. These courses must be at the 400 level or above. Students in the ESF Honors Program may enroll in 600 level with permission of the instructor.

  • A total of 6 credits of honors thesis credit (ESF 499) with a grade of B or better or similar research credits that are department specific (e.g., EFB 498).

Honors Students must supplement their work with a presentation of their research at a scholarly venue. This presentation could be at the ESF Spotlight on Student Research. Many students satisfy this requirement through presentations at regional, national or international scientific meetings.

Honors students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.

The Honors Thesis

The Honors Program provides the opportunity for students to complete intensive research and creative projects under the guidance of ESF's world-class faculty. This scholarship emphasizes and encourages holistic and multidisciplinary awareness of the problems and opportunities in studying and working with the natural and built environments. The subject matter and type of thesis is left open to the students and their advisors.

All ESF Honors Theses are uploaded to the Experts at ESF where they become available throughout the world. Many Honors Students publish their work in scholarly journals.

Honors Students are eligible for thesis enhancement grants (up to $1000) to support their Honors thesis work.


Many Honors Students publish their thesis work in academic journals. Below is a sample of these publications.


Honors Program Advisory Council

The Honors Advisory Council (HPAC) recommends policies, and serve as advocates for the Honors Program to prospective students and the college, provide oversight for thesis and program standards, and make recommendations for admission to the Honors Program.

HPAC Members

Stewart Diemont | Honors Program Director | Department of Environmental Biology

Emanuel Carter | Department of Landscape Architecture

Klaus Doelle | Department of Chemical Engineering

Roxanne Razavi | Department of Environmental Biology

Lee Newman | Department of Chemistry

Theresa Selfa | Department of Environmental Studies

Wendong Tao | Department of Environmental Resources Engineering

Mark Teece | Department of Chemistry

Ruth Yanai | Department of Sustainable Resources Management