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ESF in the High School

College-level coursework and credits for high school students.

For more than 20 years, our programs have taught high school students across New York state about the complex scientific and social perspectives behind today’s environmental issues. Our hands-on courses nurture students’ interest in science and introduce them to potential career paths. In addition to students gaining college course experience and credits, teachers will have access to enhanced support and professional development.  



Fast Facts


enrolled high school students, annually


partner schools in ~30 counties across the state


high-school teachers appointed as ESF adjunct faculty


discount over standard SUNY tuition on college-level courses

Photos of students working in a variety of settings.


I’m a Teacher

You can choose from our 20 courses spanning science, math, writing, history, ethics, and research, many of which have a SUNY General Education designation. As a participant in our program, you’ll receive training to support your appointment as an ESF Adjunct Instructor. Once you’re onboarded, you’ll have access to a built-in network of ESF faculty, educational specialists, and other ESF in the High School teachers.  


I’m a Student/Parent

Students can get a head start on earning college credits — at a fraction of the cost — through an ESF in the High School course. This is a great opportunity to experience college-level work and receive support from teachers you already know.  

If you’re not sure what courses your school offers, simply reach out to your guidance counselor.  


What courses do you offer through ESF in the High School?

The flagship course is Global Environment (EFB120, 3 college credits). Key environmental science themes and critical-thinking skills form the basis for classroom and experiential learning activities. Global Environment’s interdisciplinary approach reflects our belief that all students, regardless of their specific college and career paths, will benefit from an understanding of the linkages among human social systems and biophysical systems. 

Students explore the relationships between their local rural, urban, and suburban communities and the broad global context of environmental change. Opportunities abound for including course topics based on available local and regional resources as well as teacher interests, expertise, and experiences. Ultimately, we seek to develop students and citizens who have a solid understanding of science and a sense of wonder and appreciation for the Earth as a system. 

Other courses include: 
Writing and the Environment (EWP190, 3 credits) 
Ecology and the Economic Process (ESF122, 3 credits) 
Introduction to Renewable Energy (FCH296, 3 credits) 
US History & Environmental Health (EHS 150, 3 credits) 
Research Apprenticeship in the Environmental Sciences (ESF 298, 1-3 credits) 


How are credits earned and courses graded?

Credits and grades earned are recorded as part of each student’s permanent college academic record, which can be transferred to other colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Official transcripts that indicate that the courses completed are college-level courses with college credit, are available through the ESF Registrars’ office. While acceptance at other colleges and universities is not and cannot be guaranteed, credits earned with grades of C or higher typically can be applied to undergraduate degree requirements at many colleges and universities. 


Are courses taught on the ESF campus?

All courses are taught in high schools during the normal school schedule. However, there is a field trip to the ESF campus built into the curriculum.


How much does it cost?

There is a basic program fee of $200 for a three-credit course. Students who are eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced School Lunch program will pay a discounted program fee of $75 per three-credit course. Students must provide official proof from their school district regarding their eligibility. Prorated fees exist for courses with other credit values. Registration will be done online using a link provided by the student’s instructor. Payment can be made via credit card online or by personal check or money order payable to SUNY ESF.


Does course participation earn a student admission to ESF?

Freshman admission to ESF is highly selective, with the College normally admitting approximately 45% of high school seniors who apply for admission. Completion of an ESF in the High School course with a grade of B or higher has been shown to significantly increase the chance that an applicant will be offered admission. The College’s Admission Committee views high grades earned in an ESF in the High School course as an indication of the student’s ability to succeed in ESF’s rigorous academic programs. Merit and need-based scholarships are available for accepted students.