Man at sawmill working with wood products

State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry

State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry

Featured Highlights

1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210


Environmental Science

Students have the flexibility to satisfy their core requirements by completing courses in biology, chemistry, ecology, geography, engineering, forestry, environmental studies and other areas of study. College-wide general education requirements provide additional opportunities for students to complete courses in the arts, humanities and social sciences to develop a broader context for personal and professional growth.

Students in the junior and senior years of the program are able to focus more directly on professional courses that provide career preparation through a number of specialized options within environmental science. These options encourage students to develop career-related skills and expertise in areas such as environmental analysis, watershed science, environmental information and mapping, earth and atmospheric sciences, environmental health or renewable energy. Students may also develop self-designed minors in environmental science, or pursue a minor in another subject, to tailor their educational program to fit their personal goals.

Undergraduate students are encouraged to work closely with faculty members engaged in research and environmental problem solving, and many choose to enter the College's nationally recognized graduate degree programs in environmental science (M.S., M.P.S., Ph.D.). Teaching and research activities are supported by excellent laboratory, library and computing facilities available on the ESF campus and through Syracuse University. Faculty and students also benefit from a variety of field stations located on 25,000 acres of College-owned forest and wetlands.

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Environmental Studies

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.

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.

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Forest & Natural Resources Management

The Forest Ecosystem Science degree is based on a vision that combines professional competency in forest management skills with an enhanced understanding of ecological sciences. Students interested in this program typically are drawn to natural settings and environments, enjoy nature, and want to understand how forested ecosystems work. Experiential field learning is combined with learning concepts and skills in the classroom and laboratory on ESF's Syracuse campus.

The undergraduate curriculum in forest ecosystem science consists of two broad categories of courses. The first category, general education, provides students with knowledge and skills that are useful and important for all educated persons regardless of their profession as well as preparation for advanced courses leading to a specific profession. The second category, professional courses, provides students with direct preparation for a career. The first two years of college usually focus on general education and the second two on the professional studies.

The educational program in forest ecosystem science, leading to the professional bachelor of science degree in forest management, is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). SAF is recognized by the Council on Higher Education as the specialized accrediting body for forestry in the United States.

The Forest Ecosystem Science degree offers a wide variety of employment opportunities. Graduates work throughout the United States in public agencies, private industry, and for nonprofit organizations. They also are well prepared to enter graduate programs in management of forest and natural resources, ecological research, or other areas of applied forest biology.

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Environmental and Forest Biology

Forest health is a multidisciplinary and collaborative field of study that involves the understanding, monitoring, and protection of the world's forest resources.

A solid foundation in forest health requires expertise in many disciplines including, but not limited to, plant pathology, entomology, ecology, dendrology, mycology, silviculture, and forest management. At ESF, we have provided academic training in these areas for decades, but only recently have they been merged into an academic major.

The forest health major prepares biology-oriented students for employment in positions that deal with maintaining the health of forest resources. The major is distinct from those in the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management and its forest ecosystem science major, which provides skills and preparation in forest management. Employers today have expressed a need for a deeper understanding of the science behind the trees. Positions requiring a forest health background are found in federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. With good performance, the forest health major prepares students for graduate study in preparation for higher-level positions, such as forest pathologist, entomologist, or mycologist.

The curriculum provides a solid foundation in mathematics and the physical sciences (chemistry, physics) followed by courses focusing on forest trees and their requirements, the basic ecological principles that shape forest ecosystems, and the management of these ecosystems. Other required courses introduce students to the identification and impact of biological agents of disease and physical damage, and to the methods by which these are monitored. The flexibility of the major will permit students to pursue more intensive training in integral forest health specialties, such as forest pathology and forest entomology, or to obtain even broader knowledge in related fields such as forestry, microbiology, mycology, conservation biology, and ecology. Field experience is an important element of the program and is integral to several required courses and many of the directed electives. Two of the requirements are field courses at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station.

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Forest & Natural Resources Management

Forest resources management is an integration of forest ecology and biology, forest measurements, forest policy and administration, and courses to predict and evaluate the effects of manipulation.

Timber, water, soils, recreation, wildlife, and a broad array of environmental values and services, such as biodiversity and healthy forest systems, are important results of effective management. This major prepares students to be well-rounded generalists who can practice forestry and succeed as professionals in a variety of allied natural resources management fields.

The educational program in forest resources management, leading to the professional bachelor of science degree in forest management, is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). SAF is recognized by the Council on Higher Education as the specialized accrediting body for forestry in the United States.

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Ranger School

Forest Technology (A.A.S.)

The forest technology program provides students with a unique combination of knowledge and skills. Students learn about all aspects of forest technology through a carefully planned combination of classroom lectures, demonstration and hands-on fieldwork. The curriculum's emphasis is on fundamental forestry knowledge and applied field training as well as the relationship between forest technology and managerial needs.

A degree in Forest Technology provides students with knowledge of the field practice of forest management, the ability to work and communicate effectively with professional and paraprofessional personnel, and an understanding of the physical, biological and quantitative aspects that form the basis of forestry.

Graduates are immediately eligible to find jobs at the technical level and are generally classified as forest technicians or forestry aides in initial employment positions. Forestry agencies and wood-using industries employ forest technicians as an important part of their forest management teams, usually as the “people on the ground” who plan and execute the field practice of forestry, normally under the supervision of a professional forester.

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Land Surveying Technology (A.A.S.)

The land surveying technology program’s educational objectives are for students to obtain a sound technical background in fundamental land surveying principles, techniques and skills; become well-rounded technical specialists capable of teamwork, communication and problem solving; and develop life-long learning skills and abilities.

The program provides students with a combination of surveying and land resource knowledge and related skills which are not available elsewhere. Students will be thoroughly exposed to the field of land surveying through a carefully planned combination of classroom lectures, demonstrations and hands-on experience.

As land values increase, technology advances, and laws and regulations become more complex, the education of land surveyors has become increasingly important. This degree addresses the educational needs of the student interested in pursuing a career in surveying, as well as the needs of surveying employers. Students are exposed to the fundamentals of forest technology that are important to the land surveyor and receive a more in-depth education in the area of surveying technology.

This degree provides the student with knowledge and skills in surveying measurements and computations; the ability to work and communicate effectively with professional land surveyors, survey technicians, lawyers, and the general public; an understanding of the principles and practices of surveying with particular emphasis on boundary surveying; and an understanding of land resource concepts important to the surveyor. Students graduate with an A.A.S. degree in land surveying technology.

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Paper Engineering

The paper engineering program is a chemical engineering-based curriculum designed to provide greater depth in fiber and paper processing for students preparing for an engineering career in the pulp, paper and allied industries.

The pulp and paper industry is at the forefront of the renewable resources industry. It represents the first industry that uses biomass in large quantities to produce commodity and specialized products. Graduates are well prepared to move into assignments in the engineering field and advance quickly to positions of responsibility in the analysis and design of processes and equipment. The paper engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

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Renewable Materials Science

The renewable materials science program educates students in the science of materials and products made from renewable resources. The program provides an in-depth knowledge of materials such as wood, paper, modern packaging materials, natural fiber materials and advanced materials emphasizing sustainability, environmental consciousness and minimizing environmental footprint.

Students can explore a variety of careers in modern packaging, natural products and renewable materials industries, focused on technical, scientific and managerial tracks. The program will have the following options: paper, wood and polymer science. The third option is conducted with the Department of Chemistry.

Program Educational Objectives

Impactful careers applying the science of renewable materials to societal development, sustainability and industrial growth with environmental stewardship;

Career growth with progressively increasing responsibility and contributions and continued life- long learning.

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