Environment, Sustainability, and Policy Undergraduate Program

Make an impact today that enriches our tomorrow

The Environment, Sustainability, and Policy (ESP) double major bachelor degree program is your opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the most pressing environmental issues facing our world today. These complex issues are shaped by both human and natural factors and interconnected with everything from the global economy to local cultural practices. As an Integrated Learning Major, this program gives you the ability to understand these problems from multiple perspectives, to think about their science and policy implications, and to find solutions that promote sustainability.

Interdisciplinary learning for informed, collaborative solutions

The Environment, Sustainability, and Policy major pairs an interdisciplinary approach to environmental dynamics with deep grounding in base majors that stretch across SU. Whether you’re majoring in public health or supply chain management, international relations or religion, you can pair your major with the ESP major to create a unique set of skills and perspectives that will help you address environmental and sustainability issues in the world around us.

Addressing those challenges requires the integration of the scientific study of the planet’s ecological functions and an understanding of how different human societies shape approaches to the planet’s resources and the pursuit of sustainability. The ESP major’s integration of the natural and human sciences provides a unique opportunity for students to learn how to examine and address the environment and sustainability.

Above all, ESP majors learn to link knowledge with actions for sustainable alternatives that integrate scientific, humanist, and social perspectives. This uniquely prepares you, as an ESP major, for graduate or professional study or for careers in government, non-profit organizations, or the private sector.

Flexible format adapted to provide a wealth of hands-on learning

The ESP major gives students a lot of flexibility. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to explore your interests and develop your skills through internships, independent research, study abroad, and other venues. The ESP major also takes advantages of SU’s proximity to a range of environmentally important sites.

ESP students interested in place-based environmental study and management concerning water resources can study the Finger Lakes, Central New York’s extensive groundwater resources, or the Erie Canal. Those interested in environmental remediation can learn more about Onondaga Lake, as can those with interests in indigenous values and environmental traditions. SU has several study abroad programs that allow students to pursue environmental interests, as well as a physical presence in Washington, D.C. and New York City, key centers of state, national, and international environmental and sustainability policy.

There are a number of internship opportunities, both locally and nationally, for ESP majors. Local organizations from the Central New York Land Trust to the Onondaga Environmental Institute and the Central Chapter of the New York Water Environment Association are excellent sites for student internships. More broadly, ESP students can seek internships with environmental organizations in Washington, D.C., especially if they are interested in environmental policy. Qualified juniors and seniors can spend a semester taking classes and completing a faculty-supervised internship in D.C. through the Maxwell-in-Washington program.

Growing demand for qualified environmental experts

ESP majors can expect to be prepared for advanced study or for a variety of careers in non-governmental organizations, government, or the private sector. Employment for this field is projected to grow 11 percent, faster than average for all occupations.

Learn more about career opportunities for ESP majors.