Environment, Sustainability, and Policy Major

Engaged citizenship advocating for our planet

The Integrated Learning Major in Environment, Sustainability, and Policy (ESP) grounds students in the interdisciplinary study of environmental science, sustainability, and policy necessary to understand our rapidly changing planet, contribute solutions to advance sustainability, and become more engaged global citizens.

As competing demands on the environment continue to increase with a growing human population, careful stewardship of natural resources requires the integration of multiple scientific disciplines and an understanding of how the complexities of human societies shape views of and approaches to those natural resources. That is what this major offers.

Students in this major discover how to integrate data, concepts, and methods from multiple disciplines and apply them to human and environmental systems and sustainability. They also acquire skills for solving global environmental problems and interact with key experts, organizations, and communities working toward sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Integrated learning

Students can enter the ESP major if they are in one of the base majors listed below. You may also petition to have a major not listed below count as a base major for the ESP program.

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Communication and Rhetorical Studies
  • Earth Sciences
  • Economics
  • English and Textual Studies
  • Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises
  • Environmental and Interior Design
  • Food Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Industrial and Interaction Design
  • International Relations
  • Management
  • Physics
  • Philosophy
  • Policy Studies
  • Political Science
  • Public Health
  • Religion
  • Sociology
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Transmedia


The ESP major requires 27 credits, 18 of which must be upper division. 12 of those upper-division credits must be completed at Syracuse University. 12 upper-division credits must also be unique to this major.

ESP students complete 3 core courses: one in environmental sciences, one in environmental studies/humanities, and one in data analysis. At the advanced level, students complete an integrative science-policy course, 4 upper-division electives, and a senior seminar.

Students completing a capstone for their base major have the option of replacing one elective for the ESP major with the capstone from the base major, if the capstone has sufficient environmental or sustainability content.

In addition, students can use independent study (research or policy project) or experience credit (fellowship/internship experience with approval), study abroad or international field experience for an elective, with approval by the ESP Faculty Advisory Committee. Students will work with their undergraduate advisor and the ESP Director to develop a curricular track suited for their thematic interests or professional goals.

For more information on this program, see the Course Catalog for information on the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs.

Research opportunities

As a student in the ESP program, you have the opportunity to conduct independent research or to work with faculty at Maxwell and other schools at Syracuse University.

Related programs

Environment and Society Minor

B.S. in Earth Sciences with a focus in Environmental Science

B.S. in Biology with a focus in Environmental Science

How to Enroll

Students who have accepted an offer of admission from Syracuse University and declared a major are eligible to declare the Environment, Sustainability, and Policy major.

  1. Download and complete a  Declaration of Major form. (Note: Requires logging in with your SU account.)
  2. Arrange meeting with Professor Abbott to sign your Declaration of Major form.