From the School

ESF is the premier college in the United States for academic programs focused on the science, design, engineering, and management of our environment and natural resources. In fact, before there was "Earth Day" there was ESF, which was founded in 1911 as the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. Over the past 97 years the College's mission has expanded to provide a fuller understanding of the range of environmental issues facing our global society. The College was re-chartered in 1972 as the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and is part of the state's 64 campus system for higher education. ESF currently offers 22 undergraduate and 28 graduate degree programs, including 8 Ph.D. programs, and is nationally-recognized for outstanding value, small class size, and student engagement in learning. Our students share a common concern for the environment. They are hardworking, active learners who want to use their knowledge and experience to confront society's tough questions and make the world a better place to live. They arrive at the College as freshmen and transfers from throughout the United States to pursue professional education leading to a vast array of career pathways and advanced study. The College's academic programs serve some of the largest and most productive sectors of the national economy. Students are broadly educated, prepared to take on responsibilities as citizens, and trained to be problem-solvers, managers and leaders. The hallmarks of the undergraduate educational experience at ESF include career-oriented programs with an unmatched range of course offerings, experiential learning provided through field experiences, internships and research activities, and highly developed analytical and problem solving skills. The Faculty is responsible for delivering all undergraduate instruction in addition to their research, graduate level teaching and public service responsibilities. More than 90% of the Faculty have completed a Ph.D. or terminal degree, and more than 75% are employed full-time. ESF graduates experience excellent employment opportunities and are admitted to the nation's best graduate schools. More than 95% are employed or enrolled in advanced study within six months of graduation. The academic, cultural, and social lives of ESF students are enhanced through the College's long-standing partnership with neighboring Syracuse University. ESF students live in SU residence halls and access all of the University's resources while paying affordable SUNY tuition rates. The College also owns more than 25,000 acres of forest property located throughout NY State, and operates several regional campuses and field stations that provide special research and experiential learning opportunities. The ESF Ranger School campus at Wanakena, in the heart of the 6 million acre Adirondack State Park, offers degree programs in surveying and forest technology.


Acceptance Rate
Average HS GPA

GPA Breakdown

Over 3.75
3.50 - 3.74
3.25 - 3.49
3.00 - 3.24
2.50 - 2.99

Test Scores

SAT Reading
530 - 630
SAT Math
550 - 630
ACT Composite
22 - 26


Early Decision
December 1

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Academic GPA
Standardized Test Scores
Application Essay

Level of applicant's interest


From The School

ESF offers an undergraduate Honors Program and more than 60 service-learning courses. Specialized study options within the biology program include plant physiology, entomology, environmental microbiology, pest management, plant physiology, plant science, zoology, and additional areas. A five week period of summer field study, usually taken at ESF's Cranberry Lake Biological Station, is a required part of the biology program. Options for specialization within the chemistry program include biochemistry and polymer chemistry. The College also offers four engineering programs focused on environmental and chemical engineering specializations. The natural resources management curriculum offers concentrations in environmental, water, and recreation resources and requires a four week period of summer field study. The environmental studies program offers options in environmental communication, environmental policy, and biological science applications. The nationally-ranked landscape architecture curriculum requires participation in an off-campus independent study project in the fifth year. Students majoring in biology or chemistry may complete teacher certification through a joint program with Syracuse University. Many undergraduates complete some of their liberal arts requirements through courses offered at SU while paying SUNY tuition. Transfer agreements also exist with SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse to offer several health-related programs, including a 3+3 degree in physical therapy. ESF’s new bioprocess engineering program is focused on the production of biofuels, and is the first program of its kind in the Northeast.

Students Say

SUN"Y's College of Environmental Science and Forestry is "dedicated to its mis­ sion of sustainability." It is "a great school for those interested in research and theory." The school's "unique class offerings" include using its "thousands of acres of forest" for "education, research, and forestry." Students are "out in the field learning how to do what they want to do in life." With Syracuse University right next-door, SUN"Y ESF "has a great small school atmosphere," with"all of the perks of a big university." This "great partnership" between the two schools gives SUN"Y ESF students "the option to take their classes" and "enjoy the amenities and even the social life of a larger, private school." For in-state students, SUN"Y ESF is "very affordable." One transfer student says, "ESF is definitely the best 'bang for your buck.' I attended a private university prior, and I have paid for four years what one year costs there. And the courses are just as well taught." Professors "have diverse teaching styles, and different students prefer different teachers. Some seem over-committed between their research and teaching duties, and this can make them difficult to reach or rely on." "Professors are committed to their beliefs and are mostly all in active research." Don't expect to breeze through classes at ESF. "If you plan on coasting through college, ESF is not for you!" Professors "set the bar high for expectations and keep it there. I'm consis­ tently challenged and encouraged." There are "well maintained chemistry and computing lab facilities," and the "newer lab buildings are first class." "SUN"Y ESF is a great school whether you love plants, animals, or the environment, and offers great opportunities for real world experience related to your field of study."

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
20 - 29

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


Post-Bachelor's certificate

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


Prominent Alumni

Joseph Martens
Commissioner, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Ronald J. Eby
National Medal of Technology winner 2007

Scott Kasprowicz
World record holder for helicopter flight

Jean Frechet
Won 2013 Japan Prize for polymer research

Anne Papageorge
Led planning and design of World Trade Center memorial

Howard Ris
President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Col. Richard P. Wagenaar
Led Army restoration of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina


Financial Aid Rating
Application Deadlines
Notification Date
Mar 15

Required Forms

State Aid

Bottom Line

SUNY–ESF is highly specialized and selective; it is the oldest and largest environmental college in the country. The school enjoys a unique partnership with Syracuse University that gives ESF students special access to Syracuse classes, academic facilities, student clubs and organizations and other services while paying low statesupported tuition. SUNY’s in-state and out-of-state tuition rates are among the lowest in the Northeast for public colleges.

Bang For Your Buck

SUNY-ESF awards approximately half of its total institutional scholarships based on academic merit, with the other half based on financial need. There are many special scholarships available for students who live outside New York State to help them cover tuition costs. All students in the bioprocess engineering program, and the paper science and engineering programs, are required to complete a summer internship in a related industry, and they are encouraged to complete semester-long paid internship. More than 95 percent of students in these programs are placed in a related job or graduate study within nine months of graduation. As a member of Raise, ESF offers “micro-scholarships” for students who pursue specific activities (like Eagle Scouts) and courses in high school. A longstanding partnership with Syracuse University just down the street means students can take classes there at no additional cost.

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Tuition (In-State)
Tuition (Out-of-State)
Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodoloy

Scholarships and Grants
Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
College/university loans from institutional funds
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender


From The School

The College has a representative Undergraduate Student Association, and representatives also participate in student government at Syracuse University. ESF's student government organizes and presents social activities, and its representatives attend College administrative meetings, communicate concerns and ideas to the administration, and serve as a conduit of information back to the student body. ESF students participate in more than 300 clubs and organizations at Syracuse University, in addition to 40 offered on the ESF campus. Student community service efforts have led to the College being listed among a select group of institutions on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Students Say

"There's extremes here at ESE.. It's likely that you'll see someone with bare feet, dreadlocks and a tie-dye t-shirt walking around campus, and there's people who dress in slacks everyday. The typical student is usually happily between the two extremes, and spends a lot of time in the library and/ or the computer labs!" "Attending SUN"Y ESF means being surrounded by people who are passionate about the earth and science in general, while all having unique perspectives and interests to share."

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Out of State

Foreign Countries Represented


43% female
57% male
18% are out of state
91% are full time
9% are part time


From The School

Syracuse, a metropolitan area of nearly 465,000 people located in the heart of upstate NY, is a leader in the manufacture of china, air conditioning, drugs, and automotive parts, medical and lighting equipment. It offers many cultural and recreational opportunities, including a symphony orchestra, museums, live theater, and historic places. The driving time to Syracuse from New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, and Montreal is about five hours; from Buffalo and Albany, about three hours. The city is served by a modern international airport and major bus and rail lines. Syracuse has recently become recognized as one of America's "greenest" cities for its environmental efforts.

Students Say

Students at SUN"Y ESF have access to Syracuse University's "food services, gyms, and health center." ESF "doesn't have many sports (but we can play club sports over at SU)" which are "formed with students of both colleges." "The dorms are fantastic; the building was built in 2011 and all the rooms have private baths." "ESF offers lots of activities including monthly free movies, breakfasts, presenta­ tions, ski trips, ice-skating, craft fairs, etc. We get weekly emails letting us know about all the events, and there's always something to do." In nice weather, stu­ dents make good use of the quad. '1t's fairly large, so people hang out there between classes with friends." Because of the "outdoorsy" nature of many stu­ dents also enjoy, "running, biking, hiking, scuba, rock climbing, travel, you name it!" "Armory Square is a short bus ride away and offers some great off campus lunch and dinner options." There are "fun house parties and the downtown scene is great in my opinion. There are also several ski resorts and lakes nearby for fun in every season." According to one student, "drug use is more prevalent than it should be," but there is a sober crowd, like this student who says, "I spend my Friday nights at Insomniac Events, which is for people who don't want to go out and party. Each event is themed and they are really fun."

Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

Quality of life rating
First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Small Urban
Fire safety rating

Housing Options

Apartment Single
Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Frat Sorority

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations

5% join a fraternity
5% join a sorority


Athletic Division

11% participate in intercollegiate sports

Men's Sports (Mighty Oaks)
6 Sports

Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor
Women's Sports (Mighty Oaks)
5 Sports

Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor

Student Services

LGBT Support Groups
Minority Support Groups:

Army ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Syracuse University
Air Force ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Syracuse University


SUNY ESF is the only school in the nation where all of its academic programs are oriented toward natural resources and the natural and designed environments. With sustainability at the core of the university’s mission, SUNY ESF has been at the forefront of nationally-recognized, government-supported research in green issues. In one such instance they have partnered with the New York State government and private industry to develop the state’s first bio-refinery aimed at producing ethanol and other chemical products from wood sugars. SUNY ESF is committed to becoming carbon neutral in the next three years. Almost half of all the university’s vehicles are powered with renewable fuels, electric, or hybrid technologies. The college's new Gateway Building, designed to achieve LEED Platinum, will feature a biomass fueled power plant which will generate 65 percent of the heat and 20 percent of the electrical power for the entire campus. SUNY ESF’s career center is dedicated to placing students in internships and careers in the science, design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. The university conducts more than $15 million of sponsored research each year aimed at solving environmental and natural resource challenges.

Green Rating
School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

School employs a sustainability officer

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Available Transportation Alternatives

Car Sharing Program

Carpool/Vanpool Matching Program

Cash-Out Parking

Incentives Or Programs To Encourage Employees To Live Close To Campus

School Adopted A Policy Prohibiting Idling
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of February, 2014.

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

A variety of vendors offered through the Syracuse University Bookstore.

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Undergraduate Admissions Office

1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Centennial Residence Hall
Gateway Center (Student Union)
Green Houses and Wildlife Collection
College Quadrangle
SUNY-ESF is located on the same campus as Syracuse University. The most popular sites on that campus are the Carrier Dome, Crouse College (a historic building), Schine Student Center, and Hendricks Chapel

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Marshall Street shopping district
Armory Square Entertainment District
Destiny USA Mall
Museum of Science & Technology
Syracuse University Carrier Dome
The city of Syracuse offers a wide array of historic sites, museums, galleries, theaters, shopping and dining.

Campus Tours

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: 9:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
1 week

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Hancock International Airport serves Syracuse with several carriers. The Regional Transportation Center is served by Amtrak, Greyhound Lines and Trailways as well as local bus service, (Centro). Taxi service is available at the airport and transportation center.

Driving Instructions to Campus
Go to Take Adams Street exit from NY State Route 81 in downtown Syracuse and follow signs to campus.

Local Accommodations
Go to
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Key Stats

Acceptance Rate
SAT Scores

Rankings & Lists