From the School

Founded in 1911, the College of Environmental Science and Forestry is a premier environmental college focused on building a sustainable future through research and degree programs in the environmental sciences, engineering, design and management fields.

ESF inspires tomorrow's environmental leaders through discovery and the development of innovative solutions. The college strives to actively inform and involve the greater society on the environmental challenges of our time.

As a small, doctoral granting institution, ESF attracts top-notch faculty who push the boundaries of knowledge in their academic fields. Working side by side with these highly acclaimed faculty on research ranging from restoring polluted lakes to developing new sources of biofuels, our students push those boundaries too. Unlike many research institutions, experience and outstanding teaching is our top priority. This close-knit community of faculty and students share interests and work together to improve the world around them. Together, they learn and work in labs, classrooms, forests and wetlands across ESF campuses and field stations. Other research and educational opportunities take place nationally, internationally, and through our study-abroad programs.

Every ESF major requires some type of experiential learning. Career-related internships provide invaluable work experience and often pave the way to a permanent position after graduation. The College has an extensive internship program to help students with those connections.

These connections include over 40 internships through the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) reserved specifically for ESF students. Alumni have had great success in the NYDEC, notably among them is the former commissioner, Joe Martens. In Martens' words, "ESF is poised like no other College to put people in positions of critical importance around the world." Alumnus, Ana Maria Menezes of the class of 2008, is a perfect example of that. Menezes works as an environmental consultant on adaption to climate change for the U.N.. Alumni have been presidents of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), chemists at Georgia-Pacific and Proctor & Gamble, engineers at Bristol Meyer Squibb and Kimberly-Clark, lawyers, forest rangers, hydrologists, podcasters, cartographers and countless other exciting positions.

Students at our main campus enjoy the benefits of a unique partnership with neighboring Syracuse University (SU). These benefits include the ability to take courses at SU, participate in academic and cultural events, the use of athletic and recreational facilities, dining and religious services, discounted tickets to SU NCAA Division 1 sports events and a club offering of over 350 student organizations between both campuses.

What makes ESF truly unique is the strong sense of community between students, faculty, and Alumni. It is a sense of pride, family, and belonging that travels far beyond graduation. "I experience this wherever I go. People are proud to tell me they went to ESF when I see them," says alumnus Joe Martens. Students arrive on campus as first-years and transfers, all eager to change the world for the better. They leave as skilled professionals ready to make a difference. Most start making that difference before they ever leave. It is a tradition of good will, positive energy, creativity and community that threads us together.


From The School

Admission is selective and the College attracts a diverse and academically qualified entering class. An Early Decision (first choice) application plan is offered. See Students apply to the specific major that interests them and most programs require strong grades in high school mathematics and science. SAT/ACT scores are also important, along with a demonstrated interest in sustainability and the environment.

ESF attracts a large number of transfer students (more than 250 per year) in addition to the entering first-year class, and a minimum college GPA of 2.80 or higher is generally required for transfer admission.

Students most often use the Common Application when applying, and a campus visit is strongly encouraged.


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

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SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
580 - 650
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
570 - 650

Concordant SAT Scores

SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
570 - 650

ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
24 - 28

Testing Policies

ACT Writing Policy
ACT with or without Writing accepted

SAT Essay Policy
SAT with or without Writing accepted


Early Decision — December 1

Other Admission Factors


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

Level of applicant's interest

Selectivity Rating

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From The School

Academic Programs

The faculty at ESF are leaders in their fields on as both professors and accomplished researchers. A highly selective Honors Program is offered, focused on undergraduate research opportunities. Study-abroad programs take students to a variety of countries, providing opportunities to conduct research in a range of ecosystems. ESF's long-standing partnership with SU provides students with the opportunity to take classes there as part of their ESF degree program with access to hundreds of elective courses in the liberal arts and management among many others.

Majors and Degrees Offered

ESF offers more than 50 associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs focused on sustainability and the science, design, engineering and management of our environment and natural resources. All degree programs offer research and experiential learning opportunities. Popular programs include wildlife science, forestry and natural resources management, environmental science and conservation biology. Our engineering programs include environmental resource engineering, biochemistry, biotechnology, bioprocess engineering and paper engineering. Communication around the environment is also very important to us. Environmental studies, environmental interpretation and landscape architecture all focus on telling the story of our environment in different ways ranging from multimedia, to traditional interpreter positions to designing the sustainable parks and cities of the present and future. Our environmental health program prepares students to address challenges to human health from toxins, and pollution among other byproducts of modern society. We prepare students to address almost every issue related to the environment, its protection, the health of the plants, animals and humans living in it, and planning for a sustainable future.

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


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

Graduation Rates

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



  • Plant Sciences, General.


  • Environmental Design/Architecture.
  • Landscape Architecture.


  • Animal Genetics.
  • Aquatic Biology/Limnology.
  • Biochemistry.
  • Biology/Biological Sciences, General.
  • Biotechnology.
  • Botany/Plant Biology, Other.
  • Botany/Plant Biology.
  • Conservation Biology.
  • Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology, Other.
  • Ecology.
  • Entomology.
  • Environmental Biology.
  • Plant Genetics.
  • Plant Molecular Biology.
  • Plant Pathology/Phytopathology.
  • Plant Physiology.
  • Wildlife Biology.
  • Zoology/Animal Biology, Other.
  • Zoology/Animal Biology.


  • Construction Management.


  • Biology Teacher Education.
  • Chemistry Teacher Education.
  • Environmental Education.


  • Engineering-Related Technologies.
  • Surveying Technology/Surveying.


  • Biological/Biosystems Engineering.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Civil Engineering, Other.
  • Construction Engineering.
  • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering.
  • Forest Engineering.
  • Paper Science and Engineering.
  • Water Resources Engineering.


  • Environmental Health.
  • Health/Medical Preparatory Programs, Other.
  • Pre-Dentistry Studies.
  • Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies.
  • Pre-Pharmacy Studies.
  • Pre-Veterinary Studies.


  • Pre-Law Studies.


  • Nature Appreciation.


  • Air Force JROTC/ROTC.
  • Army JROTC/ROTC.


  • Historic Preservation and Conservation.
  • Sustainability Studies.


  • Environmental Science.
  • Environmental Studies.
  • Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management.
  • Forest Management/Forest Resources Management.
  • Forest Resources Production and Management.
  • Forest Sciences and Biology.
  • Forest Technology/Technician.
  • Forestry, General.
  • Forestry, Other.
  • Forestry.
  • Land Use Planning and Management/Development.
  • Natural Resource Economics.
  • Natural Resources Conservation and Research, Other.
  • Natural Resources Conservation and Research.
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy.
  • Natural Resources/Conservation, General.
  • Urban Forestry.
  • Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management.
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management.
  • Wildlife, Fish and Wildlands Science and Management.
  • Wood Science and Wood Products/Pulp and Paper Technology.


  • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies.


  • Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, General.
  • Chemistry, General.
  • Chemistry.
  • Environmental Chemistry.
  • Hydrology and Water Resources Science.
  • Polymer Chemistry.

Students Say

The State University of New York—College of Environmental Science and Forestry is the country's oldest college dedicated entirely to environmental discovery, learning, and sustainability. Campus occupies 12 acres in Syracuse and the institution uses 25,000 acres scattered throughout the Adirondacks as a "living laboratory" for hands-on projects and research. ESF's 1,600 undergrads choose from 24 majors (as well as plenty of specialized courses) and are able to take classes and use facilities and resources at nearby Syracuse University. The school reports an excellent job placement rate, and students tell us "the student body and faculty care about each other and help everyone get the most out of the experience."

The professors here are "so down to earth and passionate." They "seem to love what they do, and they are all conducting their own research," and this research "is sprinkled into the undergraduate experience." Every class "is applied directly to your major and field of interest." Be it paper science, forest resources, or environmental interpretation, "ESF will cater to your specific needs." The small campus size allows plentiful opportunities for students to gain close relationships with professors, often eventually leading to projects or teaching assistant positions." When it comes to jobs in the environmental field, ESF is well recognized and "the name alone will likely set you ahead in your career." The school "truly does provide you with the necessary experience for your field with challenging courses and endless volunteer, research, and internship opportunities throughout your time at ESF."


Post-Bachelor's certificate

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


Notable Faculty

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

Academic Rating

Graduation Rates

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

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes

Information from PayScale:

Starting Median Salary (Up to Bachelor's degree completed, only)

Mid-Career Median Salary (Up to Bachelor's degree completed, only)

Starting Median Salary (At least Bachelor's degree)

Mid-Career Median Salary (At least Bachelor's degree)

Percent High Job Meaning

Percent STEM

Students Say

SUNY-ESF students take “specific courses with specialized programs that allow for very high job placement after graduation.” Many believe they are also getting a career boost in terms of the “opportunities for interaction with professors and administrators. First year students are doing research and we have the ability to become close to high level administrators including the president.” One unique offering, the Job Location and Development Program, matches students with careers right after school, and has made connections in the paper industry, conservation, wildlife management, and environmental research. SUNY-ESF alumni who visited reported an average starting salary of $49,700 with an average mid-career salary of $87,500.


From The School

Tuition, Room, Board and Fees

Tuition, room, board and fees for the 2018-19 academic year total $28,834 for New York state residents and $38,684 for out-of-state residents.

Financial Aid

ESF has been ranked among the top 50 "Best Buy" colleges in the nation. ESF National Scholarships offset out-of-state costs up to $8,000 per year for qualified applicants. The College awards approximately half of its scholarships based on academic potential and half based on financial need. Last year, undergraduates received more than $18 million from all sources, including more than $7 million in scholarships and grants. Students file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for financial aid consideration, with a priority deadline of Feb. 1. Admissions applications must be submitted by Feb. 1 for academic (merit) scholarship consideration.


Application Deadlines
Notification Date
Feb 1

Required Forms

State Aid

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

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

On-Campus Room and Board
Comprehensive Fee

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology

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

Institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid is available

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

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


From The School

Students can participate in over 350 clubs and organizations jointly offered between ESF and SU. ESF offers intercollegiate athletics teams in basketball, soccer, golf, cross country, track, fishing and timber sports. Community service is an important part of the student culture at ESF. Many student activities focus on outdoor recreation and travel.

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented


47% female
53% male
15% are out of state
97% are full time
3% are part time

Students Say

Students describe ESF as "fostering a community that uses the knowledge it gains through schooling to make real changes to our world." Though "everyone takes a different path towards the end goal of helping our planet prosper, it's a main concern for all of us," according to one student. With this common goal, students feel "an almost instantaneous camaraderie." This is "one of the most accepting groups of students" out there, and students here "are free to rock their own styles." "Of course we have hippies and rednecks and everyone in between, but no one is afraid to be themselves and it is a very open…environment," says a student. While some are more focused on wildlife and others on timber resources, "everyone enjoys being outdoors," and students are "often caught discussing class or lab topics in their free time."


From The School


ESF's main campus is in Syracuse, New York, immediately adjacent to the Syracuse University campus. This offers students a unique "small and large school" environment, where students benefit from small classes and personal attention from faculty on the ESF campus while also having access to the academic facilities, diverse student population, and active social life offered by Syracuse University.

Campus Facilities & Equipment

ESF campuses include both the urban setting found on our main campus and more than 25,000 acres of forest and wetlands at seven regional campus and field stations throughout the state. The College features a number of sustainability projects including a LEED platinum-rated Gateway Center housing the trailhead cafe and LEED gold-rated dorms. Computing, library, dining and sports facilities are available at ESF and neighboring Syracuse University.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Syracuse is a medium-size city and a "college town" featuring many cultural and entertainment options. Students often attend NCAA Division I sports events at the Syracuse University Carrier Dome. The downtown area is a five-minute shuttle bus ride from campus, and the city culture is student-friendly. The largest shopping mall in the northeast (Destiny USA) is in Syracuse. Students with vehicles enjoy hiking in local and regional parks nature preserves and trail systems. Among these are Green Lakes State Park, Onondaga County Park and Clark Reservation. For those looking for winter sports recreation, there are several downhill and cross-country skiing locations within a forty-five minute drive of campus. Trips are frequently scheduled to the Adirondack State Park through student organizations for camping, rock climbing, hiking, biking and canoeing excursions among others.

Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Small Urban

Housing Options

Apartment Single
Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Frat Sorority
Wellness Housing

Students Say

ESF is home to is an extremely active student body, with "students participating in several clubs at a time and holding several leadership positions at a time." There are a lot of wonderful organizations on campus to get involved in, but when students are tired of those things, "the school shares a border with a 160 acre forested cemetery and it is a very popular place for students to explore and hang out." Central New York is also filled with things to do for students with cars, mostly parks and waterfalls. "Here at 'tree school' we spend most of our time studying, chilling with pals, or appreciating nature," says one student, adding that students looking for a more active social life enjoy "using Syracuse University facilities and attending their parties." ESF students have the option of pledging Greek organizations at Syracuse, as well. ESF is a smaller school so "everyone really does know everyone." The off-campus housing situation illustrates this pretty well; "most of the students from our school live along this one street."

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

2% join a fraternity
2% 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 on-campus
Air Force ROTC Offered on-campus


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.

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

Bike Share

Car Sharing Program

Condensed Work Week Option For Employees

Free Or Reduced Price Transit Passes And/Or Free Campus Shuttle

Incentives Or Programs To Encourage Employees To Live Close To Campus

Indoor And Secure Bike Storage, Shower Facilities, And Lockers For Bicycle Commuters

Reduced Parking Fees For Car And Van Poolers

School Developed Bicycle Plan

School Offers A Telecommute Program For Employees
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of March, 2017.

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

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Fee for Network Use

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

A variety of vendors offered through the Syracuse University Bookstore.

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

Articles & Advice