State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus
State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus

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.

In 2016, ESF was listed among the nation’s top “Cool Schools” by Sierra magazine and ranked No. 2 among the nation’s “green colleges” by the Princeton Review. It is the oldest and largest college in the United States focused solely on the environment. ESF inspires tomorrow’s environmental leaders, creates knowledge and options for innovative solutions, and seeks societal consensus on the great environmental challenges of our time.

ESF is a doctoral degree (Ph.D.)-granting institution in Syracuse, New York. In addition to the College’s main campus in Syracuse, New York, ESF operates 25,000 acres of field stations, experimental forests and study sites across New York state. These natural environments include stunningly beautiful and ecologically rich locations in the Thousand Islands and the Adirondacks.

ESF’s status as a doctoral degree-granting institution tells you a lot about the academic quality you’ll find here. Colleges with doctoral programs typically attract top-notch faculty who want to push the boundaries of knowledge in their academic specialties, and they accomplish that by working with outstanding students on cutting-edge research and real-world problems.

At some colleges (most often the bigger ones), the best faculty members work primarily with graduate students, but at ESF our small-college environment ensures undergraduates also get the personal attention they deserve. You’ll find ESF faculty members want to help you succeed in your academic program and prepare for a rewarding career, and that process begins in the smaller classes ESF often provides. When U.S. News & World Report ranked the nation’s 100 “Best National Universities” based on percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students (2015 edition), ESF was ranked 18th in the nation, with 66 percent of our classes at that size.

The outstanding students who choose ESF also make a difference in the learning environment. They are well prepared for the focused and challenging academic programs offered at the College, and they come to ESF with a strong commitment to solving environmental problems. This results in a close-knit community of faculty and students who share many interests and work together to improve the world around them.

The faculty at ESF come from impressive backgrounds and work on research aimed at solving many of the world’s environmental problems. Students work side by side with faculty members on current research ranging from restoring polluted lakes to developing new sources of biofuels. ESF has more faculty and students in academic programs focused on the environment than any other college in the United States, but our faculty get to know students on a first-name basis. Outstanding teaching is the top priority of our faculty.

Students participate in classroom, laboratory, and field work at our main campus in Syracuse and in the forest and wetlands at ESF’s regional campuses and field stations. ESF faculty and students are also conducting environmental research all around the globe, and our study-abroad programs can take you to exotic locations.

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 the internship process. Every ESF major requires some type of experiential learning to enhance your education.

Next door to ESF’s Syracuse campus is Syracuse University, and ESF students can take advantage of a wide variety of programs and services at both institutions. ESF students are able to take selected courses at SU and participate in academic and cultural events.

SU also provides ESF students with a greater choice of options for on-campus recreation, activities, clubs, dining and religious services. You can attend exciting Division I sports events in the Carrier Dome and join more than 350 student organizations and clubs on both campuses.

ESF has earned top rankings from U.S. News & World Report in its annual survey of “America’s Best Colleges,” which placed ESF among the top 50 “best value” colleges in the nation and among the top 100 national universities for quality and reputation. Forbes magazine has ranked ESF 20th in its list of “best college buys” and third in its list of the nation’s best colleges for women studying science and engineering.


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

Test Scores

Learn about new SAT scores and college admission here
SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
520 - 630
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
550 - 630
ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
23 - 27

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


From The School

Academic Programs

ESF’s long-standing partnership with Syracuse University (SU) provides students with the opportunity to take classes at SU as part of their ESF degree program, providing access to hundreds of elective courses in the liberal arts, management and other areas that are offered by SU. ESF offers a highly selective Honors Program focused on undergraduate research opportunities. Study-abroad opportunities take students to many countries and provide options to conduct research in a range of ecosystems.

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, environmental engineering, landscape architecture, forestry and natural resources management, biochemistry, environmental studies, bioprocess engineering, environmental science, biotechnology, environmental health, conservation biology and several others.

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


  • Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences

  • Plant Sciences, General

  • Architecture and Related Service

  • Environmental Design/Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

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

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

  • Construction Management

  • Education

  • Biology Teacher Education
  • Chemistry Teacher Education
  • Environmental Education

  • Engineering

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

  • Engineering Technologies/Technicians

  • Engineering-Related Technologies
  • Surveying Technology/Surveying

  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences

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

  • Legal Professions and Studies

  • Pre-Law Studies

  • Leisure and Recreational Activities

  • Nature Appreciation

  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Historic Preservation and Conservation
  • Sustainability Studies

  • Natural Resources and Conservation

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

  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies

  • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies

  • Physical Sciences

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

  • Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC, ROTC)

  • Air Force JROTC/ROTC

Students Say

SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry is "dedicated to its mission 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, SUNY ESF "has a great small school atmosphere," with "all of the perks of a big university." This "great partnership" between the two schools gives SUNY 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, SUNY 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 consistently challenged and encouraged." There are "well maintained chemistry and computing lab facilities," and the "newer lab buildings are first class." "SUNY 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."


Post-Bachelor's certificate
Terminal Associate
Transfer Associate

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)

Students Say

Most students feel that ESF, and especially the faculty there, are "very helpful when it comes to finding jobs and internships." For example, ESF's partnership with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation produces fifty paid summer internships each year. The Career Services Office puts on an Environmental Career Fair for students "to gather employer and graduate school information, develop networks and meet organizations from a variety of sectors, including corporate, environmental, and not-for-profit." Students feel that their awareness of the environment and tough classes are what "will get SUNY-ESF students top notch jobs and lives after college."


From The School

Tuition, Room, Board and Fees

Tuition, room, board and fees for the 2016-17 academic year total $23,143 for New York state residents and $32,993 for out-of-state residents.

Financial Aid

ESF has been ranked among the top 50 “Best Buy” colleges in the nation. Special scholarships offset out-of-state costs. The College awards approximately half of its scholarships based on academic potential and half based on financial need. 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
Mar 15

Required Forms

State Aid

Bottom Line

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 state-supported 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

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 a semesterlong 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 "microscholarships" for students who pursue specific activities (like Eagle Scouts) and courses in high school. A long-standing partnership with Syracuse University just across 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

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)
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


From The School

Students participate in approximately 30 clubs and organizations sponsored by ESF’s student government and may join more than 300 student organizations at Syracuse University. ESF offers intercollegiate athletics teams in basketball, soccer, golf, cross country, track and timber sports. Community service is an important part of the student culture at ESF, and many student activities focus on outdoor recreation and travel.

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented


47% female
53% male
18% are out of state
98% are full time
2% are part time

Students Say

"There's extremes here at ESF... 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 SUNY 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."


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

Students participate in classroom, laboratory and fieldwork at ESF’s Syracuse campus and in more than 25,000 acres of forest and wetlands at seven regional campus and field stations throughout the state. In 2016, ESF was listed among the nation’s top “Cool Schools” by Sierra magazine and was ranked No. 2 among the nation’s green colleges by the Princeton Review. The College features a number of sustainability demonstration projects and a LEED platinum-rated student center. Computing, library, dining and sports facilities are available at ESF and at 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 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.

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

Students at SUNY 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, presentations, 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, students make good use of the quad. "It's fairly large, so people hang out there between classes with friends." Because of the "outdoorsy" nature of many students 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."

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

Cash-Out Parking

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

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 February, 2016.

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

Rankings & Lists

Social Feed