In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .
The Environmental and Sustainability Sciences (ESS) major provides students with a basis for understanding the structure and functioning of the earth’s environment. How do humans value, use, benefit from, and protect the environment, and how do they do so sustainably? Students receive training in environmental natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, examining how these disciplines can be applied to develop policies and cultural practices that maintain biodiversity, sustain food production, and develop renewable energy resources. The Environmental and Sustainability Sciences undergraduate major is available in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the College of Arts & Sciences. The requirements for the major are the same in both colleges.
The ESS curriculum advances the ability of students to understand and address contemporary environmental issues. This goal requires an interdisciplinary and integrated undergraduate experience that provides both breadth and depth in understanding the causes and consequences of changing environments throughout the world. The curriculum relies upon a core foundation in biology, physical and social science, humanities, economics, and statistics, supplemented by coursework and experiences integrating these topics of study. In addition, the ESS curriculum provides flexibility to pursue greater depth in specific disciplines encompassing environment and sustainability issues, while taking advantage of Cornell’s diverse range of courses and opportunities.
All students complete a set of foundation courses (core curriculum) after which students tailor their upper-division courses by selecting one of six concentrations: Environmental Biology and Applied Ecology (EBAE), Environmental Economics (EE), Environmental Humanities (EH), Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG), Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR), Individual Student-Designed Concentration (ISD). Flexibility remains for students to study abroad, engage in research and pursue other opportunities offered by Cornell.
Prospective students are encouraged to explore the learning objectives, curriculum requirements, and career paths pursued by recent graduates.
ESS Website: https://environment.cornell.edu.
Students enrolled in any major may pursue a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences (ESS). Students will customize a course of study (minimum 13 credits) that will allow them to develop a basic knowledge of biological, physical and social scientific perspectives on the environment. The minor is designed to allow students with a wide diversity of interests to gain confidence in their understanding of sustainability and the complex interactions and interdependencies that characterize ecosystems and relationships between society and environment. Building literacy and comprehension across relevant disciplines is a fundamental step toward effective engagement with sustainability and can provide students with highly desirable communication and systems-thinking skills for the job market. To learn more about the ESS minor, visit the ESS Minor web page.