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Environment, Sustainability, and Policy

As an Environment, Sustainability, and Policy major, you will come to understand the nature of our changing planet, contribute solutions to advance sustainability, and become a more engaged global citizen. 

This Integrated Learning Major (ILM) is designed to introduce students to and ground them in the interdisciplinary study of environmental science, sustainability, and policy. These complex issues are shaped by both human and natural factors and interconnected with everything from the global economy to local cultural practices.

This major’s integration across traditionally isolated lenses of natural and human sciences provides a unique perspective toward understanding, examining, and addressing the environment and sustainability.

About Maxwell

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration and international relations. It includes America’s #1 ranked graduate program in public affairs, offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences, and it is home to undergraduate programs across the full spectrum of social sciences. 


Core coursework is comprised of environmental sciences, data analysis, humanities, and science-policy. Sample courses include:

  • GEO 155 - The Natural Environment
  • PSC 202 - Introduction to Political Analysis
  • EAR 410 - Applications of GIS in the Earth Sciences
  • MAT 521 - Introduction to Probability
  • GEO 360 - Sustainability Science and Policy
  • PSC 434 - Pursuing Sustainability Policy
  • ESP 410 - Environment, Sustainability and Policy Capstone Seminar
  • ANT 439 - Climate Change and Human Origins
  • BIO 459 - Plants & People
  • LAS 537 - Environmental Policy in a Development Context

View official major requirements .

Hands-On Student Learning Opportunities

  • Study the Finger Lakes, Central New York’s extensive groundwater resources, or the Erie Canal
  • Intern at local organizations, such as the Central New York Land Trust, the Onondaga Environmental Institute, and the Central Chapter of the New York Water Environment Association
  • Spend a semester taking classes and completing a faculty-supervised internship in D.C. through the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is a longstanding tradition at Syracuse University. Ranked among the top 25 international education providers in the U.S., Syracuse Abroad  has more than 100 programs in 60 countries, with nearly half of all students going abroad during their four years.

Life After Syracuse University

Environment, Sustainability, and Policy majors can expect to be prepared for advanced study or for a variety of careers in non-governmental organizations, government, or the private sector. This degree puts you on track to pursue careers in:

  • Business intelligence analysis
  • Consulting
  • Environmental education
  • Environmental justice advocacy
  • Environmental law
  • Food and agriculture
  • Green economy and climate change
  • Natural sciences managers
  • Parks and recreation management
  • Sustainable agriculture specialists
  • Urban planning