Located in Syracuse, New York, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is a public university that is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The school is immediately adjacent to Syracuse University (SU)—within which it was founded and with whom it maintains a close relationship.
The college has a curriculum that primarily focuses on the understanding, sustainability, and management of the environment and natural resources. ESF also has facilities in the Adirondack Park (which includes Wanakena’s Ranger School), the Thousand Islands, another area in central New York, and Costa Rica.
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Acceptance Rate
According to Fall 2018 statistics, the acceptance rate for ESF applicants is 61%, which makes the school largely accessible. Interested students may apply to the school by submitting an application, personal essay, verified high school transcripts, and scores from either the ACT or the SAT.
For outstanding high school seniors who select ESF as their first choice institution are suggested to apply for Early Decision admission. If they are admitted, they must commit to enroll at the campus. Early Decision students are allowed to apply to other schools under Regular consideration. Once admitted, they should withdraw their other applications and push through with the enrollment process at ESF no later than March 15.
Early Decision candidates should complete their application by December 1. This includes the submission of requirements such as the Common Application or SUNY Application, SAT or ACT results, official high school transcripts (with 12th-year first-quarter grades) ESF essay response, and supplemental application information.
To apply for financial aid from ESF, Early Decision applicants must have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They should also include any supporting information requested by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships on or before February 1.
Admitted Students Profile
Based on the latest school data, a total of 2,213 students have enrolled at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Out of that number, 1,791 students were enrolled in undergraduate programs and 422 students for graduate programs.
According to gender distribution, there are 1,156 male and 1,057 female students attending the campus. ESF has fewer students compared to similar public doctoral/research universities that have an average of 13,906 students.
By race or ethnicity, ESF has 1,687 White, 36 Black, and 80 Asian students out of the total 2,213.
For the current year, the undergraduate tuition and fees of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry are $8,874 for New York residents and $18,654 for students living out of the state. For the graduate school students, tuition and fees amount to $12,823 for New York residents and $24,383 for others. Approximately 1,438 students (80.29% of the enrolled students in undergraduate programs) have received financial grants or scholarship aids that take the average amount of tuition and fees down to $6,721.
The main ESF campus can be found in Syracuse, New York. It has multiple satellite campuses across central New York and the Adirondack Mountains area. Spanning 17 acres, the school was established on Syracuse’s University Hill overlooking Onondaga Lake and downtown Syracuse.
The central campus is where most academic, administrative, and student activity takes place. The campus is made up of nine main buildings: Baker Laboratory, Bray Hall, Gateway Center, Illick Hall, Jahn Laboratory, Marshall Hall, Moon Library, Walters Hall, and Centennial Hall. The quad is bordered by Bray Hall, Marshall Hall, Illick Hall, and Moon Library.
The Syracuse campus also has other buildings that include a garage, a facility for maintenance and operations, and a former greenhouse converted to an office space. Among the school’s planned buildings for the future is a research support facility.
There is an additional campus owned by ESF located in the Adirondack Mountains, referred to as the Ranger School. It is an institution where students can pursue studies in forest technology, land surveying technology, and environmental and natural resources conservation. The Ranger School offers courses toward a bachelor’s degree and associate degree programs.
ESF provides students with 22 undergraduate and 30 graduate degrees in the sciences, engineering, and forestry. The most popular fields of study in the undergraduate program are environmental biology, conservation biology, and landscape architecture. Meanwhile, the commonly-taken graduate programs are forest management and operation and environmental physiology.
The school strongly believes in advancing skills and knowledge to promote the leadership needed for the stewardship of both the natural and artificial environments. ESF takes pride in being a specialized institution of the SUNY system, which basically means that curricula primarily focus on one field. Students may supplement their education with courses taken at Syracuse University.
ESF has designated academic departments in the fields of chemistry; environmental and forest biology; environmental resources engineering; environmental studies; forest and natural resources management; landscape architecture; and paper and bioprocess engineering. For students who want integrative degrees across the natural sciences, the school offers environmental science programs as well.
Most ESF students refer to themselves as “stumpy” or “stumpie.” The school’s neighbors at Syracuse University are believed to be the first ones to give them the nickname, which probably began in the 1920s. The name is said to be a reference to forestry “stump jumpers.” While it was originally used as an insult, students of ESF today embrace the nickname with pride.
There are lots of clubs and organizations students can participate in—many activities can be enjoyed either on or off-campus. Some of these student groups include the Undergraduate Student Association, Graduate Student Association, Woodsmen Team, Bob Marshall Club, Alpha Xi Sigma Honor Society, Soccer Team, Sigma Lambda Alpha, The Knothole (weekly newspaper), Papyrus Club, The Empire Forester (yearbook), Landscape Architecture Club (formally the Mollet Club), Forest Engineers Club, Environmental Studies Student Organization, Habitat for Humanity, Ecologue (yearly journal), the Bioethics Society, Green Campus Initiative, Baobab Society, and the Sustainable Energy Club.
Wanakena students, despite being related to ESF, have their own woodsmen and ice hockey teams. Several professional organizations have also been opened to welcome student membership, such as the Society of American Foresters, The Wildlife Society, Conservation Biology club, American Fisheries Association, and the presently defunct American Water Resources Association.
ESF has a longstanding agreement with its sister school, Syracuse University, which gives students permission to join many amenities offered by SU. ESF students are allowed to take courses at SU, join any SU student group (with the exemption of NCAA sports teams), and apply for admission to concurrent degree and joint certificate programs. SU students are also welcome to enroll in a wide range of ESF classes.
Due to the high level of integration between SU and ESF, there is a joint commencement ceremony held every May in the ESF grounds. Another indicator of the tight relationship between the two schools is the baccalaureate diploma provided by ESF that bears the seals of both the State University of New York and Syracuse University.
ESF has a bustling student life. Both undergraduates and graduates can enjoy different theaters, museums, shops, and restaurants in Syracuse, as well as the nearby Marshall Street and Westcott Street.
ESF has an affiliation with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), fielding six teams in four different sports: men’s basketball, men and women’s cross-country, men’s golf, and men and women’s soccer. The school is also a participant of the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The ESF cross-country team (male division) had won three USCAA national championships in the years 2011-2013. For the female division, the cross-country team came in second or third in the same tournaments. The soccer team also excelled in the 2012 USCAA National Championship Tournament in Asheville, North Carolina in which they made it into the semifinals.
ESF is known for its long tradition of joining intercollegiate woodsman competitions in the northeastern US and eastern Canada. The school team won first in both men’s and women’s divisions when they competed at the 2012 northeastern US and Canadian 2012 spring meet. The official team name of students at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School in Wanakena is the Blue Ox Woodsmen.
More than 19,000 have graduated from ESF since its founding in 1911. The college’s Alumni Association was founded 14 years later, in 1925.
Some of the school’s most notable alums are the following:
- Moshe Levy, Ph.D. ’55, professor of chemistry, discoverer of living polymerization, and solar energy researcher
- Bob Marshall, BS ’24, forester, writer and wilderness activist
- Joe Martens, MS ’81, former Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
- Donald E. Moore III, BS, Ph.D. ’76, animal behaviorist, zoo-based wildlife biologist, Associate Director of Animal Care Sciences, Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington, DC
- James D. Morrissey, BS ’58, first American to climb the east face of Mt. Everest
- Clarence Petty, BS ’30, forest ranger, conservationist and outdoorsman
- Harry Frederick Recher, ornithologist
- Bruce Shelley, computer game designer
- William Shemin, Ranger School 1914, Medal of Honor recipient for bravery in World War I
- Earl Lewis Stone, Jr., the first endowed Charles Lathrop Pack Professor of forest soils at Cornell University. Retired 1979
- Lissa Widdoff, executive Director, Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation
- Frank Edwin Egler, plant ecologist and pioneer in the study of vegetation science
- Patrick Flood, BS ’74, Maine state legislator
- Sol Feinstone, ’15, historian, businessman, conservationist
- Jean Fréchet, MS ’69, Ph.D. ’71, Henry Rapoport Chair of Organic Chemistry and Professor of Chemical Engineering, UC Berkeley
- Delfin Ganapin Jr., Ph.D. ’87, Global Manager, Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Program, United Nations Development Program
- William M. Harlow, BS ’25, MS ’26, Ph.D. ’28, SUNY ESF Professor in the field of wood technology
- Stephen Kay, BLA ’73, golf course architect
Learn more about the other SUNY colleges. Each SUNY has its own unique offerings, campus and academic requirement.