Environment, Society & Sustainability

Find your future in the Department of the Environment, Society and Sustainability, where you’ll gain the skills and techniques to analyze-and solve-the major social-environmental problems of our planet.

We strive to understand the places where we live, the conditions in other places, and the connections between all these places. Understanding these aspects helps us create fair, safe, and economically and environmentally sustainable places, and helps us to succeed in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. Our programs allow students to integrate physical and natural aspects of the world with the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of the world to recognize and redress issues related to environmental racism and climate justice. 

The department offers the advantage of small class sizes, individual attention, and faculty deeply dedicated to student learning. Faculty have training and/or deep interest in science pedagogy and constantly strive to research and practice the best methodologies of teaching and learning. Through faculty trained in multiple disciplines, from urban planning to geology, from astronomy to geographical information systems, from physics and engineering to human cultural diversity and environmental justice, our programs offer a rich integrative experience to students that matches the transdisciplinary nature of the world’s most challenging problems. 

The department is dedicated to enhancing, nurturing and respecting diversity among its faculty, staff, and students. We offer students the opportunity to examine diverse human-natural relationships at multiple scales: the local and regional explorations of human and natural diversity, the planet-scale impacts of human civilization on the biophysical systems that maintain life on Earth, and Earth as part of the solar system and the universe. 

Our department offers majors across the spectrum of science and policy, from our science-focused Earth System Science major, through our science-policy balanced Environmental Science and Policy major, to our policy-focused Environmental Studies and Sustainability major. Our Geography major includes concentrations in Global StudiesGeographic Information Systems (GIS), and coordinate majors in education. It is host to FSU's Pre-Engineering program, transferring 3rd-year students by Articulation Agreement to UMass Lowell, UMass Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to complete Bachelor of Science degrees in Engineering. In addition, the department offers minors in PhysicsEarth System ScienceGeographic Information ScienceGeography, Latin American StudiesScience Communication, and Data Science and Analytics. 

Program graduates are ready for professional employment in governmental agencies, private corporations, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms. Program graduates are also positioned to pursue graduate studies in a variety of fields including earth science, environmental science, conservation biology, resource management, environmental planning, environmental engineering, environmental law, and environmental education.  

The Environmental Science and Policy major is designed to provide the interdisciplinary background necessary for an environmental professional today. It combines a strong foundation in science, emphasizing biology, with broad training in geographical theory and techniques. This program will prepare students to solve complex multidisciplinary problems and to communicate effectively with the scientific community and the general public. Graduates with this major will be prepared to successfully obtain positions with consulting firms, governmental agencies, private corporations, and non-profit organizations. They will be prepared for work as environmental analysts, town wetlands administrators, environmental educators, or environmental scientists, among other professions. They will also be prepared to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, Resource Management, Environmental Planning, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Law, and Environmental Education. Graduates who choose not to pursue careers in Environmental Science will be well prepared for any career that requires a strong science background emphasizing data analysis, critical thinking, integration of complex information, spatial interpretation skills, effective communication and problem resolution skills.

Environmental Students at Work

Alumni Spotlight
Erynn Dayhoff '12

Environmental Scientist, Oxbow Associates, Inc.

During her time at FSU, Erynn interned for the American Chestnut Tree Foundation and volunteered her time doing field work for an alpine pond ecology research project on Mount Wachusett. Her work now involves vernal pool investigations, rare and endangered plant and animal assessments, and wetland delineations.

Alumni Spotlight
Rachel DeFronzo '15

EARTH Education Coordinator, Southwick's Zoo

"I love educating the public about wildlife conservation. I've always been passionate about wildlife, and I was able to complete my capstone project at FSU on black bear movement in Massachusetts."

Alumni Spotlight
Kylee Dunham '13

Graduate Research Assistant, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University

As an FSU undergraduate, Kylee's Environmental Science thesis on Population Viability of American Alligators in Northern Latitudes was accepted for publication in the Journal of Wildlife Management. She is now earning her PhD and working as a research assistant at Auburn University, where her studies focus on Spectacled Eiders in Alaska.