About the Department

A Diversified Foundation and a Focus on Sustainability

For over forty years, beginning in 1972, ENSP has offered a distinctive undergraduate program of interdisciplinary study aimed at the analysis, management, and solution of environmental problems and issues. Students and faculty work together across disciplines to develop an understanding of environmental sustainability in all its dimensions. Specifically, the program combines a core education in ecology, physical science, social sciences, and the humanities with targeted coursework in an area of expertise, including energy, conservation, water, education, and planning. This involves integrating knowledge from multiple disciplines to understand the functioning of ecological systems and the nature of human impact upon these systems at local, regional, and global scales. The department’s two goals are to prepare students for careers in the environmental professions, graduate studies, and positive action in their own lives, and to broadly promote ecological literacy in order to help maintain and enhance the quality of human and natural environments.

Many students pursue a double major, or a major and minor, in conjunction with traditional disciplines to prepare for specific careers related to the environment. All students must complete a senior project or internship.

Each student has an advisor who specializes in an area of interest. They work together, designing a course of study that will provide the best possible preparation for personal and professional fulfillment. Students enjoy the small class sizes and personalized teaching by distinguished and dedicated professors. ENSP faculty are committed to enhancing both the quality of education and the environment.

The SSU campus has many unique learning resources, such as: Fairfield Osborn Preserve and the Galbreath Wildlands Preserve; a world-class "green" recreation center (with climbing wall, a ropes course, and adventure programs center); the Kenneth M. Stocking Native Plant Garden (where there are several plant propagation projects underway); Copeland Creek (the focus of a student-faculty lead restoration effort); and the Environmental Technology Center (our high tech "green" center and classroom). Not far beyond the campus there are rugged beaches, Oak and Redwood forests, the vine country, and a world-class city just over the Golden Gate Bridge.