Minor Requirements: Environmental Science and Sustainability (ESS)

Students seeking a minor in Environmental Science & Sustainability will customize a course of study that will allow them to develop a basic knowledge of biological, physical and social scientific perspectives on 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.

Students in the minor will craft their own course of study. A minimum of 13 credits is required. Students must take one course from each of the five categories below, at least two of which must be at the 3000-level or higher. A list of 3 and 4 credit course options is provided for the first four categories to support students’ choices. The 1 credit colloquium (SNES 2000) is required. All courses except SNES 2000 must be taken for a letter grade, and a grade of “C” or better must be recorded. Any undergraduate student at Cornell may enroll in the minor, and there are no penalties for double-counting courses toward this minor and a student’s major.

Download the ESS Minor Registration Form and email the completed form to ESS Undergraduate Coordinators Suzanne Wapner (sw38@cornell.edu) or Marian Hovencamp (mth6@cornell.edu), or contact them for additional information. Academic advising is available for students in the ESS minor. Please contact Marian or Suzanne if you have questions.

ESS Minor Curriculum

Choose one course from each of the following categories:

  • Environmental biology: see course List A in the ESS Curriculum.
    Additional courses include Ecology & the Environment (BioEE 1610) and Biodiversity & Evolution (BioEE 1780)
  • Environmental physics or chemistry: see course List B in the ESS Curriculum.
    Additional courses include Environmental Physics (EAS 1600)
  • Environmental social science: see course List C in the ESS Curriculum.
    Additional courses include Society & Natural Resources (NTRES 2201) and Environmental Law (CRP/NTRES 4444)
  • One sustainability course of 3 or more credits at the 3000-level or higher: see ESS Minor Sustainability Course List.
  • ESS Colloquium - SNES 2000 (1 credit).

How to receive credit

1. Complete Part I of the registration form and email to ESS Undergraduate Coordinators Suzanne Wapner (sw38@cornell.edu) or Marian Hovencamp (mth6@cornell.edu).

2. Complete the courses required for the ESS minor. Remember, a grade of C or better is needed for a course to count towards the minor.

3. In the final semester prior to graduation, bring a copy of your transcript and your “Application to Graduate” to the ESS Undergraduate Office, G15 Fernow Hall. Marian or Suzanne will review your transcript to complete Part II: Verification of requirements. Upon verification of the successful completion of all required courses, a designated ESS representative will sign the form as required for the minor.