Environmental Science and Sustainability

Environmental Science and Sustainability Major

Environmental Science and Sustainability (ESS) is the study of humans and the environment, and the means by which policies, regulations, science, and culture can be used to make the world more equitable, natural, safe, and sustainable.

ES class

Environmental Science and Sustainability At a Glance


ESS program in the nation


Of all majors complete at least three real-world projects that appear on their resumes; 50% of all majors participate in a related internship; environmental study abroad opportunities are available on every continent.

The ESS major is for hands-on learners.

Our faculty and students pride themselves in working together to make the world a more environmentally sound, equitable, just, and sustainable society. We don’t just study the environment — we improve it.

Save the World

Starting in their first year, students work with faculty to solve real-world problems related to the environment and social justice. Students prepare reports and present their findings to governments, nonprofits, agencies, and conservation organizations.

Students take Introduction to Environmental Science and discover that, at the college level, ESS is far more interdisciplinary than AP Environmental Science. The class covers agriculture, conservation, energy, and climate change but also teaches students to use art, psychology, ethics, politics, and economics to complement what they know about science. Life Cycle Analysis and patterns of consumption take center stage. Assignments include providing solutions to environmental challenges on campus and in the community.

field work

This is the year that ESS classes enhance students' ability to think, read, speak, and write critically (FS ES 201) and engage methods used by ESS professionals to solve environmental problems (ES 210). Students begin to explore classes and internships to complement their ESS classes. Approximately one-half of classes for the ESS major are electives students choose after consulting with their faculty advisors.

science classroom

Year three is when students become ESS professionals. The Junior Seminar in Sustainable Development (ES 585) comes together with study abroad, internships, research opportunities, and classes from around the College and around the world as students develop into global thinkers and actors.

bousson work

Time to select the project you care most about to spend a year on it with your faculty advisor. Almost every student reports back that their ESS Senior Comp was the most satisfying thing they did at Allegheny College. They proudly show their Comps to prospective employers.

students working

Be prepared for careers and graduate education.

Successfully prepare environmental solutions with regional stakeholders.

Solve real-world problems to prepare to craft an outstanding Senior Comp.

Design, conduct, and present research consistent with the highest standards.

Brianna O’Neil-Hankle, Alumna

Class of 2020, Environmental Science Major, Mathematics Minor

“ The professors have an amazing breadth of knowledge about environmental topics. Each professor has a different area of expertise, but it is great how they can combine their knowledge to give their students a very well-rounded education. ”

Shaellen Franco, Class of 2021

Environmental Science and Sustainability Major, Spanish and Communications Minors, President of the Green Students of Color Society — “The Environmental Science Department is easily one of my favorite parts of Allegheny. It’s really hard to find an education that centers on environmental science as a field with a responsibility to social, racial, and economic justice, and I’ve been happy to know that most of my classes touch on those intersections. Also, the environmental science professors are easily my biggest supporters, even outside of Carr Hall.”

Isabella Petitta, Class of 2021

Environmental Science and Sustainability Major, Biology and Psychology Minors — “Allegheny’s Environmental Science Department is unlike any other because it is based on direct experiences in our local environment and community. The curriculum expands the limits of a classroom, and environmental science students immediately experience our lessons where they should be connected — on farms, creeks, gardens, and forests. Critical thinking is essential in every environmental science class that is offered at Allegheny. Students are expected to weave knowledge together to analyze environmental problems and the role we play in them.”

Next Steps

Early Decision App Deadline

November 15, 2022

Regular Decision App Deadline

February 15, 2023

For More Info

Beth Choate