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Students seeking a minor in Environmental & Sustainability Science 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 (ESS 2000 or BEE 2000) is required. All courses except ESS 2000 or BEE 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 (except E&S majors), 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 E&S Undergraduate Coordinator Suzanne Wapner, or contact her for additional information. Academic advising is available for students in the ESS Minor. Please contact Suzanne if you have questions.

ESS Minor Curriculum (choose one course from each of the following categories):

  • Environmental biology:  See E&S Curriculum List A.
    Additional options include:
    • Ecology & the Environment (BioEE 1610 or BioSM 1610)
    • Biodiversity & Evolution (BioEE 1780 or BioSM 1780)
  • Environmental physics or chemistry:  See E&S Curriculum List B.
    Additional options include:
    • EAS 1600: Environmental Physics (S) (recommended)
    • Physics 1101: General Physics 1 (F, Su)
    • Physics 2207: Fundamentals of Physics 1 (F)
    • Or AP Physics B: minimum score of 5
  • Environmental social science:  See E&S Curriculum List C.
    ​Additional options include:
    • Environmental and Resource Economics (AEM 1500 and AEM 2500)
    • Society & Natural Resources (NTRES 2201)
    • Environmental Law (CRP/NTRES 4440)
  • One sustainability course of 3 or more credits, 3000-level or higher. See ESS Minor Sustainability Course List.
  • Colloquium - ESS 2000 or BEE 2000 (1 cr)

How to receive credit

  1. Complete Part I of the registration form and email to E&S Undergraduate Coordinator Suzanne Wapner
  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 E&S Undergraduate Office, 117 Kennedy Hall. Suzanne will review your transcript to complete Part II: Verification of requirements. Upon verification of the successful completion of all required courses, a designated E&S representative will sign the form as required for the minor.