The UMass School of Earth & Sustainability (SES) offers a diverse suite of undergraduate majors, minors and certificates that provide students with the critical knowledge and training to pursue meaningful careers that address the most critical social and environmental challenges of the 21st century. SES undergraduate programs examine the world and its inhabitants from a variety of perspectives through rigorous disciplinary programs as well as multidisciplinary programs in environmental science, social science, economics, and the built environment.
The curriculum within SES includes several Bachelor of Arts degrees, Bachelor of Science degrees, and Associate’s degree program tracks, with a variety of minors, certificate programs, and 4+1 graduate degree tracks, offering a breadth of options for students to explore. Depending on the program, students may also complete an internship or research project during their course of study. Programs within SES all share a comprehensive education in sustainability-related topics.
The Arboriculture & Community Forestry associate’s degree program prepares students for a critical role as professional arborists and urban foresters in urban ecosystem management. Students will enter a diverse industry with high demand for their services throughout the country. This program offers a 100% job placement rate, with most undergraduate students fielding multiple competing offers.
The Building & Construction Technology bachelor’s degree program prepares students for rewarding careers in construction management, sustainable building design, building energy efficiency, and materials technology. Students graduating from this program are well-prepared for project management roles and engaging technical careers. The Building and Construction Technology Program has a 100% job placement rate, and many students field multiple competing job offers upon graduation.
The Earth Systems bachelor’s degree program investigates the human dimensions of the global environment, geophysical processes, and environmental change. Students utilize a range of geophysical science techniques to analyze impacts on Earth’s processes, hazards, resources, and environments. Earth system scientists pursue diverse career paths related to climate science, the environment, water resources, energy, mineral resources, natural disasters, education, science communication, and environmental law and policy.
The Environmental Science bachelor’s degree program provides a rigorous, multi-disciplinary science education in earth and ecosystem processes and environmental sustainability. Topics include global climate change, biodiversity conservation, environmental toxicology, air & water quality, environmental health, sustainability, and environmental policy. Graduates pursue careers in state and federal environmental agencies, private industry and environmental consulting.
The Geography program incorporates a BA of Human Geography with six concentrations, a BS in Physical Geography, a minor, certificate program, and accelerated 5-year MS program. Geography integrates social and natural sciences through research and teaching to address key environmental and social issues. Students pursue rewarding careers in education, business, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
The Geology program includes a BA and BS degree track, with BS concentrations in Geology or Earth Science. Students will learn techniques to find and develop resources such as groundwater aquifers, minerals, and energy sources, research climate history and earth processes such as hydrology and sedimentology, and study the structure and materials of the solid earth. Geoscientists hold a range of positions related to climate science, the environment, water resources, energy, mineral resources, natural disasters, education, and environmental law and policy.
The Horticultural Sciences associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs prepare students to redesign landscapes in response to diminishing supplies of fossil fuels and water. Graduates can pursue career paths in the "Green Industry," the largest segment of plant agriculture, by economic measures, in Massachusetts and New England.
The Landscape Architecture bachelor’s degree program prepares students to design sustainable landscapes that balance human needs with ecological concerns. Students receive hands-on learning, develop a rich portfolio, and gain real-world professional experience with design and planning projects at the local, national and international scale.
The Landscape Contracting associate’s degree program is a highly applied program in landscape design, horticulture, and landscape construction/business. Students build invaluable professional skills in plant healthcare, design, estimating, installation and project management. Successful graduates start profitable landscape contracting businesses and transition into four-year degree programs.
The Microbiology bachelor’s degree program is part of a broader microbiological training program and prepares students to study the biogeochemical impacts of microbes in aquatic and terrestrial environments, how climate and land-use changes impact microbes, and their impact on the health of the planet. Environmental microbiologists pursue careers in environmental remediation, bioenergy, biotechnology, atmospheric sciences, and oceanography.
The Natural Resources Conservation bachelor’s program helps students to develop a broad understanding of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Students receive rigorous academic training in the natural, conservation and social sciences alongside the practical experience needed to effectively manage resources, protect ecosystem functions and conserve biodiversity. Graduates enter careers as foresters, ecologists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, watershed and wetland scientists, environmental educators, and environmental policy makers. Our students also go on to graduate school or law school.
The Plant and Soil Sciences bachelor’s degree program includes concentrations in plant science or general applied biology, with advanced coursework in plant science and biotechnology, horticultural sciences, plant pathology, conservation biology, soil science or related concentrations. Many successful graduates work in research or applied careers. Others go on for advanced graduate training for careers in business, the public sector, or academia.
The Sustainable Community Development bachelor’s degree program draws on a variety of disciplinary fields and seeks built environment and policy solutions that balance equity, economics, and environmental considerations. Students focus in one of four concentrations: urban studies, landscape studies, horticultural studies, and the built environment. Graduates are highly qualified for careers in nonprofit organizations, community development agencies, municipalities, and private firms specializing in site, municipal and regional level work.
The Sustainable Food and Farming associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs help students develop a deep understanding and appreciation of farming practices, growing and marketing “real” food, farm-based educational systems, food advocacy, community development, and public policy. Graduates from the Sustainable Food & Farming program begin careers in agriculture, education, herbalism and health, and urban agriculture and community development.
The Turfgrass Science & Management associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs are an applied science program that provides invaluable career and technical training that focuses on the production and maintenance of grassed areas, including golf courses, home lawns, parks, and other athletic fields. The Turfgrass Science and Management Program has a 100% job placement rate, and many students field multiple competing job offers upon graduation.
How to choose?
Check out our Undergraduate Major Finder Tool.