Environmental Science and Policy

School of Science

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Our Environmental Science and Policy students are ready to harness their passion for environmental consciousness into successful and meaningful career paths. With direct campus access to the Hudson River and the expansive resources of the Hudson River Valley, extensive connections in the field, and expert faculty invested in your success, you’ll be well-prepared to make your mark on the future of the global environment.    


Located in the heart of the Hudson River Valley, Marist provides an incredible range of environmental learning opportunities right on campus.

In this video, follow along with Dr. Richard S. Feldman, Chair & Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy at Marist College, as he helps students to learn how to identify flowering plants at the North Gate Swale.

Learn More About Dr. Feldman>

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Customize Your Academics to Support Your Career Goals

Whether you’re more interested in the science behind environmental systems or you intend to fight for environmentally conscious policies, Marist’s Environmental Science and Policy major allows you to customize your academic experience to best suit your career goals.

B.S. in Environmental Science

Learn how to detect and solve environmental problems using physical, chemical, and biological techniques, and how to identify and understand the underlying processes controlling them. You’ll be prepared to work for environmental labs, consulting firms, natural resource and regulatory agencies, green technology companies, as well as research organizations, through a customizable set of courses. Classroom and field-based experience use a diversity of hands-on, project-based, or team-based approaches to thoroughly prepare you with the skills you’ll need to pursue a career or graduate studies in the environmental sciences or related fields.

B.A. in Environmental Studies

This degree is directed toward the implementation of complex environmental solutions, balancing policy-oriented approaches to environmental problems with knowledge on the science behind them. You’ll learn how to develop and evaluate cost-effective policy alternatives, generate public and political support for resource utilization practices that lower humanity's impact on the planet, enact legislation, and devise mechanisms that invite or ensure compliance or enhance understanding of the issue. Course selection is flexible to allow customization to your own interests within areas of law, business, communication, sustainability, climate, technology, and other diverse aspects of environmental justice and equity.

B.A. in Environmental Earth Science

This B.A. focuses on outdoor-based, hands-on courses that develop your scientific intellect and effective communication skills through curricular experiences that emphasize project-based learning. Courses put theory into practice through applied, real-world approaches that allow you to grow your skills in analytical and team-based methodologies – competitively preparing you as an environmental professional ready for a diversity of job types in the sciences. This degree is designed to be paired easily with Marist’s Masters in Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12). This pairing creates a joint 5-year B.A./Masters program where you become eligible for teaching certification in Earth science education by also completing education-focused coursework and student teaching at the Masters level.

Environmental Minors

The program offers three possible minors, ranging from 18-29 credits. The Environmental Policy Minor provides a look into the issues, policies, and laws regarding the environment. The Environmental Science Minor provides a foundation in the natural and physical sciences as they pertain to environmental studies. The Environmental Studies Minor combines a balance of both environmental science and policy. These minors are well-suited for students of any major, like business, communication, psychology, etc.

Expert Faculty: Zion Klos

Not only are our faculty at the top of their fields with active experience in the workforce, but they are also thoroughly invested in the success of their students, frequently engaging them in professional research and educational trips. Pictured here, Dr. Zion Klos takes his students to Minnewaska State Park in the Shawangunk Mountains to study the geologic history of the region.

“In order for students to solve many of the major environmental problems influencing the region today, you need to also understand how the previous millions of years of geologic events control the look and function of our present-day landscapes,” says Klos. “We’re fortunate to be situated in the Hudson Valley, which has an abundance of open space for these kinds of explorations.”

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Megan Nickel: An Internship to Benefit the Local Community

Megan participated in the coveted Tarver Summer Internship Program, which gives undergraduates the opportunity to work on a community improvement project by interning at a local non-profit organization. Working with Scenic Hudson, an organization that preserves land and farms and creates parks that connect people with the Hudson River, Megan standardized more than 1,500 data points, transformed the raw data into maps, created a set of recommendations, and documented the data collection methods for future mapping efforts. The resulting report, Poughkeepsie Northside Pedestrian Needs Assessment, will help the City of Poughkeepsie prioritize sidewalk and crosswalk improvements in the near future.

Read More About the Tarver Summer Internship Program>

The Hudson River Valley is Your Classroom

Our location on the banks of the Hudson River provides ample opportunity for aquatic research and for use as a field site for class use. The River Lab, run out of the Cornell Boathouse on the Marist riverfront, has a flow-through system which allows students to extract water and river wildlife to test for research experiments. Marist is only thirty minutes from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, where our students can intern with two dozen scientists on cutting-edge ecological research.


 Marist students conduct hands-on research with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve on migratory eels in the Hudson River and changes in eel pigmentation.

“Sometimes it’s a struggle to get people to care about climate change because it’s such a huge problem. I want to empower people to feel like they can actually contribute to the solution.” For her Honors Thesis, Environmental Science student Ellie Petraccione focuses on the Hudson River, in particular the harmful algal blooms and cyanobacteria that have been appearing there due to climate change. Through photos, infographics, and bullet points, the project helps laypeople easily understand the problem of algal blooms on the Hudson River watershed and how it can affect their everyday lives. “When you’re out on the river in waders, you really connect to the environment, and that’s why I want to protect it. I want people to care.”

Read Ellie's Story>

Fern Tor Nature Preserve, located at the north end of the campus, has a Hudson River view and is open to the campus community. Environmental Science and Policy students use it as an ecology lab and look out for the well-being of the preserve.

Students were given the opportunity to act on the state's recommendations for native plant species best suited for Fern Tor, and coordinate 18 volunteers to decide where each species should be planted.

Read The Full Story>

Apply Theory to Practice with Real-World Internships

Engaging in hands-on learning both inside and outside of the classroom is a staple of the Marist educational experience, and the Environmental Science and Policy program takes that to the next level. You’ll be encouraged to gain real-world acumen by completing internships at locations that match your future goals. Below are only a handful of locations at which Environmental Science and Policy students have completed internships.


Logos of Environmental Science and Policy internship locations: National Parks Service, Columbia Land Conservancy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Scenic Hudson, International Paper, and Environmental Design & Research.
Logos of Environmental Science and Policy internship locations: Stonykill Environmental Education Center, Museum of the Hudson Highlands, Central Hudson, World Environment Center, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Lake Champlain Land Trust.


As an Environmental Science & Policy major and Music minor, I am currently working with my fellow band member and one of my professors to study the impact of communicating scientific information and climate awareness through music in comparison to traditional scientific communication methods such as a presentation.

Brennan Duarte

Environmental Science and Policy Major, Music Minor

Read Brennan's Story >

In class I learned about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and environmental planning, which helped me complete my internship at the American Meteorological Society. My professors did a great job giving me advice and getting me in contact with people in my field!

Kelly Peaks

Environmental Science and Policy Major, Policy Concentration, Music Minor

Read Kelly's Story >

I was one of about 70 college and university students from across the nation selected to travel to Washington, DC for an event that showcases the work of undergraduate researchers to members of Congress. It felt great to share what we’ve discovered in the Hudson River directly with a member of Congress, who is in a position to act on that information and help our local environment.

Matthew Badia

Dual Major Chemistry and Environmental Science and Policy

After taking a seminar on climate change, I decided I wanted to put my passion to work. I was chosen to be a watershed intern for the Mayor of Wappingers Falls, NY, relaying environmental information to make sure the people who are affecting the watershed know what they’re doing and how it affects us. I’ve been really fortunate at Marist to run into these opportunities and fortunate enough to actually get these opportunities.

Ian Krout

Environmental Science and Policy Major, Biology Minor

Read Ian's Story >
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At Marist, we pride ourselves on our dedication to providing our students with a well-rounded liberal arts education that prepares them for practical experience and profound success in their field. But don't just take our word for it - the numbers speak for themselves.


Of current students are satisfied with their Marist Experience


Graduation rate, higher than the average for public and private colleges


Employed or attending grad school 6 months after graduation

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