The idea for a Department of Environmental Science and Policy originated in 1982 when the Biology Department created its PhD in Environmental Biology-Public Policy. Around 1990, the degree name was changed to Environmental Science and Policy.
In 2001, the PhD program, a similarly titled MS program, and the undergraduate earth science program were combined to create the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Faculty from the Biology Department joined ESP in 2003.
The Department of Environmental Science and Policy has 176 active graduate students (2014) and involves approximately 50 faculty from a diverse array of departments, schools, and institutes throughout George Mason University. The Department launched its undergraduate degree program in the fall of 2011, after SCHEV approval. Response to the new Environmental Science, B.S. degree program has been great. As of July 2013, there were 122 BSES majors (2014 numbers to be added later).
ESP also collaborates with environmental professionals in governmental agencies, NGOs and the private sector to support its research and teaching.