Our Vision


In the next decade, the Department of Environmental Science and Policy will be a major force academically and professionally focused on understanding and implementing the science and policy of biodiversity conservation, sustainability of water and watershed ecosystems, and the application of the one health (ecosystem health) approach to social and ecological interactions.  Our graduates are highly qualified and sought-after individuals making important contributions to solving complex environmental issues that challenge the integrity and sustainability of global systems through research, social equity and transdisciplinarity.  Our faculty are internationally recognized for their innovative research and their outreach and communication to the public and private sectors.


Goal 1.  Leadership in Water and Watershed Science and Policy: ESP faculty and students contribute to the effective management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems at local through global scales.  The presence of ESP’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC) at the new Potomac Science Center serves as a regional nexus and catalyst for watershed science, policy and education.  The on-campus mesocosm facility enables understanding of wetland function and designs for wetland loss-mitigation.  In addition, researchers in ESP have supported this effort through source tracking of coliform bacteria and coral reef ecology studies.

Goal 2. Excellence in Conservation Science and Policy:  PEREC addresses biological conservation of species in the Potomac River and other aquatic ecosystems as model systems for how society can work to return ecosystems to a more healthy state.  We collaborate with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, the National Zoological Park, and others to reverse the catastrophic loss of biodiversity in sensitive areas worldwide.  Our faculty work internationally in ecosystem and species conservation, policy development and implementation in both human-involved and natural systems.

Goal 3. One Health Approach to Ecosystem Health and Sustainability:  ESP embraces ecosystem health and sustainability as a research and academic focus under the One Health approach.  We concentrate on environmentally derived human diseases, wildlife health and disease, and sustainability of socio-ecological systems that support healthy humans and ecosystems.  Current research includes emerging infectious diseases of terrestrial and marine life ranging from corals to mammals, zoonotic diseases, sediment and soil ecosystems impacted by oil spills and bacterial wateborne pathogens.


Environmental Science and Policy is an interdisciplinary department spanning the domains of natural science, social science, and policy studies.

  • We strive to provide diverse learning experiences using state-of-the-art research facilities, diverse field sites, and nationally recognized research grants.
  • We offer flexible programs in undergraduate and graduate environmental studies to accommodate traditional and nontraditional students.
  • We are committed to the creation of an academic culture of mutual respect and intellectual collaboration to foster truly productive interdisciplinary research approaches that better mirror the environmental problems we seek to address.
  • Our graduates and faculty are active in the formulation and implementation of policies and solutions in government, industry, and nonprofit organizations.


Respect, Collaboration, Transdisciplinarity, Flexibility, Innovation, Diversity, Sustainability