Mary Burak standing on a rock outcropping in Kenya

Knowledge & Leadership for

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a sustainable future

We are a community that is all-in on creating a more sustainable world — for ourselves and for future generations
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MEET THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS

Alumni Commencement Celebration
News

YSE Welcomes Back Classes of 2020, 2021 for In-Person Alumni Commencement Celebration

Nearly 100 graduates returned to campus with family and friends for an in-person celebration, which included ceremonies at Old Campus and Kroon Courtyard.

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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

Karen Seto in Nepal
Faculty Q & A

Karen Seto Brings Her ‘Cities as Solutions’ Focus to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Recently elected to one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies, YSE Professor Karen Seto talks about how cities can be a catalyst for generating solutions to climate change, what she is hoping to bring to the academy, and her role in developing the new Yale Center for Cities and Climate Solutions.

business & the environment

From commercial giants to innovative startups, we help businesses develop sustainable solutions to meet human needs within planetary boundaries.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

 
Centers and Programs

Report: Businesses Should Play Key Role in Addressing Environmental and Social Issues

The Center for Business and the Environment’s just-released study of 2,035 global business students found students increasingly believe that business leaders and the private sector should play a vital role in addressing environmental sustainability and social issues.

climate science & solutions

We provide cross disciplinary training that allows professionals to tackle the urgent challenge of climate change.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

ecosystem management & conservation

We give students the skills to steward and conserve ecosystems, ensuring that human and nonhuman species can coexist across landscapes.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

energy & the environment

We examine ways to effectively meet society’s energy demand, from the pursuit of more sustainable sources to ways of influencing individual choices.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

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Research

Efficient Buildings Could Save Thousands of Lives in U.S. Every Year

Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 40% of the country’s total energy consumption. By improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings, the emissions generated from heating and cooling them could be reduced – preventing thousands of premature deaths every year.

environmental policy analysis

We focus on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of policies designed to address today’s most pressing environmental challenges.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

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Research

Efficient Buildings Could Save Thousands of Lives in U.S. Every Year

Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 40% of the country’s total energy consumption. By improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings, the emissions generated from heating and cooling them could be reduced – preventing thousands of premature deaths every year.

forestry

Building on over a century of leadership in forestry and land conservation, we train professionals to work with people on managing forests.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

industrial ecology & green chemistry

We apply systems thinking to improve the sustainability of industry and production/consumption systems, from creating greener products to improving recycling processes
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

Illustration showing interconnected industrial systems
Centers and Programs

The Center for Industrial Ecology: Pathfinders in Life Cycles and Resource Reuse

This is the first in a special series that takes an in-depth look at Yale School of the Environment’s Centers, Programs, and Initiatives. This month’s focus is on the Center for Industrial Ecology, which seeks not only to advance our understanding of the environmental impacts of production and consumption on an international scale, but also to be part of tangible solutions.

people, equity, & the environment

We teach students to critique and improve the relationship between people and the planet with a focus on deep-seated, systemic challenges.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

urban

We examine the impacts of an ‘urbanized’ world, from effects on resources and biodiversity to public health and climate change.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

water science & management

We impart knowledge needed to safeguard and restore the world’s water resources, while promoting their sustainable use and equitable access.
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Innovative, Implementable Solutions

Meet Our Students and Alumni

Simon Bunyan 23 MEM

Climate Action through Centering Communities

Simon Bunyan — '23 MEM (he/him)
“Prior to coming to Yale, I worked for several federal agencies on energy and environmental policy. While those experiences were great, it was eye-opening to realize how mainstream environmental organizations, like ‘the Big Greens,’ have a history and active present of working against communities of color, low-income communities, and environmental justice communities on environmental policy."

Destiny Treloar

At the Intersection of Food and Environmental Justice

“One of the great things about Doris Duke is that it exposes you to so much,” says Destiny Treloar ’23 MESc, who joined the program as a junior in college. She was, at the time, interested in environmental policy and politics; she planned to go into nonprofit work. Her first summer with Doris Duke, however, she studied food precarity among youth and became fascinated by the intersection of food and environmental justice. “And now my thesis at YSE is going to be on food — a subject that never would have occurred to me if you’d asked three years ago what field I’d be working in.”

Hugh Brown under a canopy of bamboo

Rehabilitating Ghana’s Forests

As the director of operations for Ghana’s Forestry Commission, Hugh Brown ’10 MF oversees the country’s commercial forest plantation development and land restoration. About 450,000 hectares are being rehabilitated under his guidance.

In 2020, Brown was given YSE’s Prospect Street Award, which recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has made a significant impact in their field. 

“Landscape restoration,’’ says Brown, “is a team sport.”

Eleanor Stokes speaking on a NASA stage

Insights from the Night Sky

Using data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite spacecraft, Eleanor Stokes ’18 PhD is mapping disaster impacts in vulnerable communities. As co-leader of Black Marble, NASA’s first nighttime light dataset, Stokes has helped FEMA and other relief organizations direct their boots-on-the ground operations after natural disasters. “Humanity is facing major global risks from extreme weather and rising sea levels,” she says. “It’s very important to have a satellite record that can speak to the human piece of the puzzle.”

Ben Christensen standing in front of piles of weathered lumber

Re-imagining Urban Tree Life

Cambium Carbon, a startup company founded by Ben Christensen ’20 MEM and Marisa Repka ’20 MEM, is re-imagining the urban tree lifecycle — and combatting climate change in the process. The company is building  “reforestation hubs,” a unique private-public partnership that restores city forests across the U.S. Cambium Carbon received its initial funding from the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. It launched pilot reforestation hubs in four U.S. cities in 2021. It recently raised $3 million in seed funding that will allow it to reinvest in urban tree restoration and create local jobs.

Irene Shi sitting in front of blue-green lake in the Himalaya

Preserving China’s Biodiversity

As the executive director of the Shan Shui Conservation Center in China, Irene Xiangying Shi ’13 MESC is helping conservation efforts in the Tibetan Plateau and southern regions. The Center focuses its work on urban ecosystems and endangered species, such as giant pandas and snow leopards. 

“If we have the right incentives,” she says, “people will conserve nature in the best way." Her efforts have helped build a biodiversity conservation alliance, an information sharing platform on biodiversity, and long-term funding mechanisms to continue work on these issues.

warner-watnick

Protecting An Underrated Resource — Soil

For Darya Watnick ’21 MEM and Abbey Warner ’21 MEM, soil is an underappreciated resource. So, they authored an innovative guide to help states craft community-driven policy guidelines for soil health. The guide, Soil Health Policy: Developing Community-Driven State Soil Health Policy and Programs, addresses topics from food production to drought prevention to climate resilience.

“We have a Clean Air Act, A Clean Water Act, but no clean soil act,” Watnick says. “To me, it’s just as important.”

Deneile Cooper speaking at a Housing Authority event in New York City

Waste Warrior

As founding chair of the New York City Public Housing Authority Recycling Committee, DeNeile Cooper ’22 MEM is working to boost recycling efforts in public housing units.

Only 2% of waste from NYCHA units is recycled. Nationally, that rate is 32%.

“This work has been successful so far because it involves a variety of stakeholders who bring unique perspectives to create programs that work for everyone,” says Cooper, who is a member of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board.

Yufang Gao in the mountains

Redefining Human-Wildlife Conflict

In the Tibetan Plateau, PhD candidate Yufang Gao ’14 MESc interviews, observes, and travels with Tibetan herders and Buddhist monks. He sets up camera traps and collects scat to analyze the diet of snow leopards. And he has hiked a mountainside 15,000 feet above sea level — all in pursuit of data for his dissertation that focuses on the quest for harmonious coexistence between people and large carnivores. What is needed for human-wildlife coexistence is a different perspective about conflict, Gao says. 

“Conflict,” he has found, “is part of coexistence.”

Dechen Dorji in the high mountains

Keeping Bhutan Carbon Neutral

To make good on its constitutional mandate to be the first carbon neutral country for its entire existence, Bhutan relies heavily on its forest cover. Dechen Dorji ’01 MEM led the Bhutan for Life initiative, which raised more than $40 million to finance the protection of the country’s pristine network of protected areas.

Dorji continues to work on land preservation and protection of endangered species as the World Wildlife Fund’s senior director for the Asian Wildlife Program.

Ian Leahy standing beneath a ginkgo tree

Tree Equity

Using income, age, ethnicity, health, and surface temperature data and tree canopy surveys, Ian Leahy ’21 MEM, vice president of urban forestry at American Forests, helped create a Tree Equity Score. Wealthy urban communities, it found, have 65% more tree cover than low-income neighborhoods where temperatures can range 10 degrees higher.

The issue is a matter of health, Leahy noted in a New York Times Op-Ed., and his efforts have led to more financial support for urban tree growth. “What we're trying to do right now,’’ he says, “is close the canopy gap to save lives.’’

Humna Sharif

Uniting Voices to Safeguard the Oceans

While at YSE, Humna Sharif  ’21 MEM worked on marine policy and coastal ecosystem projects, including crafting bilateral US-Canada Climate Change agreements. Today, as government relations manager for the National Ocean Protection Coalition, she is working toward three main goals: equitable access to nature, protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030, and safeguarding national marine monuments. 

“We all want to help the planet and have healthy oceans,’’ Sharif says. “I think the impact comes when we bring together all those voices and present a united front.”

Why Yale School of the Environment?

Students on a field trip at a water treatment facility

Experiential Learning

At YSE, education and training extend well beyond the classroom. Participate in our unique summer orientation program, MODs; travel widely for field research and internships; attend global conferences and climate talks such as the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP).

Class in session in Kroon Hall

Acclaimed Faculty

Working closely with some of the top experts in their fields is one of the advantages of a YSE graduate degree. Our faculty are committed to mentoring the next generation of environmental leaders to tackle the world’s most urgent problems.

Fast Facts

Studen Data

86%

Receive Financial Aid

86% of students depend on financial aid to attend YSE.

 

Student Data

3.6

Undergraduate GPA

The average undergraduate GPA for incoming students is 3.6.

Student Data

24%

U.S. Students of Color

Of the incoming class of Fall 2021, 24% of the U.S.-based students identify as students of color.

Degrees & Programs

The Yale School of the Environment offers a variety of degree programs, many of which can be customized to meet each student’s professional goals, and prepare them for careers in environmental science, management, and policy.

Master’s Program

Application Deadline: December 15th, 2021

Apply to a Master's Program

Doctoral Program

Application Deadline: January 2nd, 2022

Apply to the Doctoral Program

Celebrating the Legacy of F. Herbert Bormann

At YSE’s 38th Annual Research Day on April 8, the 14th annual Bormann Prize will be awarded to a YSE student whose work exemplifies the legacy of plant ecologist F. Herbert Bormann. Bormann, who taught at YSE from 1966-1992, was one of the scientists credited with the discovery of acid rain and his research was a major contributory factor towards the amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990. This year’s award will be particularly poignant as March 24th of this year was Bormann’s Centennial — having been born on March 24, 1922, in New York City. View a gallery of past Bormann Prize winners.

Photograph of a forest
News

Forest Fragmentation Research Earns 2021 Bormann Prize

Meghna Krishnadas’ doctoral research into how forest fragmentation alters the underlying mechanisms shaping patterns of tropical tree regeneration and forest diversity was recognized for its novel insight into ecological processes.

Peter Umunay yale   1
News

Forest Research in the Congo Basin Earns the 2020 Bormann Prize

Peter Umunay’s research, which explores ways to find a balance between conservation and economic development in the Congo Basin, earned him the 2020 F. Herbert Bormann Prize.

bormann prize 2019
News

Research on Fracking Impacts Wins 2019 Bormann Prize

Given rare access to a hydraulic fracturing well site in Pennsylvania, an F&ES doctoral student revealed a surprising finding about the impacts of fracking on groundwater — research that earned her the 2019 F. Herbert Bormann Prize

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News

F&ES Student Researchers Take Center Stage in Day-long Conference

Forty-nine master’s students, doctoral students, and postdocs from the School community presented their research during the 34th annual F&ES Research Conference.

keiser yale field work
News

Study Linking Microscale Processes with Landscape Impacts Wins Bormann Prize

Ashley Keiser ’16 Ph.D., who studies how microbes in the soil respond to changing conditions aboveground, has won the 2017 F. Herbert Bormann Prize.

miller studies remains
News

Bormann Prize Honors Research Aimed At Reducing Carnivore-Human Conflicts

Jennie Miller '15 Ph.D., whose research has explored an emerging method of spatial mapping to reduce conflicts between humans and carnivores, won the 2015 F. Herbert Bormann Prize.

graef bormann prize
News

Bormann Prize Winner Honored For Study in ‘Green Sovereignty’

A published paper exploring the relationship between landscape imagery and national self-identity in Costa Rica helped earn Dana Graef, an F&ES doctoral student, the 2014 F. Herbert Bormann Prize.

2013 Bormann Award
News

Hurricane-Inspired Study Earns F&ES Student Inaugural Bormann Prize

F&ES doctoral student Yoon says he considers Bormann, who died in 2012, a personal hero and views Bormann's work as one of environmental science’s “great success stories.”

CENTERS, PROGRAMS, AND INITIATIVES

From Local to Global

Yale School of the Environment’s more than 20 centers and programs are having immediate impact across many sectors and disciplines. They also provide students with numerous opportunities to gain hands-on clinical and research experience.
 
Carbon Containment Lab (CC Lab)

Finding big solutions to the climate challenge

The CC Lab designs, tests, and develops novel, low-cost, safe, scalable, and verifiable methods of atmospheric carbon containment.

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Urban Resources Initiative (URI)

Helping to create a stronger, more sustainable New Haven

The Urban Resources Initiative works with the city to improve community green spaces, build bioswales, and promote urban forestry. 

The Forests Dialogue (TFD)

Bringing together stakeholders on complex forest issues

For more than two decades, TFD has coordinated ongoing, multi-stakeholder conversation and trust building to resolve forest-related conflicts across the world.

Center for Industrial Ecology (CIE)

An organizational focus for an emerging field

The Center for Industrial Ecology develops and promotes research, teaching, and outreach about how resources are converted to products, the pollution that comes from these processes, and opportunities to reduce resource use and pollution.