Nondegree Students

Taking individual courses as a nondegree student is possible and will offer you the same range of courses and rigorous standards as degree-seeking undergraduate students. Even if you’re not pursuing a degree, you can take courses to prepare for university-level study, stay current in your field, or improve your job skills.

The Department of Natural Sciences


The Natural Sciences Department serves and supports Empire State University’s mission statement and learning goals, especially through our emphasis on providing adult learners with innovative and flexible educational opportunities to develop responsible global citizens and scientific scholars, and to encourage active engagement in the local and global community. We achieve this mission by:

  • Cultivating collaborative and professional relationships between students and faculty mentors
  • Giving students hands-on experience in real-world situations
  • Developing courses that engage students in the local and global community
  • Integrating problem-based with knowledge-based instruction in different teaching modalities
  • Communicating a fundamental understanding of our environment and its interactions with individuals and society
  • Engaging in collaborative teaching, mentoring, and research


We seek to become a leader in higher education for adult learners in the area of natural sciences.

About the Department

The department provides a broad-based curriculum in natural sciences with flexible learning opportunities. In addition to on-campus classes, we offer online, hybrid and residency courses. Our faculty offer tailored, student-centered courses that prepare students for postgraduate education or employment directly after graduation. Bachelor’s degrees with concentrations in biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science give students the tools necessary to understand the relationships between the natural world and society. Our courses also allow students to create flexible degree concentrations in other natural sciences areas, such as ecology and human biology.

Many of our courses deal explicitly with important ethical issues (e.g., genetics, genomics, bioethics in modern medicine, and epidemiology), problems concerning society and the natural world (e.g., chemistry and society, environmental health, contemporary environmental issues, and wildlife conservation), and environmental responsibility (e.g., principles of environmental sustainability, sustainable living: food and energy, and global climate change).

Additionally, several of our faculty serve as leaders for two university-wide residencies, the Adirondack Environmental Studies Residency (fall) and the Ecology and Earth Systems Field Research Residency (summer). During these residencies, students take courses using a blended model that combines an online or independent study component with on-site meetings. The Adirondack Environmental Studies Residency features a selection of four and two-credit courses and is hosted at historic Camp Huntington in Raquette Lake, in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The Ecology and Earth Systems Field Research Residency offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in field-based research activities with instructors from different natural sciences disciplines during a three-day field trip to the Cooperstown area.

Students wishing to get the most out of their education in the natural sciences should familiarize themselves with the area of study guidelines for degrees in science, mathematics and technology.