We are an umbrella for environmental research and graduate education at MSU, working together with colleges and departments in a collaborative manner to solve environmental problems.


ESPP is structured to be flexible and inclusive. A relatively small staff administers programs. Any faculty member at MSU can affiliate with ESPP, and any graduate student can take classes. ESPP's Faculty Advisory Council, composed of faculty, helps set priorities along with the Graduate Program Council which shapes the program's doctoral specialization. ESPP is also advised and funded by the Deans of the Colleges of Agriculture and Natural ResourcesNatural SciencesSocial Sciences, and Engineering and the Graduate School; the Director of AgBioResearch; the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; and the Provost.

Please view our Annual Report for a visual representation of ESPP.


ESPP was established in 2003 in order to:

  • Build graduate education programs that are innovative, interdisciplinary and campus wide;
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary environmental research at MSU and, in particular, link MSU research with national and global research priorities; and
  • Make MSU's areas of excellence better connected with and more visible in national and global efforts.

Our activities include:

  • Offering Doctoral Dual Major in Environmental Science and Policy, which includes courses designed to learn how different disciplines conceptualize environmental issues and how scientific information can be brought to bear on environmental decision-making and environmental policy. Also offering certificates in environmental modeling.

  • Recruiting top interdisciplinary students to MSU through program design and the ESPP Doctoral Recruiting Fellowships.

  • Instituting Distinguished Lecture Series that features world-class researchers and practitioners engaging with the MSU community on cutting-edge environmental topics.

  • Establishing the tradition of an annual Environmental Research Symposium on the MSU campus as a student-organized forum that brings together early career researchers, highlights interdisciplinary environmental research at MSU, fosters interactions with stakeholders and policymakers, and provides professional development opportunities.

  • Hosting the annual Fate of the Earth Symposium to highlight cutting-edge environmental topics and research in a way that allows the general public to understand the complexities and take action to improve environmental science and policy.

  • Providing funding for student research and organizing regular Environmental Research Colloquia.

  • Supporting faculty research via targeted funding initiatives such as the WaterCube funding, ESPP Visiting Scholars to Advance Science (VISTAS) grants, and the ESPP-AgBioResearch Interdisciplinary Team Building Initiative (ITBI).

  • Maintaining environment.msu.edu to serve as an evolving hub for communications and resources related to environmental work at MSU, along with water.msu.edu for the MSU Water Science Network.