top of page

Calling All Engineers and Environmentalists!

More students are becoming interested in finding ways to improve the environment. If you are seeking an education that will lay the foundation to make a significant impact on the natural world, consider applying to Stanford’s new school focused on climate and sustainability!

New School Focused on Climate and Sustainability

Amidst growing concern for global warming and the effect it has on today’s environment, Stanford is doing all it can to meet the challenges posed by climate change and research solutions. In September 2022, Stanford will open the doors to its new school dedicated to creating a future where both humans and nature thrive.

This will be the first time in 70 years that Stanford has created a new school! The new school will offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional certificates. It will merge some of Stanford’s finest schools: Earth, Energy, & Environmental Sciences; Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; Precourt Institute for Energy; Hopkins Marine Station; and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

The school’s structure will be made up into three parts: academic departments- which will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, institutes- which will provide research and advocacy opportunities for students, and the sustainability accelerator- which partners with community groups, policymakers, governments, non-profit organizations, and businesses to fund Stanford’s development of technology and policy solutions that will benefit the world.

Academic Departments

Future academic departments at the school include ocean science, climate science, and global environmental policy. Current academic departments at the new school include:

  • Division of Earth & Planetary Sciences (Focused on understanding the processes governing the earth and other planets)

  • Division of Engineering for Sustainability (Focused on engineering solutions for climate and sustainability challenges)

  • Division of Climate, Environment & Biodiversity (Focused on understanding, predicting, and responding to human-caused and natural environmental change at local to global scales)

  • Division of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems (Focused on the human dimensions of climate and sustainability)

Check out the courses offered through these departments! Courses range from an overview of global agriculture (Feeding Nine Billion), to a synopsis of the complex climate challenges posed by the substantial benefits of energy consumption (The Global Warming Paradox). Taking any of these courses will enhance your knowledge on ways to make a true impact in the world.


If you are looking for a school that offers research opportunities, look no further. The Precourt Institute for Energy and the Woods Institute for the Environment will both fall under the umbrella of the new school. At Precourt, research projects include Renewable Energy, Energy Storage and Grid Modernization, Policy and Economics, End Use/Efficiency, Fossil and Nuclear Energy, and Environmental Impacts. The Woods Institute works to create a future in which societies meet people’s needs for water, food, health and other vital services while sustaining the planet. Research focuses on Climate, Conservation, Food Security, Freshwater, Natural Capital, Oceans, Public Health, and Security.

The Sustainability Accelerator

Grants through the Sustainability Accelerator will help fund projects that will address challenges threatening people and the climate. Winners for the first Sustainability Accelerator grants will be announced this April 2022.

Making an Impact Outside of Academics

If you are looking to make an impact outside of the classroom, there are several student organizations on campus that are committed to advocating for the environment and creating a sustainable world:

  • Students for a Sustainable Stanford

  • Stanford Energy Club

  • Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035

  • Stanford Food Recovery

  • Students for Environmental and Racial Justice

  • Engineers for a Sustainable World, Stanford Chapter

  • Environmental Law Society

  • Fossil Free Stanford

  • Environmental Justice Working Group

  • Stanford People for Animal Welfare (PAW)

  • Stanford Solar Car Project

  • Stanford Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability (SEEDS)

  • Stanford Roots

There are also a multitude of academic year-long on-campus internships available to students through the Sustainable Stanford Internship Program. As a Sustainable Stanford intern, you will gain experience in sustainable project design and implementation. Check out all available opportunities here.

What Can I Do to Make Myself a Strong Candidate for Stanford’s New Sustainability School?

Stanford is looking for students that make tangible changes in their community. Ask yourself, what have you done for your community? How do you or can you improve things for the environment?

For example, If you are interested in engineering, consider creating your own sustainable energy device to charge your household items? If you are a practicing environmentalist, have you influenced your school or your favorite restaurant to recycle and compost?

Your contribution to your community does not have to relate to your major, but should be a cause that YOU are passionate about. Maybe there is a large homeless population near your home and you have always wanted to do something to help. So do it! Brainstorm ways you can make things better for these people- maybe it’s volunteering at a local shelter, or maybe it’s creating a nonprofit that works to help homeless people find work or stable housing. Create a plan to put your idea into action and do what you can to make a positive impact!

More About Stanford’s Commitment to Reducing Waste and Emissions

Stanford University has long been a force in making the world a better place. The university was founded with the mission “to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization” in 1885 by California senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane. Among Stanford’s many high rankings, they are rated number 5 in Environmental/ Environmental Health Engineering. Stanford’s unofficial mascot is the “Tree” which is a reference to the Redwood tree which is the logo of the city of Palo Alto.

Under the leadership of President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford has committed to reducing waste and emissions significantly on campus. This year, Stanford will achieve two of its sustainability goals: 1) generating 100% of electricity needs for campus from renewable resources and 2) reducing gas emissions to 80% below peak levels. Additionally, Stanford has set a goal of being waste-free by 2030. To do this Stanford will divert waste from landfill through recycling and composting, upgrade its recycling program, and expand waste stations. If you are looking to join an eco-friendly campus that strives to reduce its carbon footprint, then you may feel at home at Stanford.

Berkeley2 Academy is here to help!

Contact a Berkeley2 Academy counselor for more additional advice on how to stand out from other Stanford applicants! B2A offers 1:1 counseling services for students to receive professional guidance and/or feedback on their application materials. Our Steps Program for high school students grades 9th-11th, is a college admission counseling program that will help you get a head-start on planning for college admissions. Our Gateway program for high school seniors is designed to guide students through 5 college applications with a designated Gateway counselor. Click here for more information and to set-up an appointment with a B2A counselor today!


Featured Posts
Recent Posts