The School of Environmental Studies, a Centre for higher learning dedicated to environmental protection and sustainable development conceptualized in 1980 was established in 1983 to serve the cause of well-being of the society by imparting knowledge and by providing trained manpower and appropriate environmental technology. To achieve these objectives, the School offers a carefully designed regularly updated curriculum, competence-based consultancy and reaches out to the community with socially relevant extension programs. The School of Environmental Studies give equal importance to Research, Teaching and Extension in Environmental Science and Technology with the motto of Environmental protection for a sustainable development aiming at a better tomorrow.
Cochin University of Science and Technology had initiated steps towards establishing a centre of higher learning in Environmental Science by establishing a new faculty, the Faculty of Environmental studies as early as the VIIth five year plan period
Dr. K. P. Balakrishnan, Reader, Department of Marine Biology, School of Marine sciences, was appointed as the Special Officer to look into feasibility of starting a new program of study dealing with diverse areas of environment and to submit a report. Based on this report, Cochin University of science and Technology established School of Environmental Studies, a statutory body of the University under the Faculty of Environmental Studies in 1980 with Dr. K. P. Balakrishnan, as Reader and Head, and Smt.C.S.Shynamma, as Lecturer in the School.
The School was functioning with the major objective of developing general awareness among the public on environmental issues and to provide directions to planners and administrators, industries and the public alike on the requirement of environmental protection and environmental management for sustainable development on one hand, and to create groups of specialists in different areas of environmental studies such as environmental science, environmental law, environmental management, environmental technology, environmental economics and on the other related areas. Having these as the objectives, the School has been undertaking research and extension activities in different disciplines besides consultancy services.
In 1983, on the basis of a proposal submitted by the University, the University Grants Commission sanctioned a post of Professor, Reader and three Lecturers, to strengthen the functioning of the School. Subsequently in 1984, Dr. K. P. Balakrishnan was appointed as Professor through a selection process, Dr. A. Mohandas as Reader and Dr. M.V. Harindranathan Nair, Dr.Ammini Joseph and Dr.Suguna Yesodharan as Lecturers. This strengthening of the faculty positions entitled the School to start PG program, and the first batch for the 2-year M.Sc. Degree program in Environmental Studies was admitted in 1987. By the end of 1990, Dr.K.P.Balakrishnan and Smt.C.S.Shynamma retired from the University on superannuation, and Dr.A.Mohandas took charge as Director of the School in 1990. Dr.I.S. Bright Singh joined the School as Lecturer in 1991, Dr. V.N. Sivasankara Pillai as Professor in 1992 and Dr.Rajathy Sivalingam as Lecturer. Dr.E.P.Yesodharan joined as Professor in the school in the year 2007, in the chronological order. During the year 2000 the University adopted the policy of rotation of head ship and Dr.A.Mohandas relinquished the chair of Director and Dr.V.N.Sivasankara Pillai became the Director. Three years later Dr. Ammini Joseph took over as Director and later Prof.S. Bright Singh took over as the next Director. Dr. Suguna Yesodharan occupied the chair of Director during 2009 to 2012 followed by Dr Ammini Joseph and during 2014 Dr.M.V. Harindranathan Nair was the director. Dr. Rajathy Sivalingam occupied the chair of Director during 2015 to 2018, followed by Dr. V. Sivanandan Achari from 2018 to 2021. The present Director of the School is. Dr. Usha K. Aravind.
During the IXth Plan period two more posts of Lecturers were sanctioned by the UGC against which Dr.V. Sivanandan Achari as a Lecturer in Environmental Chemistry/Environmental Modeling/Environmental Management in 2001 and Shri. M. Anand was appointed as Lecturer in Environmental Biotechnology in 2004. Dr. A. Mohandas and Dr.V. Sivasankara Pillai retired in 2004 on superannuation, and Dr EP Yesodharan in 2013, Dr Suguna Yesodharan and Dr I S Bright Singh retired from services in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Dr. Preethy Chandran and Dr. Ratheesh Kumar C.S were appointed as Assistant Professors in 2018. Dr. Usha. K Aravind was appointed Professor and Dr. Suja P. Devipriya was appointed as Associate Professor in 2019. Dr. Krishna Mohan K. S. and Dr. Vrinda Sukumaran were appointed as Assistant Professors in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The current strength of the School is two Professors, one Associate Professor, and five Assistant Professors.
The need for technically skilled persons in environmental management was deeply felt in 1990s. To fulfill this requirement at State and National level the School of Environmental Studies entered into a bilateral agreement with the Government of Netherlands and Technical University of Delft (TU Deft) Netherland through MHO-EME program as a technical collaborator. The major thrust of the collaboration was restructuring the curriculum to suit the requirement of Country in the area of Environmental Studies and Environment management, establishment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and to provide specialized training to the Faculty of the School in the emerging area of teaching and learning. Accordingly a curriculum workshop was conducted on 15th and 16th June 1998 and based on the recommendations; the syllabus was restructured and implemented in the academic year 1999 - 2000.
The M.Sc program in Environmental Technology restructured as Environmental Science and Technology in 2020.The scheme formerly consists of 1. Environmental Engineering and 2. Environmental Biotechnology. The restructured program addresses the needs and challenges of the industrial sector and the environment as a whole. The School offers Doctoral programs in various fields of Environmental Science and Technology including Environmental Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, Toxicology, Management and Engineering.
The School of Environmental Studies has a dedicated group of faculty members with multi- disciplinary background and interests to lead the activities of the School. The School has state-of-the- art laboratories in Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Engineering. Environmental Biology, Environmental Toxicology, Molecular Biology, Environmental Biotechnology, Environmental Microbiology, and Remote Sensing. Environmental Resource and Disaster Management. Research programs of this School have been supported by the KSCSTE, DST, DBT, UGC, ICAR, DOD, Welcome Trust, and KSCSTE & OPCW.
The School of Environmental Studies, with its vision of giving equal importance to Research, Teaching and Extension in Environmental Science and Technology strive towards fulfilling its motto of Environmental protection for a sustainable development with the concept the development is environment inclusive aiming at a better tomorrow.