Environmental Studies

 

2018-19 General Catalog

405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building
(831) 459-2634
https://envs.ucsc.edu

Faculty | Course Descriptions


Program Description

The environmental studies major prepares students for meaningful lifetime engagement with the environmental challenges that are facing society. UCSC environmental studies graduates hold leadership positions as legislative and policy analysts, environmental lawyers, environmental managers, city and state planners, educators, restoration ecologists, organic farmers and agroecology specialists, conservation biologists, environmental engineers, museum curators, business consultants, and political advocates. In addition, many graduates go on to obtain professional, master’s, or doctoral degrees at the nation’s finest institutions.

Students pursue an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines coursework in the natural and social sciences. Introductory courses cover the ecological, political, and economic aspects of historic, current and future environmental issues. The core course, Environmental Studies 100/L, Ecology and Society builds on the skills acquired in the lower-division classes, and encourages students to apply ecological, economic, and political skills toward environmental and ecosystem management. The remaining upper-division elective courses further emphasize the integration of ecological knowledge with an understanding of social institutions and policies. The program emphasizes active, interdisciplinary learning with the overall objective of instilling the necessary skills to conserve biodiversity and integrate the principles of sustainability with respect to management of complex environmental systems. Faculty work on these issues at local, regional, and global levels, providing a unique, proactive, and progressive academic environment for students wishing to pursue a degree program within the Environmental Studies Department.

In addition to the single environmental studies major, students may choose to pursue one of three combined majors with biology, Earth sciences, or economics. The combined major curricula offer the unique integration of the underlying concepts of environmental studies with a focus on the application of these concepts in a closely related field (or vice versa).

As a complement to classroom instruction and research, many courses have field components. The Environmental Studies Internship Program helps qualified students find placements with government and educational agencies, community organizations, and private firms. Furthermore, faculty-directed, independent, or field-oriented research courses allow environmental studies students the opportunity to learn more about their specific academic career or personal interests, often while earning academic credit.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. degree in environmental studies will:

  • Identify the societal (social, political, economic and ethical) agents and structures that contribute to environmental change. (social science competency)

  • Describe the structure and functioning of major physical and ecological components of the earth’s systems. (natural science competency)

  • Access and analyze a complex literature addressing specific topics in environmental studies, and evaluate the usefulness and limitations of individual sources of information.  (analytic thinking)

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. (communication skills).

Declaration of the Major

Students wishing to declare within the Environmental Studies Department should visit the Environmental Studies Department website and follow the steps listed there. Study plans may be downloaded from the environmental studies website.

Major Qualification Policy

To qualify to declare in one of the majors listed below, students must complete the specific courses in each major, or their equivalents, with a letter grade of C, or grade of P, or better.

Students declaring the environmental studies/biology combined B.A. major must take all courses for a letter grade.

Determining qualification:

  • Students who complete all the qualification courses with a grade of P, or letter grade of C or better are eligible to declare a major.
  • Students who have received one grade of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the qualification courses taken at UCSC will only be eligible to declare after successfully completing the same or an equivalent course with a grade of P, or letter grade of C or better.
  • Students with two or more grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the qualification courses taken at UCSC are not eligible to declare.
  • Students with AP credit for any of the qualification course(s) are eligible to declare after successfully completing the remaining qualification courses.
  • Students with non-letter grades in any of the qualification courses for the environmental studies/biology combined B.A. major will not be eligible to declare until a grade of C or better has been assigned.
  • Students must attend an Environmental Studies Department declaration workshop when requesting to declare the major.

Students who are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting a letter to the advising office within 15 days of the denial of the declaration. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student and college of the decision.

A. Environmental Studies B.A. Major

Environmental Studies 23 or Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A
Environmental Studies 24 or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C
Environmental Studies 25
Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L

B. Environmental Studies/Biology Combined B.A. Major

Environmental Studies 25
Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C
Biology: Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 20A
Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A
Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L

C. Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences Combined B.A. Major

Environmental Studies 24 or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C
Environmental Studies 25
Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A
Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L

D. Environmental Studies/Economics Combined B.A. Major

Environmental Studies 23 or Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A
Environmental Studies 24 or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C
Environmental Studies 25
Economics 1
Economics 11A
Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5 or 7/L

Transfer Students

Transfer students pursuing environmental studies majors are encouraged to transfer in the fall quarter.

To be considered for admission to UCSC in one of the environmental studies majors below, transfer students must pass equivalents of the following courses with a C (2.0) or better in these required courses:

Environmental Studies B.A.:

  • ENVS 23, Physical and Chemical Environment or General Chemistry
  • ENVS 24, General Ecology or BIOE 20C, Ecology and Evolution
  • ENVS 25, Environmental Policy and Economics or Economics 1 or 2 and a course in national or international politics
  • AMS 3, Pre-calculus (or MATH 3) or Calculus

Environmental Studies/Biology Combined B.A.:

  • BIOL 20A, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIOE 20C, Ecology and Evolution
  • CHEM 1A +1B + 1C/N, General Chemistry series
  • MATH 3, Pre-calculus (or AMS 3, Pre-calculus) or Calculus

ENVS 25, Environmental Policy and Economics or Economics 1 or 2 and a course in national or international politics

Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences Combined B.A.:

  • ENVS 24, General Ecology or BIOE 20C, Ecology and Evolution
  • CHEM 1A +1B/M + 1C/N, General Chemistry series
  • MATH 3, Pre-calculus (or AMS 3, Pre-calculus) or Calculus
  • ENVS 25, Environmental Policy and Economics or Economics 1 or 2 and a course in national or international politics

Environmental Studies/Economics Combined B.A.:

  • ENVS 24, General Ecology or BIOE Biology 20C, Ecology and Evolution
  • ENVS 23, Physical and Chemical Environment or General chemistry
  • ECON 1, Microeconomics
  • A course in national or international politics
  • ECON 11A, Math Methods for Economists or MATH 11A, Calculus with Applications or MATH 19A, Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • AMS 5, Statistics

It is recommended that transfer students plan to enroll in Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L during the summer or fall quarter in order to take Environmental Studies 100/L in winter or spring quarter of their first year. Transfers can formally declare their major once qualification courses are successfully completed.

Environmental Studies 23, 24, 25, and Chemistry 1A are offered during Summer Session at UCSC, and transfer students are encouraged to take them. If you are transferring, compare catalog descriptions, consult your current institution's adviser, and refer to the ASSIST website to determine equivalency.

Prospective transfer students should review the transfer information.

Environmental Studies B.A. Major Requirements

Continuing students are required to complete all six lower-division courses before taking Environmental Studies 100/L. Five of the lower-division courses are preset and are listed below. See the course descriptions for more specific information.

Lower-Division Requirements

Environmental Studies 23, The Physical and Chemical Environment or Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A, General Chemistry

Environmental Studies 24, General Ecology

Environmental Studies 25, Environmental Policy and Economics

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 3, Pre-calculus for Social Sciences; or Mathematics 3, Pre-calculus; or math placement exam (MPE) of 300 or higher, Calculus; or AP Calculus exam score of 3 or higher

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L, Statistical Methods for the Biological and Environmental Studies

In addition, students choose one introductory course in sociology, cultural anthropology, or ethics. The acceptable courses are as follows:

Anthropology 2, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Sociology 1, Introduction to Sociology

Sociology 10, Issues and Problems in American Society

Sociology 15, World Society

Philosophy 22, Introduction to Ethical Theory

Philosophy 24, Introduction to Ethics: Contemporary Moral Issues

Philosophy 28, Environmental Ethics

Philosophy 80G, Bioethics in the 21st Century: Science, Business, and Society

The following are two recommended academic plans for pursuing the Environmental Studies B.A. major. Plan One is for students who place into AMS 3 and MATH 3 and Plan Two is for students who place out of AMS 3 and MATH 3.

Plan One for students placing into AMS 3 and MATH 3

Year

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st
(frosh)

 

MATH 3 or
AMS 2 or 6 or 3

AMS 7/L or
SOC/ANTH/Ethics

ENVS 23

 

ENVS 25

 

2nd
(soph)

ENVS 24

ENVS 100/L

AMS 7/L or SOC/ANTH/Ethics

 ENVS 100/L or spring

Plan Two for students placing out of AMS 3 and MATH 3

Year

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st
(frosh)

ENVS 25

ENVS 23

AMS 7/L or
SOC/ANTH/Ethics

AMS 7/L or
SOC/ANTH/Ethics

2nd
(soph)

ENVS 24

ENVS 100/L or spring

ENVS 100/L

 Upper-Division Requirements

In addition to lower-division coursework, students are required to complete nine upper-division courses:

Environmental Studies 100/L, Ecology and Society (environmental studies core course, offered twice yearly during the winter and spring quarters).

Seven upper-division electives (environmental studies courses numbered 101-179). One must be based in the social sciences and one course must be based in the natural sciences.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department is available here. A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department based in the natural sciences and in the social sciences is available here.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. A primary goal of the environmental studies major is to train students who are able to critically analyze interdisciplinary environmental problems, justify their position on an issue, and communicate that position to a range of audiences verbally and in writing. The DC requirement in environmental studies is satisfied by completing Environmental Studies 100 and 100L and one of the following courses: Environmental Studies 109B, or 183B, or 190, or 195B, or 196. Note: Environmental Studies 183B and 195B are usually taken after successfully completing 183A and 195A respectively.

Comprehensive Requirement

The senior comprehensive may be satisfied by completing one of the options listed below. All courses used to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement must be taken for a letter grade.

Before enrolling in the senior thesis or senior internship option, students must formally apply to work with a particular faculty mentor very early in their thesis or project preparation. These courses require careful planning, additional independent research, and at least a two-quarter commitment.

Environmental Studies 109B, Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

Environmental Studies 183A and 183B, Senior Internship

Environmental Studies 190, Capstone Course: Environmental Problem Solving (offered and summer)

Environmental Studies 195A and 195B, Senior Thesis

Environmental Studies 196, Senior Seminar

Students with advanced skills in one of the graduate focal areas may also take a graduate seminar by invitation from the instructor.

Requirements for the Combined Majors

Environmental Studies/Biology Combined B.A. Major

This course of study provides students with the basic tools of biological science and sufficient understanding of resource conservation, conservation biology, and concerns about environmental sustainability to apply these tools to environmental problems.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Lower-Division Requirements

Biology and mathematics courses may require placement examinations. See the course descriptions for prerequisite information.

Biology: Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology 20A and Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20B, and 20C

Environmental Studies 25

Anthropology 2; or Philosophy 21, 22, 24, 28, or 80G; or Sociology 1, 10 or 15

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 3, Pre-calculus; or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2, Pre-statistics; or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 6, Pre-calculus for Statistics; or Mathematics 3; or a score on the mathematics placement examination (MPE) of 300 or higher; Calculus or the AP calculus examination score of 3 or higher

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7 and 7L

Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A, 1B, and 1C/N

One course in physics: Physics 1, or Physics 6A/L, or Physics 7A/L

Upper-Division Requirements

Students are required to complete nine upper-division courses and the senior comprehensive requirement. Three of the nine upper-division courses must include Environmental Studies 100/L; Biology: Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology 105, Genetics; and Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 109, Evolution.

The remaining six upper-division elective courses include three in biology and three in environmental studies. One of the six electives must be a laboratory course, and one of the three environmental studies courses electives must be based in the social sciences.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department is available here. A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department based in the natural sciences and in the social sciences is available here.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department is available here.

Students wishing to pursue an advanced degree in the pure or applied sciences are strongly encouraged to complete the organic chemistry series as well.

These upper-division elective courses should be selected in pursuit of a coherent plan of study, chosen in consultation with faculty sponsors from both the Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies Departments. None of the three environmental studies upper-division courses can be an environmental studies internship, individual study, or substitution course.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement for the environmental studies/biology combined major is satisfied by completing Environmental Studies 100/L and one of the following courses: Environmental Studies 109B, 183B, 190, 195B, or 196 or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 109

Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement by completing either:

  • one of the options for environmental studies majors (see Comprehensive Requirement above); or
  • one of the approved internships, independent research or field course in biology or a thesis with biology

Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences Combined B.A. Major

This course of study provides students with the basic tools of Earth sciences and environmental studies needed to address environmental problems.

Lower-Division Requirements

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7 and 7L

Mathematics 11A-B (or 19A-B)

Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A, 1B/M, and 1C/N

Physics 6A/L and 6B/M (or 5A/L and 5B/M)

Earth Sciences 20/L (or 5/L or 10/L)

Environmental Studies 24 (or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C) and Environmental Studies 25

Anthropology 2; or Philosophy 21, 22, 24, 28, or 80G; or Sociology 1, 10, or 15

Upper-Division Requirements

Earth Sciences 110A/L, 110B/M, or 110C/N

Environmental Studies 100/L

Three additional upper-division environmental studies courses, including at least one course based in the social sciences.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department is available here. A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department based in the natural sciences and in the social sciences is available here.

Three additional upper-division Earth sciences courses.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department is available here.

The upper-division courses should be selected in pursuit of a coherent plan of study, such as water policy-hydrology, restoration ecology-geochemistry, agroecology-soil physical processes, or environmental policy-climate change, among others, in consultation with faculty from both the Environmental Studies and Earth Sciences Departments. None of the three environmental studies upper-division courses can be an environmental studies internship, individual study or substitution course.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement for the environmental studies/Earth sciences combined major is satisfied by completing Environmental Studies 100/L and one of the following courses: Environmental Studies 109B, 183B, 190, 195B, or 196, or Earth Sciences 195, or 188A-B.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy their senior comprehensive requirement in environmental studies or Earth sciences by completing either:

Environmental Studies/Economics Combined B.A. Major

This major provides students with the basic tools of economic analysis and an understanding of the mechanics of resource production, conservation, and use, in both ecological and economic terms.

Lower-Division Requirements

Economics 1, 2, 11A, 11B

AMS 5 or AMS 7/L

Environmental Studies 23 (or Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A)

Environmental Studies 24 (or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C)

Environmental Studies 25

Anthropology 2; or Philosophy 21, 22, 24, 28, or 80G; or Sociology 1, 10 or 15

Upper-Division Requirements

Economics 100A(100M), Intermediate Microeconomics

Economics 113, Econometrics

Environmental Studies 100/L

Six upper-division elective courses, three in economics and three in environmental studies. Economics electives must be chosen from the following list: Economics 100B (100N), 101, 114, 115, 120, 128, 130, 131, 133, 135, 136, 138, 139A, 139B, 140, 141, 142, 150, 156, 159, 160A, 160B, 161A, 165, 169, 180, 183.

Environmental Studies electives must be chosen from those numbered 101-179, with at least one course based in the natural sciences. None of the three environmental studies upper-division courses can be an environmental studies internship, individual study or substitution course.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department is available here. A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department based in the natural sciences and in the social sciences is available here.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major’s upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC Requirement in environmental studies/economics combined major is satisfied by completing Environmental Studies 100/L and one of the following courses: Environmental Studies 109B, 183B, 190, 195B, or 196.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement by completing the following:
one of the options for environmental studies majors (see Comprehensive Requirement above); and pass those portions of the economics comprehensive examination administered in Economics 100A(100M) and 113.

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Concentration

The major academic objective of the agroecology and sustainable food systems concentration is to provide students with a depth of expertise within the environmental studies major. Specifically, completing the concentration will allow students to develop expertise and interdisciplinary knowledge of agroecology and sustainable agriculture. Students in the agroecology and sustainable food systems concentration will learn about ecological concepts that can be applied to the development of sustainable agricultural systems and will also develop their understanding of social, political, and economic aspects of agriculture. Students will also have access to hands-on experiences, and obtain skills in research, fieldwork, production, and communication in order to achieve multiple sustainability goals in complex, social-ecological food systems.

Requirements for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Concentration

Students pursuing the agroecology and sustainable food systems concentration abide by all rules and requirements of the environmental studies single or environmental studies combined majors. The agroecology and sustainable food systems concentration includes three required courses (one in social sciences, one in natural sciences, one field-based course) and one elective course from the list below (no substitutions will be accepted). In addition, students will complete their environmental studies senior exit (ENVS 109B, or ENVS 190, or ENVS 196, or ENVS 195A and 195B, or ENVS 183A and 183B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Required upper-division courses: ENVS 130, ENVS 130L, ENVS 130B, and ENVS 130C or ENVS 133

List of elective courses (choose one): ENVS 108, 129, 131, 143, 146, 161A/L, 162/L, 163/L, 165, 166, 168, 169, 170, or CMMU 149 or CMMU 186

In addition to coursework, it is strongly recommended that students complete at least one internship related to agroecology, sustainable agriculture, or sustainable food systems (either upper- or lower-division internship).

Note for students pursuing environmental studies single majors. Students pursuing the environmental studies single major and the agroecology and sustainable food systems concentration will take the following upper-division courses: Environmental Studies 100 and 100L, 130A and 130L, 130B, and either 130C or 133; one course from the list of elective courses above; three additional environmental studies electives; and an environmental studies senior exit (Environmental Studies 109B, or 190, or 196, or 195A and195B, or 183A and183B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Note for students pursuing environmental studies-combined majors. Students pursuing the environmental studies combined majors in economics, Earth sciences, or biology and the agroecology and sustainable food systems concentration will take the following upper-division courses (in the environmental studies portion of their major): Environmental Studies 100 and 100L, 130A and 130L, 130B, and either 130C or 133; one course from the list of elective courses above; and an environmental studies senior exit (Environmental Studies 109B, or 190, or 196, or 195A and 195B, or 183A and 183B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Honors

Departmental Honors. Students must have a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) in all courses used to satisfy the environmental studies upper-division requirements. To be considered for departmental honors, students are limited to no more than one grade of P in those upper-division courses.

Senior Comprehensive Honors. Only applicable to a senior thesis, senior internship, or individual work in a senior seminar. Honors must be awarded by the student’s faculty sponsor, and a second faculty member (chosen by the student’s faculty adviser) must confer.

Highest Departmental Honors. Students must have a 3.75 grade point average (GPA) in in all courses used to satisfy the environmental studies upper-division requirements and must also receive senior comprehensive honors (see above).

For the environmental studies/biology combined B.A., environmental studies/economics combined B.A. and environmental studies/Earth science combined B.A. majors, students must fulfill all requirements for honors from both departments.

Graduate Program

The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Environmental Studies at UCSC is an interdisciplinary program that draws equally from natural and social sciences. Our interests in natural sciences engage most strongly with conservation biology, agroecology, and global change. Our interests in the social sciences and humanities bridge political ecology, geography, sociology, history, environmental policy, and politics, law, and environmental economics. We aim to train doctoral students to work effectively in disciplinary and interdisciplinary environments within the academy, in government agencies, and in public interest organizations and businesses.

Graduates of the program are expected to engage as scholars across natural and social sciences, and to have deep intellectual strength in their area of specialty. We expect our doctoral students to be as skilled and intellectually rigorous within their research emphases as are students emerging from more traditional disciplinary programs. We also expect them to possess the knowledge needed to understand, analyze, and communicate in different but relevant fields of study. This expectation of intellectual breadth as well as disciplinary depth is a central goal of our doctoral program.

Given the strong interdisciplinary focus of the environmental studies Ph.D. program, study in other fields is encouraged. Most of the environmental studies faculty have secondary affiliations with other departments on campus. Students have the option of pursuing a “designated emphasis,” the equivalent of a graduate minor in another graduate program on campus. These provide a framework for in-depth study in specialized disciplinary fields and recognition of particular scholarly expertise. Designated Emphasis programs are available in numerous fields including ecology and evolutionary biology, anthropology, education, sociology, visual studies, statistics, politics, and Latin American and Latino studies.

General Requirements for the Doctorate

The typical duration of the doctoral program is five to six years.

A dissertation in environmental studies is expected to present an original contribution to the understanding of a significant environmental problem or issue. It should demonstrate a clear understanding of the relevant literature, careful and rigorous research design and data analysis, and effective communication of the results within the context of the student’s area of emphasis. The dissertation is guided by a committee that includes both natural and social scientists.

In addition to the dissertation, students are expected to complete required coursework and to serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate courses for two quarters.

The Environmental Studies Department does not offer a terminal master’s degree, except for students who have been advanced to candidacy but who do not complete the Ph.D. dissertation.

Program Prerequisites

The interdisciplinary nature of the core curriculum requires rigorous preparation at the undergraduate level. All entering students are expected to have completed at least one upper-division course in the following areas: economics, ecology/genetics, statistics, and either anthropology, sociology, politics or political economy. First-year students may also take courses to fulfill these requirements.

Committees and Examinations

A three-person interdisciplinary guidance committee works to ensure that each student’s preparation is individually designed to meet particular needs and interests, to help ensure their success as scholars, and to help students fully engage interdisciplinary dimensions of their training and research. One committee member is the major professor and at least one member needs to be from a complementary meta-discipline from the student's general research area. For instance, a student whose interests are in conservation biology may have two committee members who are ecologists and one who is a political scientist.

The committee helps guide the student in preparation for prequalifying examinations in three general areas of scholarly interest, and depending on the student’s background, interests, and intentions, may require additional coursework, including courses from other departments. The prequalifying examination must be taken no later than winter quarter of the third year.

The qualifying examination committee includes an additional member from outside the environmental studies department, and helps guide the student to define and plan their dissertation research. This committee is responsible for certifying that the student is qualified to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The qualifying examination must be completed by the end of the third year.

If the venue of a student’s research is in a non-English-speaking country, certification of competence in the language of that country may be required before advancement to candidacy.

Required Courses

Environmental Studies 201A, Foundations of Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies 201B, Environmental Studies in Practice

An approved graduate course in quantitative methods that provides a basis in research design and analysis

An approved graduate course in qualitative methods that provides a basis in research design and analysis

Two of the following, one each from the social and natural sciences:

Social Sciences:

  • Environmental Studies 210, Political Ecological Thought and the Environment or

  • Environmental Studies 240, Public Policy and Conservation

Natural Sciences:

  • Environmental Studies 220, Conservation Biology, or

  • Environmental Studies 230, Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture

An approved graduate elective course that provides focused expertise

These courses are designed to ensure that students acquire disciplinary depth in their chosen research fields; gain experience of their research communities; and refine the research skills necessary to perform successfully in their professional arena.

In addition, all students are required to participate in three quarters of:

Environmental Studies 290L, Graduate Research Seminar (2 credits)

Every quarter before advancement to candidacy, all students are required to participate in:

Environmental Studies 290, Interdisciplinary Research Seminar (2 credits)

Environmental Studies 292, Topics in Research in Environmental Studies (2 credits)

Graduate students are encouraged to participate in course Environmental Studies 291, Advanced Readings in Environmental Studies, in areas of interest.

Requirements for the Designated Emphasis in Environmental Studies

Doctoral students from other departments at UCSC may complete a designated emphasis in environmental studies by completing ENVS 201A, ENVS 201B, two advanced graduate courses in ENVS (from an approved list), and two quarters of ENVS 292. In addition, students must have an environmental studies faculty member on their qualifying examination and thesis reading committees, complete a significant scholarly written component on an environmental topic, and complete the requirements for Ph.D. in their own department.

Application and Admission

For admission to the doctoral program, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in an area related to environmental studies. Most students entering the program either hold a master’s degree or have several years work experience beyond the bachelor's.

Superior scholarship, capacity to carry out independent research, and commitment to scholarly work in an interdisciplinary context must be demonstrated in the statement of purpose, coursework, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, and letters of recommendation. Prospective students must contact faculty directly to inquire about sponsorship for admission to the program. Students are rarely accepted into the program without significant, early communications with potential faculty sponsors. See the faculty list for contact information.

Other considerations for admission include grades, evaluations, publications, professional or extramural experience, and more than one degree (second bachelor’s or master’s). Students are required to have completed coursework, or equivalent practical experience, in ecology, statistics, sociology/political science, and economics. Limited deficiencies in these areas can be remedied during the first year of graduate study. In addition to the application materials, students are strongly encouraged to submit a substantial written project (undergraduate or master’s research project).

Admissions information and the online graduate application are at the UCSC Division of Graduate Studies.

Admission is only considered for the fall quarter. Completed applications are due by December 17th of the previous academic year.

[Return to top]

Revised: 07/15/18