Environmental Studies

2017-18 General Catalog

405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building
(831) 459-2634
http://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 agroecological 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, economical 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 website and follow the steps listed there. Study plans may be downloaded from the environmental studies website.

Major Qualification Policy

A. Environmental Studies Major

Students may petition to declare the Environmental Studies major once they have completed the following required courses: Environmental Studies 23 (or Xhemistry and Biochemistry 1A); Environmental Studies 24 (or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C); Environmental Studies 25; Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L (or Ocean Sciences 90). Students receiving an NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the courses required for admission to the major may only declare once they have passed the same or equivalent course with a grade of C or better. Students who receive two grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the required courses are not eligible to declare the major.

B. Environmental Studies/Biology Combined Major

Students may petition to declare the Environmental Studies/Biology combined major once they have completed the following courses: Environmental Studies 25; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C; Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 20A Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A; Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L. Students receiving an NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the courses required for admission to the major may only declare once they have passed the same or equivalent course with a grade of C or better. Students who receive two grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the required courses are not eligible to declare the major.

C. Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences Combined Major

Students may petition to declare the Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences combined major once they have completed the following courses: Environmental Studies 24 (or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C); Environmental Studies 25; Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A; Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L, or Ocean Sciences 90. Students receiving an NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the courses required for admission to the major may only declare once they have passed the same or equivalent course with a grade of C or better. Students who receive two grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the required courses are not eligible to declare the major.

D. Environmental Studies/Economics Combined Major

Students may petition to declare the environmental studies/economics combined major once they have completed the following courses: 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; and either Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5 or 7/L. Students receiving an NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the courses required for admission to the major may only declare once they have passed the same or equivalent course with a grade of C or better. Students who receive two grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the required courses are not eligible to declare the major.

Appeal Procedure

Students who are informed that they are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting a letter to the department's curriculum chair along with an unofficial transcript of all college courses within 15 days from the date the notification was mailed.  Within 15 business days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student, college of the decision.

Requirements for the Environmental Studies Major

Prerequisites for the Single Major

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

Environmental Studies 23, The Physical and Chemical Environment (offered in spring and summer quarters)

Environmental Studies 24, General Ecology (offered in fall and summer quarters). *

Environmental Studies 25, Environmental Policy and Economics. Offered in winter and summer quarters.

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2, Prestatistics, or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 6, Precalculus for Statistics; or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 3, Precalculus for Science and Engineering; or Mathematics 3, Precalculus (or math placement (MP) of 300 or higher, or AP Calculus AB exam score of 3 or higher). Check the catalog for the quarters offered.

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L, Statistical Methods for the Biological and Environmental Studies; or Ocean Sciences 90, Fundamentals of Climate. A score of 4 or higher on the College Board AP Statistics examination waives this requirement. Check the catalog for the quarters offered. *

*Prerequisite for Environmental Studies 24 and Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L is Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2 or 3 or 6, or Mathematics 3.

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 recommend academic plans for pursuing the environmental studies single major. Plan One is for students who place into Mathematics 3, Precalculus, and Plan Two is for students who place out of Mathematics3, Precalculus.

Plan One for students placing into Mathematics 3

Year

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st
(frsh)

MATH 3 or
AMS 2 or 6 or 3

AMS 7/L or
SOC/ANTH/Ethics

ENVS 25

ENVS 23

2nd
(soph)*

ENVS 24

ENVS 100/L

AMS 7/L or SOC/ANTH/Ethics

 ENVS 100/L or spring

3rd
(jr)

Plan Two for students placing out of Mathematics 3

Year

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st
(frsh)

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

Transfer Students

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

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

Environmental studies:

  • Environmental Studies 23 or introductory chemistry course

  • Environmental Studies 24 or Biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C

  • Environmental Studies 25 or Economics 1 or 2 and a course in national or international politics

  • Mathematics 3 (or AMS 3)

Environmental studies/biology combined:

  • Biology: Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 20A

  • Biology: Ecology and Environmental Biology 20C

  • Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A +1B/M + 1C/N

  • Mathematics 3 (or AMS 3)

  • Environmental Studies 25 or Economics 1 or 2 and a course in national or international politics

Environmental studies/Earth sciences combined:

  • Environmental Studies 24 or Biology: Ecology and Environmental Biology 20C

  • Chemistry and Biochemistry 1A +1B/M + 1C/N

  • Mathematics 3 (or AMS 3)

  • Environmental Studies 25 or Economics 1 or 2 and a course in national or international politics

Environmental studies/economics combined:

  • Environmental Studies 24 or Biology: Ecology and Environmental Biology 20C

  • Environmental Studies 23 or introductory chemistry course

  • Economics 1

  • a course in national or international politics

  • Economics 11A or Mathematics 11A or Mathematics 19A

  • Mathematics 3 (or AMS 3)
  • Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5

It is recommended that transfer students plan to enroll in Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L or Economics 113 during the summer or fall quarter in order to take Environmental Studies 100/L in winter or spring quarter. Transfers can formally declare their major once qualification courses are successfully completed (see Major Qualification Policy).

Environmental Studies 23, 24, and 25 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.

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. List of these courses is available from the Environmental Studies Department.

See the senior comprehensive requirement below.

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/L and one of the following courses: 109B, 183B, 190, 195B, or 196. Note: 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 spring quarter only)

Environmental Studies 195A and 195B, Senior Thesis

Environmental Studies 196 (one course from the series), 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

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.

Lower-Division Requirements

All courses must be taken for a letter grade.

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

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20A, 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, Precalculus; or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2, Prestatistics; or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 6, Precalculus for Statistics; or Mathematics 3 (or a score on the math placement (MP) of 300 or higher; or the AP Calculus AB examination score of 3 or higher

Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7 and 7L (or a score of 4 or higher on the AP Statistics examination)

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 listed below.

Environmental Studies 100/L (prerequisites are: Chemistry 1A; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C; Environmental Studies 25; Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2 or 3 or 6, or Mathematics 3; Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L; and the cultural anthropology/sociology/philosophy option)

Biology 105, Genetics

Biology 109, Evolution

Six upper-division courses, three in biology and three in environmental studies. One of the six must be a laboratory course, and one of the three environmental studies courses must be based in the social sciences. 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: 109B, 183B, 190, 195B, or 196.

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

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 or Ocean Sciences 90. A score of 4 or higher on the College Board AP Statistics examination waives this requirement.

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

Chemistry 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 and 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 (Prerequisites are: Chemistry 1A, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 20C, Environmental Studies 25, Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2 or 3 or 6, or Mathematics 3, Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L, and one of the cultural anthropology/sociology/philosophy options)

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

Three additional upper-division Earth sciences courses

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: 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

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, 24, 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: 100B(100N), 101, 114, 115, 120, 128, 130, 131, 133, 135, 136, 138, 139A, 139B, 140, 141, 142, 150, 156, 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.

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: 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, ENVS 190, ENVS 196, ENVS 195A/B, or ENVS 183A/B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Required upper-division courses: ENVS 130A/L, 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: ENVS 100, 130A/L, 130B, 130C (or 133); one course from the list of elective courses above; three additional environmental studies electives; and an environmental studies senior exit (ENVS 109B, ENVS 190, ENVS 196, ENVS 195A/B, or ENVS 183A/B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Note for students pursuing ENVS-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): ENVS 100, 130A/L, 130B, 130C (or 133); one course from the  list of elective courses above; and an environmental studies senior exit (ENVS 109B, ENVS 190, ENVS 196, ENVS 195A/B, or ENVS 183A/B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Honors

Senior Comprehensive Honors. Only applicable is senior thesis, 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 advisor) must confer.

Departmental Honors. To be considered for departmental honors, students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 in upper-division environmental studies courses.

Highest Departmental Honors. To be considered for highest departmental honors, students must have a GPA of 3.75 in the major in upper-division environmental studies courses, and received honors on the senior comprehensive.

For combined 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 sciencesand 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 15th of the previous academic year.

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Revised: 09/01/17