The central academic objective of this major is to provide students with a depth of expertise in interdisciplinary knowledge and skills related to agroecology and sustainable food systems. UCSC students pursuing this major will gain knowledge and skills in multiple disciplines and an increased understanding of complex agricultural and food systems.
Students in the Agroecology major will learn about ecological concepts (including soil and water processes, microbial ecology, plant physiology, aquaculture, competition, population growth, predator-prey interactions, mutualisms, and ecosystem services) that can be applied to the development of sustainable agricultural systems. Students will develop their understanding of social, political, and economic aspects of agriculture (including traditional agriculture, agricultural policy and development, social theory, history, sustainable farm management, markets, food justice, local food system experiences, and harvested food systems). Students will also engage in 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.
Study and Research Opportunities
- B.A. in Agroecology
- As a complement to classroom instruction and research, many courses have field components. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in faculty-directed research on specific problems. The Environmental Studies Internship Program offers a variety of opportunities for internship placements. Students completed over 630 internships in 2018-19.
Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)
Though it is recommended for high school students planning to major in an Environmental Studies Department major to obtain a background in English, writing skills, and social sciences, no special preparation is needed other than the courses required for UC admission. AP scores for calculus may apply to the prerequisites.
Information for Transfers
Transfer students must fulfill the lower-division requirements for the major by completing equivalent courses at another recognized institution before transferring to UC Santa Cruz. Only one must be completed at UCSC and cannot be transferred: Statistics 7/L. Similarly, since there are only a few transferrable equivalents for ENVS 80F: Intro to Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, students can also take this course at UCSC. Please find more information on the specific courses needed at the Environmental Studies Transfer Student Advising website. Major requirements, including the upper-division program, can be found at this link.
- Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary
- Conservation Scientists
- Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers
- First-Line Supervisors of Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Workers
- Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary
- Soil and Plant Scientists
The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers undergraduate students a variety of options to study at universities and colleges worldwide. Students interested in participating in EAP are recommended to plan ahead and prepare by meeting with their EAP advisers and Environmental Studies advisers before going abroad. Environmental Studies strongly encourages students to participate in EAP.
The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) is a research, education, and public service program at UC Santa Cruz.
The Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History supports natural history educational and research opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the greater Santa Cruz community.
The Center for Integrated Spatial Research (CISR) is the central facility for spatially focused research and training at UC Santa Cruz.
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
Undergraduate and graduate student opportunities for awards and scholarships are available quarterly and annually on our Environmental Studies Awards page.
Alumni updates are posted on our Undergraduate alumni page.
Environmental Studies undergraduate, graduate, faculty, and news and events information is available on our website.
General Catalog Information
To learn more about major requirements, course descriptions, and opportunities within the major, please review the 2020-21General Catalog.
Environmental Studies Department
405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building (ISB)
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064