Environmental Studies


The Environmental Studies Department is committed to examining, understanding, and addressing environmental challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. This interdisciplinarity is found in our scholarship, teaching, and programming that bridge the natural and social sciences, and influences the ways in which we think about the causes of and solutions to complex, contemporary environmental issues. Crucial to this approach is a recognition that degradation of our planet and social injustice are intricately intertwined. Our faculty undertake environmental scholarship across diverse social, natural, and human-managed systems and built environments. Our curriculum is designed to emphasize experiential learning and enhance practical environmental problem solving skills in order to enable our students to more effectively address the environmental challenges of the 21st century. We strive to acknowledge and practice diversity in our approaches to knowledge, reasoning, learning, departmental composition, and community engagement.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A. in Environmental Studies
  • Combined B.A. majors available in Environmental Studies/Biology, Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences, and Environmental Studies/Economics
  • Concentration in Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems
  • Ph.D.
  • 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.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

High school students who plan to major in environmental studies need no special preparation other than the courses required for UC admission. AP scores for calculus may apply to the prerequisites.

Information for Transfers

Students transferring to UC Santa Cruz are expected to 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: Applied Mathematics and Statistics 7/L, Statistical Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory. Please find more information on the specific courses needed at the Environmental Studies website. Major requirements, including the upper-division program, can be found at this link.


Environmental studies students find jobs and go to graduate school in a wide variety of areas. Areas like:

Environment/Natural Resource Management; Education Administration/Teaching; Architecture/Urban Planning/Design; Business Management/Consulting; Government/Poltics; Legal Services/Judiciary/Law Enforcement; Health Care/Medical Services; Computing/Information Services; Agribusiness/Farming/Ranching; Natural/Physical Sciences/Math.

Find out what our graduates are doing at envs.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/careers.html


The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) is a UCSC student hub for study, intern, volunteer, teach, and work abroad resources. EAP offers qualified students opportunities to broaden their educational horizons and we strongly encourage interested students to participate.


The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) is a research, education, and public service program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. CASFS is dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system.

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. 

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Undergraduate and graduate student opportunities for awards are many and detailed on the Environmental Studies website at envs.ucsc.edu/awards/quarterlyawards.html.

Many Environmental Studies faculty recognitions are highlighted in our quarterly department newsletter found at this link: envs.ucsc.edu/news-events/newsletters/index.html

Alumni Focus

To learn more about our alumni please visit envs.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/undg-alumni/index.html

Department Website

To learn more about the Environmental Studies Department please visit envs.ucsc.edu/index.html

General Catalog Information

To learn more about major requirements, course descriptions, and opportunities within the major, please click here: registrar.ucsc.edu/catalog/programs-courses/program-statements/envs.html

More Information

Environmental Studies Department
405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building (ISB)
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(831) 459-2634