Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies students setting out to conduct field work.


The Environmental Studies Department is committed to examining, understanding, and addressing environmental challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. This is found in our scholarship, teaching, and programming that bridges 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 B.A. majors available in Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Environmental Justice, and Conservation Science and Policy
  • 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. 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 Environmental Studies to obtain background in English, writing skills, and social sciences, there are no courses required for UC admission in environmental studies. AP scores for calculus may apply to the pre-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: 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 Transfer Student Advising website. Major requirements, including the upper-division program, can be found at this link.


  • Environmental Consulting

  • Education Administration

  • Environmental Educator

  • Environmental Law/Legal Services/Law Enforcement/Policy Analyst

  • Forestry/Wildlife/Conservation/Sustainability/Natural Resource Management

  • Public Health/Relations Specialist

  • Agribusiness/Farming/Ranching

Find out more career options on our website


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 Focus

Alumni updates are posted on our Undergraduate alumni page. 

Department Website

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 2019-20 General Catalog.

More Information

Environmental Studies Department
405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building (ISB)
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(831) 459-5004