Environmental Studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz

Information for this profile was provided by Michael Loik, Environmental Studies, University of California-Santa Cruz. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a doctorate degree.

Program Design & Assessment


Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary major (B.A., B.Sc., Ph.D.) which promotes the impacts of human activities on the environment. Students are required to take a mix of natural and social science courses, and a senior exit requirement.


To produce graduates that are well educated to make a difference in how we grow food, conserve biodiversity, and adapt to and mitigate global changes.

Program Goals

Our major is designed to prepare students for careers in environmental issues. We have historically been recognized for our contributions in conservation biology and policy, agroecology and sustainable food systems, and the political economy of the environment. More recently, we have built strengths in global change ecology and policy, ecological risk, and environmental governance.

Alumni Careers

Our past students, both graduate and undergraduate, hold leadership positions in government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and industry throughout the U.S. and the world.

Program Assessment

Each class has an assessment at the end of the quarter. Faculty are reviewed every two years. The Department undergoes an external review every eight years.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

General Ecology (ENVS 24)
The Physical & Chemical Environmenat (ENVS 23)
Environmental Policy & Economics (ENVS 25)

Core courses

Ecology & Society (ENVS 100)


Students are required to take Seven upper-division courses (35 units) electives, chosen from the following list:

ENVS 65 Introduction To Fresh Water: Processes And Policy
ENVS 80A The Future Of Rain Forests
ENVS 80B The Ecological Forecast For Global Warming
ENVS 91F Community And Agroecology
ENVS 104A Introduction To Environmental Field Methods
ENVS 104L Field Methods Laboratory
ENVS 107A Natural History Field Quarter
ENVS 107B Natural History Field Quarter
ENVS 107C Natural History Field Quarter
ENVS 108 General Entomology
ENVS 108L General Entomology Laboratory
ENVS 109 Ecology And Conservation In Practice Supercourse
ENVS 110 Institutions, The Environment, And Economic Systems ENVS 115A Geographic Information Systems And Environmental Applications
ENVS 115L Exercises In Geographic Information Systems
ENVS 120 Conservation Biology
ENVS 122 Tropical Ecology And Conservation
ENVS 123 Animal Ecology And Conservation
ENVS 129 Integrated Pest Management
ENVS 129L Integrated Pest Management Laboratory
ENVS 130A Agroecology And Sustainable Agriculture
ENVS 130B Principles Of Sustainable Agriculture
ENVS 130L Agroecology And Sustainable Agriculture Laboratory ENVS 131 Insect Ecology
ENVS 133 Agroecology Practicum
ENVS 138 Field Ethnobotany
ENVS 138L Ethnobotany Laboratory
ENVS 140 National Environmental Policy
ENVS 140L National Environmental Policy Field Studies Laboratory
ENVS 141 Ecological Economics
ENVS 142 Energy Politics And Policy
ENVS 142L Energy Politics And Policy Laboratory
ENVS 143 Sustainable Development: Economy, Policy, And Environment
ENVS 145 Green Building Design
ENVS 146 Water Quality: Policy, Regulation, And Management ENVS 149 Environmental Law And Policy
ENVS 150 Coastal And Marine Policy
ENVS 151 Environmental Assessment
ENVS 156 Environmental Action Through Writing
ENVS 157 In The Natural Sciences
ENVS 158 Political Ecology And Social Change
ENVS 159 Nature Literature
ENVS 160 Restoration Ecology
ENVS 161A Soils And Plant Nutrition
ENVS 161L Soils And Plant Nutrition Laboratory
ENVS 162 Plant Physiological Ecology
ENVS 162L Plant Physiological Ecology Laboratory
ENVS 163 Plant Disease Ecology
ENVS 163L Plant Disease Ecology Lab
ENVS 165 Freshwater Issues And Policy
ENVS 166 Agroecosystem Analysis And Watershed Management
ENVS 167 Freshwater And Wetland Ecology
ENVS 167L Freshwater And Wetland Ecology Lab
ENVS 168 Biogeochemistry And The Global Environment
ENVS 169 Climate Change Ecology
ENVS 172 Science, Policy, And The Environment
ENVS 173 An Introduction To World Environmental History
ENVS 175 Biotechnology: Social And Environmental Dimensions
ENVS 177 Teaching Environmental Education
ENVS 179Environmental Interpretation


Capstone (ENVS 190)

Other requirements or key features

We have a very active Internship program that places about 200 students per year in local, regional, state,and national positions.