Environmental Studies

Unit Photo: 

Environmental Studies

Unit Description, Full: 

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program where teaching and research focus on the interactions between human and natural systems.  Founded in 1970, the UCSB Environmental Studies Program is one of the oldest, largest, and most interdisciplinary environmental programs in the United States.  Our program’s goal is to conduct pioneering research while training the environmental leaders of the future. This requires engaging in all areas of scholarship from the natural sciences to the social sciences, arts and humanities.  Our interdisciplinary approach is critical to developing sustainable solutions to today’s pressing challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, biodiversity and habitat loss, and toxic pollution.

The UCSB Environmental Studies Program offers a diverse curriculum that trains students to analyze the complex human-natural systems that drive environmental change and to propose and justify actions to address environmental issues.  The curriculum centers on a series of core interdisciplinary courses, complemented by disciplinary training in the biophysical sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  We offer both BA and BS degrees but with a common core to ensure that students have solid interdisciplinary training coupled to focused expertise.  We also offer a BS in Hydrological Sciences & Policy.  The curriculum mixes courses taught by leading scholars with those taught by working environmental professionals.  The program also cross-lists courses with over a dozen departments.  We have very active local alumni who speak to our students about careers in Environmental areas and most of our graduates work in areas related to the environment, with jobs in academia, local, regional and national government, business, and various types of non-governmental organizations.  

Faculty in the Environmental Studies Program pursue active graduate research programs in Environmental Studies or through their joint or affiliated home departments. The program also houses the Interdepartmental PhD Emphasis on Environment and Society.