Environmental Systems (BA/BS)

University of California, San Diego

Date Posted: Aug. 6, 2018
Submitted by: Claire Pope
Sustainability Topic: Curriculum
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Baccalaureate degree


The Environmental Systems Program recognizes the growing demand for environmental specialists and is designed to prepare undergraduates to enter a broad spectrum of environmental careers and graduate programs in, for example, the natural sciences, the social sciences, public policy, law, and business.

This interdisciplinary program recognizes that local, national, regional, international, and global environmental problems do not fit neatly into traditional academic departments. A measurable part of society’s inability to effectively manage complex environmental problems stems from the lack of specialists who can apply analytical tools that cross disciplinary boundaries. Many environmental specialists possess little training in the natural sciences including both the fundamental ideas and methodologies of the earth and environmental sciences. The environmental systems major was created to address both of these shortcomings.

The program includes a required lower-division core, an upper-division “integrating course sequence,” two other upper-division courses and statistics, an advanced track, and a senior integrative project and seminar. There is a strong emphasis on a rigorous natural science foundation, as well as an introduction to the policy sciences for all students enrolled in the major.

There are four advanced tracks in which students must complete upper-division course work.

  1. Earth Sciences
  2. Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution
  3. Environmental Chemistry
  4. Environmental Policy

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