Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (PhD)

University of California, Berkeley

Date Posted: May 13, 2019
Submitted by: Claire Pope
Sustainability Topic: Curriculum
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Doctoral Degree


The Ph.D. program consists of four interrelated components: disciplinary emphasis, an area of specialization, research methods, and breadth requirement. The course work program is developed by the Guiding Committee in conjunction with the student’s needs and interests and approved by the Graduate Advisor to assure that it provides preparation for the qualifying examination and the research program.

  • Disciplinary Emphasis. The disciplinary emphasis focuses on the broadest academic area from ESPM’s three divisions-- Ecosystem Sciences, Organisms & Environment, Society & Environment—that encompasses the student’s interests. A student pursuing a strongly interdisciplinary program may include in-depth study of more than one of these disciplines.
  • Area of Specialization. The area of specialization is a narrower field within the disciplinary emphasis. Some examples might be: Microbial Community Ecology, Ecosystem Function, American Environmental History & Policy, International Forest Management, Biogeochemistry, Mediterranean Grassland Ecosystems, Remote Sensing, and Forest Management
  • Research Methods. Candidates for the Ph.D. must demonstrate competence in research techniques appropriate for both the disciplinary emphasis and area of specialization. Preparation in this field must include experimental design, sampling design, estimation, and hypothesis testing.
  • Breadth Requirement. Each student’s program must include course work addressing human and ecosystem processes and the relationship between them. All students must complete the required core courses listed below. While in residence, doctoral students in the natural sciences must also complete one additional course in the application of social science to environmental problems; doctoral students in the social sciences must complete one additional course in the biological or physical sciences. The Guiding Committee will determine the level of the additional course based on the student’s background and experience. The course must be a minimum of two graduate units or three upper division undergraduate units and taken for a letter grade unless offered on an S/U or P/F basis only.