High School & Transfer Preparation for the ES Major

Note:  all admission decisions are made by the UCSB Admissions Office, not the Environmental Studies Program.  For specific questions about requirements to apply and be accepted to UCSB please visit the Admissions website.

High School Preparation

Recommended (but not absolutely required) as part of or in addition to the UC admissions requirements:

  • English composition
  • Mathematics through pre-calculus or higher (AP Calculus)
  • Economics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Statistics

A number of Academic Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses may be useful in helping satisfy one or more Preparation for the Major courses within the B.A. major.

AP Environmental Science: A score of 3 or higher on this exam will satisfy the Environmental Studies 2 requirement for the B.A. or B.S. major.

AP American Government and Politics: A score of 3 or higher on this exam will satisfy the Political Science 12 requirement for the B.A. or B.S. major.

AP Biology: A score of 3 or higher on this exam will satisfy the MCDB 20 requirement for the B.A. major only.

AP Economics: A score of 3 or higher on either the ECON - Marco or Micro exam will satisfy the Economics requirement for the B.A. or B.S. major.  NOTE:  This is a special agreement accepted by the ES Program towards our major requirements.  Other majors on campus, including the ECON department, does not consider AP Econ = to the ECON 1 or 2 courses. If you are considering double majoring with another major that requires either of these courses be sure to check with them to see if they consider AP ECON towards their major requirements.

AP Statistics: A score of 3 or higher on this exam will satisfy the PSTAT 5A / EEMB 30 requirement for the B.A. or B.S. major.

AP Psychology: A score of 3 or higher on this exam will award credit for Psychology 1 in the preparation in the major requirement for the B.A. or B.S. major.

AP Physics: A score of 3 or higher on the Physics - C (Mechanics) awards 4 units of credit and = Physics 6A/AL for the B.S. major.  Score of 3 or higher in Physics - C (Electricity & Magnetism) grants 4 units and = Physics 6B/BL for the B.S. major.  NOTE:  Physics - B will grant student credit for Physics 10, but will NOT apply towards any preparation in the major requirements for the ES major.

AP Math: A student may receive credit for specific UCSB mathematics courses by taking the the following Advanced Placement examinations during high school.

Calc AB Test:
Score of 3, 4, or 5 = 4 units of credit (= Math 3A or 34A) and placement into Math 3B or 34B

Calc BC Test:
Score of 2 = No unit credit; placement into Math 3A without taking ADT
Score of 3, 4 or 5 = 8 units of credit (= Math 3AB or 34AB) and  placement into Math 4A

Preparation for the ES B.A.

To make normal progress in the major, complete as many of the following courses as you can prior to transferring.  However, it is not required to have all of these done to be accepted to UCSB or transfer into the ES major.

  • Two quarters of calculus and one quarter of probability and statistics
  • Introductory environmental studies
  • Introductory environmental science
  • Introduction to the cultural and social environment
  • Introductory biology
  • Microeconomics or macroeconomics
  • General or physical geology or physical geography
  • One year of introductory chemistry
  • One course from: Philosophy's Logic and/or Ethics
  • Two courses from the Social Sciences: Cultural Anthropology, Intro to Communication, Regional Geography, Global Studies, History of Public Policy, Comparative Government, International Relations, American Government, or Introductory Sociology

Preparation for the ES B.S.

To make normal progress in the major, complete as many of the following courses as you can prior to transferring.  However, it is not required to have all of these done to be accepted to UCSB or transfer into the ES major.

  • Introductory environmental studies
  • Introductory environmental science
  • Introduction to the cultural and social environment
  • One course of microeconomics or macroeconomics
  • One course of general geology or physical geography
  • One course from: Ethics or Logic
  • One course from: Cultural Anthropology, Regional Geography, Global Studies, History of Public Policy, Comparative Government,
  • International Relations, American Government, or Introductory Sociology
  • One quarter of probability and statistics
  • One year of "science" calculus
  • One year of "science" biology
  • One year of introductory "science" chemistry with labs
  • One year of introductory physics with labs

For additional information about specific articulation agreements between California Community Colleges and UCSB, visit ASSIST (Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer). It is California's official statewide repository of transfer information, offering easy access to a single database. ASSIST can help you determine if you will receive credit for courses you've already taken or plan to take, and how those courses will apply to specific academic requirements within the Environmental Studies major. 

For courses outside the CA community college system, try to match up course titles and class descriptions with those of UCSB courses.  UCSB course descriptions can be found via the UCSB General Catalog website.  A petition may still be required once you reach UCSB, but if the course descriptions are similar, the chances are good the course will be accepted as a appropriate substitution for ES major requirements.  Questions about course substitutions should be directed to the ES Academic Advisor at: esprogram@es.ucsb.edu or 805-893-3185.