B.S. Degree Requirements in Environmental Studies

The goal of the bachelor of science degree (B.S.) in environmental studies is to train students to become proficient in the natural and physical sciences, as well as to be aware of social and cultural influences upon environmental problems facing society today. The B.S. degree follows a curriculum design similar to the B.A. degree in environmental studies. However, in addition to introductory social science courses, the bachelor of science preparation requires a full year of introductory biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus. The upper-division and outside concentration, while still interdisciplinary and flexible, limit the number of social science and humanities courses a student may take. The majority of environmental studies electives, as well as the outside concentration, are restricted to physical and natural science disciplines.

The Environmental Studies Program strongly encourages its students to participate in experiential elective courses such as the ES Internship Program (ES 192), study abroad programs, or any other academic opportunities which enhance their environmental education. The environmental studies curriculum has a number of special courses which allow students to conduct independent research projects (ES 199), work as a research assistant for one of its faculty members (ES 199RA), or pursue a senior thesis on a topic of their choice (ES 197). Approximately one-half to two-thirds of all environmental studies majors complete at least one environmental field studies or study abroad program before graduating. Additional information about these opportunities and affiliated environmental field studies programs and study abroad programs is available from the Student Info page of this website.

Bachelor of Science Requirements:

The major is divided into three parts: preparation for the major, upper-division requirements within environmental studies, and outside concentration in related areas. Note: One may wish to view/download the ES Program's B.S. Major Requirement/Progress Check worksheet  for a comprehensive view of these requirements.

1) Preparation for the Major (1st and 2nd years):

UCSB Courses:
3 Intro Environmental Studies courses: Environmental Studies 1, 2, and 3
1 course in Micro, Macro, or Intro Econ: Economics 1 or 2 or 9
1 course in Earth System Sciences: Earth Sci. 1  or 2 or 4 or 20 or Geography 3A or 3B
3 courses of Science Calculus: Mathematics 3A, 3B, and 4A
1 course of Intro Statistics: PSTAT 5A or 5LS (by petition Psych 5, Pstat 5E or
Pstat 109 or Comm 87 will be considered)
1 year of Intro Sci. Chemistry w/lab: Chemistry 1A-AL, 1B-BL, and 1C-CL
1 year of Intro Sci. Biology: MCDB 1A-AL, MCDB 1B, EEMB 2, EEMB 3-3L, and either 
1 year of Intro Physics: Physics 6A-AL, 6B-BL, and 6C-CL or Physics 1, 2, and 3-3L
1 course in Intro Logic or Ethics: Political Sci. 1 or Philosophy 3 or 4 or 6
1 Intro course in Cultural, Society,
       Policy and Politics (any one):
Anthropology 2 or Geography 5 or 7 or Global Studies 1 or 2
or History 5 or 7 of Political Sci. 6 or 7 or 12 or Psychology 1
or Religious Studies 1 or 14 or Sociology 1


2) Upper-division Environmental Studies Units (3rd and 4th years):

All environmental studies majors pursuing a bachelor of science degree must complete 17-18 required units and 32 elective units for a total of 49-50 units within environmental studies.

Area A. Required Environmental Studies Courses (17-18 total units):

Environmental Studies 100 or EEMB 120 or 168; Environmental Studies 115 and 190; Environmental Studies 106 or 188; and Geography 172 or PSTAT 120A or EEMB 146 or 179.

Area B. Environmental Studies Electives (32 total units):

The 32 upper-division environmental studies units are split into two sections.

Section B1: students must complete 20 units from the following list of "science" ES electives:

Environmental Studies 105, 111, 113, 114A, 114B, 119, 120, 128, 134, 144, 147, 149, 152, 157, 158, 162, 166BT, 166DC, 166FP, 167, 168, 169, 171 and 197.

Section B2: The remaining 12 units may be satisfied by completing any environmental studies courses number 101-199, excluding the first 20 units used to satisfy Section B1. 
Note: No more than 4 units each from Environmental Studies 192, 194, 199, and 199RA will apply, and no more than 8 units of these courses combined will be accepted toward the major.

3) Outside Concentration (Area C):

B.S. Environmental studies majors must complete an outside concentration consisting of 16 upper-division units taken outside the Environmental Studies Program. This may be done in a number of different ways:

Complete an outside concentration by taking 16 upper-division units from one of the following science departments (completion of a double major from one of the following departments will satisfy): molecular, cellular, and developmental biology (MCDB); ecology, evolution, and marine biology (EEMB); chemistry and biochemistry; geography (only courses that apply to the B.S. Physical Geography major); earth sciences; mathematics; physics; biopsychology (only courses listed under Area A, B, C); or probability and statistics. Note: Geology 101 and Mathematics 100A-B will not apply.

Alternatively, students may propose an interdisciplinary outside concentration by combining 16 upper-division units from any of the departments listed above. A plan of study listing the 16 units to be taken must be petitioned and approved by the environmental studies academic advisor or program chair to become official. To be approved, the plan must demonstrate a coherent focus or theme. Although a list of UCSB courses most often used to create interdisciplinary emphases is available from the program office or download as Supplemental Emphases Worksheet .PDF, students are welcome to use courses not on the list as long as they form a coherent environmental focus (UC-acceptable upper-division transfer, field studies, or study abroad units may be considered). Students interested in satisfying their outside concentration with such courses should consult the ES Academic Advisor for more information prior to beginning.

Study abroad and/or environmental field studies units may be applied to satisfy part or all of Area C.  Units earned must me UC transferable, upper-division level, and related to a student's chosen emphasis (either options above).  A petition must be submitted and approved by the ES Program for such courses to apply.

Note: Any course cross-listed with environmental studies and another department used for the outside concentration may only apply to one required area, not simultaneously to both the elective area and the outside concentration.


P/NP GRADING OPTION ............. Env St 190 must be taken P/NP and up to 4 units of Env St 192 may be taken P/NP for major credit. All other courses, including those applied to the major from other departments must be taken for letter grades. 

SUBSTITUTIONS ............... In the major requirements permissible only by petition to the department. 

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS .......... At least 20 UD units in major while in residence at UCSB. 

G.P.A. REQUIREMENTS .............. At least 2.0 overall average in a) all UD major courses; and b) all major courses (Prep and UD) while in UC.

Related Resources:

» View High School and Transfer Student Preparation for the B.S. ES Major
» View and download the ES Program's B.S. Major Requirement/Progress Check worksheet
» Download the official College L&S B.S. in ES major requirements sheet from the UCSB General Catalog.
» View the Guide to Completing the B.S. Degree & GE's in Four Years (.pdf)
» Supplemental Emphases Worksheet: How to use the electives and outside concentration to create an emphasis (.pdf)