Welcome to the Environmental Sciences Major

This major will teach undergraduates how to apply fundamental concepts of chemistry, physics, and math to environmental problems. If you would like to learn more about this major, please contact the Environmental Sciences advisor or either of the Environmental Sciences Faculty undergradaute advisors, Patrick Chuang or Carl Lamborg, for more information.

Program Description

The UCSC Environmental Sciences (ESCI) major is an interdepartmental, undergraduate-only degree program. The purpose of the ESCI major is to educate students interested in environmental science problems and issues, with a focus on issues within the physical sciences (versus focusing on biological sciences). The major specializes primarily on the following areas of study:

  • Climate and climate change: Earth's past, present and future climate
  • Global biogeochemical cycles: Cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, mercury, etc.
  • Fresh Water: Water resources and water quality
  • Pollution: Water pollution, air pollution, pollutant transport
  • Oceans: Physical, chemical, and biological oceanography
  • Atmosphere: Meteorology, air quality, and atmospheric chemistry

Courses in other areas are also available. The core faculty of the major are primarily from two departments, Earth and Planetary Sciences and Ocean Sciences. Faculty from other departments such as Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Environmental Studies may also be involved.

Graduates of the ESCI major will be prepared to continue on to a variety of careers, such as:

  • Business and industry
  • Environmental consulting
  • Governmental agencies at the federal, state, and local level
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Research at universities, governmental research institutions, or other scientific agencies
  • Graduate/professional school in areas such as science, engineering, teaching, law, public health, business