About the Major

Extreme drought across the U.S. has contributed to tens of thousands of job losses, unpredictable and often extreme rainfall and devastating wildfires that have left behind many millions of charred acres of land and billions of dollars in property losses.

Program Description

The UCSC Environmental Sciences (ESCI) major is an interdepartmental, undergraduate-only 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 (as opposed to focusing on biological sciences). The major specializes primarily on the following areas:

  • Hydrosphere: water resources, water quality, aquatic chemistry, physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, glaciology
  • Pollution and transport: environmental toxicology, environmental transport/fluid mechanics, environmental monitoring
  • Global scale environment: climate, climate dynamics, global cycles of water, carbon and nutrients, remote sensing of the environment
  • Atmosphere: meteorology, air quality, atmospheric chemistry

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 and Environmental Studies may also be involved.

Graduates of the ESCI major are expected 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