Requirements for the Environmental Sciences Major (B.S.)

Required Lower-Division Courses

  • CHEM 3A, CHEM 3B/BL, CHEM 3C/CL: General Chemistry
  • MATH 11A and MATH 11B, or MATH 19A and MATH 19B: Intro Calculus
  • PHYS 6A/L, and PHYS 6B/M, or PHYS 5A/L and PHYS 5B/M: Intro Physics 
  • EART 5/L or 10/L or 20/L: Intro Geology
  • ENVS 25: Environmental Policy and Economics
  • ESCI 30: Biological Principles of Environmental Sciences

Required Upper-Division Courses

  • ESCI 100A: Introduction to Environmental Sciences
  • ESCI 100B: Introduction to Environmental Processes
  • ESCI 160: Data Analysis in the Environmental Sciences (also satisfies the Statistical Reasoning general education requirement)
  • At least five elective courses (5+ credits each) from upper-division Earth sciences, Environmental sciences or Ocean sciences offerings must be completed. Courses from other departments may also be considered for upper-division elective credit by permission of a faculty adviser. Please consult with an adviser for more details.
  • Senior comprehensive: Capstone seminar (ESCI 191) or senior thesis (ESCI 195). These also satisfy the Disciplinary Communication (DC) general education requirement.

Students are encouraged to take more than the minimum number of elective courses and may craft an elective distribution from many areas of specific research and career interests.

Recommended Electives

Environmental Sciences

  • ESCI 122 Air Pollution
  • ESCI 167 Applied Environmental Time Series Analysis
  • ESCI(OCEA)150 Field and Laboratory Methods in Coastal and Aquatic Science

Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology

  • METX 150 Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Environmental Studies

  • ENVS 115A/L Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Applications

Ocean Sciences

  • OCEA 100 Physical Oceanography
  • OCEA 101 The Marine Environment
  • OCEA 102 Oceans and Climate: Past, Present, and Future
  • OCEA 111 Climate Dynamics
  • OCEA 118 Marine Microbial Ecology
  • OCEA 120 Aquatic Chemistry: Principles and Applications
  • OCEA 121 Aqueous Geochemistry
  • OCEA 122 Chemical Oceanography
  • OCEA 124 Aquatic Organic Geochemistry
  • OCEA 130 Biological Oceanography
  • OCEA 158 The Ecology and Conservation of Marine Birds and Mammals

Earth and Planetary Sciences

  • EART 105 Coastal Geology
  • EART 111 Math in Earth Sciences
  • EART 106 Coasts in Crisis
  • EART 116 Hydrology
  • EART 119A Introduction to Scientific Programming
  • EART 119B Advanced Scientific Programming
  • EART 121 The Atmosphere
  • EART 124 Modeling Earth’s Climate
  • EART 125 Stats & Data Analysis in Geosciences
  • EART 127 Measuring Earth’s 4.5 Billion-Year History
  • EART 128 Isotopes
  • EART 131 Sea Level Change
  • EART 142 Engineering Geology for Environmental Scientists
  • EART 172 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

Environmental Sciences B.S. Major Planner

Students planning a professional career in environmental sciences should take more than the minimum number of courses required for the major if possible. Four-year students have ample flexibility to take additional electives if they begin with the required courses in their second year. Junior transfers also have flexibility if they have taken most of their lower-division preparatory courses before entry. Further advice can be obtained from the undergraduate adviser and from faculty members.

Note: Chemistry 3A, 3B/BL and 3C/CL and Mathematics 11A-B are offered every quarter. Physics 6A/L is offered every quarter but Physics 6B/M offerings vary.


Fall Quarter

Winter Quarter

Spring Quarter

1st (frosh)







2nd (soph)







ESCI elective

3rd (jr)

ESCI 160

ESCI elective(s)


ESCI elective(s)

ESCI elective(s)

4th (sr)

ESCI elective(s)

ESCI elective(s)

ESCI 191 or 195†

ESCI elective(s)