Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary B.A. degree program that examines interactions of human society and nature through approaches of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  Courses introduce foundation principles of ecology and environmental science in relation to issues of policy, politics, law, economics, social aspects, planning, pollution control, and natural resources management.  Two degree concentrations are designed to prepare students for a broad field of environmental career pathways: Environmental Sustainability and Environmental Systems.  Upon successful completion of the Environmental Studies B.A. degree program, students who want further training may go to graduate school in the natural sciences, public administration, planning, environmental law, environmental health, or education.

The Environmental Studies B.A., Environmental Sustainability Concentration, focuses on the concept of sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective. This concentration includes instruction in sustainable development, environmental policies, ethics, ecology, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, economics, natural resource issues, sociology, and anthropology.  Career pathways explored by this concentration include the work of government agencies and non-governmental organizations, natural resource planners and managers, environmental regulators, K-12 educators, and advocates. This concentration is recommended for students that want a broad and flexible liberal arts program that allows them follow diverse interests.

The Environmental Studies B.A., Environmental Systems Concentration, focuses on the application of biological, chemical, and physical principles to the study of environmental problems and solutions, including subjects such as abating or controlling environmental pollution and degradation; physical interactions between human society and the natural environment; and approaches to natural resources management. This concentration provides a science intensive background with instruction in biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences, environmental health, climatology, statistics, and mathematical modeling.  Career pathways explored by this concentration include the work of environmental specialists in consulting firms, governmental agencies that monitor and protect environmental quality, as well as in multiple fields of scientific research on human impacts to the environment.  This concentration is recommended for students preparing to pursue a graduate degree in the natural sciences, or preparing for an environmentally related technical career. 

Requirements (45-52 units)

Total units required for graduation: 120

B.A. in Environmental Studies

Lower-division requirements (13)
GEOG 1070Environmental Studies Orientation Seminar2
Three units chosen from:3
Physical Geography
Introductory Geology
Health and Society: An Ecological and Societal Approach
One unit chosen from:1
Physical Geography Laboratory
Introductory Geology Laboratory
Health and Society: An Ecological and Societal Approach Lab
GEOG 2000Environment and Society3
GEOG 2250Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Cartography4
Upper-division requirements (17)
ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS (7 units)
GEOG 4360Climate Change3
or GEOG 4400 Geomorphology
Four units chosen from:4
Weather and Climate
Watershed Hydrology and Management
Biogeography
NATURE-SOCIETY RELATIONS (6 units)
GEOG 3500Conservation and Natural Resources3
or GEOG 3501 Environmental Sustainability
Three units chosen from:3
Environmental Anthropology
Environmental Economics
Economics of Climate Change
Analysis of Environmental Discourse (WI)
Environmental Literature
Philosophy in the World (Topic: Environmental Ethics)
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (4 units)
GEOG 5000Senior Seminar (must take in spring term prior to graduation)2
Minimum of two units chosen from:2
Professional Conferences
Professional Conferences
Laboratory Experience
Laboratory Experience
Field Experience
Field Experience
Internship in Geography
Internship in Geography
Internship in Geography
Model United Nations Practicum (Spring Semester MUN Team)
Study Abroad
Study Abroad
Study Abroad
Study Away
Study Away
Study Away
Service Learning in Geography, Global Studies and Environmental Studies
Service Learning in Geography, Global Studies and Environmental Studies
Service Learning in Geography, Global Studies and Environmental Studies
Independent Study
Independent Study
Independent Study
Senior Honors Project - Geography
Senior Honors Project - Environmental Studies
Senior Honors Project - Global Studies
Concentration (15-22)
All students must satisfy the requirements of one of the concentrations listed below:15-22
Total Units45-52

Concentrations (15-22 units)

Courses taken in a concentration cannot be used elsewhere to meet requirements of this major.

Environmental  Sustainability Concentration (15 units)

(Program Code: ESSU)

MATH 1201Introduction to Statistical Thinking3
or GEOG 3018 Geographic Statistics and Research Methods
Minimum of six units chosen from:6
Environmental Inquiry and Education
Environmental Policy and Impact Assessment
Environmental GIS
Water Wars
May choose one of the following:
Social Geography
Cultural Geography
Global Cities and Urban Environment
Economic Geography
Political Geography
Geography of California
Six units chosen from:6
Environmental Anthropology
Topics in Relational and Organizational Communication (Topic: Environmental Communication)
Communication and Conflict
Environmental Economics
Economics of Climate Change
Politics of Oil
Community Organization
Nonprofit Management and Leadership
Water Law, Regulation and Policy
Urban Growth and Planning
State and Local Politics
The Politics of Environment
May choose one of the following GE courses:
Art and Activism
Sustainable Agriculture
Human Ecology
Chemistry and the Environment
Natural Disasters
Energy and the Environment
Analysis of Environmental Discourse (WI)
Environmental Literature
Philosophy in the World (Topic: Environmental Ethics)
Total Units15

Environmental Systems Concentration (22 units)

(Program Code: ESSY)

BIOL 1000Introduction to Biology3
CHEM 1000Introduction to Chemistry3
or CHEM 2050 Survey of General Chemistry
CHEM 1000LIntroduction to Chemistry Laboratory1
or CHEM 2050L Survey of General Chemistry Laboratory
MATH 1201Introduction to Statistical Thinking3
or MATH 1301 Modeling with Functions
or GEOG 3018 Geographic Statistics and Research Methods
PHYS 1000Physics in the Modern World3
Minimum of six units chosen from:6
Weather and Climate
Environmental Policy and Impact Assessment
Watershed Hydrology and Management
Biogeography
Climate Change
Geomorphology
Coastal Resources Management
Ecosystem Assessment
Environmental GIS
Remote Sensing of the Environment
Minimum of three units chosen from:3
Introduction to Geologic Mapping
Structural Geology
Engineering Geology
Groundwater Hydrology
Environmental Hydrology
Principles of Environmental Health
Air Pollution and Radiological Health
Water Quality and Pollution Control
Environmental Health Engineering
Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
Total Units22