Environmental Studies/Biology Combined Major B.A.

Information and Policies

Introduction

This course of study provides students with the basic tools of biological science and sufficient understanding of resource conservation, conservation biology, and concerns about environmental sustainability to apply these tools to environmental problems.

Students interested in the four available concentrations (geographic information systems, global environmental justice, conservation science and policy, and agroecology and sustainable food systems) should choose to pursue the environmental studies B.A. degree. This does not apply to students who declared a combined major and concentration in agroecology and sustainable food systems prior to 2019.

Academic Advising for the Program

Advising is one way to make the most of your university experience. The advising system at UC Santa Cruz is amazing, and we encourage you to use it often. Ask questions, seek advice, and make decisions that work best for you.

To receive advising for this major, contact envsadvi@ucsc.edu. Additional information for prospective transfer students can be found in the Transfer Information and Policy section.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. degree in environmental studies/biology will:

  • Identify the societal (social, political, economic and ethical) agents and structures that contribute to environmental change. (social science competency)

  • Describe the structure and functioning of major physical and ecological components of the earth’s systems. (natural science competency)

  • Access and analyze a complex literature addressing specific topics in environmental studies, and evaluate the usefulness and limitations of individual sources of information. (analytic thinking)

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. (communication skills).

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

To qualify to declare the environmental studies/biology combined major, students must complete the specific courses listed below, or their approved equivalents.

All of the following:

ENVS 25Environmental Policy and Economics

5

BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Students must take all of these courses for a letter grade.

Determining qualification

  • Students who complete all the qualification courses with a letter grade of C or better are eligible to declare a major.

  • Students who have received one grade of C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the qualification courses taken at UC Santa Cruz will only be eligible to declare after successfully completing the same or an equivalent course with a letter grade of C or better.

  • Students with two or more grades of C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the qualification courses taken at UC Santa Cruz are not eligible to declare.

  • Students with non-letter grades in any of the qualification courses for the environmental studies/biology combined B.A. major will not be eligible to declare until a grade of C or better has been assigned.

  • Students must attend an Environmental Studies Department declaration workshop when requesting to declare the major.

 

Appeal Process

Students who are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting an appeal to qualify for the major here within 15 days of the denial of the declaration. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student and college of the decision. If a student has questions about the appeals process, they should contact envsadvi@ucsc.edu.

How to Declare a Major

Students wishing to declare within the Environmental Studies Department should visit the Environmental Studies Department website and follow the steps to declare listed there. Degree requirement sheets may be downloaded from the Environmental Studies Undergraduate Program Requirements page.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

To be considered for admission to UC Santa Cruz in the environmental studies/biology combined majors, transfer students must pass equivalents of the following courses with a C (2.0) or better in these required courses:

All of the following:
BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

Plus one of the following:
AM 3Precalculus for the Social Sciences

5

AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

AM 11B
/ECON 11B
Mathematical Methods for Economists II

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 22Introduction to Calculus of Several Variables

5

MATH 23AVector Calculus

5

Plus one of the following options:

ENVS 25; or ECON 1 and a course in national or international politics (defined in ASSIST); or ECON 2 and a course in national or international politics (defined in ASSIST)

Prospective transfer students should review transfer information on the environmental studies transfer information.

Students who are proposed in a different major and have advanced standing when they come to UC Santa Cruz require permission from the department to change into the major. Contact envsadvi@ucsc.edu to request permission.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Transfer students pursuing environmental studies majors are encouraged to transfer in the fall quarter. Transfer students should enroll in STAT 7 and STAT 7L during the summer or fall quarter in order to take ENVS 100 and ENVS 100L in winter or spring quarter of their first year. Transfer students can formally declare their major once qualification courses are successfully completed, following the steps in How to Declare a Major given above.

ENVS 25 and CHEM 1A are usually offered during Summer Session at UC Santa Cruz, and transfer students are encouraged to take them if they have not completed a substitute requirement or want a better understanding of the relevant material. If you are transferring, compare catalog descriptions, consult your current institution's adviser, and refer to the ASSIST website to determine equivalency. Prospective transfer students should review the transfer information.

Letter Grade Policy

All courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Course Substitution Policy

Students pursuing the Environmental Studies/Biology Combined Major cannot substitute courses to count toward their upper division electives.

Study Abroad

Environmental studies students are encouraged to study abroad and participate in other off-campus programs. If students are interested in planning to study abroad
please note the following policies:

  • Students planning to study abroad must be declared in their major prior to
    studying abroad.
  • Students must have their courses they plan to take abroad reviewed and
    approved by Environmental Studies Advising.
  • Environmental studies/biology combined majors cannot petition their courses
    taken abroad for upper division course substitution.
  • For more information on EAP, please visit the UC Education Abroad Program
    website
    .

Honors

Departmental Honors. Students must have a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) in all courses used to satisfy the environmental studies upper-division requirements. To be considered for departmental honors, students are limited to no more than one grade of P in those upper-division courses.

Senior Comprehensive Honors. Only applicable to a senior thesis, senior internship, or individual work in a senior seminar. Honors must be awarded by the student’s faculty sponsor, and a second faculty member (chosen by the student’s faculty adviser) must concur.

Highest Departmental Honors. Students must have a 3.75 grade point average (GPA) in in all courses used to satisfy the environmental studies upper-division requirements and must also receive senior comprehensive honors (see above).

Students must fulfill all requirements for honors from environmental studies and biology.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

Lower-Division Courses

Biology and mathematics courses may require placement examinations. See the course descriptions for prerequisite information.

All of the following courses
BIOL 20ACell and Molecular Biology

5

BIOE 20BDevelopment and Physiology

5

BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

ENVS 25Environmental Policy and Economics

5

Plus one of the following
ANTH 2Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

5

PHIL 22Introduction to Ethical Theory

5

PHIL 24Introduction to Ethics: Contemporary Moral Issues

5

PHIL 28Environmental Ethics

5

BME 80G
/PHIL 80G
Bioethics in the 21st Century: Science, Business, and Society

5

SOCY 1Introduction to Sociology

5

SOCY 10Issues and Problems in American Society

5

SOCY 15World Society

5

Plus one of the following
One of the following:
AM 3Precalculus for the Social Sciences

5

AM 6Precalculus for Statistics

5

MATH 3Precalculus

5

AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

AM 11B
/ECON 11B
Mathematical Methods for Economists II

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 22Introduction to Calculus of Several Variables

5

MATH 23AVector Calculus

5

Or take a placement exam:

Take the Math Placement Exam (MPE) with a score of 300 or higher or take the AP Calculus exam with a score of 3 or higher

Plus all of the following
STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Plus all of the following
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM 1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

Plus one of the following options in physics
Either this course

PHYS 1Physics for Everyone

5

or these courses

PHYS 6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS 6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

or these courses

PHYS 7AElementary Physics I

5

PHYS 7LElementary Physics Laboratory

1

Upper-Division Courses

Students are required to complete nine upper-division courses and the senior comprehensive requirement. Three of the nine upper-division courses must be the following courses (ENVS 100 and ENVS 100L is considered a single course).

ENVS 100Ecology and Society

3

ENVS 100LEcology and Society Writing Laboratory

5

BIOL 105Genetics

5

BIOE 109Evolution

5

Electives

The remaining six upper-division elective courses include three in ecology and evolutionary biology (ecology and evolutionary biology courses numbered BIOE 107-BIOE 188) and three in environmental studies (environmental studies courses numbered ENVS 101-ENVS 179).

One of the six electives must be a laboratory course; laboratory courses are upper-division courses in the BIOE course code that carry 5 credits and have a “L” in their course number. 

Additionally, one of the three environmental studies courses electives must be based in the social sciences selected from the following upper-division courses:

ENVS 110Institutions, the Environment, and Economic Systems

5

ENVS 130BJustice and Sustainability in Agriculture

5

ENVS 140National Environmental Policy

5

ENVS 141Ecological Economics

5

ENVS 143Sustainable Development: Economy, Policy, and Environment

5

ENVS 145Green Cities

5

ENVS 146Water Quality: Policy, Regulation, and Management

5

ENVS 147Environmental Inequality/Environmental Justice

5

ENVS 149
/LGST 149
Environmental Law and Policy

5

ENVS 150Coastal and Marine Policy

5

ENVS 151Environmental Assessment

5

ENVS 154Amazonian Cultures and Conservation

5

ENVS 158Political Ecology and Social Change

5

ENVS 165Sustainable Water Systems

5

ENVS 172Environmental Risks and Public Policy

5

ENVS 173An Introduction to World Environmental History

5

ENVS 176Vulnerability, Complex Systems, and Disasters

5

A list of all courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department is available here. A list of which upper-division courses offered in the current year by the Environmental Studies Department are based in the natural sciences and in the social sciences is available here.

A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department is available here.

Students wishing to pursue an advanced degree in the pure or applied sciences are strongly encouraged to complete the organic chemistry series as well. 

These upper-division elective courses should be selected in pursuit of a coherent plan of study, chosen in consultation with faculty sponsors from both the Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies Departments. None of the three environmental studies upper-division courses can be an environmental studies internship, individual study, or substitution course.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement for the environmental studies/biology combined major is satisfied by completing:

The DC requirement in environmental studies is satisfied by completing
ENVS 100Ecology and Society

3

ENVS 100LEcology and Society Writing Laboratory

5

Plus one of the following

Where two-credit lab courses have to be taken concurrently with a 5-credit lecture course, the combination counts as one course.

BIOE 151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

ENVS 183BSenior Internship

5

ENVS 190Capstone Course: Environmental Problem Solving

5

ENVS 195BSenior Thesis Group

5

ENVS 196Senior Seminar

5

BIOE 108Marine Ecology

5

BIOE 114Herpetology

5

BIOE 114LField Methods in Herpetological Research

2

BIOE 120Marine Botany

5

BIOE 120LMarine Botany Laboratory

2

BIOE 122Invertebrate Zoology

5

BIOE 122LInvertebrate Zoology Laboratory

2

BIOE 127Ichthyology

5

BIOE 127LIchthyology Laboratory

2

BIOE 128LLarge Marine Vertebrates Field Course

5

BIOE 129Biology of Marine Mammals

5

BIOE 129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE 137Molecular Ecology

5

BIOE 141LBehavioral Ecology Field Course

5

BIOE 145Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 145LField Methods in Plant Ecology

5

BIOE 150Ecological Field Methods

5

BIOE 150LEcological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

BIOE 153CDisciplinary Communication for Biologists

5

BIOE 158LMarine Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 159AMarine Ecology Field Quarter: Marine Ecology with Laboratory

5

BIOE 161LKelp Forest Ecology Laboratory

5

BIOE 172Population Genetics

5

BIOE 172LPopulation Genetics Laboratory

2

Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement by completing either:

  • One of the options for environmental studies B.A. majors
  • One of the approved internships, independent research or field course or a thesis, as specified for the biology B.A.

The senior comprehensive may be satisfied by completing one of the options listed below. All courses used to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement must be taken for a letter grade.

Before enrolling in the senior thesis or senior internship option, students must formally apply to work with a particular faculty mentor very early in their thesis or project preparation. The senior thesis and senior internship option require careful planning, additional independent research, and at least a two-quarter commitment.

Students with advanced skills in one of the graduate focal areas may also take a graduate seminar by invitation from the instructor.

Either this course

BIOE 151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

or these courses

ENVS 183ASenior Internship

5

ENVS 183BSenior Internship

5

or this course

ENVS 190Capstone Course: Environmental Problem Solving

5

or these courses

ENVS 195ASenior Research

5

ENVS 195BSenior Thesis Group

5

or this course

ENVS 196Senior Seminar

5

ENVS 190 is offered in the spring and summer.

ENVS 183B and ENVS 195B are usually taken after successfully completing ENVS 183A and ENVS 195A respectively.

Planners

The following are two sample academic plans for students pursuing the environmental studies/biology combine B.A. major. Plan One is for incoming frosh and Plan Two is for incoming transfer students.

Plan One for Incoming Frosh


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 3 or AM 3
CHEM 1A CHEM 1B
  ENVS 25 SOCY/ANTH/ethics
course
     
2nd (soph) BIOE 20C ENVS 100 & ENVS 100L* BIOE 20B
STAT 7 & STAT 7L
BIOL 20A CHEM 1C & CHEM 1N
     
3rd (junior) BIOL 105 BIOE 109 Upper-division BIOE
Upper-division ENVS PHYS 1
Upper-division ENVS
     
4th (senior) Upper-division BIOE Upper-division BIOE Comprehensive 
requirement
Upper-division ENVS
(social sciences)
 
     

*This course is also offered in the spring term.

Students completing this major will have satisfied the SI, IN, PE-E, IS, and PR-E general education requirements. In addition, they will need to fulfill all remaining university, college, and general education requirements.

Plan Two for Incoming Transfer Students

 


Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) STAT 7 & STAT 7L ENVS 100 & ENVS 100L* Upper-division ENVS
  BIOL 105
BIOE 109
 

4th (senior) Upper-division ENVS
(social sciences)
Upper-division ENVS Upper-division BIOE
Upper-division BIOE Upper-division BIOE Comprehensive
requirement
     

*This course is also offered in the spring term.

This planner assumes that a student has completed all required lower-division courses—including UCSC or community college general education requirements—with the exception of STAT 7 and STAT 7L, which is only offered at UC Santa Cruz.

A transfer student who has completed the requirements for the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) before matriculating at UC Santa Cruz, with at most two course requirements left to complete, is allowed to satisfy IGETC in lieu of the UCSC general education requirements.

Plan One for Incoming Frosh


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 3 or AM3
SOC/ANTH/ethics
course
ENVS 23 or
CHEM 1A
   ENVS 25  
     
2nd (soph) ENVS 24 or BIOE 20C ENVS 100 & ENVS 100L* Upper-division ENVS
STAT 7 & STAT 7L
   
     
3rd (junior) Upper-division ENVS
(social science)
Upper-division ENVS
(natural science)
Upper-division ENVS
     
     
4th (senior) Upper-division ENVS Upper-division ENVS Upper-division ENVS
    Comprehensive 
requirement
     

*This course is also offered in the spring term.