Rachel Carson College

Rachel Carson College Administration Building, Room 114

Academic Programs

Academic Literacy Curriculum
College Scholars Program
Sustainability Studies Minor

Academic Emphasis

Rachel Carson College’s academic classes focus on the theme of environment and society. The college sponsors a number of educational initiatives and courses aimed at furthering its theme and mission, as well as programs offering experiential learning for students. CRSN 1 is the required first-year college core course, part of the Academic Literacy Curriculum that introduces students to critical and analytical reading at the university level. The core course is mandatory for all incoming frosh.


All new frosh and transfer students who start fall quarter are required to enroll in one of two online orientation courses. Frosh will enroll in CRSN 1A, Rachel Carson 1A: Introduction to University Life and Learning. Transfer students will enroll in KRSG 1T, Kresge 1T: Introduction to Research Universities and the Liberal Arts. CRSN 1A and KRSG 1T integrate introductions to academic skills with the online Slug Orientation process, and begin student preparation for their studies at Rachel Carson College and throughout the University of California,  Santa Cruz.

CRSN 1A  Introduction to University Life and Learning (1 credit)

Offered online in summer quarter

KRSG 1T  Introduction to Research Universities and the Liberal Arts (1 credit)

Offered online in summer quarter

Core Course

CRSN 1, Academic Literacy and Ethos: Environment and Society

Offered fall quarter

The Rachel Carson College core course focuses on the theme “Environment and Society,” through examination of California's environment history and how the contemporary landscape has been shaped by capital, labor, technology and politics. A secondary focus is on food: how it is grown, who works in the fields, and why some are malnourished in the midst of agricultural plenty. The course also considers the ecological and environmental histories of California—the shape and biology of the land as well as the role of people in shaping the state’s many landscapes; what novels, stories and articles can tell us about environment and society in California; the central role of water, soil and species in shaping society; and the potential impacts of climate change on both land and society. In pursuing these topics, students also delve into some of the environmental and ecological science that underpins them. The course consists of a weekly plenary (large lecture) and a bi- or tri-weekly seminar (discussion section).

College Advising

Phone: 831-459-2361
Rachel Carson College Administration Building, room 114

Rachel Carson College advisers help students interpret academic policies and procedures and clarify educational goals. They provide support to students to ensure their academic success and progress toward their degree throughout their time at UC Santa Cruz. Advisers help students make informed decisions, develop resiliency, and develop the ability to take ownership of their academic choices. Advisers also connect students to resources that will enrich their academic experiences.

Other Academic Programs

In addition to the core course, practicum internships, research projects, and a minor in sustainability studies all enable students to acquire skills that they can apply to their career at UC Santa Cruz, including service-learning work with campus and community-based agencies and organizations. Additional college courses include garden internships, academic and STEM preparation classes, student-facilitated classes in sustainability, a class on peregrine falcons, and a seminar on environment in film. For more information about academics, see Rachel Carson College.

College Scholars Program

Rachel Carson College participates in the UC Santa Cruz College Scholars Program (CSP), a stimulating home for highly motivated students to have community with like-minded peers during their first and second years as they explore research at a research university. The program recruits and supports a diverse cohort of college scholars across all five academic divisions and all 10 colleges who show potential to cultivate academic and non-academic strengths in a learning community. Between 20 and 25 students are housed in close proximity in each college and together participate in an enriched program of study designed to prepare them to take advantage of opportunities for undergraduate research at the upper division. Across four quarters, students have access to supplementary activities, special courses, small seminars, and a faculty research colloquium to explore what questions drive researchers and what forms research can take. To facilitate participation in these program requirements, CSP students receive priority enrollment during their time in the program.