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Important Information Regarding COVID-19

In light of the University’s newly released policy regarding COVID-19 -- recommending the community minimize social contact -- we encourage students to utilize virtual options when seeking support or information from the Earth Systems Program. Please contact staff via email or phone and we will be happy to assist! Latest information about the University's response to COVID-19 can be found here:

Land Systems

Learning Objectives:

  1. Design strategies for using multi-source and multi-scale observations of land surface processes that integrate field, geospatial, and human survey data to describe biophysical and socio-economic impacts of land systems changes.
  2. Integrate biophysical and socioeconomic data related to land use and land cover change using geospatial tools to analyze and model complex, multi-scalar human-environmental interactions that determine land use dynamics.
  3. Determine remedies to address negative impacts of land changes on human-environmental systems using land-use management tools and interventions.

Foundation & Breadth

  • BIO 81 or HUMBIO 2A & 2B or EARTHSYS 116 or BIOHOPK 81 OR BIOHOPK 175H
  • CHEM 31A & 31B or 31M
  • ECON 1
  • MATH 19, 20, 21 
  • MATH 51 or CME 100
  • PHYSICS 41 or PHYSICS 45 or GEOPHYS 110
  • Statistics: BIO 174H or BIO 202 or ECON 102A or STATS 101 or STATS 110 or 116 or 141 or CME 106
  • EARTHSYS 111 
  • EARTHSYS 112
  • EARTHSYS 210A or B (Senior Capstone & Reflection)
  • EARTHSYS 210P (Capstone Project) or Honors Thesis
  • EARTHSYS 260 (Internship)
  • WIM: EARTHSYS 200, EARTHSYS 191, EARTHSYS 177C, EARTHSYS 149, BIOHOPK 47, BIOHOPK 175H or another designated WIM course in a related department- must be approved by an advisor. Your WIM course may not also count towards your track or electives, if counted as a WIM.

(These courses must be taken for a letter grade: EARTHSYS 10, 111, 112, 210 A/B, WIM)


A total of seven courses are required from the Land Systems focus areas. Concentrating courses in a single focus area below will allow students to deepen their understanding of the chosen system. For breadth considerations, students are required to take a minimum of one course from each focus area. In addition, two electives are required for this track. All track courses and electives must be taken for a letter grade (nine courses total). Check Explore Courses for availability and updates.

Land Ecosystems


  • EARTHSYS 155                     Science of Soils
  • EARTHSYS 180                     Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture


  • BIO 144/HUMBIO 112         Conservation Biology: A Latin American Perspective
  • EARTHSYS 105 A/B             Ecology of Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve   
  • EARTHSYS 116                    Ecology of Hawaiian Islands (off-campus)
  • EARTHSYS 123A                  Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions
  • EARTHSYS 128                    Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • ESS 256                              Soil and Water Chemistry
  • OSPSANTG 58                     Living Chile: A Land of Extremes
  • OSPAUSTL 30                      Coastal Forest Ecosystems



  • CEE 166A                          Watersheds and Wetlands (Prerequisite for 166B)


  • CEE 101B                           Mechanics of Fluid
  • CEE 162E                           Rivers, Streams, and Canals
  • CEE 165C                          Water Resources Management
  • CEE 166B                           Floods and Droughts, Dams and Aqueducts
  • CEE 177                             Aquatic Chemistry and Biology
  • EARTHSYS 104                   The Water Course
  • GEOPHYS 190                    Near-Surface Geophysics
  • OSPAUSTL 25                     Freshwater Systems
  • OSPMADRD 79                   Earth and Water Resources’ Sustainability in Spain

Land Use


  • ESS 270                            Analyzing Land Use in a Globalized World


  • ANTHRO 166                     Political Ecology of Tropical Land Use: Conservation, Natural Resource Extraction, and Agribusiness
  • CEE 124                             Sustainable Development Studio (must be taken for at least 3 units)
  • CEE 175A                           California Coast: Science, Policy, and Law
  • CEE 176A                           Energy Efficient Buildings
  • EARTHSYS 118                   Heritage, Environment, and Sovereignty in Hawaii
  • EARTHSYS 185                   Feeding Nine Billion
  • EARTHSYS 238                   Land Use Law
  • ECON 106                          World Food Economy
  • ENERGY 101                       Energy and the Environment
  • ENERGY 102                       Fundamentals of Renewable Power
  • ENERGY 104                       Sustainable Energy for 9 Billion
  • ENVRES 250                        Environmental Governance
  • OSPSANTG 29                     Sustainable Cities:
  • SIW 144                              Energy, Environment, Climate and Conservation Policy: A Washington D.C. Perspective
  • URBANST 110                     Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies
  • URBANST 113                     Introduction to Urban Design 
  • URBANST 164                     Sustainable Cities



  • EARTHSYS 144                    Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (GIS)


  • EARTHSYS 124                      Measurements in Earth Systems
  • EARTHSYS 142                      Remote Sensing of Land
  • EARTHSYS 211                      Fundamentals of Modeling
  • ESS 124                                Remote Sensing of Hydrology
  • ESS 165                                Advanced Geographic Information Systems
  • ESS 220                                Physical Hydrogeology
  • GEOLSCI 240                        Data Science for Geoscience



TWO additional courses at the 100-level or above are required. Electives allow students to personalize their Earth Systems curriculum by pursuing higher-level courses offered in their focus area, or by incorporating new academic perspectives. Each must be a minimum of 3 units.

Track Updated 11/2019