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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:

Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the main biophysical and socioeconomic constraints in food systems at global and local scales.
  2. Apply knowledge of agricultural soils and plant growth to solve problems related to crop production, soil conservation, and natural resource management.
  3. Identify the links between food systems and other aspects of the Earth system, including water, energy, and climate systems.
  4. Assess and critique proposed policy or technological solutions that claim to make food systems more sustainable.

Foundation & Breadth

  • BIO 81 or BIOHOPK 81, AND EITHER BIO 82 or BIO 83; or HUMBIO 2A & 2B; or EARTHSYS 116 or BIOHOPK 116
  • 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 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 Food and Agriculture Focus Areas. 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 Course for availability and updates.

Fundamentals of Agriculture Production and Economics: (both required)

  • ECON 106: World Food Economy
  • EARTHSYS 185: Feeding Nine Billion

Biogeophysical Dimensions (3 required)

  • EARTHSYS 155: Science of Soils (Mandatory)
  • BIO 115                               The Hidden Kingdom - Evolution, Ecology and Diversity of Fungi
  • BIO 137                               Plant Genetics
  • EARTHSYS 142                     Remote Sensing of Land
  • EARTHSYS 256                     Soil and Water Chemistry
  • HUMBIO 113                        The Human-Plant Connection
  • HUMBIO 130                        Human Nutrition   

Social Dimensions: (choose 1)

  • ARCHLGY 124                     Archaeology of Food: production, consumption and ritual
  • BIO 144/HUMBIO 112         Conservation Biology: A Latin American Perspective
  • ECON 118                           Development Economics (note this class has prereqs: ECON 51 and 102B)
  • HUMBIO 113S                     Healthy/Sustainable Food Systems: Maximum Sustainability across Health, Economics, and the Environment (alternate years)
  • HUMBIO 166                       Food and Society
  • OSPMADRD 79                    Earth and Water Resources’ Sustainability in Spain

Applied Study in the Field

  • EARTHSYS 180               Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture


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 2/2020