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Departments & Programs



The Earth Systems Program is an interdisciplinary environmental science major. Students learn about and independently investigate complex environmental problems caused by human activities in interaction with natural changes in the Earth system. Earth Systems majors become skilled in those areas of science, economics, and policy needed to tackle the globe’s most pressing environmental problems, becoming part of a generation of scientists, professionals, and citizens who approach and solve problems in a new way: a systematic, interdisciplinary way. Earth Systems students take courses in the fundamentals of biology, calculus, chemistry, geology, and physics, as well as economics and policy and statistics. After completing breadth training, they concentrate on advanced work in one of five focus areas: biology, energy, environmental economics and policy, land systems, or oceanography. Tracks are designed to support focus and rigor but include flexibility for specialization. Examples of specialized focus have included (but are not limited to) the following: environment and human health, sustainable agriculture, energy economics, sustainable development, business and the environment, and marine policy. Along with formal course requirements, Earth Systems students complete a 9-unit (270-hour) internship. The internship provides a hands-on academic experience working on a supervised field, laboratory, government, or private sector project.