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The Environmental Systems Major

The requirements for completion of the environmental systems major include a lower-division core, two upper-division courses, a three course upper-division integrating sequence (ESYS 101, ESYS 102, ESYS 103), an upper-division statistics course, advanced courses in one of four tracks, and the senior project (ESYS 190A) and senior seminar (ESYS 190B). Any questions concerning the requirements should be directed to the associate director or the program adviser. Students completing the advanced tracks in “Earth Sciences,” “Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution,” and “Environmental Chemistry” will be awarded a B.S. in environmental systems. The B.A. In environmental systems will be granted to students completing the “Environmental Policy” track within the major.

A grade-point average of 2.0 or higher in the upper-division major program is required for graduation. Students must receive a grade of C– or better in any course to be counted toward fulfillment of the major requirements. In exceptional cases, students with a grade-point average in the major of 2.5 or greater may petition to have one grade of D accepted.  All courses must be taken for Letter Grade (except ESYS 190A).

Links to printable Degree Checklists below!

Lower-Division Core Requirements

(Should be completed early in student's degree program.)

  • Biology 3 BILD 3
  • Chemistry 6A, 6B, 6C, 7L
  • Physics 1A, 1AL, 1B, 1BL, 1C, 1CL (Physics 2A-B-C required for Earth Sciences and Environmental Chemistry track)
  • Mathematics 10A, 10B, 10C (Math. 20A-B-C required for Earth Sciences and Environmental Chemistry track)
  • Economics 1
  • SIO 50 - for Earth Sciences track only

Upper-Division Core Requirements

  • Economics 131. Economics of the Environment
  • Political Science 160AA. Introduction to Policy Analysis
“Integrating Course Sequence”
  • (Should be taken before senior year.)
    • Environmental Systems 101. Environmental Biology
    • Environmental Systems 102. The Solid and Fluid Earth
    • Environmental Systems 103. Environmental Challenges: Science & Solutions
  • Environmental Systems 190A. Senior Project (two quarters)
  • Environmental Systems 190B. Senior Seminar

Environmental Systems Major Tracks

There are four advanced tracks in which students must complete a minimum of seven upper-division courses. Students will select courses following the requirements below in consultation with a faculty adviser.

It is possible to complete the requirements for any of the Environmental Systems tracks with five upper-division electives and a specialization that consists of two additional upper-division electives from any other track. For example, a student interested in the policy and scientific dimensions of habitat conservation planning for endangered species might plan a course of study to include five advanced courses from the Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution track and two advanced courses from the Environmental Policy track.

Contact Info

Galbraith Hall, 3rd Floor, Rooms 365-368
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92093


Office Hours
8am-12pm &

Walk-in Advising:
Mon-Thurs: 10-11:30am & 1:30-3pm


Current UCSD students: 
Please submit your questions via the VAC. An advisor will respond to you within 1-3 business days.