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Upper Division Courses

Required Courses

NOTE: ESYS 101, 102, and 103 should be taken by end of the junior year.

ESYS 101. Environmental Biology (4 units) Fall

This course surveys biochemical and physiological processes governing the relationship between organisms and their environments, such as those involved in element cycling and cellular homeostatis. The course introduces biological perspectives on human activities ranging from antibiotic use of genetic engineering.

Prerequisites: BILD 1 or 2 or equivalent, or consent of instructor. (F)

ESYS 102. The Solid and Fluid Earth (4 units) Winter

Earth's dynamic physical systems interact in complex ways with prfound impact on our environment. Processes such as volcanism and weathering enable geochemical exchange between solid and fluid (ocean and atmosphere) systems. Sea-level and climate changes interface with tectonic processes.

Prerequisites: Math. 10A, CHEM 6A, Physics 1A or consent of instructor (W).

ESYS 103/MAE 124. Environmental Challenges: Science and Solutions (4 units) Spring

This course explores the impacts of human, social, economic, and industrial activity on the environment. It highlights the central roles in ensuring sustainable development played by market forces, technological innovation and governmental regulation on local, national and global scales.

Prerequisites: Math 10A-C or Math 20B or by consent of instructor or by permission of instructor.

ESYS 190A. Senior Project (2 Quarters for a total of 8 units) (Fall/Winter)

The ESYS Program places a significant value on interdisciplinary problem solving and all majors are expected to complete an integrative Senior Project in their final year. The Senior Project is designed by the student to focus on an interdisciplinary environmental problem or research topic and is developed either individually or as part of a team over two quarters. Appropriate topics for the Senior Project could conceivably include biodiversity conservation, coastal zone management, environmental health, climate change, environmental justice, and/or urban air quality. An important component of the Senior Project is an off-campus or laboratory internship where students might work on, for example, the development of a comprehensive management plan for a threatened ecosystem.

Prerequisites: senior standing, majors only.

!! Important Additional Details !!

Enrollment and Grading Policy: ESYS majors will typically enroll in ESYS 190A in the fall and winter quarters of their final year and ESYS 190B in the spring quarter of their final year.  With prior approval, students may enroll in the ESYS 190A sequence in the winter and spring quarters of their final year and enroll in ESYS 190B during summer session.  The class will account for four units of credit toward the degree each quarter and will be taken on a pass/no pass basis.

ESYS 190B. Environmental Systems Senior Seminar (4 units) (Spring or Summer Session)

The Senior Seminar provides a venue for the presentation and group evaluation of the ESYS Senior Projects.
Prerequisites: ESYS 190A.

Course Syllabus:

ESYS 190B Syllabus

ESYS Upper Division Elective

ESYS 199. Independent Study (2-4 units)

Faculty guided readings or projects in the area of Environmental Systems.

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

*Tuesday hours will take place at the SIO Campus, Eckart 211*


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