Getting started in Environmental Sciences: 2023-2024 Entering Frosh


Students are admitted to UCSC with a "proposed major" in most cases, and later petition to officially declare the major. Admission to UCSC does not guarantee acceptance into a particular major. Students must be declared in a major by the end of the second year (or equivalent), so learning about and preparing for a major is a primary goal for first-year students.

Importance of an early start:

This major is not highly sequential or course intensive. Although it is advisable to begin taking courses toward the major in the first year, it is not required.

Qualification requirements and/or prerequisites for the major:

Review Major Qualification Requirements in the General Catalog.

Frosh who intend to pursue this major should do the following things prior to the beginning of fall term...

  • Complete the Math Preparation and placement process. You have 15 free hours of math skills review to prep you for placement or your next course. It takes up to three business days for ALEKS PPL placement to post in your student record. Completing the assessment by August 2 will ensure your placement is posted before enrollment begins (although depending on your enrollment appointment, you may have more time!).

...and should take these courses their first term:

  • CHEM 3A and the appropriate mathematics course based on placement.

Special enrollment procedures:

Enroll online during your enrollment appointment.

Sample Academic Plan:

Review the Sample Academic Plan in the General Catalog.

Other Information:

The Environmental Sciences BS major is sponsored by the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department.

The purpose of the Environmental Sciences (ESCI) major at UCSC is to educate students interested in environmental science problems and issues, with a focus on issues within the physical sciences. The major specializes primarily on the following areas of study:

  • Climate and climate change: Earth's past, present, and future climate
  • Global biogeochemical cycles: Cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, mercury, etc.
  • Fresh Water: Water resources and water quality
  • Oceans: Physical, chemical, and biological oceanography
  • Atmosphere: Meteorology, air quality, and atmospheric chemistry

Links to Review:

Program Description (Catalog)
Department Website
Environmental Sciences Advising

Advisor Contact Information:

Jade Loftus

(831) 502-7070 or
Earth and Marine Science, A234A