Getting started in Environmental Sciences - 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...

  • Ensure your official transcripts arrive to UC Santa Cruz by July 1; all official test scores, including AP scores, must arrive by July 15.
  • Complete parts 1 & 2 of the Slug Orientation Course process to receive your enrollment appointment date.
  • Students who have taken college-level transferable classes that may apply to the requirements of this major should submit an unofficial transcript to the Environmental Sciences ( advisor prior to July 1, in addition to the official transcript that is required by the UCSC Admissions Office.
  • Complete the Math Placement process. It takes up to three business days for ALEKS PPL placement to post in your student record. Completing the assessment by July 16 will ensure your placement is posted before enrollment begins (although depending on your enrollment appointment, you may have more time!).
  • Students can take the Chemistry Self Assessment test for assistance in determining when to begin in general chemistry.

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

CHEM 1A 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.

Skills important for success in this major:

Science majors require skills in critical and logical thought, complex problem solving using scientific rules and methods, and deductive and inductive reasoning.

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