MESM Specialization: CP

Faculty Advisors: Bruce Kendall (MESM 2019) and Ashley Larsen (MESM 2020)

Conservation planning is concerned with societal activities to protect productive ecological systems, conserve native biological diversity and associated ecological and evolutionary processes, and maintain wild species of special interest. The Conservation Planning (CP) specialization will teach students to assess and develop effective strategies for conserving, managing and restoring wild populations and ecosystems in a landscape and regional context. CP students will be well grounded in the fields of population and community ecology, landscape ecology, conservation biology, and conservation planning with training in ecological inventory and monitoring, data analysis, mapping, and modeling. They will also learn about the regulatory and policy framework surrounding issues such as land use planning, endangered species protection and wetlands restoration. Potential employers of CP professionals include domestic and international public agencies, non-governmental organizations and private firms involved in environmental planning, natural resource conservation, environmental impact and risk analysis, as well as endangered species recovery and habitat restoration.


MESM students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. ESM courses are offered in the Bren School and most ESM courses are offered every year. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) will be offered every other year. Bren students also may take courses in other UCSB departments as electives or, with advisor’s approval, to satisfy specialization requirements. Courses used to satisfy a requirement in a given area may not be counted to satisfy multiple requirements within a single specialization; if a student is completing multiple specializations, a course may satisfy a requirement in both specializations.

CP Specialization Courses (16 units required)

ESM 211 Applied Population Ecology (4 units)
1ESM 263 Geographic Information Systems (4 units)
ESM 270 Principles of Conservation Planning (4 units)
2ESM 270P Conservation Planning Practicum (4 units)

1ESM 263 is a prerequisite for ESM 270. If a student has equivalent prior knowledge of GIS, the instructor may allow the student to waive ESM 263 and substitute 4 units of other technical courses.

2ESM 270 is a prerequisite for ESM 270P.

CP students must take ESM 263 in winter of their first year (unless they are qualified to waive the course), followed by ESM 270 in spring of the first year, and ESM 270P in fall of the second year. ESM 211 does not have a required sequence, but is generally taken in the second year after students have completed the prerequisitite, ESM 201, in the first year.

Additional Science (4 units required)

*ESM 213 Ecotoxicology (4 units)
*ESM 214 Biological Waste Treatment (4 units)
*ESM 215 Landscape Ecology (4 units)
*ESM 219 Microbial Processes in the Environment (4 units)
ESM 222 Fate and Transport of Pollutants in the Environment (4 units)
ESM 224 Sustainable Watershed Quality Management (4 units)
ESM 226 Groundwater Management (4 units)
ESM 235 Watershed Analysis (4 units)
*ESM 237 Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (4 units)
*ESM 239 Advanced Climate Science for Policymakers (4 units)
*ESM 240 Climate Change Biology (2 units)
ESM 254 Coastal Marine Ecosystem Processes (4 units)
ESM 260 Applied Marine Ecology (4 units)
*ESM 272 Energy and Resource Productivity (4 units)
ESM 282 Pollution Prevention (4 units)
ESM 288 Energy, Technology and the Environment (4 units)
Or fill in relevant science course from other UCSB department

Technical Skills (4 units required)

ESM 212 Biological Community Survey & Analysis  (4 units)
ESM 228 Monitoring and Evaluation (4 units)
ESM 232 Environmental Modeling (4 units)
ESM 244 Advanced Data Analysis (4 units)
ESM 246 Econometrics (4 units)
ESM 262 Computing for Environmental Science and Management (4 units)
ESM 267 Advanced GIS (2 units)
ESM 269 Survey Design and Environmental Public Opinion (2 units)
ESM 271 Carbon Footprints and Carbon Accounting (4 units)
ESM 273 Life Cycle Assessment (4 units)

Environmental Economics, Policy and Law (4 units required)

ESM 225 Water Policy (4 units)
ESM 229 Economics and Policy of Climate Change (4 units)
ESM 242 Natural Resource Economics (4 units)
ESM 243 Environmental Policy Analysis (4 units)
ESM 245 Cost Benefit Analysis (4 units)
ESM 248 Environmental Institutions (4 units)
ESM 257 Coastal Ocean Policy and Management (4 units)
ESM 275 Principles and Practice of Environmental Planning (4 units)
ESM 277 International Environmental Law (2 units)
ESM 278 Natural Resources Law and Policy (2 units)
ESM 289 Environmental Law in Practice (1 unit)

Environmental Management (4 units required)

*ESM 230 Strategic Planning for Non-Profit Ventures (4 units)
ESM 279 Financial Management and Environmental Accounting (4 units)
ESM 281 Corporate Environmental Management (4 units)
ESM 283 Environmental Negotiation (4 units)

Advanced Special Topics (recommended)

Advanced Special Topics courses (variable units) are typically taught by Visiting Professors and Lecturers and may be offered during any quarter of the academic year.
ESM 293 Advanced Special Topics in Climate and Energy
ESM 294 Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Law
ESM 296 Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management
ESM 297 Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Policy
ESM 299 Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Science
ESM 430 Workshops in Environmental Science and Management

Students may supplement their specialization with either the Eco-Entrepreneurship Focus or the Strategic Environmental Communication Focus.

Relevant courses in other UCSB departments
Students should consult the respective departments for availability and registration information.

EEMB 103A Flora and Vegetation of California
EEMB 107 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
EEMB 112 Invertebrate Zoology
EEMB 119 Ecology and Management of California Wildlands
EEMB 153 Ecology of Lakes and Wetlands
EEMB 159 Tropical Ecology
EEMB 222 Experimental Design Workshop
EEMB 222 Ecological Constraints to Ecosystem Restoration        
EEMB 279 Modeling Environmental and Ecological Change
GEOG 210C Analytical Methods in Geography III