MESM Specialization: EPE

Faculty Advisors: Mark Buntaine (MESM 2019) and Sarah Anderson (MESM 2020)

The Economics and Politics of the Environment (EPE) specialization trains students to develop and implement public policies dealing with environmental problems, to manage public environmental resources, and to work in firms and other organizations that must respond to these policies and management systems.EPE students acquire knowledge about interactions between the public and private sectors and about impacts of political processes on efforts to solve environmental problems.Students learn how to identify and evaluate policy options and effectively communicate the results to policymakers and regulators.Broadly defined to encompass the full range of issues pertaining to environmental quality and natural resources, the EPE specialization addresses these concerns as they arise from the local level through the state and national levels to the international level.Students taking this specialization find employment with local, state, and national governments as well as with intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, firms subject to environmental policies, and consulting groups dealing with the management of environmental resources.


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.

Environmental Economics (8 units required)
1ESM 229 Economics and Policy of Climate Change (4 units)
ESM 242 Natural Resource Economics (4 units)
ESM 245 Cost Benefit Analysis (4 units)

Environmental Policy and Law (8 units required)
ESM 225 Water Policy
1ESM 229 Economics and Policy of Climate Change (4 units)
*ESM 243 Environmental Policy Analysis (4 units)
ESM 248 Environmental Institutions (4 units)
ESM 257 Coastal Marine 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)
ESM 294 Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Law (2 units)

ESM 229 may satisfy an environmental economics or environmental policy/law requirement but not both.

Area of Expertise (12 units required)
EPE students are required to develop expertise in an applied area of environmental science and management.  EPE students may take courses in another MESM specialization or a combination of courses in a defined specialty at the Bren School or other UCSB departments. Examples of such areas of expertise are food policy, coastal and marine management, water resources management, or climate change policy. EPE students may take courses from science, policy, economics, management and other relevant disciplines within the applied area of expertise.

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 263 Geographic Information Systems (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)

Additional Science (recommended)
ESM 211 Applied Population Ecology (4 units)
*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 270 Conservation Planning & Priority Setting (4 units)
ESM 270P Conservation Planning Practicum (4 units)
*ESM 272 Energy and Resource Productivity
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

Environmental Management (recommended)
*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)
ESM 296 Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management (Project Management) (2 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

Relevant courses in other UCSB departments
ANTH 214 Origins & Intensification of Agriculture
ECON 114AB Economic Development
ECON 120 Urban and Regional Economics
ECON 240A Introduction to Econometrics
GLOBL 221 Global Political Economy, Sustainable Development and the Environment
GLOBL 235 Organizational Policy & Management
GLOBL 237 Global Organizations & Civil Society
GLOBL 271 Global Environmental Law & Policy
POLS 294 Environmental Politics and Policy

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