Since opening in 1996, the Bren School has become recognized as one of the top graduate programs of environmental study in the nation. Youth and clarity of vision allow the school to evolve purposefully and adapt rapidly to the changing nature of environmental challenges. Why has it risen so far so fast? Because the Bren School is:
Real-World Focused. Coursework in the Master of Environmental Science and Management* (MESM) core curriculum is presented in the context of developing solutions to real-world problems. Courses are taught by faculty who are engaged in both theoretical and applied research and have extensive experience in approaching environmental science from management and/or policy perspectives. The entire MESM curriculum is geared toward developing technical and analytical skills and knowledge essential to real-world application. Further, Bren is the only school of its kind where every MESM student participates in a Group Project, the capstone work that serves as the master’s thesis. The year-long Group Project provides unparalleled professional training as students collaborate with peers and a faculty advisor to solve a real environmental problem for a client that has a genuine stake in the outcome. This process comes naturally to the school's faculty members, many of whom pursue research that affects environmental policy at the highest levels.
Richly Interdisciplinary. Simply understanding environmental problems requires rigorous analysis from multiple perspectives. Bren MESM students study and integrate knowledge, skills, and methods from the natural sciences, economics, business, law, and policy, both through the first-year core curriculum and the second-year work in one of six areas of specialization. By learning from professors whose own collaborative interdisciplinary work has made them leaders in their fields, Bren master's students develop a holistic perspective that significantly enhances their value as environmental professionals.
A True Professional School. Our students' careers as environmental professionals begin here. Ninety percent of our MESM alumni accept aposition in their chosen field within six months of graduating, and employers consistently praise Bren graduates for their maturity and their ability to hit the ground running. The core curriculum, the areas of specialization, the Group Project, the Eco-Entrepreneurship focus, and our exceptional individualized Career Development program provide students with the skills, the knowledge, and the support to find the right job, contribute immediately, and progress rapidly on their chosen career path.
Part of a World-Class University with a Strong Environmental Vision. The Bren School is an integral part of UCSB—a premier academic institution that a 2007 report in Science Watch magazine ranked first in the nation for the impact of research in the Ecology/Environment category. In locating the Bren School at UCSB, the UC Regents leveraged the university’s strength within academic disciplines with its worldwide reputation for encouraging and facilitating research and teaching across disciplinary boundaries. Bren students have access to the entire range of UCSB academics while pursuing degrees of the highest possible value for their professional lives.
Ideally Located. Santa Barbara is a small but sophisticated city set amid beautiful and inspiring surroundings. Housed in Bren Hall, the greenest laboratory building in the U.S., the school was purpose-built from the ground up to advance high-level research and train well-rounded environmental leaders. The Bren campus is located beside the ocean and a few miles from the coastal mountains. Students regularly see dolphins, seals, whales, and marine birds while experiencing the California lifestyle in an area that gets 300 days of sunshine per year, in the state that continues to provide environmental leadership for the nation and the world.