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Master of Environmental Data Science
The Master of Environmental Data Science (MEDS) degree at Bren is an 11-month professional degree program focused on using data science to advance solutions to environmental problems.
Data science is a rapidly expanding discipline with a growing market in need of highly skilled, interdisciplinary professionals. As a student, you will be immersed in a collaborative, open-source, data-driven environment in which students are supported by expert faculty and researchers from the Bren School, the National Center of Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS), and other UCSB departments. Supplementing your background in environmental science, you will gain leading-edge data science skills; receive in-depth training in applications such as R, Python, and SQL; and learn how to apply data visualization to share compelling scientific narratives. In the MEDS program, you will learn robust and reproducible workflows, develop interfaces and documentation, and complete a capstone group project that provides real-world experience in applying data science to environmental issues.
The MEDS program is intended to be full-time and courses are offered at the UC Santa Barbara and NCEAS campuses. Currently, the Bren School does not offer any online degree options.
Learn from researchers and experts at two renowned institutions
A joint endeavor of the Bren School and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), the Master of Environmental Data Science program was crafted by environmental data scientists to be at the forefront of integrating environmental science and data science.
The MEDS program consists of 46 units of core coursework plus an additional 8 units of capstone project coursework for a program total of 54 units. The master's program begins with a six-week, full-immersion, summer session to develop a strong foundation of basic data science skills, such as coding and team science skills. Continuing into the academic year, MEDS students take a deep dive into bringing data to bear on environmental problems, including spatial analysis, environmental modeling, machine learning, and data visualization. In Winter and Spring Quarters, small groups tackle a real-world environmental data science problem through the Capstone Project.
Harmonizing the NCEAS global footprint of food systems data with human welfare data to analyze patterns of environmental inequities in livestock, crop, aquaculture, and fishery production in the US.
Developing a machine learning algorithm designed to interpret RHESSys output and extract insights into possible impacts of climate change on forest health.
Using the MOSAIKS machine learning approach to make fine-resolution agricultural crop yield predictions over time across all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Bren students receive dedicated support and guidance from our highly celebrated Career Development team. Bren alumni, who actively participate in Bren’s online networking community, work in government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and environmental consulting firms in 30+ countries around the world, and many have started their own companies.
MEDS graduates will have a broad array of career options following completion of their degrees. They will become data scientists and senior environmental analysts within businesses, non-profits, government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations, with job titles such as Senior Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Scientific Programmer, and Environmental Data Technician. The Bren School is located in California, which is home to national conservation organizations, foundations, and environmental technology companies that are hiring data scientists. Additionally, there is rapidly growing interest for sustainability analysts in Silicon Valley and other centers of innovation. Environmental data scientist positions can be found in a variety of organizations throughout the U.S. and the world.
Alumni Network Access and 24/7 Career Resources
From your first day at Bren, you’ll have access to BrenConnect, Bren’s unique career resources and alumni networking platform, where you can peruse fresh job listings, find and connect with Bren alumni, and access Bren-specific career guidance articles. Want to talk to a Bren grad who works at your dream company? More than 75% of alumni are BrenConnect users, and over 70% of Bren grads land their initial job through a Bren School contact.
Career Programming and 1-on-1 Guidance for Your Unique Journey
MEDS students will take part in a structured job search process that includes workshops and one-on-one career advising sessions from the Bren School’s dedicated staff of career support professionals. This career training builds the specific professional skills needed to thrive in a competitive and changing marketplace. Over 95% of Bren master’s students rate the Career Development team’s services as “Excellent/Good” (with 88% of those students picking “Excellent”)—which means we walk our talk! Through personalized advising and targeted career workshops, our goal is to leave you feeling confident and comfortable navigating any professional setting.
This is a graduate school experience like no other where you'll have access to faculty mentors, potential employers, internship opportunities, and a professional network of alumni from day one. The Bren grad school experience has been designed to open doors for students to make a difference in the world. Our students often say they make friends and colleagues for life during their time at Bren.
Affording Your Bren Education
Tuition and fees for Bren’s master’s programs are similar to other public institutions in California. Bren aims to offer the highest possible return on your investment of money and time. The Bren School supports students with recruitment fellowships and gifts when possible, and we encourage applicants to inquire about these funding opportunities when they contact Admissions. Our Student Affairs support team can help applicants find on-campus employment opportunities, including teaching assistantships, graduate student researcher positions, tutor positions, and other student positions.
The UCSB Financial Aid office and the UCSB Graduate Division support graduate students in applying for Federal Student Aid, Federal Work-Study, and pursuing other funding opportunities, including benefits for veterans.