Economics and Politics of the Environment
Economics is knowledge concerned with production, consumption, and the transfer of wealth, including allocation of scarce resources and market functions. Politics are activities associated with governance, including the ability to create effective environmental policies. In environmental leadership, both economics and politics are crucial for creating viable solutions to environmental problems such as climate change, environmental injustice, and biodiversity loss.
Master of Environmental Science and Management students in the Economics and Politics of the Environment (EPE) specialization learn to develop and implement public policies dealing with environmental problems, manage public environmental resources, and 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 region through state and national governments to the international level.
Master of Environmental Science and Management students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. With an advisor’s approval, Bren students may also take courses in other UCSB departments as electives to satisfy specialization requirements.
ESM courses are offered through the Bren School and most ESM courses are offered every year. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) will be offered every other year.
EPE Specialization Courses (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)
Area of Expertise (12 units required)
Students studying Economic and Politics of the Environment are required to develop expertise (12 units) 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 261 Management of Scientific Data (2 units)
ESM 262 Computing for Environmental Science and Management (2 units)
ESM 263 Geographic Information Systems (4 units)
ESM 267 Advanced GIS (4 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 (8 units required)
ESM 225 Water Policy (4 units)
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)
1ESM 229 may satisfy the key course specialization requirement or the environmental economics, policy, and law requirement but not both.
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)
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 (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 departments.
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
ECON 114AB Economic Development
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 gain experience in an industry or sector relevant to career goals through a summer internship. EPE students have taken internships with a wide variety of organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, City of Santa Barbara, United Nations, Rocky Mountain Institute, World Bank Group, Earthwatch Institute, Center for International Policy, New America Foundation, and many other agencies, organizations, and companies.
Research & Special Projects
Students may participate in research directed by Bren faculty through one of the many interdisciplinary research groups at UCSB.