Academic Requirements (80 total units)
8 Core Courses (30 units) to develop breadth
- ESM 201 Ecology of Managed Ecosystems
- ESM 202 Environmental Biogeochemistry
- ESM 203 Earth System Science
- ESM 204 Economics of Environmental Management
- ESM 206 Statistics & Data Analysis for Environmental Science & Management
- ESM 207 Environmental Law and Policy
- ESM 210 Business and the Environment
- ESM 241 Environmental Politics and Policy
Electives courses in a specialization (36 units) to develop depth
Varies by specialization
Master’s Group Project or Eco-Entrepreneurship Project (14 units) to develop professional problem-solving skills
- ESM 401 ABCD Masters Group Project
- ESM 402 ABCD Masters Eco-E Project
- Elective courses in a second specialization
- Elective courses in Eco-Entrepreneurship focus
- Elective courses in Strategic Environmental Communication and Media focus
Principles of individual ecology, population ecology, community ecology, and ecosystem ecology. Emphasis on applications (conservation, resource management, ecological effects of pollution and habitat fragmentation, etc.).
Biogeochemical processes as applied to the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land, and inland waters, and applications to environmental issues such as eutrophication, toxic pollution, carbon sequestration, and acidification.
Interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, and land and models of Earth’s climate and hydrology. Application of knowledge about the Earth System in environmental management and policy.
Environmental regulation (incentives, command, and control), asymmetric information (cost revelation and auditing), regulatory incidence, dynamics and discounting, exhaustible and renewable resources, valuation, environmental macroeconomics, trade and the environment, and comparative regulatory analysis.
Develop skills and conceptual framework to effectively use data to solve practical problems. Topics include descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, experimental design, exploratory data analysis, probability and uncertainty, time series analysis, and spatial stats. Emphasis of case studies from environmental problems.
Basic elements of the legal system as it specifically relates to environmental issues. Study of the different stages and different institutions involved in environmental policy making.
Introduces students to business objectives and structure and discusses new business models and tools that incorporate principles of environmental management and corporate performance. It highlights corporate strategies that deliver value to shareholders while responding to environmental concerns.
Examination of the application of population ecology to conservation of rare species and management of harvested populations. Topics include populations regulation, population viability analysis, fisheries management, metapopulation dynamics, and populations monitoring.
This spring break intensive course will introduce students to the principles and practice of designing and executing field sampling campaigns to characterize, map, and inventory plant and animal communities. The course will review basic sampling theory, introduce survey methods for terrestrial vegetation, terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as aquatic invertebrates. Students will gain experience with multivariate analysis of community data, as well as methods for vegetation and species habitat mapping and modeling. Learning objectives and activities will be primarily field-based, and will take place at UCSB’s Sedgwick and Coal Oil Point Reserves.
Concepts and approaches to correct and alleviate the effects of environmental pollution using biological processes. Biochemical, ecological, and physiochemical aspects of remediation and mitigation. Assessing and monitoring applicability/efficacy of biological treatment. Natural and engineered methods for adversely affected biological resources.
This course will explore emergent patterns in landscape structure (physical, biological, and cultural) and linkages to ecological processes. The role of ecosystem pattern, for both landscapes and seascapes, will be explored via mass and energy transfers, disturbance regimes, species’ persistence, applications of remote sensing, and GIS for landscape characterization and modeling.
Microbes are the most abundant organisms on earth and are responsible for most biogeochemical cycling. Who and where are they, what do they do, and how? This course provides an integrated understanding applicable to managing the environment and natural resources.
Transport and biogeochemical transformation of pollutants in the environment. Review of pollutant properties and media characteristics that affect transport, accumulation, and degradation of pollutants. Basic tools for managing pollutants in the environment, including prevention, detection, and remediation.
Integrates environmental science and management to address sustainable watershed management. Learn the elements of a watershed management plan and become familiar with the planning process that takes into consideration various issues and concerns and provides concrete actions to address them. Addresses both water quantity and quality issues in a comprehensive approach.
Explores key water policy issues in the context of science, technology, and the practical management of water systems. If focuses on the nexus of science, economics, law, and social and political factors play in the policy process.
Examines the principles and tools for groundwater management and stewardship of groundwater resources in the US and includes examples drawn from global groundwater management challenges.
Evidence-based programming and policymaking are now priorities for many nonprofit organizations and public agencies, including those that deal with environment, energy, climate change, and natural resource management. At the heart of this approach is monitoring and evaluation, which help organizations learn about the effectiveness of policies and programs so that they can make better decisions about using scarce resources. This course provides an overview of the considerations and techniques involved with setting up monitoring and evaluation systems within public and nonprofit organizations that are designed to promote learning about the efficacy, effectiveness, and impact of policies and programs.
This course will explore the economic impacts of climate change, design of optimal climate mitigation policies, and existing constraints on implementation of such policies. Emphasis on developing intuition on climate policy issues and familiarity with relevant analytical and statistical tools.
This course is about strategic planning issues unique to non-profits. Provides an entrepreneurial perspective for charitable organizations, non-government organizations, social ventures and not-for-profit organizations. Topics include stakeholder analysis, the mission statement, strategic objectives and goals, board development, fiscal management and fundraising.
Introduction to the development, evaluation, interpretation, and presentation of models as applied to environmental problems. Course will consist of theory and many practical examples building and interpreting models using computers. No previous computer experience required.
Hydrologic and geomorphic basis of environmental management problems concerning land surfaces and channels in small drainage basins, particularly the effects of land use and engineered alteration to stream channels. Emphasis placed in the integrated application of both theory and field methods to analyze existing conditions, evaluate the potential effectiveness of alternative solutions, and understand the limitations imposed by intrinsic watershed conditions and other human constraints. Implications for in-stream biota and water quality are acknowledged but not emphasized in this course.
Global climate change may dramatically alter water resources and the ecosystems that depend upon them. This course will provide an overview of research on current and projected future hydro-ecological impacts of a changing climate at local to global scales.
This course will examine the science of climate change with a focus on those issues most relevant to policy makers. Professor Lea will draw on his experience serving as science advisor to the Special Envoy on Climate Change in the U.S. Department of State. Topics include: Climate Forcing Agents and their Efficacy; Climate Sensitivity and Feedbacks; Anthropogenic Climate Change; Extreme Events; Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Global Temperature Limits and Mitigation Scenarios; and Geoengineering. Discussion will focus on topical issues at the nexus of climate policy and science, such as mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon.
Biological changes in response to climate, their causes, emerging conservation responses and policy implications.
The politics of environmental policy-making from agenda formation to the stages of implementation, assessment, and reforms. Emphasis on national and state level policy-making in the U.S. coupled with a consideration of interactions across levels of social organization and comparisons across socio-political systems.
Economic principles and policy issues in the use of exhaustible and renewable resources including fossil fuels, water, minerals, fisheries, forests, and biodiversity. Management of resource markets on a regional or international scale.
Developing and analyzing environmental policies involves balancing social, political, and economic considerations. Course covers this process, including problem identification, formation of alternative policy response, and methods of analyzing and selecting the most appropriate policy response, and effective communications of results to clients/policymakers.
Learn to use specialized data analysis techniques commonly employed in ESM. Topics include: environmental monitoring, incorporating methods for censored data and for time series; spatial data interpolation and prediction; and multi-criteria decision analysis.
Economic theory of environmental policy, with special emphasis on the role of cost-benefit analysis. Techniques for estimating economic values for non-market environmental resources. Case studies involving ecosystem protection, pollution control, and other topics to illustrate the necessary analytical tools.
Presents research designs and econometric methods for estimating causal effects with non-experimental data. It prepares students for conducting high-quality empirical research with applications in cross-sectional data and panel data settings. Primarily emphasizes research designs and identification (relative to statistical techniques) and applications (relative to theoretical proofs). Methods and concepts covered include: regression adjustment and matching, instrumental variables techniques, regression discontinuity methods, and panel data methods. Each concept will be introduced in class through relevant real-world applications.
Comparative study of management systems or regimes addressing natural resources and environmental concerns and operating at scales ranging from local to global. Topics include characterization of individual regimes and factors affecting the formation, evolution, and effectiveness of these institutional arrangements.
An introduction to the practice of environmental communications in professional settings. Topics include environmental psychology, message framing, persuasion, and decision making, with a focus on public media and communication. Focuses on how to design and implement public media communication programs to be effective for particular audiences, goals and circumstances.
Examination of physical, chemical and geological processes in coastal ecosystems, including estuaries, that are influenced by human activities. Focus centers on dynamical processes that control biological communities and resources, and the relationship of the science to marine resource management and policy.
Introduction to entrepreneurship for students interested in launching a new product or service that offers an environmental and/or social benefit. Provides an entrepreneurial perspective and overview of the venture creation process. Emphasis on idea generation, opportunity recognition and initial concept development.
Development of the analytical and conceptual skills required to assess the feasibility of a new venture opportunity. Topics include industry analysis, concept development, market definition, customer discovery, elements of a business model and competitive analysis.
Conceptual approaches and analytical tools used in marine ecosystem management, marine biodiversity protection, and integrative watershed planning. Review of relevant international, federal and state marine policies and programs.
The application of ecological science to environmental problem-solving in marine ecosystems. Emphasis on marine ecological theories, processes, and methods necessary to distinguish the ecological impacts caused by human activities from those caused by natural disturbance and other processes. Students focus on the presentation, interpretation, and analysis of data, read primary scientific literature and a few key textbook chapters, produce a grant proposal, and present their grant ideas orally. There are no exams in this course.
Theory, techniques, and tools for managing heterogeneous scientific information, database architectures, and data models. Metadata standards and data characterization. Design and use of relational databases. Aspects of the science data life cycle: collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, and presentation.
Introduction to computing for data management, analysis and modelling for environmental applications. The course provides MESM students with the basic computing and programming skills used in data science. Topics include: the basic computing environment (hardware and operating systems); programming language concepts; program design; data management, data structures and implementation; software tools; workflows, version control, and reproducibility; generic analytical techniques (relational algebra, graphical analysis, visualization, etc.); and specific characteristics of environmental information.
Advanced introduction to GIS theory and technology, emphasizing spatial analysis and cartographic presentation. Typical algorithms and data structures. Role of GIS in environmental information management. Integration of GIS with other analytical tools.
Tools and techniques for publishing, accessing, and manipulating environmental information on the World Wide Web, including: web services; scientific and geographic markup languages; virtual globes; distributed geographic information systems; open-source tools; geographic mash-ups.
Intensive lab sessions focused on advanced GIS tools and techniques. Emphasis on using open-source tools and scripting languages to ingest and manage real-world data, orchestrate complex analyses, and communicate spatial information.
Issues of survey design, including sampling, questionnaire design, data collection and data processing. Students will design and field an original survey, analyze the survey data and report the results.
Analytical approaches that can be used to direct energy and resources toward conservation that yields the greatest return on investment. Case studies of how government agencies, international multilateral institutions and non-governmental agencies identify where to invest their conservation efforts.
In depth development and analysis of a specific conservation plan, from start (goal setting) to finish (spatially explicit recommendations). Practical application of theory and tools from ESM270. If appropriate, MESM Group Project locations can be used as the case study.
Using the BSI’s PAS 2050, the WRI’s GHG Protocols, and the ISO14067, basic skills and knowledge necessary to establish corporate carbon accounts and to calculate carbon footprints will be covered.
Options for improving energy and resources productivity are evaluated from technology, economics, and policy point of view. Energy, housing, transportation and agro-food sectors will be elaborated, and energy-resource nexus will be discussed.
Advanced introduction to life cycle assessment (LCA) tools and practice. Students will conduct an LCA according to ISO 14040/44 (2006) using professional LCA software. Goal and scope definition, parametric life cycle inventory modeling, impact assessment, sensitivity analysis, reporting.
Using land use planning and related activities to address a wide range of environmental concerns – conservation planning, water resources management, coastal resources management, energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, integrating environmental protection and economic development, etc. Tools including city and county “general plans,” climate action plans, healthy community planning, sustainable community plans, integrated land use and water planning, natural hazards and resilience planning, environmental impact assessment and its role in developing and implementing plans.
This short course provides a general introduction to international environmental law and policy. After reviewing the rise of the international environment agenda, the course concentrates on how societies have responded to global-scale environmental challenges, including biodiversity loss, climate change, ozone depletion, and the loss of living marine resources. The principal response to date has been in the area of international environmental law and policy, where a major new field of law and diplomacy has developed and new multilateral institutions created.
This course explores the law and policy of how we use nature - timber, mining, bioversity, fisheries, water rights, and agriculture. It describes the historical and constitutional geography of American public lands: the national parks, forests, wilderness system, and grazing lands, and disputes over federal versus local control of these. There is special attention to the historical and political origins of our competing ideas of how nature matters and what we should do with it, from economically productive use to outdoor recreation to preserving the natural world for its own sake.
Corporate financial management and reporting and environmental accounting. Function of stock markets, discounted cash flows, investment appraisal and decisions, valuation of bonds and stocks, the capital structure decision, the accounting model, management and control of enterprises, financial reporting and financial statement analysis.
Prepares students to use creatively conceptual tools and management strategies to improve the environmental performance of firms. Corporate, societal, and political barriers to implementing these innovative strategies will be analyzed and methods for overcoming these constraints discussed.
An alternative to pollution control or remediation is to prevent it in the first place. This can be achieved through increased efficiency, material and technology substitution, and reuse and recycling. This course introduces pollution prevention through theory building and case studies. It also teaches and applies pertinent concepts and tools from industrial ecology.
For 2020, the curriculum for environmental negotiation has been substantially revised to focus on new tools and behaviors necessary to deal with polarized politics and the vaporization of trust within and between communities. This course will equip Bren students with the skills necessary to identify and apply joint fact-finding strategies, deal with difficult behaviors, use moral reframing for greater proposal receptivity, and negotiate effective environmental regulations and policy. It will explore the sources of polarization and strategies for dealing with ambiguity. It will also discuss specific negotiation applications to the various specializations offered at Bren. New case studies will reflect the challenges of dealing with differences at the local, regional and sub-national levels of society. Whether they focus on climate smart development, sea level rise or marine reserves, new negotiation exercises will push students to think differently about what they bring to the negotiating table.
Develop an in-depth understanding of past and future societal demand for energy across major end use sectors (buildings, transport, industry); develop and apply fundamental analysis techniques and systems modeling skills to construct energy demand forecasts and alternative scenarios considering possible technological, behavioral, and policy interventions for more sustainable energy use.
Covers the main physical principles of energy conversion and the environmental impacts related to it. Also explores the balance between resource availability and demand, and the relationship between energy use and technology.
Advanced topics in climate and energy.
Advanced, special topics in environmental law. May be repeated for credit with changes in content.
Close examination of current issues in environmental law, guided by presentations from and discussion with leading environmental lawyers. This is a short course.
Advanced, special topics in environmental management. May be repeated for credit with changes in content.
This 2-unit seminar is intended to introduce students to the principles and practice of environmental planning with an emphasis on environmental planning in the United States. Specific objectives include: -A general understanding of planning processes and tools -Exploration of the relationship between planning and public policy -Exposure to environmental planning in practice in California
This course provides an in-depth examination of a current challenge to achieving forest sustainability. In this course we will address this challenge from a multi-disciplinary perspective with the goal of providing students the opportunity to learn key skills in applied problem solving in the area of forest sustainability. The end product of the course will be a collaboratively written brief that summarizes the issue and presents a set of recommendations that will move towards a more sustainable future. Each year we will choose a new topic. We will use this topic to guide students through a collaborative research and problem-solving processes. We will review relevant natural and social science research, brainstorm potential solutions and analyze feasibility and trade-offs associated with different courses of action.
Native American Tribes have an important place in the understanding of management and allocation of water resources. Tribes have sovereign status and hold federal water rights known as reserved rights. Many Tribes have established their reserved water rights or are in the process of asserting them. This class will cover the legal foundation and policy behind Native American water rights and how these rights fit in water allocation systems. The class will review recent developments involving Native American water rights, including quantification through litigation and congressionally approved water rights settlements. As an emerging issue, the class will address how reserved groundwater rights are respected in California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The class will consider Native American water rights issues in several watersheds, including the San Luis Rey River, Klamath River, Lake Tahoe, Colorado River, and Rio Grande River.
Advanced, special topics in environmental policy. May be repeated for credit with changes in content.
Advanced, special topics in Eco-Entrepreneurship. May be repeated for credit with changes in content.
Advanced, special topics in environmental science. May be repeated for credit with changes in content.
First quarter of a year-long group study of an environmental problem. Includes in-class training sessions to develop skills necessary to efficiently and effectively conduct the study.
Second quarter of a year-long group study of an environmental problem.
Third quarter of a year-long group study of an environmental problem. Requires completion of a final report, and defense.
Fourth quarter of a year-long group study of an environmental problem. Requires completion of a policy brief, poster, and public presentation.
This course teaches students how to pursue opportunities for new ventures and transform them into real enterprises, focusing on development of viable business models.
Second quarter of a year-long team project to develop a new environmental venture.
Third quarter of a year-long team project to develop a new environmental venture. Requires completion of a final report and defense.
Fourth quarter of a year-long team project to develop a new environmental venture. Requires completion of marketing communication materials and a public presentation.
Students complete a summer internship, prepare a short paper, and present internship experiences to the Bren School community through an informal presentation.
Special workshops to help Bren students strengthen communication skills.
Workshops to develop professional skills for careers in Environmental Science & Management.
This two-day course is intended to build off other Bren courses and focus on current issues pertaining to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). We will also provide a brief overview of the statutes to support the case illustrations that will be discussed in class. For our case studies we have selected local issues involving on- and offshore oil development threats. We will discuss the application of NEPA and CEQA to these issues, and provide examples of how the public can invoke the requirements of NEPA and CEQA to ensure that environmental concerns are considered by decision-makers. In addition to the lecture, we will provide related optional reading materials.
This course will provide you the skills to write effectively across academic and applied genres in the environmental sciences. A focus on writing mechanics and the principles of good scientific and analytical writing will help you de-clutter and streamline your work. We’ll review the importance of thesis, audience, tone, organization and structure, document design, and citations. We will also cover writing styles and formats you’ll likely encounter in your career, such as research and project proposals, evaluations and data summaries, policy analyses, writing for the public, and professional correspondence. You will practice “two kinds of thinking” essential to effective writing: free-form and creative brainstorming, followed by critical assessment and revision of your work. Classes will include lectures, discussions, in-class activities, and peer review workshops.This class is also designed to help nonnative English speakers improve accuracy and fluency in academic and applied writing in the environmental sciences; it is strongly encouraged for all incoming international students.
In this intensive course, students will study, prepare and practice presentation skills with a focus on project defenses, presenting posters and research, and presentations for job interviews. Lectures will focus on clearly and effectively communicating quantitative and qualitative information to specific audiences. Emphases will be on visual presentation (e.g. slide formatting, clear presentation of quantitative information, etc.) and verbal communication (pacing, clarity, volume, tone, etc.), which students will hone during practice presentations and mock question/answer sessions in weekly discussions. Students will have multiple opportunities to practice and receive feedback on presentations for group projects, defenses, professional conferences, and job interviews.
This course will focus on basic principles for effective communication through data visualization for environmental science and management. Effective visualizations can communicate complex environmental ideas and solutions that can be difficult or inefficient to relay in words. By presenting relevant data in the form of a chart, infographic, or other visualization, environmental scientists and managers can highlight the relevance of empirical evidence in decision-making processes. Students who complete the course will deepen their understanding of how people perceive and interpret graphical representations, and will learn about information visualization frameworks they can apply to design intuitive and impactful data visualizations. Beyond effective visualization design, we will explore ‘storytelling with data’ -- integration of visual elements and text in a way that is clear, concise and engaging. Assignments will involve applying such frameworks and concepts in critique of existing visualizations, and in creation of data visualizations using popular software packages.
Successful environmental communication is not just about getting the facts right. Before tackling an issue, it's critical to consider the intended audiences and their values and attitudes--and to use effective storytelling to reach them. To learn to message effectively, students will study the theory behind persuasion and decision-making, including how reason, emotion, and social influence work, and practice writing for a diversity of audiences, including the general public, policymakers, and funders. Students will also learn how to develop compelling stories from good ideas, using conflict, drama, and character, and gain an understanding of the complex media environment in which their messages compete for attention.
This course is designed to give students the basic skills needed to conceptualize, capture, edit, and deliver short-form video content with an environmental theme. Industry standards of cinematography, sound, lighting, and digital editing are covered. Through lectures and practical demonstrations of production equipment and techniques, students will gain an introductory understanding of video production.
Reviews the role and effectiveness of grassroots environmental efforts on local, statewide, and national scales. Students will explore organizing strategies and tactics based on various theories of change, addressing topics such as community outreach and collaboration, policy campaigning and more.
Students will learn about and use different social media tools to engage and activate social networks to generate environmental awareness and action.
This capstone course will give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and communication skills in a practical setting. Working in teams with diverse skills, students will develop and implement their own information campaign in association with an environmental firm, organization, local or regional government, or other institution. Students may choose to use the environmental issue(s) explored in their Group Project or Eco-Entrepreneurship Project, or another topic.
Independent study under the supervision of a Bren School faculty member (a faculty member from another department cannot supervise an ESM 596 course). Registration requires an ESM 596 Petition approved and signed by the supervising faculty member and the Assistant Dean before the start of the quarter. No petitions will be accepted after the 3rd week of the quarter. The ESM 596 Petition can be found on the Bren School website on the Class Schedule page. Registration in ESM 596 requires an “instructor code” that can be found on the Bren School website on the instructor's individual page. ESM 596 may be taken for a letter grade or S/U (as agreed upon by the instructor and the student). ESM 596 is a variable unit course; MESM students may apply a maximum of 4 units of ESM 596 towards their MESM degree requirements.