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Coastal Marine Resources Management

Specialization Advisor(s)

Coastal marine ecosystems include sandy beaches, estuaries, kelp forests, rocky reefs, coral reefs, high seas, polar environments, associated organisms and people. Sustaining these ecosystems is critical to ocean health, while also supporting human society.

Economies depend on functioning marine ecosystems, and sustainable management of coastal marine ecosystems supports many industries, including fisheries, energy production, mining, trade, tourism, recreation, and more.

In the Master of Environmental Science and Management program at Bren, Coastal Marine Resources Management students will gain an understanding of marine science, environmental policy and law, conservation, aquaculture, fisheries, and the institutions that manage marine resources. Students will be able to apply their knowledge to management, restoration, and conservation of ocean ecosystems.

Fish swimming among kelp

Students also gain practical skills in field impact assessment, economics, decision-making, and communication strategy, as well as technical skills such as geographic information systems (GIS), advanced data analysis, population modeling, and life cycle assessment. Students can choose to expand upon this strong foundation with advanced topics in climate change science, toxicology, pollution prevention, energy and technology, environmental negotiation, financial management, among other topics. Students also have the opportunity to participate in research directed by Bren faculty.


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. 


CMRM Specialization Courses (12 units required)

ESM 257 Coastal Marine Policy and Management (4 units) 
ESM 260 Applied Marine Ecology (4 units) 

One oceanography course (4 units):
ESM 254 Coastal Marine Ecosystem Processes (4 units)
EEMB 243 Biological Oceanography (3 units)
EARTH 266 Chemical Oceanography (4 units)
EARTH 276 Geological Oceanography (4 units)
GEOG 263 Intro to Physical Oceanography (4 units)

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 262 Computing for Environmental Science and Management (2 units)
ESM 263 Geographic Information Systems (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)
ESM 284 Sustainable Product Development (4 units)
ESM 287 Energy Demand Analysis (4 units)

Environmental Economics, Policy and Law (4 units required)

ESM 225 Water Policy (4 units)
ESM 229 Economics and Policy of Climate Change (4 units)
ESM 242 Natural Resource Economics (4 units)
ESM 243 Environmental Policy Analysis (4 units)
ESM 245 Cost Benefit Analysis (4 units)
ESM 248 Environmental Institutions (4 units)
ESM 277 International Environmental Law (2 units)*
ESM 278 Natural Resources Law and Policy (2 units)*

Additional Science (recommended)

ESM 211 Applied Population Ecology (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 Pollution Risk Management (4 units)
ESM 224 Sustainable Water Resources 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 282 Pollution Prevention (4 units)
ESM 288 Energy, Technology and the Environment (4 units)
Or 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 284 Sustainable Product Development (4 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

Students should consult the respective departments for availability and registration information.

EARTH 266 Chemical Oceanography
EARTH 276 Geological Oceanography
EEMB 142A Aquatic Communities
EEMB 243 Biological Oceanography
EEMB 279 Modeling Environmental and Ecological Change 
GEOG 263 Intro to Physical Oceanography

Internship Opportunities

Students gain experience in an industry or sector relevant to career goals through a summer internship. CMRM students have taken internships with a wide variety of organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Bureau of Land Management, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Parks Services, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 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. Explore faculty research specializations.

Student on paddle board tending to coral reef

Are you ready to solve environmental problems?

Request more information, sign up for an admissions webinar, or start your application today.

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