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Energy and Climate

Specialization Advisor(s) 

Anthropogenic climate change has been called "the great moral challenge of our century," and greenhouse gases emitted by consumption of fossil fuels have been found to be the primary cause. Mitigating or adapting to climate change requires fundamental transformation of humanity's systems of energy production and consumption.

There is a pressing need for professionals who think holistically about, and develop integrated solutions to, the profound social, economic, and technological problems of this transformation. 

Energy and Climate (EC) students in the Master of Environmental Science and Management program develop key knowledge and skills needed to understand economics, policy instruments, and technological and non-technological aspects of climate change, where intimate understanding of energy systems plays a crucial role. EC students understand and identify complex connections between the Earth's climate and technological systems including energy production and consumption. Students also learn to effectively anticipate, evaluate, and help craft responses to environmental impacts of climate change.

Polar bear rests on floating ice


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. 


EC Specialization Courses (12 units required)

ESM 229  Economics and Policy of Climate Change (4 units)
ESM 237  Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (4 units)
ESM 239  Advanced Climate Science for Policy Makers (4 units)*
ESM 287 Energy Demand Analysis (4 units)
ESM 288  Energy, Technology and the Environment (4 units)
ESM 293  Advanced Special Topics in Climate and Energy (1-2 units)

Technical Skills (8 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 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 257  Coastal Ocean Policy and Management (4 units)
ESM 277  International Environmental Law (2 units)*
ESM 278  Natural Resources Law and Policy (2 units)*

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)

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 fill in relevant science course from other UCSB department

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

ENVS 193GB  Green Building Design & Operations (4 units)

Internship Opportunities

Students gain experience in an industry or sector relevant to career goals through a summer internship. EC students have taken internships with a wide variety of organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Madison Energy and Gas, The World Bank Group, The Wildlife Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Earthwatch Institute, Pacific Gas & Electric, Catalina Island Conservancy, 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. 

Institute for Energy Efficiency

Energy and Climate (EC) students should take advantage of the opportunities provided by UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE). The Institute presents the Energy Leadership Lecture Series, which is open to the public and features prominent leaders in energy efficiency and related fields. In addition, the Institute hosts the Santa Barbara Summit on Energy Efficiency, an annual event that brings together stakeholders in efficiency technologies, facilitating growth and collaboration across the sectors.

Student presents his research poster to a woman

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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