Master's Group Projects
Master’s Group Projects bring together teams of 4-5 students to solve environmental problems for real clients, including businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations. The Master’s Group Project serves as a master’s thesis (14 units) for students in the Master of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) program.
Through your Master's Group Project, you receive unequaled training and experience in performing professional work that employers value. Students apply scientific and technical expertise to solve complex, multidisciplinary environmental problems. Projects leverage data science and analysis coupled with understanding of environmental science and project management skills. Upon completion, you will emerge with solid professional experience in managing group dynamics, developing and executing strategies, managing stakeholders, engaging in outreach and communications, and formally presenting and writing reports.
Each year, students, faculty, and prospective clients submit proposals for new Master’s Group Projects. Past projects have solved environmental problems in areas such as: apparel industry sustainability, pollution impact on human health, microplastics, marine environment protection, corporate carbon footprint, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, drought resilience, sustainable agriculture in communities, freshwater pollution, food waste streams, electric vehicles, renewable energy impacts, and ecosystem conservation.
Past clients for Master’s Group Projects include: The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Global Fishing Watch, Environmental Protection Agency, Tejon Ranch Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Sanctuary Program, City of Santa Barbara, Google, Disney Corporation, Patagonia, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Honda Corporation, Toyota Corporation, CBS Corporation, General Electric, Southern California Edison, and The Boeing Company, among many others.
- Fall, Year 1: Bren School releases a MESM Request for Proposals.
- Winter, Year 1: New proposals for Master’s Group Projects are submitted by students, faculty and prospective clients. A committee of students, faculty, and staff selects appropriate projects.
- Spring, Year 1: Students join project teams, meet clients, refine project objectives, gather data, review literature, develop a work plan and website, and host a meeting with the client and advisors.
- Fall, Year 2: Students refine project objectives, gather and analyze data, produce deliverables, write an outline of their final paper, and host a meeting with the client and advisors.
- Winter, Year 2: Students present their work for review by faculty and complete their final report and other deliverables.
- Spring, Year 2: Students produce a policy brief and poster and present their findings to the public and complete deliverables for the client.
Take a Closer Look: Master's Projects
Over the years, Bren master's students have made a tremendous impact via their research through Master's Group Projects. Students leave the program with real, transferable experience and an expanded professional network. A handful of our most recent cohort's group projects are featured here. Explore all the current and past MESM projects in the project directory.
Optimal Green Infrastructure: Reducing Stormwater Pollution in Maunalua Bay, O'ahu, Hawai'i
Identifying stormwater areas on land that contribute the greatest amount of runoff in Maunalua Bay, Hawaii to mitigate runoff impacts, improve bay health, and benefit the community.
Exploring Mountain Lion Habitat Connectivity in Central and Southern California
Generating a multi-scale model of habitat connectivity for mountain lions in a California coastal preserve, with the intent to inform future wildlife corridor designs for conservation.
Modeling Land-Use Change for Solar and Conservation on Predicted Retired Farmland in the San Joaquin Valley
Analyzing potential for new solar development on formerly irrigated lands.
Equity & Wildfire Resilience: Recommendations for Inclusive Wildfire Management in Ventura County
Identifying socially vulnerable communities at risk of wildfire and developing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that equitably addresses community needs.
Assessing the Value of Environmental Information for Shellfish Aquaculture Farmers in British Columbia
Identifying locations for new shellfish aquaculture development along British Columbia’s coastline and a geospatial visualization tool for First Nations rights and title holders.