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PhD Courses

All Bren PhD students must complete the following interdisciplinary seminar courses prior to graduation.

ESM 510: Faculty Research Speaker Series
Students attend faculty research presentations and discuss and analyze the research in a separate session under the direction of the course instructor.

ESM 512: Research Ethics and Conduct
This course introduces the ethical principles that apply to scientists to incoming PhD students of the Bren School. We will discuss key concepts and cases in research conduct and research ethics including: (1) Brief history and basic terms and concepts in ethics; (2) Plagiarism and authorship; (3) Falsification and fabrication; (4) Peer-review process; (5) Human subjects & bioethics; (6) Conflict of interest; (7) Policies and protocols to prevent research misconduct; and (8) Miscellaneous ethical issues in the academic environment. We will also review historical cases of research misconduct, and we will analyze recent retraction cases.

ESM 514: Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research
Exploration of a problem oriented-topic (e.g. management of invasive species, fisheries management, climate change and policy responses).


PhD Course Descriptions:

  • ESM 510 PhD Seminar - Faculty Research Speaker Series

    1 unit |  Robert Heilmayr

    Students will learn about interdisciplinary research conducted by Bren School faculty and will be exposed to diverse perspectives about the process of conducting interdisciplinary research. Students will attend research seminars given by four faculty members, read manuscripts or published papers on this research, and have discussions with the faculty members about their approaches to research. Bren PhD students must complete a minimum of 2 quarters of ESM 510 for core requirements, but are encouraged to participate each quarter it is offered.

  • ESM 512 Research Ethics and Conduct

    2 units in Fall units |  Sangwon Suh

    This course introduces the ethical principles that apply to scientists to incoming PhD students of the Bren School. We will discuss key concepts and cases in research conduct and research ethics including: (1) Brief history and basic terms and concepts in ethics; (2) Plagiarism and authorship; (3) Falsification and fabrication; (4) Peer-review process; (5) Human subjects & bioethics; (6) Conflict of interest; (7) Policies and protocols to prevent research misconduct; and (8) Miscellaneous ethical issues in the academic environment. We will also review historical cases of research misconduct, and we will analyze recent retraction cases.

  • ESM 514 Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research

    4 units in Winter and Spring units |  David Tilman, Robert Heilmayr

    Students will learn when and how to conduct interdisciplinary collaborative research by working on a multi-authored research paper that engages different disciplinary perspectives. The co-instructors will contribute their expertise in two or more disciplines (science, management, policy, economics, business, law, etc.) to explore a research question in the field of environmental science. Students will learn and practice techniques for comprehensive literature review, data synthesis and analyses, excellent group writing, oral presentation, peer review, and appropriate referencing.

  • ESM 526 Environmental Politics Workshop

    2 units |  Mark Buntaine, Sarah Anderson

    An interdisciplinary seminar focusing on research at the intersection of political science and public policy as it pertains to environmental issues. The expectation is that students specializing in environmental politics will enroll continuously, with differentiated assignments appropriate to stage in the program. Students will present their own work, comment on the work of others, and engage in professional development activities.

  • ESM 595AA-ZZ Group Studies: PhD Level

    1-4 unit | 

    Seminars in selected fields of Environmental Science & Management. Open only to PhD students. May be repeated for credit with changes in topic.

  • ESM 595AL Sustainable Food Systems Seminar

    1 unit |  Ashley Larsen

    An interdisciplinary seminar focusing on sustainable food systems research from a variety of disciplinary and cross-cutting perspectives. Students will critically read papers prior to the bi-weekly seminar and engage actively with the speaker. Speakers will rotate each meeting of the class and will include UCSB faculty, other UC faculty (remote seminars), and senior PhD students.

  • ESM 595JM Collaborative Research: Grant Writing

    2 units |  John Melack

    The course will include presentations on funding opportunities and proposal development, and preparation and evaluation of a proposal. We will discuss how to write successful proposals, relevant funding sources, proposal review processes, strategies, tips and advice in proposal writing. Everyone will prepare a proposal, e.g., a pre-doctoral or post-doctoral fellowship proposal, a thesis proposal, which will be evaluated, revised and discussed.

  • ESM 596 Directed Readings and Research

    1-12 unit |  Staff

    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 under Class Schedule or on GOLD. 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.

  • ESM 597 Individual Study for Ph.D. Examinations

    1-12 unit |  Staff

    Instructor should be students major professor or chair of the doctoral committee. Instructor approval required to finalize enrollment.

  • ESM 599 Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

    1-12 unit |  Staff

    Instructor should be students major professor or chair of the doctoral committee. Instructor approval required to finalize enrollment.