Academic Programs

As an institution of higher education, UCLA recognizes its obligation to prepare students to be global citizens equipped with the knowledge and tools to tackle the complex challenges of sustainability. Below you will find a list of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs in sustainability.

Undergraduate Programs

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Major: The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) offers this B.S. degree program which is designed to be a very flexible program leading to a wide variety of career options, including graduate study in atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences/Mathematics B.S. (capstone major): This undergraduate interdepartmental program combines courses from the Mathematics and AOS departments. This program is designed to provide rigorous mathematical training with a comprehensive background in topics relevant to atmospheric, oceanic and environmental sciences. The program is intended to provide particularly good preparation for graduate studies in a streamlined course of study.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Minor: The minor program offered through AOS provides a formal vehicle for students specializing in other science fields to pursue interests in the atmospheric and oceanic environment. It is designed to be flexible, recognizing that many topics in this field cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Climate Science Major: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing this generation. Students trained in the scientific basis for climate change and estimates of climate risk will form part of the solution. The Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences’ new Climate Science major will provide students with the scientific understanding they need to assess climate impacts from both human-induced climate change and natural climate variability, as well as finding solutions to manage and mitigate them. It will also provide understanding of the climate system needed to communicate climate information to decision-makers in the public sector, private sector and nongovernmental organizations

Environmental Science Major: The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES), together with the Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Earth and Space Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Health Sciences and Geography, offer an undergraduate major in Environmental Science. This B.S. degree program offers both disciplinary breadth and depth and includes a solid foundation of natural sciences and upper division coursework in nine different departments that focus on understanding environmental issues across earth, atmospheric, life, and social sciences. In addition, students must complete a disciplinary minor which provides in-depth knowledge in one of eight environmental science areas, each associated with a particular UCLA department.

Earth and Environmental Science Major: The B.A. degree program in the Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Science is intended to provide a broad background in Earth sciences that is especially appropriate for students intending to become K through 12 teachers in Earth, physical, or life sciences. It may also be of interest to students who plan careers in environmental sciences, law, government, business, journalism, public health, medicine, or dentistry.

Environmental Systems and Society Minor: This IoES minor is designed for undergraduate students who wish to augment their major program of study with courses addressing the relationships between environmental science and associated social and political issues. The minor seeks to impart a deeper understanding of environmental systems related to air, land, water and biological resources. A main goal of the program is to provide students with a foundation for sound decision making as a professional and a citizen.

Conservation Biology Minor: The Conservation Biology minor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is designed to augment a student’s major program of study with courses addressing issues central to the conservation and sustainability of biodiversity and natural ecosystem processes. The minor seeks to provide students with a greater depth of experience and understanding of the role that science can play in developing conservation policy.

Geography/Environmental Studies Major and Minor: Intended to develop and deepen a student’s understanding of environmental issues, the Geography/ Environmental Studies degree program emphasizes a systems approach to gaining an understanding of major environmental problems facing our society and the world at large. Students gain an understanding of geographical perspectives of human impacts on natural systems, and on the implications of environmental change on local, regional and global human systems.

Sustainability Action Research (SAR): A student-initiated, student-designed, and student-facilitated program offered for credit through the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability.  In the winter/spring, students participate in teams where they are partnered with a stakeholder to research, rethink, investigate, and tackle UCLA’s greatest sustainability issues.

Sustainability Talks: In the fall, students participate in a lecture series with professionals, academics, and activists in sustainable fields.

Graduate and Professional Programs

Leaders in Sustainability Certificate Program: The IoES together with the UCLA Anderson School of Business offer graduate level sustainability education through the Leaders in Sustainability Certificate Program. This program, beginning its second year, enables graduate students from any area on campus to reach out beyond their departmental studies to incorporate interdisciplinary sustainability courses and sustainability-focused community research into their graduate education.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences – Atmospheric Dynamics & Climate: The AOS department offers a research area in Atmospheric Dynamics & Climate as part of the Ph.D. program. The program addresses the challenge of a wide variety of problems of compelling scientific interest and increasing social relevance including climate change, greenhouse warming, air pollution, and the ozone layer.

Clean Energy for Green Industry (Clean Green) IGERT: IGERT is designed to train U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers for leadership roles in the clean energy sector–university-industry-government. Emphasis is placed on economic expansion through transformational research, new business, highly trained workforce development, equity and inclusion.  The Clean-Green IGERT addresses the urgent societal challenge of meeting increasing energy needs without further negatively affecting the environment.

Environmental Science and Engineering Program (ES&E): The ES&E program is a professional doctorate program that provides students the scientific, engineering, and policy skills to translate their research into effective environmental action. The ES&E program uses an interdisciplinary approach to develop leaders in environmental science and policy.

Environmental and Sustainability PhD Program: Our Environment and Sustainability Ph.D. equips students with diverse perspectives to develop profound new ideas, knowledge and answers to the most important concerns facing people and the planet. The program provides a deep understanding of how fundamental principles of environmental science and sustainability can be applied to research and address key environmental challenges that require skills in multiple disciplines—preparing students for a range of careers in academia, as well as public and private sectors.

Environmental Health Sciences: The EHS department, in the School of Public Health offers M.P.H., M.S. and Ph.D. and Dr. P.H. degree programs that explore the relationship between human health and the environment. The program addresses health issues in the workplace and the exposure of ordinary citizens to environmental agents as they move through the many microenvironments of everyday life.

Public Policy – Environmental and Natural Resource Policy: The Department of Public Policy offers a specialization in Environmental and Resource Policy as part of the Masters in Public Policy professional degree program. Students gain knowledge critical for writing laws and regulations, creating new domestic or international institutions, supervising environmental organizations, and operating environmental protection programs and resource management efforts.

Urban Planning – Climate, Environment & Society: The Department of Urban Planning has Climate, Environment & Society (CES) as one area of concentration offered for the Masters of Arts in Urban Planning program. The CES courses provide students with a conceptual understanding of the nature, magnitude and causes of environmental processes and problems; the environmental impacts of housing, employment and transportation; environmental and sustainability policy and planning approaches; strategies to redress the unequal distribution of environmental burdens and benefits generated by government programs; and a set of professional skills useful for effective practice.

Wells Environmental Law Clinic: The Clinic offers excellent opportunities for law students to obtain hands on experience in environmental law. Working with many nonprofit and government agency partners, the clinic has been very successful at training environmental lawyers while helping to protect the environment. Students who take the six-unit environmental law clinical course work on large and small cases, involving both federal and state law.

Continuing Education Programs

UCLA Extension Sustainability Certificate Program: UCLA Extension, the oldest and largest continuing education institution in the nation, offers a comprehensive certificate in sustainability. The development of the Global Sustainability Certificate at UCLA Extension is in direct response to an identified need for a multi-disciplinary and dynamic educational experience related to the environmental challenges we are facing internationally. The intent is to examine topics of sustainability from a holistic approach, looking at inter-relationships, not singularly. The program is designed for those interested in exploring the dynamic field of environmental sustainability, those needing to stay up-to-date in their current position, or for individuals who want knowledge and skills to be better global citizens. Upon completion of this multidisciplinary certificate, participants will have a general understanding of environmental sustainability issues that encompass the planet; the challenging and often competing interests internationally between businesses, regulatory, social and technological efforts; and the approaches that different cultures take to address and integrate short and long term policy, practice and innovation.