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Environmental Systems Major

This interdisciplinary program recognizes that local, national, regional, international, and global environmental problems do not fit neatly into traditional academic departments. A measurable part of society’s inability to effectively manage complex environmental problems stems from the lack of specialists who can apply analytical tools that cross disciplinary boundaries. Many environmental specialists possess little training in the natural sciences including both the fundamental ideas and methodologies of the earth and environmental sciences. The Environmental Systems (ESYS) major was created to address both of these shortcomings.


The requirements for completion of the Environmental Systems major include a lower-division core, two upper-division courses, a three-course upper-division integrating sequence (ESYS 101, ESYS 102, ESYS 103), an upper-division statistics course, advanced courses in one of four tracks, and the senior project (ESYS 190A) and senior seminar (ESYS 190B). Any questions concerning the requirements should be directed to the Faculty Director or the program advisors. Students completing the advanced tracks in “Earth Sciences,” “Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution,” and “Environmental Chemistry” will be awarded a B.S. in environmental systems. The B.A. In environmental systems will be granted to students completing the “Environmental Policy” track within the major.

A grade-point average of 2.0 or higher in the upper-division major program is required for graduation. Students must receive a grade of C– or better in any course to be counted toward fulfillment of the major requirements. In exceptional cases, students with a grade-point average in the major of 2.5 or greater may petition to have one grade of D accepted.  All courses must be taken for Letter Grade (except ESYS 190A). Links to printable degree checklists are below.  

If you are interested in transferring into UC San Diego as an Environmental Systems (ESYS) major, please see our ESYS Transfer Student Information.  

NOTE: The requirements for the ESYS major were updated in Fall 2017.  If you entered UC San Diego prior to Fall 2017, your major requirements might be different than those found below.  Contact an ESYS advisor if you are unclear of your specific major requirements.

Lower-Division Core Requirements

Upper-Division Core Requirements

Environmental Systems Major Tracks

There are four advanced tracks in which students must complete upper-division course work.