Area of Focus
  • Environmental Science & Sustainability
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
Academic Division
  • Social Sciences
  • Environmental Studies

Program overview

The central academic objective of this major is to provide students with a depth of expertise in interdisciplinary knowledge and skills related to agroecology and sustainable food systems. UCSC students pursuing this major will gain knowledge and skills in multiple disciplines and an increased understanding of complex agricultural and food systems.

Agroecology programs

Learning Experience

Students in the Agroecology major will learn about ecological concepts (including soil and water processes, microbial ecology, plant physiology, aquaculture, competition, population growth, predator-prey interactions, mutualisms, and ecosystem services) that can be applied to the development of sustainable agricultural systems. Students will develop their understanding of social, political, and economic aspects of agriculture (including traditional agriculture, agricultural policy and development, social theory, history, sustainable farm management, markets, food justice, local food system experiences, and harvested food systems). Students will also engage in hands-on experiences, and obtain skills in research, fieldwork, production, and communication in order to achieve multiple sustainability goals in complex, social-ecological food systems.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A. in Agroecology
  • As a complement to classroom instruction and research, many courses have field components. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in faculty-directed research on specific problems. The Environmental Studies Internship Program offers a variety of opportunities for internship placements. Students completed over 615 internships in 2022-23.

The Center for Agroecology is a research, education, and public service program at UC Santa Cruz.

The Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History supports natural history education and research opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the greater Santa Cruz community.

The Center for Integrated Spatial Research (CISR) is the central facility for spatially focused research and training at UC Santa Cruz.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

Though it is recommended for high school students planning to major in an Environmental Studies Department major to obtain a background in English, biology, chemistry, and social sciences, and quantitative and writing skills, no special preparation is needed other than the courses required for UC admission. AP scores for calculus may apply to the prerequisites.

Student on a field examining a bunch of chard

Transfer Requirements

This is a screening major. Transfer students must fulfill the lower-division requirements for the major by completing equivalent courses at another recognized institution before transferring to UC Santa Cruz. Please find more information on the specific courses needed at the Environmental Studies Transfer Student Advising website. Major requirements, including the upper-division program, can be found at this link.

Student working in one of UCSC's organic gardens

Internships and Career Opportunities

  • Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary
  • Conservation Scientists
  • Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers
  • First-Line Supervisors of Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Workers
  • Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary
  • Soil and Plant Scientists

Program Contact



apartment 405 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building (ISB)
email envsadvi@ucsc.edul
phone (831) 459-5004