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Environmental Studies

[ courses | faculty ]

2126 Humanities and Social Sciences Building
Muir College
(858) 534-3580

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.

Minor in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies minor offers students from every major a basic grounding in the scientific, technical, social, and cultural issues presented by the interaction of human beings with their environment and the need to build a more environmentally sustainable future.

The two required courses, ENVR 30 and ENVR 110, have no prerequisites. Some of the other courses related to the minor, particularly those in Group A, have significant prerequisites; students planning an Environmental Studies minor should check catalog course descriptions carefully. Some credit toward the minor may be gained through independent study, field research, study abroad, the Academic Internship Program, and others. Students must petition such academic experiences toward their Environmental Studies minor requirements. Petitions for petitionable courses, transfer courses, and individual additions to the courses listed below must be approved by the chair of the Environmental Studies Steering Committee. For updates, individual advising, and quarterly lists, please contact

Applicable and Petitionable Courses

Environmentally-based courses offered by UC San Diego departments fall into two categories: applicable and petitionable. Applicable courses are those that have been approved as always applying to the ENVR minor. Petitionable courses are either new, and therefore not yet approved as applicable, or are “topics” courses that focus on environmental matters only in particular quarters. Petitionable courses may be approved by petition to the minor during the quarters in which they appear in the ENVR quarterly lists.

Quarterly Lists

Each quarter, when the upcoming quarter’s Schedule of Classes is published, the Environmental Studies quarterly list is available in H&SS 2126 and on the website. The quarterly list is an important, comprehensive source of information about ENVR course offerings as well as those from departments throughout the campus. It identifies applicable as well as petitionable courses for a given quarter. For reference, the office and the website maintain archives of quarterly lists.

The minor is structured as follows:


  • ENVR 30, usually offered in the fall quarter.
  • ENVR 110, usually offered in the winter quarter (need not be taken consecutively).


  • Five additional courses, at least four in the upper division, from the following two groups. At least one course must be taken from Group A and two from Group B.
Group A—Natural Sciences

BILD 3. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

BIEB 121. General Ecology Laboratory

BIEB 131. Marine Invertebrate Ecology Laboratory

BIEB 140. Biodiversity

BIEB 165. Behavioral Ecology Laboratory

BIEB 166. Animal Behavior and Communication

BIEB 176. Conservation and the Human Predicament (cross-listed with ANBI 132)

CHEM 15. Chemistry of the Universe

CHEM 171. Environmental Chemistry I

CHEM 172. Environmental Chemistry II

CHEM 173. Atmospheric Chemistry

ENVR 102. Selected Topics in Environmental Studies (when taught from a natural sciences perspective)

ENVR 101. The Living Earth

ENVR 105. Conservation Solutions

ENVR 120. Coastal Ecology

ESYS 101. Environmental Biology

ESYS 103. Environmental Challenges: Science and Solutions

ESYS 120. Science and Environmental Writing

MAE 118A. Energy: Nonnuclear Energy Technologies

PHYS 12. Energy and the Environment

SIO 10. The Earth

SIO 12. History of Earth and Evolution

SIO 15. Natural Disasters

SIO 16. Geology of National Parks

SIO 20. The Atmosphere

SIO 30. The Oceans

SIO 35. Water

SIO 110. Introduction to GIS and GPS for Scientists

SIO 132. Introduction to Marine Biology

SIO 134. Introduction to Biological Oceanography

STPA 35. Society and the Sea

Group B—Social Sciences/Humanities

ANAR 108. Archaeology of the UC San Diego Campus

ANAR 182. Origins of Agriculture and Sedentism

ANBI 132. Conservation and the Human Predicament (cross-listed with BIEB 176)

ANSC 160. Nature, Culture and Environmentalism Communication

COMM 171. Environmental Communication

ECON 131. Economics of the Environment

ECON 132. Energy Economics

ECON 145. Economics of Ocean Resources

ENVR 102. Selected Topics in Environmental Studies (when taught from a humanities/social sciences perspective)

ENVR 105. Conservation Solutions

ENVR 140. Wilderness and Human Values

ENVR 142GS. Wilderness and Human Values Abroad

ETHN 103. Environmental Racism

HIUS 154. Western Environmental History

GPS 458. International Environmental Policy and Politics

GPS 459. Conflict Resolution of Environmental Issues

PHIL 148. Philosophy and the Environment

PHIL 164. Technology and Human Values

POLI 104E. Environmental Law and Policy

POLI 125A. Communities and the Environment

POLI 162. Environmental Policy

SOCI 149. Sociology of the Environment

USP 2. Urban World System

USP 124. Land Use Planning

USP 144. Environmental and Preventive Health Issues

USP 171. Sustainable Development