Study Abroad for Environmental Studies Majors

Explore the Global Environment!

A variety of environmental problems now affect our entire planet. As globalization continues and the earth’s natural processes transform local problems into international ones, no societies are untouched by major environmental problems.

UCSB’s Environmental Studies Program strongly encourages its students to consider completing some portion of their undergraduate study through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) or similar “off-campus” studies program. An opportunity to study in a foreign university not only offers an international dimension to an undergraduate education, but can deepen a student’s understanding of the causes and effects of today’s environmental problems on a global scale.

Why study abroad?

Each year dozens of Environmental Studies (ES) majors study abroad. With careful academic planning, ES majors can have an experience of a lifetime studying in a foreign university with no loss of time in completing their degrees. Develop a global understanding of the structure and dynamics of complex environmental systems and enhance your future career through classroom, laboratory and field experiences that are unique to the country and region in which you study.

Where should I study abroad?

UC’s Education Abroad Program provides students opportunities to study environmental problems and issues in over 40 countries located on six different continents. There are over 20 different countries with host universities that have environmental studies programs or departments. Additional countries offer a variety of environmental courses through more “traditional” academic departments such as biology, sociology, geography, and anthropology. And with the option for students to satisfy your “outside concentration” requirement by taking units from any single, non-environmental, department or program, ES majors have a world of choices.

See this web page for a list and links to EAP programs particularly for environmental studies and biology.

When should I study abroad?

ES majors should complete their lower-division preparation courses at UCSB before leaving to study abroad during the academic year. Summer programs are popular for students with sophomore standing.

Transfer students are eligible to participate as early as their first quarter at UCSB. For more information, visit the EAP web site.

What classes should I take?

ES majors are encouraged to complete some of their major requirements abroad.

B.A. and B.S. ES majors, the maximum UCEAP units allowed for each area is:

Area A (required courses) = 4 units. Course must cover 75%+ of content of the UCSB course.

Area B (electives) = 12 units.

B.A. majors: One of the following conditions are met:

  • Content and description is similar to an existing UCSB ES elective,
  • Course is offered from an environmental studies or science department/program,
  • Course title contains the word “environment” or “sustainability,” or
  • Course studies how humans interact with their physical or natural environment.

B.S. majors: course must integrate a significant amount of physical or natural science concepts while addressing an environmental topic.

Area C (outside concentration) = up to the entire 16 (B.S.) or 20 (B.A.) units required using ONE of two options:

  1. Single department option: All upper-division, letter graded units from any ONE UCEAP department or program (B.S. majors must pursue science departments), or
  2. Interdisciplinary emphasis: 16-20 upper-division units from more than one department or program to create a concentration of study that forms a coherent emphasis.

Students may combine units from UCSB and abroad to meet one of these two requirements.

Hydro majors:

Area A (required courses) = 8 units. Course must cover 75%+ of content of the UCSB course.

Area B (required for emphasis) = 4 to 8 units. Course(s) must cover 75%+ of content of the UCSB course.

Area C (electives for emphasis) = 8 to 12 units as long as you can justify the course is either similar to one of the existing electives or covers a unique topic within in the designated discipline.

EAP students automatically earn UC credit for the work they complete abroad. However, application of credit to major requirements is subject to the discretion of the department and approval of the college.

Petitioning to use abroad units to satisfy ES or HYDRO major requirements must be done after the courses have been completed, transferred to UCSB, and posted to one’s Course History.

Only upper-division courses taken for a letter grade may be applied towards upper-division major requirements – no exceptions! Often abroad course titles do not clearly describe what the course is about. Be sure to retain all descriptions and syllabi for courses taken as they can be helpful justification when turning in your petition.

EAP students automatically earn UC credit for the work they complete abroad. However, application of credit to major requirements is subject to the discretion of the department and approval of the college.

Keep in mind that students in the College of Letters and Science must complete at least 20 units of upper-division major coursework (or 12 upper-division minor units) in residence at UCSB along with other residence requirements. Consult an advisor in the College of Letters & Science for more information.

Next Steps

  • Stop by the UCSB EAP office at 2431 South Hall.
  • Go the UCSB EAP website, Getting Started.
  • Consult the UCEAP website, eap.ucop.edu, for program details. 
  • Email the ES Advisor to setup an appointment to discuss your study abroad plans: zimmerman@es.ucsb.edu. Provide at least two days/times during office hours (M-F: 9-12 and 1-4) that work for you. You may also try to drop by during open office hours.

Department of Environmental Studies
4312 Bren Hall, Rm. 4312 
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4160
Phone: (805) 893-2968
email: esinfo@es.ucsb.edu
es.ucsb.edu

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