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Environmental Science and Policy

College of Liberal Arts

CSULB students walk on campus

Directors: Stanley C. Finney, Darwin C. Hall

Department Office: SS/PA 340
Telephone: 562-985-8097; Fax: 562-985-5352
Email: prog–

Faculty: Richard J. Behl (Geological Sciences) Stuart R. Berryhill (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Esteban Fernandez-Juricic (Biological Sciences), Stanley C. Finney (Geological Sciences), Darwin C. Hall (Economics), Gregory J. Holk (Geological Sciences), Daniel O. Larson (Anthropology), Wade E. Martin (Economics), Andrew Z. Mason (Biological Sciences), Xuemei Liu (Economics), Christine M. Rodrigue (Geography), Suzanne P. Wechsler (Geography)

Career Possibilities

Environmental Analyst • Teacher • Ecologist • Geochemist • Environmental Impact Report Writer • Community Development Specialist • Urban Planner • Mass Media (Journalism, Radio, Television) • Environmental Advocate • Consultant • Public Relations • Public Policy Administrator • Environmental Law • Environmental Health • Environmental Economics • Environmental Toxicology • Eco-friendly Business (Some of these, and other careers, require additional education or experience. For more information, see


The Environmental Science and Policy degree program is jointly housed in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, reflecting its inherent interdisciplinary nature.

Today’s environmental problems call for people who are educated in more than one discipline, highly trained in technical skills, and aware of the political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental decisions.

The B.A. and B.S. degrees in Environmental Science and Policy provide solid training in basic physical, biological, and social sciences, and also address the human involvement in environmental issues. This curriculum prepares students for professional careers in Environmental Science and Policy and for subsequent graduate study in M.A., M.S., Ph.D., and law degree programs.

In the narrowest sense, environmental science is the study of the impact of human systems on physical and biological systems, and the dependence on natural resources by human systems. In a broader sense, environmental science is the study of the interaction and co-evolution of human, physical, and biological systems. Natural science is the study of physical and biological systems. Social science is the study of human systems – economic systems, political systems, human perceptions, and human interactions. Environmental science requires knowledge of both natural and social science. Environmental policy is concerned with the most effective means of intervening to alter the pathways among which natural and human systems co-evolve. Effective intervention considers benefits and costs, uncertainties and risks, limits of knowledge, and presupposes the purposes of intervention, and the values from which the purposes are derived. The purpose of environmental science and policy is to design, evaluate, and implement policies that alter the impact of human systems on physical and biological systems, and the pathways by which natural and human systems co-evolve.

Both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees are offered, as well as a minor. Most required courses are those offered in related disciplines in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Liberal Arts. The curriculum fosters cross-disciplinary communication in the required courses common to both degree programs, and particularly in the Environmental Science and Policy courses (ES P 200, 300I, 400).

The mix of required courses includes natural and social sciences in both degree programs, while emphasizing natural sciences in the B.S. program and emphasizing social sciences in the B.A. program. Elective courses in the B.S. program enhance the students’ knowledge in natural sciences and quantitative/computer skills in the social sciences. Elective courses in the B.A. program emphasize applications of social science to environmental issues and policy, while permitting students to further develop their knowledge of natural sciences. The curricula of the two degrees are designed to encourage and facilitate students pursuing double majors or minors with departments in natural or social science.

Career Paths

The Directors together with the Faculty are responsible for advising majors in the Environmental Science and Policy program. Majors are assigned to appropriate advisors during their first semester in the program and are encouraged to consult with their advisor every semester. Students will be advised to select elective courses to develop areas of interest and to further their career objectives.

B.S. Degree: We advise majors to jointly major or minor in anthropology, biology, chemistry, earth science, ecology, economics, geography, geology, microbiology, or political science. The B.S. degree requires an advanced level of understanding of earth systems, living systems, and the role and effect of chemicals in natural systems. Graduates are trained for entry positions in industry and government that require a high degree of specialization in technical analyses in natural sciences, or quantitative and computer methods in social sciences. Graduates with the B.S. degree with a track in natural sciences will be qualified for graduate programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) in biological sciences, geology or chemistry, at most universities in the country.

Graduates with the B.S. degree with a social science track are qualified to apply for the M.S. program in Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA, and subsequently the interdepartmental doctoral program in Environmental Science and Engineering degree at UCLA; the Ph.D. program in economics and environmental science at UC Santa Barbara; the Ph.D. program in Social Ecology at UC Irvine; and the M.A. and Ph.D. program in Energy and Resources at UC Berkeley.

B.A. Degree: We advise majors to jointly major or minor in anthropology, economics, geography, or political science, pursue the minor in journalism or the option in public relations in journalism, the minor in public administration in political science, or the major or minor in international studies, depending on the student’s career goals and interests. Graduates are especially well prepared for positions in state and local government, private consulting firms, energy companies, news organizations, environmental advocacy groups, consulting firms, and public relations firms. Graduates are prepared to directly enter Ph.D. programs in economics and geography, as well as M.B.A. programs in environmental science and management, M.A. programs in economics or geography, and law school.