Environmental Science B.S.

College of Letters and Science

About the Major

The Environmental Science BS program represents strong collaboration between the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Environmental Health Sciences; and Geography. The program is designed for students who are deeply interested in the study of environmental science. There are two components to the program, and both must be completed to receive the degree. The first component, the Environmental Science major, requires completion of lower-division requirements grounded in basic natural sciences, a five-course upper-division environmental science requirement reflecting the disciplinary breadth of environmental science, three social sciences/humanities courses, participation in a sustainability-focused speaker series, and completion of an environmental science practicum. The second component is a minor or concentration in one of seven environmental science areas, each associated with a particular department. With assistance from IoES staff, students must formally apply to and be accepted by the associated department to receive the minor.


Institute of the Environment and Sustainability in the General Catalog
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability website

Contact Information

Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
La Kretz Hall, Suite 300
Box 951496

Choosing Your Course of Study at UCLA

Making the Right Decision

One of the most important decisions you will make in college is your choice of major — the field of study that represents your principal interest and that will likely contribute to your career goals. Some students select their major at the time they fill out the University’s application for admission, although a far greater number are undecided about their major.

Students in the College of Letters and Science do not need to declare their major in their freshman year. In fact, you can be an “undeclared major” until the end of your sophomore year, which is particularly advantageous if you are not certain of your specific academic goals. It is wise to wait and explore the diversity of subject areas offered at UCLA through taking introductory courses in a variety of disciplines. It would not be unusual for you to become enthusiastic about disciplines previously unfamiliar to you. With careful planning, these courses may also apply toward fulfilling your university and college requirements.

To narrow your choice of study, carefully consider the general college requirements, the description of courses offered in the major, and the departmental requirements for completing the program of study. Look at the books required for each course. Sit in on a few classes and talk with professors during their office hours. Discuss interests and plans with a departmental counselor or faculty adviser, a college counselor, or advisers in the UCLA Career Center.

Certain majors, especially in the arts, engineering, the sciences, and theater, film, or television require early declaration. Some have enrollment quotas and allow application by new majors only during a specified term. Students should check with the departmental adviser for the majors that interest them.

In addition, UCLA undergraduate students are limited to between 208 and 216 quarter units, depending on the college or school, to complete the academic program and fulfill all degree requirements. So, if you wait to declare a major, you should not wait too long. In any case, you must declare your major by the beginning of your junior year (90 quarter units).

When you are ready to declare your major, you should obtain a Petition for Change of Major from your college or school office.