Program Overview

The Earth System Science (B.S.) program provides students with a fundamental understanding of the oceanographic, atmospheric, and terrestrial sciences. This program of study prepares students for careers in science, research, or technical fields. Students learn to apply basic sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology) to understand the major processes and systems governing the Earth’s climate, biogeochemical cycles, and global change. Central to the Earth System Science (B.S.) program is an understanding of relevant scientific literature, methods to collect/analyze data, and interpret results in the context of scientific theory. Students will learn to work collaboratively to understand and address complex problems and communicate scientific knowledge.

Through the core course work, students will learn to explain the current and projected future state of the Earth system in the context of past climate change and current human activities. Once the core course work is complete, students are encouraged to focus on a particular area within Earth System Science and to choose electives that build a coherent core of knowledge.

Program Highlights

  • Scientific aspects of environmental problems

  • Prepares students for graduate studies or careers in science, research, or technical fields

  • Classes in Earth system science, weather and climate, oceanography, hydrology, and ecology

  • Research opportunities available

Degree Requirements:

For the complete list of the B.S. in Earth System Science degree requirements, please see the Course Catalogue. 


Focus areas include but are not limited to climatology, biogeochemical cycles, oceanography, hydrology, terrestrial sciences, and atmospheric sciences. Optional specializations are available in Atmospheric Science, Hydrology and Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Oceanography. For a complete list of specializations requirements, please see the Course Catalogue

Concentration in Geosciences Education with Secondary Teaching Certification:

This concentration allows students pursuing the B.S. in Earth System Science to earn a bachelor's degree and complete the required course work and field experience for a California Preliminary Single Subject Teaching Credential at the same time. For additional information about teacher certification requirements and enrollment procedures, visit the Cal Teach website. Interested students are strongly encouraged to contact the Cal Teach Resource and Advising Center or the Physical Sciences Student Affairs Office.

Additional Information:

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