Environmental Systems Science, B.S.

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Environmental Systems Science Degree Program

Environmental Systems Science is a major in environmental science that prepares students to understand and solve critical challenges facing our environment, such as climate change, water and soil pollution, conservation of biological diversity and management of natural resources.

Our environmental science degree integrates the study of fundamental physical, chemical and biological processes that shape our environment with practical applications to real-world problems. The major is taught by a highly interdisciplinary group of faculty members. Check out their lab websites to learn more about their research and the courses they teach.


The Environmental Systems Science program offers interdisciplinary and flexible coursework. Core courses in our bachelor’s degree in environmental science provide students with a firm foundation in the fundamentals of chemistry, biology, hydrology, ecology and Earth sciences, while upper-division elective courses allow students the flexibility to pursue a variety of topics related to Earth and environmental systems. These courses emphasize an integrated approach to the discipline, incorporating field studies, laboratory experiments and computations.

What Can You Do With An Environmental Science Degree?

Students pursuing a degree in environmental science will find a diverse variety of opportunities for hands-on preparation into a high demand environmental systems workforce. Environmental science degree jobs, internships, and research experiences can be found with the following UC Merced organizations: Sierra Nevada Research Institute, Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve and Yosemite Leadership Program. The diverse and geographically significant environments that these organizations study are right in UC Merced’s backyard, making its environmental science college an attractive prospect for future students.

Participation and success within these organizations will open up doors to the fulfilling and ethical jobs you can get with an environmental science degree. Careers that include a front seat to the fields of climate change mitigation, the study and protection of endangered species, and managing the world’s sustainability efforts in both the production and consumption of natural resources.

What Can You Do With An Environmental Science Major After Graduation?

Is environmental science a good major to pursue in order to find rewarding and high caliber employment? If you are someone who finds satisfaction from learning about the interconnectivity of natural systems found in our diverse world, then UC Merced’s bachelor degree in environmental science offers exactly what you are looking for. The list of jobs include:

  • Atmospheric Scientist
    • Operational meteorologists
    • Climatologists
    • Environmental meteorologists
  • Botanist
    • Conduct scientific research on plant life as it relates to agriculture, environmental policy, nutrition, and medicine.
  • Ecologist
    • Study relationship between living organisms and their habitat
  • Geophysicist
    • Scientists who specialize in Earth’s physical properties and work for private companies in engineering and oil industries, environmental protection groups, and governmental geological surveys.
  • Oceanographer
    • Study water, sea life, weather, and climates which help preserve the natural resources of oceans and coastal waters
  • Park Ranger
    • Work for federal or state governments and are responsible for preserving woodlands, forests, and conservatories. 
  • Seismologist
    • Scientists who study earthquakes and planetary activities as well as their effects, such as tsunamis and other natural disasters.

What Can You Do With An Environmental Systems Science Degree?

  •  Annual Job Openings in CA: 2,607
  • 10-year projected job market growth:15.3%
  • Median wage in California: $101,860

Upon graduation, you might become*:

  • Environmental Scientist
  • Environmental Protection Specialist
  • Natural Resources Specialist
  • Soils Technician
  • *Ecologist
  • *Environmental Consultant
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Quality Scientist
  • Park Naturalist
  • *Entomologist

*Careers with * typically require further education and training.