Welcome incoming first years and transfers!

Welcome to the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy! We house two unique majors that will prepare you to solve environmental issues— Environmental Policy, Analysis, and Planning (EPAP), and Environmental Science and Management (ESM), which is coordinated jointly with the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. Both are interdisciplinary majors which offer specialized tracks and a wide variety of courses to choose from. While both majors incorporate science and policy, ESM focuses on solving environmental problems using science while EPAP emphasizes using science to fuel policy change. Feel free to browse the website, look at major requirements, and let the major advisor, Melissa Whaley (mmwhaley@ucdavis.edu), or the peer advisors (ESMAdvising@ucdavis.edu or EPAPAdvising@ucdavis.edu) know if you have any questions!

About our majors

Environmental Science & Management

The ESM major will help students to learn to solve environmental problems from an interdisciplinary perspective linking the natural and social sciences. By studying the physical, biological, and social components of environmental problems, students will understand the scientific basis for environmental decision making and the economic implications involved in management of the environment. The major offers a contemporary perspective for solving environmental problems and understanding human dimensions of the environment. Students gain exposure to real world problem solving and learn how to use cutting edge technology and tools.

ESM Peer Advisor Anna Remstedt: Why I Chose ESM

I chose to major in ESM because the courses are so varied and interesting, and you can really customize the major to your liking by choosing a specific track. I am passionate about so many different topics, including environmental issues, ecology, and marine science. The ESM major is so flexible and interdisciplinary that I am able to take courses in all these subjects, and I was even able to get major requirements fulfilled by studying abroad! 

Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning

The EPAP major provides students with a strong interdisciplinary background in policy analysis, including the evaluation of policy alternatives and the study of factors affecting policy formulation and implementation. Key components of this major include a general background in the natural sciences relevant to environmental policy, mathematics, statistics, and research methodology to quantitatively analyze environmental problems and policy options. Students will also get training in environmental impact assessment and geographic information systems, both are areas of growing demand, particularly in the green job market.

EPAP Peer Advisor Lili Girodie: Why I Chose EPAP

I've always known that I wanted to go into something environmental-related, and even though I succeeded in my chemistry, biology, and physics classes at community college, I was never really enthusiastic about those topics. While the EPAP major is based in the hard sciences, it gave me the opportunity to dive into its applications in the social sciences. Additionally, I love that there was a wide range of tracks to choose from so that I could dive even further into the policy/planning subject matter that I was passionate about. 

Sample first quarter schedules

Putting your first quarter schedule together can be stressful. Have no fear, we are here to help! For all of our incoming students we recommend 12-14 units for your first quarter! This is a bit lighter than usual but the transition to the quarter system can be challenging and we want you to set yourself up for success your first quarter here. Please note that the suggested schedules listed are just that - suggestions, your specific circumstances may warrant a slightly different schedule or there may be courses you would like to take your first quarter that aren't listed here. If you would like further advising on your first quarter schedule don't hesitate to ask!

ESM First Quarter Schedule - Freshman

  • MAT 12 or 16A or 17A or 21A (MAT 17A recommended) (3-4 units)
  • UWP 1 or ENL 3 or Arts & Humanities GE (3-4 units)
  • CHE 2A (5 units)
  • ESM 98 (Our "About ESM" seminar) (1 unit) CRN: 32921
  • SAS 6A (Career Discovery Group) (1 unit)

ESM First Quarter Schedule - Transfer

  • ESP 1 (4 units)
  • ESP 100 or EVE 101 (4 units)
  • LDA 150 or course for your track (4 units)
  • ESM 98 (Our "About ESM" seminar) (1 unit) CRN: 32921
  • SAS 106 (Career Discovery Group) (1 unit)

EPAP First Quarter Schedule - Freshman

  • MAT 12 or 16A or 17A or 21A (any level of calculus is fine) (3-4 units)
  • GEL 1 or PLS 12 or ANS 1 (4 units)
  • CHE 10 or BIS 10 or BIS 2B (4-5 units)
  • Arts & Humanities GE (2-4 units)
  • SAS 6A (Career Discovery Group) (1 unit)

EPAP First Quarter Schedule - Transfer

  • ESP 1 (4 units)
  • ECN 100A or ARE 100A (4 units)
  • LDA 150 or course for your track (4 units)
  • SAS 106 (Career Discovery Group) (1 unit)

Top 5 Tips for New UC Davis Students:

Be realistic about your expectations. A lot of students come in and think that they are going to succeed academically, find their new best friends, and find the perfect romantic partner all in the first week. These things might happen, but they often take time! UC Davis is a multi-year stretch, so remember to pace yourself!

Try to branch out beyond your immediate surroundings. It can be tempting to spend all of your time in one place at first, be it with your new roommate/people in your building, with your family, or even by yourself. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but try and see what more UC Davis has to offer. If your schedule can handle it, try joining a student organization, getting involved with research on campus, or even getting a part-time job. The possibilities are nearly endless!

Try to learn from your imperfections. If you do not do well on your first paper or your first midterm, this does not mean that your career is over or that UC Davis is not for you! Instead, try to understand what you did wrong so that you can do better next time. After all, your primary objective at UC Davis is to learn!

Keep a balanced schedule. During a major transition it can be hard to keep track of all of your priorities. But, try to find a balance between your academic needs, your social needs, and your personal needs. Everyone's schedule is different so find one that works for you!

It is okay to change your mind. Whether you decide to change your major, change your views regarding a certain topic, or simply decide that the student group you joined just isn't for you, know that it is okay to change your mind. Don't let your first quarter define the rest of your experience! Instead, give yourself room to grow and adapt to whatever comes your way.

General Education Recommendations

The General Education (GE) requirement promotes the intellectual growth of all undergraduates by ensuring that they acquire a breadth of knowledge that will enlarge their perspectives beyond the focus of a major and serve them well as participants in a knowledge-based society. All students are requried to complete GE although some transfer students may have already completed their GE at their community college. For advising on your GE requirements, please see the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Lili and Anna (our EPAP and ESM peer advisors) recommend trying out these classes:

  • AMS 21- Objects & Everyday Life. This class and the introductory class to American Studies (AMS 10) are both great G.E. options because they not only satisfy a lot of different G.E. requirements, but they are also super engaging. These classes will help you take what you already experience in your everyday life and learn to look at it in a new, more critical perspective.
  • WFC 50 - Natural History of CA's Wild Vertebrates. Although I (Lili Girodie) took this class at my community college, it was one of my favorite GE's for sure. We were able to learn all about Californian flora and fauna, and even take weekly field trips to see them for ourselves. Very interactive and engaging way to learn!
  • PHI 1- Introduction to Philosophy. Learning philosophy really helped me to think more critically about my views, the arguments made by those around me, and the world in general. Plus, I satisfied some G.E.s along the way!
  • CMN 1 - Introduction to Public Speaking. Public speaking can be really intimidating, but having a safe space to practice it helped me succeed in class presentations in all my other courses.
  • CLA 30 - Greek and Latin Elements in English Vocabulary. This class is a fun way to get some Arts & Humanities GE credits. You'll learn word roots that will help you expand upon your English vocabulary, and you'll even learn the Greek alphabet!
  • SAS 13 - Disease and Society. This class is super interesting; you'll learn about the history of many human diseases. It counts for Science and Engineering or Social Science GE requirements, which ESM/EPAP majors don't typically need since these GE categories tend to be fulfilled with major courses but I recommend any of the SAS (Science and Society) courses anyway because they are so fascinating and fun!
  • POL 4 - Basic Concepts in Political Theory. This class was great to build a philosophical background in politics, and provide perspectives on how these theories have evolved and are reflected in our lives today.
  • Any foreign language course! I highly suggest taking any language course you're interested in, as it will fulfill Arts & Humanities and World Culture GE requirements, and learning another language is so valuable!