Welcome incoming ESM first years and transfers!

Welcome to Environmental Science and Management! The Environmental Science and Management (ESM) major is coordinated jointly between the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. ESM is an interdisciplinary major which offers specialized tracks and a wide variety of courses to choose from. Feel free to browse the website, look at major requirements, and let the major advisors, Melissa Whaley mmwhaley@ucdavis.edu (last names A-L) and Lacole Brooks lbrooks@ucdavis.edu (last names M-Z) know if you have any questions!

About our major

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 Kai Uchio: Why I Chose ESM

I chose ESM because I was fascinated by the impacts that humans have on the environment. I wanted to learn about the positive and negative ways that we interact with the environment. I was also drawn to ESM because I wanted to learn about the interworkings of the environment and how everything is connected. I loved learning the connections between the different spheres of Earth. Not only will animals be affected by our actions, but water, plants, and everything else. I also liked that we did get to take some policy classes so I would learn about that, but it was primarily focused on the science of our actions. 

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 Sample Schedule - Freshman

  • MAT 12 or 16A or 17A or 19A 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: 32896
  • SAS 6A (Career Discovery Group) (1 unit)

ESM First Quarter Sample Schedule - Transfer

  • ESP 1 (4 units)
  • ESP 100 or EVE 101 (4 units)
  • Course for your track (4 units)
  • ESM 98 (Our "About ESM" seminar) (1 unit) CRN: 32896
  • 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 required 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 30F - 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!
  • ANT 1 - Human Evolutionary Biology. A fascinating look into the origin of humans and human evolution.
  • 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!