Senior Exits

ENVS Senior Exit Requirement

The Senior Exit requirement is designed to integrate the knowledge and skills learned throughout the Environmental Studies curriculum. The senior exit is a required course for all students pursuing an Environmental Studies degree in any of our majors. There are many options that fulfill the senior exit requirement, and it can be overwhelming to know which one to choose! You can find more information the Guidelines for the Senior Comprehensive Requirement. as well as reading through the information below. If you have further questions, contact ENVS advising.

Prerequisites for any ENVS Senior Exit requirement:

  1. Senior standing (135+ credits)
  2. Passed ENVS 100 and ENVS 100L
  3. Passed three other upper division courses that provide relevant background knowledge and skills
  4. Must be taken for a letter grade

ENVS Senior Exit Options: 

Please refer to your major checklist to review which senior exit options you can choose from, as they vary slightly among our different majors. Read the descriptions for each senior exit carefully. 

1. ENVS 109B - Ecology and Conservation in Practice "Supercourse"
Usually offered every other Spring, although the schedule may vary  
As part of a 4 course (19 units) field-oriented ecological research supercourse, 109B combines an overview of methodologies and approaches to field research with practical field studies.  Students complete field projects in ecology and also learn the natural history of the flora and fauna of California. Course to be conducted in California Natural Reserves and Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Note: This only counts as a senior exit option for ENVS single majors, ENVS/BIO combined majors, and ENVS/ECON combined majors. Agroecology majors and ENVS/EART combined majors may not use this as a senior exit. 

2. ENVS 190 - Capstone Course, Environmental Problem Solving
Offered in Spring and Summer each year
A synthetic course that draws on the knowledge and skills students bring from other courses in the major. Focuses on written and oral individual and group projects in which students must take the initiative. Emphasizes developing skills critical for students in their future careers.  Capstone is a large-lecture course that promotes discussion of primary, current literature surrounding important environmental issues. No special interview or application process is needed -- students are able to directly enroll into this 5-unit course through the student portal enrollment menu.

3. ENVS 196 - Senior Seminar, Various Topics
Offered Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters
Senior seminars explore advanced aspects of current and future environmental issues.  Such courses are reading and writing intensive and promote discussion and hands-on learning.  Courses are usually restricted to seniors and are generally kept to 15-20 students.  If interested in using a senior seminar to fulfill the senior exit requirement, discuss the prospect of joining the class with the course’s instructor.  Senior seminars have an application process, pre-requisites and/or interview requirements (see the Seminar Application page).

4. ENVS 183A & 183B - Senior Internship
Offered each term, but requires a TWO-QUARTER COMMITMENT
This course combines fieldwork at an agency and a comprehensive analytical paper produced for the agency. Equivalent to a thesis in terms of the depth and quality of the work expected, a student would enroll in ENVS 183A and ENVS 183B in two consecutive quarters. A senior internship is a wonderful way to develop your own senior exit requirement with the help of an agency sponsor (person from your internship site) and a faculty sponsor (ENVS faculty).  For further information, please contact the internship office.

5. ENVS 195A  & 195B - Senior Thesis
Offered each term, but requires a TWO-QUARTER COMMITMENT 
A thesis is an independent research project guided by an ENVS faculty mentor.  It is a substantial, comprehensive, formal resarch paper or essay written upon a specific theme. This is a great way to go more in depth in an area of interest to you. Students should approach a potential faculty sponsor at least one quarter before they plan to enroll, to discuss their thesis project idea and ask if the faculty is willing to be their sponsor.


Database of ENVS Senior Projects

Senior Theses and Senior Internship projects will be housed on a department server.  Theses titles, abstracts, keywords, and authors can be searched on the ENVS Thesis library through the secure website EndnoteWeb, which has links to pdf files of each thesis.   The thesis database and repository is for the use of the UCSC/ENVS community, not the general public; access information and instructions are provided to authorized users only.  Access will be provided only to those with a valid UCSC email address. Email to request access.