Agroecology B.A.

Watch introductory video about major, here:

Program Description

The central academic objective of the Agroecology major is to provide students with a depth of expertise in interdisciplinary knowledge and skills related to agroecology and sustainable food systems. UCSC students pursuing this major will gain knowledge and skills in multiple disciplines and an increased understanding of complex agricultural and food systems.

Students in the Agroecology major will learn about ecological concepts (including soil and water processes, microbial ecology, plant physiology, aquaculture, competition, population growth, predator-prey interactions, mutualisms, and ecosystem services) that can be applied to the development of sustainable agricultural systems. Students will develop their understanding of social, political, and economic aspects of agriculture (including traditional agriculture, agricultural policy and development, social theory, history, sustainable farm management, markets, food justice, local food system experiences, and harvested food systems). Students will also engage in hands-on experiences, and obtain skills in research, fieldwork, production, and communication in order to achieve multiple sustainability goals in complex, social-ecological food systems.

Course Requirements

Agroecology Major Worksheet (PDF)

The following information is from the 2022-2023 catalog requirements, effective Fall 2022. 

Lower Division Course Requirements (8 courses)

  • ENVS 80F Introduction to Agroecology & Food Systems (Fall only)
  • ENVS 23 The Physical & Chemical Environment (Spring only) or CHEM 1A General Chemistry
  • ENVS 24 General Ecology (Fall only) or BIOE 20C Ecology & Evolution
  • ENVS 25 Environmental Policy & Economics (Winter and Summer only)
  • AM 3 Precalculus for the Social Sciences or ALEKS MPE 300+ or AP CALC 3+
  • STAT 7/L Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences
  • One of the following (SOCY/ANTH/PHIL): SOCY 1, 10, 15, ANTH 2, PHIL 22, 24, 28, 80G
  • One ENVS internship or independent study that is 2 or 5 units: ENVS 83, 184, or 199F

Upper division Course Requirements (9 courses)

  • ENVS 100/L Ecology and Society (Winter and Spring only)
    • Prerequisites: ENVS 23, ENVS 24, ENVS 25, STAT7/L, SOCY/ANTH/PHIL, and WRIT 2
  • ENVS 130A/L Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture (Fall only)
  • ENVS 130B Justice & Sustainability in Agriculture (Winter only)
  • One of the following: 
    • ENVS 130C Field Experiences in Agroecology & Sustainable Food (Spring only)
    • ENVS 133 Agroecology Practicum (Winter and Spring)
    • ENVS 133B Agroecology Practicum, Global Learning (Summer)
    • ENVS 135 Sustainable Aquaculture (Winter only)
  • Four upper division Agroecology electives of your choice completed in the following options: 
    • ENVS: 108/L, 129, 130C, 133, 133 or 133B, 135, 142, 143, 146, 160, 161, 162/L, 163/L, 164, 165, 166, 168, 169, 170, BIOE 118, CMMU 149, CMMU 186
    • Students can petition to substitute one elective course from (a) another ENVS upper division course (ENVS 101-179) not listed as an Agroecology elective, (b) a relevant course in SOCY, LALS, ANTH, or (c) a relevant course taken in a study abroad program.

Senior Exit Requirement* (Choose 1 out of the 4 options below)

  • ENVS 190: Capstone (no application; offered Spring and Summer)
  • ENVS 196: Senior Seminar (by application; offered Fall, Winter, and Spring)
  • ENVS 195A + 195B: Senior Thesis
  • ENVS 183A + 183B: Senior Internship

*Your senior exit must be focused in Agroecology.