Research Opportunities

"Classroom learning is only part of a great education!  The other half is undergraduate research in labs, libraries, studios, and in the field — hands-on experiences that will give you an extra edge when you apply for graduate school or a great job after graduation. When you participate in undergraduate research, you engage in learning experiences beyond the classroom and gain new perspectives and insights while helping to create new knowledge. You’ll learn how to work on a team in a close-knit interdisciplinary community, improve your oral and written communication skills and have a chance to discover what really interests you."  - Taken from the UCSB Undergraduate Research website

Check out the College of Letters and Sciences' Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Web site for detailed information about research opportunities and potential funding.

Undergraduate Research and Independent Studies in ES

Each year dozens of Environmental Studies (ES) majors choose to pursue one of a group of special courses available within the ES Program (ENVS 99, 197, 199, and 199RA) to conduct independent research or work as a research assistant for one of our faculty members.

The most comprehensive of these is the Senior Thesis course (ENVS 197).  Part of the ES honors program this three quarter class results in the production of an in depth thesis.  Students interested in this course should visit the Senior Honors & Thesis webpage

Below are two additional opportunities for students to receive academic credit while pursuing independent studies projects or assisting faculty on their research.  Both are variable unit courses and credit awarded may be applied to the elective section of the ES and Hydrologic Sciences major.  Questions on how a student may pursue such opportunities should be directed to the ES Academic or Peer Advisors.

Independent Studies and Research Assistant Courses (ENVS 99, 199 & 199RA)

The Independent Studies course (ENVS 199) is available every quarter. This variable unit upper-division course is available to you if you have a specific topic of interest you would like to research in-depth under the supervision of an ES faculty member. The intent of this course is to allow you to investigate a topic covered in a recently completed ES course in which you would like to learn more about. The ES Program will try to accommodate your Independent Studies proposals as long as they are supported by an ES faculty member and the research to be conducted is environmental (see the official course description for restrictions). To officially pursue ES 199 credit, take a rough proposal to an appropriate ES Faculty member and discuss the possibility of you obtaining credit for your proposed research project. If you both agree on the project, then pick up an official ES 199 proposal contract, have it signed by your faculty advisor, and return it to the ES Academic Advisor before the end of the 3rd week of the quarter. Download the Env S 199 Application form (.pdf)

The Research Assistant course (ENVS 199RA) is designed just like the 199 course. The difference is that the main focus of this course is to allow a student to obtain academic credit while assisting an ES faculty member in conducting university research. This is a great way for a undergraduate to pick up research experience and learn more about a given environmental field. Keep your eyes open for advertised 199RA opportunities or approach any ES faculty you might be interested in working with and inquire as to any research opportunities. The enrollment procedure is the same as for the 199 course. Download the Env S 199RA Application form (.pdf)

Introduction to Research (ENVS 99) is a lower-division course available to lower and upper-division students who wish to conduct entry level directed study under the guidance of an environmental studies faculty member. Course offers motivated students an opportunity to undertake independent or collaborative research for faculty-directed research projects. Topic and scope varies, to be specified by student and supervisory faculty member prior to registration.  Download the Env S 99 Application form (.pdf)