Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 86.82
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date March 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Irvine
AC-4: Graduate Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jessica Debats Garrison
Administrating Director
UCI Environment Collaboration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one sustainability-focused major, degree program, or the equivalent for graduate students (I.e. an interdisciplinary academic program that concentrates on sustainability as an integrated concept)?:

Name of the sustainability-focused graduate-level degree program:
Masters in Conservation and Restoration Science (MCRS)

A brief description of the graduate-level degree program:

The Masters in Conservation and Restoration Science (MCRS) is a professional degree program designed to provide the graduate with the skills and knowledge base necessary to hold leadership and management positions in environmental fields related to conservation, restoration, and sustainability. This is a highly collaborative program, portions of which will embed students into real-world conservation and restoration settings through community partnerships. The MCRS program is offered through the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) and the Center for Environmental Biology (CEB) within the Ayala School of Biological Sciences. It is targeted specifically to working adults and recent graduates (within the last five years).

The MCRS program integrates academic scholarship in ecology and evolutionary biology, training in natural resource management and stewardship, professional development (leadership training in agency, non-profit, and for-profit conservation), and community engagement (translational partnerships in research and education). Upon completion of the program, graduates are able to lead and collaborate in the planning, design, implementation, and management of complex, large-scale environmental conservation and restoration activities, in agency, non-profit, and for-profit settings. MCRS graduates have broad knowledge in applied ecosystem and community ecology, in addition to training in the use of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and informatics (data analysis and management). Professional development training (e.g., project and personnel management) position our graduates for leadership positions in environmental non-profits, agencies, and private consulting firms where managing teams of employees, volunteers, and stewards to conduct long-term and large-scale projects is often required.

This two-year program of study consists of a four-part curriculum: a first-year sequence of core and professional development courses, a summer research/policy internship, a second-year sequence of elective courses, and a team-based capstone experience that serves as the thesis project. The summer internship and capstone experience are focused on stakeholder-engaged scholarship with community partners, where students are embedded in real-world conservation and restoration settings.

The MCRS program provides curriculum that includes:
- Experience in core ecological and evolutionary principles underlying conservation and restoration;
- Interdisciplinary training in the earth and environmental sciences vital for a modern perspective on system-based conservation and restoration;
- Training in professional skills required for effective practice and success in leadership positions in non-profit, institute, for-profit, and agency settings;
- Research experiences in community-engaged research projects to build bridges between communities of research capacity (universities, institutes, and agencies) and need (non-profits, land management agencies, private land-holders, and governments); and
- Exposure to social, political, and economic principles that guide the application of science to conservation and restoration.

The website URL for the graduate-level degree program:
Name of the sustainability-focused, graduate-level degree program (2nd program):
Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP)

A brief description of the graduate degree program (2nd program):

Urban and Regional Planning is a dynamic, cutting edge field that draws upon and integrates knowledge from geography, economics, design, sociology, environmental studies, political science, urban studies, and other fields. Planners use a range of skills from critical thinking to spatial analysis to environmental sustainability assessment to understand and improve our world. The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program prepares students to play a significant role in creating a desirable future by confronting the complex physical and social challenges in our cities and regions. It is a professional program that is a gateway to opportunities in planning and planning-related practice including work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Planners hold positions in all aspects of planning and development such as environmental sustainability, economic development, housing production and policy, land use and transportation planning, international development planning, and community organizing and development.

The MURP program curriculum provides a balance of critical thinking and skills development, empowering students to address complex urban challenges, in diverse areas such as environmental planning, housing and community development, land use planning, transportation, and international development planning. Students develop a course plan that fits their professional aspirations and meets program requirements in consultation with faculty and the graduate coordinator. No area of concentration is required, and many students use this opportunity to learn about various areas of planning and to develop as generalists, while others prefer to take courses with a tight focus in a particular area. Beyond the small set of foundational core courses, students may fulfill degree requirements with electives offered by the department, as well as with planning-relevant courses from other units on campus, such as law, business, engineering, and environmental sciences.

The website URL for the graduate degree program (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused, graduate-level degree program (3rd program):
PhD in Earth System Science

A brief description of the graduate degree program (3rd program):

The Earth System Science PhD program focuses on the science of the Earth with in-depth research opportunities in atmospheric chemistry, physical climate, and the biogeochemistry of land, ocean, and atmosphere. The program prepares and trains new research scientists via a rigorous and comprehensive core curriculum. Doctoral-level students become researchers with global perspectives and broad research skills, as well as a high level of expertise in specialized areas.

Students develop a mechanistic understanding of the Earth and gain the conceptual and analytical tools needed for research in this rapidly growing field. Graduate coursework includes a multidisciplinary curriculum covering physical, chemical, and biological aspects of Earth system science. Core courses cover humans in the earth system, global physical climate, and global biogeochemical cycles, while electives cover topics such as global climate change and impacts, terrestrial hydrology, marine ecosystems and global change, ecosystem ecology, and ice in the climate system. In addition, doctoral students travel around the world to conduct research in the mountains, forests, oceans, caves, glaciers, laboratories and climate simulation centers.

The website URL for the graduate degree program (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused graduate-level degree programs:

Does the institution offer one or more graduate-level sustainability-focused minors, concentrations or certificates?:

Name of the graduate-level sustainability-focused minor, concentration or certificate:
Engineering with concentration in Environmental Engineering, MS and PhD

A brief description of the graduate minor, concentration or certificate:

Students may pursue either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Engineering. Environmental engineering is an interdisciplinary program, engaging faculty from engineering and the sciences. It addresses the development of strategies to control anthropogenic emissions of pollutants to the atmosphere, waterways and terrestrial environment; the remediation of polluted natural systems; the design of technologies to treat waste, energy efficiency, and environmentally responsible power generation; and the evaluation of contaminant fate in the environment. The program curriculum provides students with an understanding of environmental air and water chemistry; environmental microbiology; combustion technologies; aerosol science; transport phenomena; reactor theory; unit operations and systems design; physical, chemical, and biological processes in relation to water and wastewater treatment; water reuse; pollutant fate and transport; waste disposal; the ecology of natural waters; mathematical modeling; energy systems; soil physics; fluid mechanics; hydrology; meteorology; and global climate change and energy. The program core curriculum builds on environmental engineering fundamentals such as fluid mechanics, environmental chemistry, microbial processes, thermodynamics, hydrological and climate science, and reactor theory and design.

The website URL for the graduate minor, concentration or certificate:
Name of the graduate-level sustainability-focused minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):

A brief description of the graduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):

The website URL for the graduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):

Name of the graduate-level sustainability-focused minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):

A brief description of the graduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):

The website URL for the graduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):

The name and website URLs of all other graduate-level, sustainability-focused minors, concentrations and certificates:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

UC Irvine offers a number of other sustainability-related graduate degree programs.


M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering

M.A. of Public Policy

M.S. in Transportation Science


Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering

Ph.D. in Planning Policy & Design

Ph.D. in Social Ecology

Ph.D. in Transportation Science

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.