As the world's environmental challenges grow in number, complexity, and magnitude,
the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara serves as an important center of teaching and leading-edge research. The school is known for its highly integrated, comprehensive approach to environmental management and solving environmental problems. The interdisciplinary curriculum grounds students not only in the natural sciences, but also in the economic, legal, management, and policy perspectives that are critical to understanding and addressing those challenges.

Approximately 175 master's students and 50 PhD students attend the school, which supports the teaching and research of 22 of the most outstanding permanent faculty to be found in the area of environmental and natural resources research. All are experts in their disciplines but regularly collaborate across disciplines in pursuing comprehensive solutions to complex environmental problems.

Bren Hall rooftop solar panels overlooking the ocean
Rooftop panels atop Bren Hall

The Bren School values diversity in all its many forms,because, particularly in a collaborative, interdisciplinary setting, the diverse perspectives arising from varied academic, cultural, and personal backgrounds are highly valuable. (See our complete Diversity Values Statement at the bottom of this page.)

In terms of intellectual diversity, most Bren faculty members are affiliated with or have joint appointments linking them to other UCSB departments. Adjunct professors and visiting lecturers complement the full-time faculty and extend the school's academic reach while enhancing the real-world relevance of the curriculum. Students benefit further from the school’s affiliations and collaborations with UCSB research institutes and interdepartmental programs and initiatives. The school connects with the local community through various affiliate groups, including the Dean's Advisory Council and the Corporate and Foundation Partners program.

Students attend classes, manage and work with research data, and perform lab work in Bren Hall. The first laboratory building to receive a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, Bren Hall has since inspired a wave of sustainability activities across the UCSB campus and far beyond.

For all the rigorous work that occurs here, the Bren School is equally defined by a strong sense of community. Through collaborative work and shared recreation in Santa Barbara and throughout California, Bren students form lifelong bonds and, as graduates, become part of an ever-expanding, tightly knit alumni community.

Students and alumni receive crucial personalized assistance from the school's highly regarded Career Development Program. Career-development staff offer a full range of individualized support for prospective students, from instruction in the crucial skills of resume writing, interviewing, and salary negotiation to support in finding and landing internships and jobs.

Few schools can match the Bren School's location, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean a few miles west of the beautiful small city of Santa Barbara, with a view across the water to Channel Islands National Park. A wintering ground for monarch butterflies is nearby, resident dolphins and seals and migrating whales regularly cruise the near-shore waters, and an array of bird species inhabit the shores and wetlands on and around the university. The area's ecological diversity provides an inspiring context for students and faculty who embrace the challenge off managing the environment to benefit humanity and the natural world.

Bren School Diversity Values

Sustainability challenges are diverse almost by definition, associated as they are with a wide range of environmental, economic, social, and cultural risks. Because those risks appear unevenly across society and geography, addressing them requires the varied perspectives of equally diverse people, whether in terms of their disciplinary expertise, tradition, heritage, race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, disability status, or experience.

At the Bren School, we seek to attract students, faculty and staff who reflect that diversity, first because we believe in the inherent value of diversity, but equally because the more diverse we are as a school, the more capably and creatively we can pursue our mission of solving environmental problems and training tomorrow's environmental leaders.

Bren Diversity in Research, Teaching, and Governance:

Various components of the Bren School curriculum, such as the course Equity in the Managed Environment, and research directives, including the 2016-17 faculty-led Strategic Environmental Research Initiative on Equity and Conservation, focus on how equity considerations affect conservation and social outcomes around the world.

Past Bren Master's Group Projects have addressed such topics as conservation in diverse faith communities, integrating tribal resource use into marine spatial planning, green space in urban Los Angeles, and water, energy, and conservation from Mexico and Kenya to China and American Samoa.

Bren School graduate students come from across the U.S. and around the world. For instance, the MESM Class of 2017 comprises 74 students from 12 countries, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, and India. Our PhD students and post-doctoral students are similarly diverse, contributing for a range of under-represented communities.

UCSB is recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), meaning that at least 25% of its students are Hispanic. UCSB is the only HSI that is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite group of 62 leading research universities in the U.S. and Canada.

Bren faculty, staff, and students on the Diversity Committee specifically address diversity and integrate diversity considerations into all decision-making.