MESM Specialization: EC


Faculty Advisors:Sangwon Suh (MESM 2017) and Kyle Meng (MESM 2018)

Specialization Description

Anthropogenic climate change has been called "the great moral challenge of our century," and the greenhouse gases emitted by our consumption of fossil fuels are its primary driver. Mitigating or adapting to climate change will require a fundamental transformation of humanity's systems of energy production and consumption. There will be a pressing need for professionals who can think holistically about, and develop integrated solutions to, the profound social, economic, and technological problems of this transformation. Students in the EC specialization will:

  • understand the complex connections between the Earth's climate and humanity's systems of energy production and consumption;

  • understand and measure the economic and societal costs and benefits of restructuring energy production and consumption in order to mitigate anthropogenic climate change

  • anticipate, evaluate, and help craft responses (adaptation) to the environmental impacts of climate change

Course Work
MESM students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. Students who pursue two specializations must meet the 36-unit requirement for each specialization. Some electives may count toward more than one specialization. Most courses associated with this specialization are offered every year. If the course is marked with an asterisk (*), it will be offered every other year.

EC students should take at least 12 units or more from the following list of courses:

ESM 229: Economics and Policy of Climate Change

*ESM 237:

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

*ESM 239:

Advanced Climate Science for Policy Makers

ESM 272:

Energy and Resource Productivity

ESM 288:

Energy Technology and the Environment

ESM 296: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management: various courses under this number may be appropriate for the EC specialization. Students should consult their faculty advisor about including one of those courses.

To broaden technical skills, EC students should take at least 8 units or more from the following list of courses:

ESM 232: Environmental Modeling

ESM 236:

The Mountain Snowpack

ESM 244: Advanced Data Analysis
ESM 245: Cost Benefit Analysis
ESM 263: GIS
*ESM 266: Remote Sensing
ESM 271: Carbon Footprints & Carbon Accounting

ESM 273:

Life Cycle Assessment

ESM 296: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management: Informatics; Econometrics

EC students should take at least 2 units and are encouraged to take at least 4 units of the short courses offered by Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors on Climate Change:

ESM 293: Advanced Special Topics in Climate and Energy

Bren students also are encouraged to take courses on advanced special topics, which are frequently taught in an intensive format by visiting professors and lecturers. The EC specialization advisor will work with you to determine if any of the following variable topics would be appropriate for your program of study.

ESM 294: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Law
ESM 296: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management
ESM 297: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Policy
ESM 299: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Science

Other Relevant Bren Courses

The specific set of courses that an EC student pursues depend upon each student’s unique background, interests, and goals. The EC specialization advisor will help you plan a coordinated set of elective courses to complete your program of study. All of the following classes could be pursued by EC students; however, there may be other classes not listed here that would also be of interest and appropriate.

ESM 222: Fate and Transport of Pollutants in the Environment
ESM 225: Water Policy
*ESM 235: Watershed Analysis
*ESM 240: Climate Change Biology
ESM 242: Natural Resources Economics and Policy
ESM 243: Environmental Policy Analysis
ESM 248 Environmental Institutions

ESM 269:

Survey Design and Public Opinion
ESM 270: Conservation Planning
ESM 275: Principles and Practice of Environmental Planning
ESM 281: Corporate Environmental Management
ESM 282: Pollution Prevention
ESM 283: Environmental Negotiation
ESM 285: Environmental Markets
ESM 430: Workshops in Environmental Science and Management
ESM 436: Workshop in Legal Issues in Environmental Problem Solving
ESM 437: Writing for Environmental Professionals
ESM 440: Advanced Environmental Communication

Courses in Other Departments

Other departments also offer courses that can be valuable to students pursuing an EC program of study. The following are a few possibilities, but students should peruse the general catalog for additional courses that may be of interest :

Geog 135: Mock Environmental Summit
Geog 280: Seminar on Climate Change
Geog 266: Introduction to Atmospheric Science
Earth 205: Earth’s Climate: Past and Present
EEMB 181: Science in the Media


EC students who are interested in bringing new technologies or services to market may want to participate in the Bren School’s Eco-Entrepreneurship focus and/or take some classes offered by the Technology Management Program.

Institute of Energy Efficiency

EC students should take advantage of opportunities provided by UCSB’s Institute of Energy Efficiency (IEE). The Institute presents the Energy Leadership Lecture Series, which is open to the public and features prominent leaders in energy efficiency and related fields. In addition, the Institute hosts the Santa Barbara Summit on Energy Efficiency, an annual event that brings together stakeholders in efficiency technologies, facilitating growth and collaboration across the sectors.