MESM Specialization: CMRM

Faculty Advisor: Chris Costello (MESM 2021) and Hunter Lenihan (MESM 2020)

Specialization Description

Coastal marine ecosystems provide essential goods and services, including fisheries, navigation space, geochemical products and recycling, disposal space for anthropogenic wastes, and recreation. Coastal Marine Resources Management (CMRM) students pursue interdisciplinary education in marine ecology, oceanography, marine policy and law, economics, technical skills, management, and communication strategy. Situated on the Pacific coast, UCSB and the Bren School offer hands-on opportunities to study marine science and management through the Bren School, the Departments of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB), Environmental Science (ES), Geology (GEOL), Geography (GEOG). Additional educational opportunities may be available through Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science (IGPMS) and the Marine Science Institute (MSI). Marine research by UCSB biologists, engineers, economists, anthropologists, and political scientists is conducted locally in the Santa Barbara Channel and worldwide in many marine ecosystems including coral reefs, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and polar seas. Students also may participate in research directed by Bren faculty through the Sustainable Fisheries Group and Sustainable Aquaculture Research Center and other initiatives.


MESM students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. ESM courses are offered in the Bren School and most ESM courses are offered every year. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) will be offered every other year. Bren students also may take courses in other UCSB departments as electives or, with advisor’s approval, to satisfy specialization requirements. Courses used to satisfy a requirement in a given area may not be counted to satisfy multiple requirements within a single specialization; if a student is completing multiple specializations, a course may satisfy a requirement in both specializations.

CMRM Specialization Courses (12 units required)

ESM 257 Coastal Marine Policy and Management (4 units)
ESM 260 Applied Marine Ecology (4 units)
One oceanography course (4 units):

  • ESM 254 Coastal Marine Ecosystem Processes (4 units)
  • EEMB 243 Biological Oceanography (3 units)
  • EARTH 266 Chemical Oceanography (4 units)
  • EARTH 276 Geological Oceanography (4 units)
  • GEOG 263 Intro to Physical Oceanography (4 units)

Technical Skills (4 units required)

ESM 212 Biological Community Survey & Analysis (4 units)
ESM 228 Monitoring and Evaluation (4 units)
ESM 232 Environmental Modeling (4 units)
ESM 244 Advanced Data Analysis (4 units)
ESM 246 Econometrics (4 units)
ESM 262 Computing for Environmental Science and Management (4 units)
ESM 263 Geographic Information Systems (4 units)
ESM 267 Advanced GIS (2 units)
ESM 269 Survey Design and Environmental Public Opinion (2 units)
ESM 271 Carbon Footprints and Carbon Accounting (4 units)
ESM 273 Life Cycle Assessment (4 units)

Environmental Economics, Policy and Law (4 units required)

ESM 225 Water Policy (4 units)
ESM 229 Economics and Policy of Climate Change (4 units)
ESM 242 Natural Resource Economics (4 units)
ESM 243 Environmental Policy Analysis (4 units)
ESM 245 Cost Benefit Analysis (4 units)
ESM 248 Environmental Institutions (4 units)
ESM 275 Principles and Practice of Environmental Planning (4 units)
ESM 277 International Environmental Law (2 units)
ESM 278 Natural Resources Law and Policy (2 units)
ESM 289 Environmental Law in Practice (1 unit)

Additional Science (recommended)

ESM 211 Applied Population Ecology (4 units)
*ESM 213 Ecotoxicology (4 units)
*ESM 214 Biological Waste Treatment (4 units)
*ESM 215 Landscape Ecology (4 units)
*ESM 219 Microbial Processes in the Environment (4 units)
ESM 222 Fate and Transport of Pollutants in the Environment (4 units)
ESM 224 Sustainable Watershed Quality Management (4 units)
ESM 226 Groundwater Management (4 units)
ESM 235 Watershed Analysis (4 units)
*ESM 237 Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (4 units)
*ESM 239 Advanced Climate Science for Policymakers (4 units)
*ESM 240 Climate Change Biology (2 units)
ESM 254 Coastal Marine Ecosystem Processes (4 units)
ESM 260 Applied Marine Ecology (4 units)
ESM 270 Conservation Planning & Priority Setting (4 units)
ESM 270P Conservation Planning Practicum (4 units)
*ESM 272 Energy and Resource Productivity
ESM 282 Pollution Prevention (4 units)
ESM 288 Energy, Technology and the Environment (4 units)
Or fill in relevant science course from other UCSB department

Environmental Management (recommended)

*ESM 230 Strategic Planning for Non-Profit Ventures (4 units)
ESM 279 Financial Management and Environmental Accounting (4 units)
ESM 281 Corporate Environmental Management (4 units)
ESM 283 Environmental Negotiation (4 units)

Advanced Special Topics (recommended)
Advanced Special Topics courses (variable units) are typically taught by Visiting Professors and Lecturers and may be offered during any quarter of the academic year.

ESM 293 Advanced Special Topics in Climate and Energy
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
ESM 430 Workshops in Environmental Science and Management

Students may supplement their specialization with either the Eco-Entrepreneurship Focus or the Strategic Environmental Communication Focus.

Relevant courses in other UCSB departments
Students should consult the respective departments for availability and registration information.

EARTH 266 Chemical Oceanography
EARTH 276 Geological Oceanography
EEMB 142A Aquatic Communities
EEMB 243 Biological Oceanography
EEMB 279 Modeling Environmental and Ecological Change
GEOG 263 Intro to Physical Oceanography