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Academic Programming Build-out

New polytechnic programming will build on strong existing faculty expertise in natural resources management and environmental sustainability, and are aligned with the state of California’s goals regarding areas like climate resilience and wildfire mitigation. They will also create access to impacted degree programs in the CSU system that correlate with huge workforce gains.

Many of the new programs are highly interdisciplinary by design, and align with Humboldt’s strategic objectives of being rooted in place, and meeting the needs of our rural communities, with particular emphasis on underserved populations. A large emphasis will be placed on authentic engagement and collaboration with tribal/Indigenous communities to leverage their expertise and community practices.

New Program Recommendations in Engineering, Technology, Applied Science, and Science


 EngineeringTechnologyApplied ScienceScience
by 2023

Engineering & Community Practice MS

Energy Systems Engineering BS

Mechanical Engineering BS

Cybersecurity Stackable Certificate

Data Science BS

Geospatial Science & Technology BS

Information Technology Certificate

Software Engineering BS

Applied Fire Science & Management BS

Cannabis Studies BA

Equitable & Sustainable Future Certificate

Marine Biology BS
By 2026 

Biotechnology BS

Biotechnology Certificate

Clinical Lab Science Certificate

Computer & Information Technology BS

Digital Arts & Media BA

Food Systems Science BS

Health Advocacy BA

Nursing MSN

STEM Education MEd

Indigenous Science & the Environment BS

By 2029

Forest Engineering BS

Regenerative Engineering Design & Technology BS

Cybersecurity BS

Agriculture BS

Speech Language Pathology MS




Academic Programming Description Plans for 2023

A degree program that focuses on applied fire science and management would provide students with an interdisciplinary education focused on developing practical knowledge and skills to become fire science or management professionals. This program will be developed as a collaboration between the Forestry & Wildland Resources (CNRS) and Native American Studies (CAHSS). This partnership will enable the creation of a novel program through the integration of differing perspectives and knowledge systems (e.g., traditional ecological knowledge), with a specific emphasis on incorporating indigenous practices. The primary focus of the program is to provide a better educated workforce that recognizes the importance of fire as an ecological and cultural process, more effectively managing wildfires, planning and implementing fire and other fuels management treatments, and mitigating the impacts of high severity wildfires. Given the on-going trends of increased wildfire frequency, size, and severity in many regions of California and other western states, there is a growing need and demand to increase workforce capacity across the public and private sectors.

This degree program is firmly rooted in the interdisciplinary study of the environment and natural resources; a commitment to the development of socially and environmentally responsible cannabis industry practices and policy; and promoting positive health outcomes and social change as laws move away from prohibition. Humboldt County is uniquely situated as an historical epicenter of environmental and social justice issues related to both legalization and ongoing prohibition at the Federal and Global levels. Humboldt County is also a globally renowned epicenter of the US domestication of cannabis cultivation. This program will teach students critical perspectives on both cannabis prohibition and legalization en route to concentrations in Equity and Social Justice and Environmental Stewardship leading to professional outcomes in regulation, policy, consulting, and community advocacy; as well as graduate studies in Planning, Environmental Science, and Law. Our graduates will be to assist in the integration of cannabis into the complex policy landscape, equipped with critical expertise in the history and geography of cannabis criminalization, the contemporary policy landscape, and applied general skills that will also be portable to non-cannabis careers in public and private sectors that relate to Environmental Stewardship and Equity and Social Justice. 

Cybersecurity programs are often interdisciplinary programs that incorporate computer information technology and criminal studies courses. The Leadership Studies degree completion program with Cybersecurity Stackable Certificate aligns well with cybersecurity job requirements and pathways for community college transfers or employed adults seeking to upskill and advance in their careers. In addition to relevant leadership coursework, such as; Data Driven Leadership, Project Implementation/ Evaluation, and Technology & Leadership, approximately 11-21 units of designated cybersecurity coursework will advance understanding of computer and network security, hacking and risk analysis, computer forensics, intrusion detection and investigation, prevention, and recovery. The program will incorporate apprenticeship and internship opportunities as an opportunity to provide real-world experience, working with Humboldt ITS and other partners. While many transfer students and adults working in the field may have already achieved some of the industry certifications; Cisco, CompTIA Security+ and A+, and Microsoft, the students in this program develop degree plans that will incorporate preparations for certifications needed to advance in their careers.

The Energy Systems Engineering program will prepare students for careers in developing, designing, operating, and analyzing clean energy systems. At the lower division, students will take a core set of engineering courses that are common between this major and the existing Environmental Resources Engineering major, providing a well-rounded foundation in natural sciences, humanities, math, computational science, data analysis, and engineering design. At the upper division, Energy Systems students will engage with project-based and interdisciplinary courses that cover key topics including thermodynamics, transport phenomena, building energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, electricity grids, and community energy planning. The program will be accredited as a “General Engineering” program, incorporating many elements commonly included in Civil, Environmental, Mechanical, and Electrical engineering disciplines.

The one-year Master of Science degree in Engineering & Community Practice (E&CP) is designed to develop future engineering leaders who will sustain, restore, and protect our natural resources and the environment. The degree is tailored to those who wish to pursue resource management positions that require strong technological and management skills with a particular focus on interfacing and working with indigenous and traditionally under-served communities. The unique ERE curriculum combines traditional environmental engineering with management of natural resources in applications such as ecological restoration and energy resource management. This program will be further created to integrate curriculum and perspectives from the NAS program that already excels in educating students on Indigenous community history, sovereignty, and ways of knowing and creates space to nurture TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge). The program will promote social responsibility and civic engagement through the focus on critique of the traditional engineering approach and partnering with indigenous and under-served communities. The program is aimed towards students who have earned an undergraduate engineering degree in a related field such as environmental, civil, or mechanical engineering or students who have completed the necessary prerequisite courses prior to enrollment to be successful in graduate level engineering design electives. Possible areas of concentration include aquatic restoration, watershed protection (quality and quantify) and management, and clean and renewable energy systems.

The Certificate for an Equitable & Sustainable Future will be a stackable certificate designed in collaboration with faculty from the departments of Environmental Studies, Geography, Environmental & Spatial Analysis, and Native American Studies and offered through the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement. Designed for professionals in the educational workforce, this certificate prepares administrators, faculty, and staff to be sustainability leaders and foster social and environmental responsibility in educational settings. The courses are designed to provide applicable knowledge and skills to promote equity and sustainability.

Upon completion of the certificate, an individual will have acquired foundational knowledge, creative abilities, and practical skills to reduce environmental impacts and associated costs for an educational setting, to promote health and wellness for students and staff, and to advance climate justice and sustainability. The certificate program utilizes the International Sustainability Society of Professionals curriculum, and students are prepared to complete the Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) credential exam. Key learning outcomes are mechanics of proposal writing and the political and social aspects of "grantsmanship," with a focus on skills to identify sources of grant funding to address social and environmental justice, modeling of sustainability education that fosters critical, ethical, and relational thinking, and training in both theory and praxis of leadership in climate justice and resilience.

Cal Poly Humboldt has a well-developed geospatial curriculum that includes 15 classes, 13 undergraduate and 2 graduate. Currently, students can obtain a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Management (ESM) or Geography with a focus in geospatial. This degree program will give students the option to major in Geospatial Science & Technology with a focus in a diverse range of disciplines. This will create a greater depth of geospatial knowledge and experience for students and attract additional students interested specifically in a geospatial degree.  The program will also make our geospatial curriculum more visible to prospective students.

The program’s objectives are to prepare students for careers as Geographic Information System (GIS) analysts and specialists, remote sensing analysts, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and geographers.  The basic structure of the program will include a geospatial core of lower and upper-division courses, depth experience courses, a capstone, and an area of focus.  Students will have the option to specialize in applying their skills to other disciplines in natural sciences, social sciences, cultural and ethnic studies, and professional studies.  We expect to maintain the minors and certificates as well, which will be further strengthened by the presence of a degree program.

Cal Poly Humboldt IT Certificates programs offer a range of non-credit learning experiences that connect student learning in cohorts, projects that culminate in a portfolio team-based project, and learners accumulating various industry certificates. Many of the emerging learning resources and industry certifications are free or very affordable, however, the design relies on asynchronous and self motivated learner paths, lacking a cohort and coherent team and project based learning approach, and the completion rate is extremely low. An affordable and scalable strategy combines existing industry resources and with a flexible curated learning program designed to meet the plethora of IT job requirements that emphasize IT skills and experience with industry certificates in at least three major platforms; AWS Learn, Google IT Certificates, and Facebook for Business and Developers. This non-credit Certificate program is ideal for non-traditional learners, community college transfers, or employed adults seeking to upskill and advance in their careers. Various opportunities for degree completion at Humboldt will be promoted when appropriate.

Marine Biology includes coursework about marine organisms, from bacteria to whales. The inclusion of a wide range of organismal courses sets Humboldt apart as uniquely prepared for careers in marine biology. Humboldt students gain research experience every semester at the Telonicher Marine Lab, an easy half-hour drive from the Humboldt campus. In addition, Humboldt has a 91’ vessel, the R/V Coral Sea, located at the Woodley Island Marina in Eureka, which is one of the largest ocean-going vessels dedicated to undergraduate education in the entire U.S. and regularly used in our courses in Biology, Oceanography, Fisheries, Chemistry, Geology, and Wildlife.

Mechanical Engineers design diverse systems, processes, and devices that help improve the health, happiness, and safety of our everyday lives. The applications are broad, including biomedical devices, aircraft and cars, building HVAC systems, miniature environmental sensors, and systems to store large-scale renewable energy.  More generally, the mechanical engineer designs machines, devices, products and control systems, and works with the generation, conversion, transmission, and utilization of mechanical and thermal power. Their work often includes analysis and synthesis of mechanical, thermal, and fluid systems. Mechanical engineering is divided into two broad areas: mechanical systems and thermal systems. Mechanical systems include the design of mechanisms and the analysis of the strength and wear of materials. Thermal systems include methods of energy conversions, heat transfer and fluid flow. Mechanical engineers are also responsible for characterization, specification, and analysis of physical materials used in design and manufacturing. Manufacturing systems, robotics, electromechanical devices, sensors, and control systems are also the purview of the mechanical engineer.

Software Engineering is a field that applies engineering concepts to software development. It encompasses the development, operation and maintenance of programs. The curriculum of software engineering programs includes computing fundamentals, software design and construction, requirements analysis, security, verification, and validation; software engineering processes and tools appropriate for the development of complex software systems; and discrete mathematics, probability, and statistics, with applications appropriate to software engineering. 

A bachelor’s degree in software engineering leads to highly paid careers in software development in fields including business, communications, transportation, medicine, aeronautics, and more. Software engineering graduates are eligible for positions in related fields like cybersecurity and may also be competitive for many mid-level positions in software development. Graduates may also have opportunities to work on embedded software projects; this type of software is used in virtually every industry, from medicine to aeronautics. 

The median annual salary for software engineers is over $100,000. Workforce demand in the field is very high, with large projected growth over the next decade. High workforce demand has also made Software Engineering programs in the CSU either impacted or highly selective.

Academic Programming Description Plans for 2026

The Biotechnology Multidisciplinary degree prepares students for careers that address grand challenges using the approaches, methodologies, and technologies that allow us to understand the Rules of Life to stimulate innovation and discovery. The major requirements are composed of existing coursework in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Computer Science with the addition of GE courses that help students gain an appreciation of the civic and cultural impacts of their discoveries and the importance of conducting their work in a culturally responsive manner.

The Biotechnology Certificate prepares students interested in working in biotechnology or medical technology fields, or students in careers seeking to upskill. This interdisciplinary program will focus on laboratory tasks common in biotechnology and medical technology fields, and align with area 32 providers. As possible, area medical offices will provide opportunities for internship experiences that support this program. Learning outcomes will include a comprehensive learning of laboratory tasks common in medical and biotechnology areas, and Biology, Chemistry, and Nursing courses that are required foundations to professional practice such as Cell Culture Processing, Protein Chemistry, and Molecular Cell Biology and new courses such as Foundations of Biotechnology and Biotechnology Laboratory Techniques. The Biotechnology Certificate program will provide students with skill training required for entry level employment as technicians and emphasizes hands-on practical lab experience. Students will learn safety procedures and use of laboratory equipment, maintaining sterilized equipment and environment, data gathering and processing, performing cell cultures, preparing solutions, protein purification, sterile techniques, and other processes. Many courses can count for both the Biotechnology Certificate and Clinical Lab Science Certificate.

The Clinical Lab Science Certificate prepares students interested in working in Clinical Lab Science fields, or students in careers seeking to upskill. This interdisciplinary program will focus on laboratory tasks common in the lab science and medical technology fields, and align with area providers. As possible, area medical offices and STEM labs will provide opportunities for internship experiences that support this program. Learning outcomes will include a comprehensive learning of laboratory tasks common in medical and science lab areas, and Biology, Chemistry, and Nursing courses that are required foundations to professional practice such as Cell Culture Processing, Protein Chemistry, Molecular Cell Biology and new courses such as Foundations of Clinical Lab Science and Clinical Lab Science Techniques. The Clinical Lab Science Certificate program will provide students with skill training required for entry level employment as technicians and emphasizes hands-on practical lab experience. Many courses can count for both the Biotechnology Certificate and Clinical Lab Science Certificate.

Computer and Information Technology is a fast-growing field with robust career opportunities for students with bachelor’s degrees. Information Technology professionals provide critical services ensuring system development, maintenance, and security. The aim of this program is to provide broad applied training to students entering the program from various points: as first-year first-time students, transfer students, or working professionals seeking additional qualifications. In addition to a core curriculum, the program can also offer elective courses with a pathway to IT industry certifications preferred by potential employers. Graduates of the program could work in careers such as application development, development operations (DevOps), IT management and consulting, and network administration.

Frequent technological innovations in the arts require students to have dexterity in a wide variety of artistic and media areas. The Digital Arts & Media major provides hands-on, skill building experience in digital graphics, photography, film, video, audio and music recording, augmented reality, virtual reality, and emerging technologies. Creative digital technologies are integrated into nearly every sector of the workforce. The Digital Arts & Media major prepares students for employment in entertainment, business, journalism, music, and art industries. This Bachelor of Arts degree has a robust four-year plan with introductory courses and electives for students to choose from in Art, Film, Music, and Journalism that will also be complemented by coursework in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Digital Arts & Media major is also designed to meet the needs of transfer students from related fields to graduate in two years and develop a portfolio. Service learning, interdisciplinary partnerships, and capstone projects provide professional opportunities for students.

The Food Systems Science program will incorporate academic content from a number of disciplines, including Rangeland Resources Science, Engineering, Anthropology, Communication, and more. The program will provide hands-on experience related to food production, processing and distribution, and consumption. This new major takes advantage of Humboldt’s unique campus and environment, 33 with its emphasis on sustainability, its location situated near the ocean, rivers, forests, and fertile agricultural land, and its unique resources: California’s longest operating farmer’s market, the only hospital in the state with an organic garden, the state’s only campus fish hatchery (with a recirculating aquaculture system), seaweed farming projects in the Humboldt Bay, and the R/V Coral Sea. Students founded the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), a live-in laboratory for student learning about sustainability that includes an on-campus garden, making it particularly well suited for the incorporation of a formal training pathway for sustainable food systems. This project will link all of these opportunities and resources together to provide holistic training in food systems and sustainability. The major will increase economic vitality and sustainability of regional food systems. The new program and curriculum reflect the need for growth and innovation in the rural, isolated, high-poverty region where Humboldt is located (~21% of residents live below the poverty line).

The B.A. program in Health Advocacy creates a pipeline of skilled healthcare practitioners who can increase the effectiveness of healthcare programs through patient advocacy, case management, assistance to patients in navigating the financial realities of healthcare, translation and interpretation within the healthcare setting, community health education, and creative arts-based and alternative health programming. 

Students in the program complete a 40-unit core that is aligned with national certifications in Patient Advocacy and Patient Navigation. Core courses include: Health Advocacy and Justice in Medicine, Native American Health, Health Psychology, Narrative Medicine and Communication Strategies in the Clinical Encounter, Health Messaging and Mass Media, Introduction to Health Informatics and Coding, Medical Terminology, Ethical, Legal, and Financial Concerns in Patient Advocacy.Students also complete coursework to design & implement a health promotion program and take a dedicated course on community-based health promotion. The curriculum culminates in a two-part practicum and capstone experience that includes the completion of a research project and preparation for certification.

The B.S. program in Indigenous Science & the Environment will be housed in Native American Studies and will serve as a new ‘Applied Science’ program in building out the polytechnic programs. Evidence suggests Cal Poly Humboldt already has strong student interest in this major. This interdisciplinary degree program will provide students with foundational knowledge in Indigenous environmental science and traditional ecological knowledge to address issues through multidisciplinary approaches and culturally relevant strategies. This innovative major brings together principles of both Indigenous Knowledge and Western science through curriculum and hands-on applied science research methodologies with a critical and integrative approach to complex environmental issues.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program will be designed to prepare registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees for advanced roles in community health, nursing education, and clinical settings. The curriculum would focus on the advanced development of professional nursing practice within a rural community, which would include preparation for leadership, quality improvement, and advocacy roles. At the conclusion of the program, MSN students create a quality improvement plan (thesis, project, or comprehensive exam) to address a practice disparity. Students will utilize advanced knowledge in nursing practice and nursing related field theories, and advanced knowledge to evaluate and integrate research to create a methodical quality improvement plan to improve nursing practice.

The M.Ed. in STEM Education Program is designed for credentialed K-12 educators and those with STEM undergraduate degrees who are seeking opportunities in formal and informal STEM educational careers. This program will provide students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of STEM content and pedagogy which will assist them in developing hands-on, inquiry based, interdisciplinary STEM activities. In addition to strengthening their knowledge base across the STEM fields as well as in their chosen emphasis, the M.Ed. in STEM Education program will enhance the teaching dispositions of the participants which will provide them opportunities to deepen their understanding of learners from diverse backgrounds and to explore issues of equity in the STEM fields. A need exists for educators to expand their knowledge of research and pedagogy in STEM fields; therefore, program participants will be expected to engage in action research in the context of their own classrooms (or a classroom of their choosing) in order to inform instruction, and to share the knowledge gained in a professional community of teachers. The ultimate goal of the program is to engage teachers in advanced courses that will strengthen their STEM content and broaden their pedagogical practices.

Academic Programming Description Plans for 2029

A generalist bachelor’s degree in agriculture will be designed in partnership with the College of Redwoods as a completion program (similar to an RN to BSN pathway in nursing). Areas of emphasis for the agriculture bachelor’s degree will focus on areas unique and important to the North Coast including water, waste management, and desalination.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing areas of computer science today. It is a very broad field that encompasses areas from network security to digital forensics and incident response to governance, risk and compliance. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, much of our information is stored on computers, phones, and in the cloud. Cybersecurity plays a crucial role already, but its importance will continue to increase as the world becomes more technology-driven. The Humboldt cybersecurity program will focus on application security, data loss security as well as network security. This focus will build on existing programming (the current Computer Science BS program and the proposed Computer Information Technology program). A large number of careers will be available to graduates of the program: security analyst, security consultant, security administrator, data protection officer, and more. This programming will elevate Humboldt’s profile and contribute to the workforce development of California.

A Bachelor of Science in forest engineering provides students with the ability to apply the principles of engineering and design to various forest management problems. Forest engineers are primarily involved in the design of logging and transportation systems to support sustainable forestry production and workforce protection. The design of logging systems using engineering principles will enhance worker safety by predicting the stress on various components during harvesting operations. Additionally, applying forest engineering design principles protects and enhances ecosystem services such as soil, water, and wildlife. One element of the program is a focus on terra-mechanics, which is the interaction between machine and soil, with the goal of reducing the compaction, rutting, and soil disturbance that harm soil and water resources. The design of drainage structures to allow for the unobstructed flow of water and wildlife through road systems can minimize impacts on aquatic environments by reducing sedimentation and blockage of stream channels. These design principles additionally support active restoration projects, especially post-fire restoration that is becoming a large part of the forestry sector in California.

The Regenerative Engineering Systems Design and Technology (RESDT) program is a four-year undergraduate program accredited as an Engineering Technology program. Regenerative design is a systems approach to design with the goal of creating systems that are resilient and equitable. Regenerative considers both human and ecological systems to create, design, and build spaces that go beyond the focus of sustainable development on human needs and incorporates design for resiliency for the community and the environment. Program learning objectives combine concepts of regenerative design with the traditional concepts of construction and manufacturing engineering including fundamentals of design, project management, and operations and maintenance processes. The coursework fills the widening gap between the professional designer and the construction trades and will prepare graduates to become licensed professional engineers. Graduates from this program work with owners, architects, and public agencies to transform conceptual ideas into functioning systems. The program would include required math, science, and engineering courses that are prescribed for ABET Engineering Technology degrees such as calculus, physics, materials science, and soil mechanics as well as courses that provide training in regenerative theories and practices such as regenerative processes and sustainable community development such as those included in Cal Poly Pomona’s regenerative studies degree.

The master’s degree in speech-language pathology will be designed in partnership with the local school districts and health systems to prepare students for practice as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). The curriculum will provide academic and clinical preparation for practice in areas of communication, swallowing across the lifespan, infuse principles of traditional and cultural knowledge, and offer students training in integrative care.