Majors & Programs

Environmental Systems

Degrees Offered: MS

Program Overview

The graduate program in Environmental Systems at Cal Poly Humboldt is unique in combining studies in Environmental Resources Engineering, Geology, and Energy Technology and Policy within a single graduate program. Graduate studies in environmental systems are devoted to providing a strong scientific foundation for the study of environmental resource systems, management of the environment, or geologic processes. While the options are designed to provide an in-depth understanding in each particular area of emphasis, the program as a whole is also intended to develop in students an appreciation for the interdisciplinary character of environmental systems.

Each candidate for the Environmental Systems degree will choose one of the three options listed below.  The student will then consult with an appropriate faculty advisor and prepare an individual program of study that must be approved by a faculty graduate committee. The curriculum typically requires two years for completion and includes a thesis or project, depending on the option, as part of the student's program of study.

Environmental Resources Engineering

The Environmental Resources Engineering option of the Environmental Systems graduate program emphasizes the application of engineering skills to planning, design, and management problems involving environmental resources. Four general areas of research activity are available in the program: Water Quality, Water Resources, Renewable Energy Resources, and Indoor Air Quality.


Most graduate students in the Geology option focus on geologic analysis or modeling and measurement of geomorphic processes with particular emphasis on neotectonics, uplift, seismic hazard, hillslope erosion, sediment transport, and channel stability. However, thesis projects have may include aspects of structural geology, geophysics, igneous or, sedimentary petrology or stratigraphy.

Energy Technology and Policy

The Energy Technology and Policy (ETaP) option is an interdisciplinary program for students interested in technology and policy issues related to energy, the environment, and society. Students in the program have worked on topics ranging from renewable energy engineering to climate change mitigation and from international development to domestic energy policy. The program offers a rigorous curriculum for students who are interested to make a difference in these important areas of work.

Forestry 101

Degrees & Requirements