Interdepartmental Ph.D. Emphasis in Environment and Society

Moraine Lake
Valley of the Ten Peaks and Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Canada.

The Interdepartmental Ph.D. Emphasis in Environment and Society (IEES) is a new PhD emphasis, launched in 2014, with goal of providing UCSB doctoral students in participating departments an opportunity to receive training and mentorship in interdisciplinary environmental studies and sciences beyond the normal scope of their degree programs. Students that join the emphasis and complete all of the requirements will receive a certificate analogous to an undergraduate minor. IEES is administered by an advisory board of faculty from across campus, and is based in the Environmental Studies Program.

What are the benefits to participating graduate students?

  • Provide student participants with the interdisciplinary tools ”including methods, concepts, vocabularies, analytical frameworks, and critical thinking skills ”necessary to communicate across disciplines and undertake dissertation projects that address complex environmental issues;
  • Provide a structured opportunity to develop an area of conceptual depth or methodological expertise not available in their home department by engaging with faculty in any of the 15 departments participating in the emphasis;
  • Open up new opportunities for mentorship from a faculty member from another discipline through participation on their dissertation committee (participating students must have one faculty member from outside their discipline on their committee);
  • Introduce participants to new ways of thinking about the environment and provide them with guidance on how to integrate these perspectives into their research and writing;
  • Create an opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental community of students exploring diverse and interconnected questions about the environment and society; and
  • Improve competitiveness in the academic job market where interdisciplinary training is often sought after.

Which departments are involved?

Doctoral students from the following campus units are welcome to apply:

  1. Anthropology
  2. Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
  3. Earth Science
  4. East Asian Languages Cultural Studies
  5. Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
  6. English
  7. Environmental Studies Program
  8. Film and Media Studies
  9. Geography
  10. Global International Studies
  11. History
  12. Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science
  13. Political Science
  14. Psychology
  15. Sociology

Questions, requirements, and application information

View the most current information about this emphasis, on the Environmental Studies website.

Please feel free to send any questions to the emphasis Director, Peter Alagona.