University of California - Los Angeles

Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Environment and Sustainability


Room 4289 Bunche Hall

Suite C310

Los Angeles, CA 90095

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Environment and Sustainability

Format: Campus

Program Description:

The Environment and Sustainability Ph.D. equips students with diverse perspectives to develop profound new ideas, knowledge and answers to the most important concerns facing people and the planet. The program provides a deep understanding of how fundamental principles of environmental science and sustainability can be applied to research and address key environmental challenges that require skills in multiple disciplines—preparing students for a range of careers in academia, as well as public and private sectors.

Students will advance their understanding of challenges in topics such as:

  • Climate
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Water
  • Air quality
  • Health
  • Ecosystems
  • Urban systems
  • Sustainable enterprise and development
  • Consumption
  • Social cohesion and inequality
  • Governance, policy and law at sub-national, national and international levels

Our program encourages students to innovate and tackle paramount environment and sustainability challenges by building expertise in two distinct disciplines. They learn two bodies of knowledge and two methods of inquiry and problem-solving, positioning them to advance novel insights and new areas of inquiry.

To encourage this open-ended, problem-driven focus in our student-focused program, the fixed requirements of the program are limited: a two-quarter core sequence of “Issues and Methods in Environment and Sustainability” and a minimum of six quarters participation in advanced seminars on Environment and Sustainability. Beyond the common requirements, each student will develop an individual program of study in consultation with their advisors to master a range of disciplinary knowledge, skills and research methods.

We aim to recruit and train students whose ambition and curiosity cannot be satisfied by a traditional disciplinary doctoral program. To promote interdisciplinarity as the core of the program’s identity, each student’s program of study and dissertation research will be guided by two advisors from distinct areas of research and scholarship. We encourage prospective students to identify different areas of study and contact potential advisors prior to applying.

UCLA and IoES are uniquely positioned to offer a program of this character. As a world-class public research university, UCLA provides access to a vast range of expertise across the physical and life sciences, humanities, fine arts, social sciences and major fields of professional training. Within UCLA, IoES provides a strong programmatic identity, multiple degree programs and issue-focused research centers, strengths that make it the campus-wide hub for teaching and research in environment and sustainability. IoES has the largest breadth of interdisciplinary collaboration of any peer institution, with 60+ participating faculty from more than 25 campus units and more than 10 faculty who hold joint appointments between IoES and other departments or schools. 

International Student Requirements:

International transcripts must be issued in English, as well as the original language if applicable; the degree certificate also must show the conferral date in both languages.

Facts & Figures

Classification: Doctoral/Research University—Extensive

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 20,000-39,999

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