The ESE major is intended to train students in the environmental sciences, to pursue careers in academia, the public sector, or the private sector. The major can be pursued along two tracks: environmental physics and environmental chemistry. These tracks have separate course requirements and emphases, but at their hearts provide fundamental training in core scientific disciplines, with specialization in applications to the environmental and climate sciences. The two tracks share a sophomore year that continues the Core Curriculum’s training in mathematics and physics. Each track requires a laboratory component and training in data analysis and statistics. All ESE majors must take three broad-based classes (ESE 101, 102, and 103 ) providing introductions to atmospheric and oceanic physics as well as marine and terrestrial biogeochemistry. The physics and chemistry tracks initially parallel their respective majors in the core disciplines. However, there are fewer required classes in the ESE major to enable students to design a curriculum that emphasizes the environmental sciences, after training in a core discipline. A total of 212 units are required for the major, leaving approximately nine classes of free choice outside the major and the core.
Requirements for all ESE Majors, regardless of “Track”
- Ma 2.
- Ph 2a OR Ph12a.
- Training in data analysis and statistics: BE/Bi 103ab OR Ph 20 and Ph 21 OR ChE 15 and BE/Bi 103b.
- ESE 101, ESE 102, ESE 103. If students have taken ESE 1 then they can petition to not have either ESE 101 or ESE 103.
- Science Writing Requirement: Ch 91 OR Ph 70.
- Oral Presentation Requirement: Ge109 OR Ph 70 OR Ch 90.
- ESE 91. Senior thesis (Optional) .
Chemistry Track Requirements:
- Ch 21ab, Ch 41ab, ESE/Ge 142, ESE/Ch 176, ESE/Ge/Ch 171.
- Laboratory Requirement: Ch/ChE 9 OR Ch 4a; AND Ch 15.
- At least 77 units of electives, with a maximum of 2 additional lab classes. These courses are to be chosen by the student with approval by the Option Representative or their assigned surrogate. It is expected that the electives will span a range of options and constitute a coherent program in the Environmental Sciences.
Physics Track Requirements:
- Ph 12bc, Ph 106ab, ACM 95ab, ME 11c, ESE 130.
- Laboratory Requirement: Ph 6.
- At least 2 of the following 4 courses: ME/CE/Ge/ESE 146, ESE 131, ESE 133, ME 119.
- At least 77 units of electives. These courses are to be chosen by the student with approval by the Option Representative or their assigned surrogate. It is expected that the electives will span a range of options and constitute a coherent program in the Environmental Sciences.
ESE Typical Course Schedules
|Units per term|
Environmental Science And Engineering Minor (ESE)
The ESE minor is intended to supplement one of Caltech’s undergraduate degrees. It is designed for students who wish to broaden their studies beyond their major to include environmental science and engineering. Students completing the ESE minor requirements will have the phrase ”minor in environmental science and engineering” added to their transcripts.
ESE Minor Requirements
- Complete 27 units of ESE 1, 101, 102, or 103
- Complete 27 additional units of ESE courses (which may include up to 18 units of research under ESE 90, including the required written report).
Except for research courses, all ESE courses to be applied to fulfill the minor requirements must be taken for grades, and students must maintain a minimum grade average of B- in this ESE coursework. Courses that are used to satisfy the ESE minor requirements cannot be used to satisfy course requirements in the major.