UCSC Students

Student employees on the UCSC Farm. Photo: Jim Clark

Opportunities for UCSC Students

The Center's facilities and programs are available to all UC Santa Cruz undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to class work based at the Center's facilities, students can take part in ongoing Center research and education efforts, design their own projects in collaboration with the Center's associated faculty and staff members, and apply Measure 43 funding to support their projects. Students also work with the Center through internships or independent studies developed in collaboration with faculty in a variety of campus departments.

Undergraduate Students

Agroecology Major

UCSC undergraduates interested in agroecology and sustainable food systems may choose to major in agroecology. Students in this major will learn about ecological concepts (including soil and water processes, microbial ecology, plant physiology, aquaculture, competition, population growth, predator-prey interactions, mutualisms, and ecosystem services) that can be applied to the development of sustainable agricultural systems. Students will develop their understanding of social, political, and economic aspects of agriculture (including traditional agriculture, agricultural policy and development, social theory, history, sustainable farm management, markets, food justice, local food system experiences, and harvested food systems). Students will also engage in hands-on experiences, and obtain skills in research, fieldwork, production, and communication in order to achieve multiple sustainability goals in complex, social-ecological food systems.

Research, Internship, and Independent Study Opportunities

UCSC undergraduates can take part in ongoing Center research projects, or design their own research projects for course credit or as the basis for a senior thesis project. Students can choose to develop farming and gardening skills through internships at the Farm and Chadwick Garden or on local farms and gardening projects.

Credit for internships is available through the Environmental Studies Internship Program and through independent studies arranged with faculty members. For information on current research and internship opportunities, visit our Internship page or see the Campus Food and Garden Guide, which lists contacts for food systems-related internship and volunteer opportunities at a variety of campus and community locations, including the various college gardens.

Job Opportunities

Gain experiential learning and leadership experience by working with the Center for Agroecology. Our student staff helps conduct onsite research, grow and harvest produce for our farm stand, CSA, produce pop-up, and food pantries, distribute food to the campus and Santa Cruz communities, and with outreach and aministrative support. Come join our team! Visit our Jobs page to view student job opportunities.

Other Undergraduate Opportunities 

UCSC's Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) efforts offer many opportunities to help create a more sustainable college and community food system. Kresge, Stevenson, Rachel Carson, and Oakes Colleges also have active college gardens that welcome interns and volunteers.

A number of Environmental Studies courses use the Center's UCSC Farm for field and laboratory work. For example, the Agroecology Practicum, based at the Farm and Alan Chadwick Garden, is a hands-on course offered several times a year (including during Summer Session in some years), which emphasizes both academic and experiential education. Lab sessions for the Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture course also take place at the UCSC Farm. For details on current and upcoming Environmental Studies courses, see the undergraduate courses website.

Experiential Learning for undergraduates at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden

Graduate Students

As a research unit, the Center does not have its own graduate degree program. However, the PhD program offered by UCSC's Environmental Studies Department includes a focus on agroecology and sustainable agriculture.

Other UCSC departments offering advanced degrees related to the Center's work include Anthropology, Biology, Earth Sciences, Economics, Education, Politics, and Sociology.

Faculty associated with the Center provide graduate students with advice and research opportunities on a variety of topics, including basic research in agroecology, entomology, soil nutrient dynamics, and international agricultural systems. In conjunction with their faculty advisor, UCSC graduate students can apply for access to the Center's facilities for lab- and field-based research work.

Graduate students are eligible to apply for UCSC's Global Food Iniatives (GFI) Fellowship Program. Read more about the GFI program.

For general information on UC Santa Cruz's graduate programs, see the Graduate Division's website.

See Also