Marine Science Building 205E, 205F
1000 Pope Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-2913
Fax: (808) 956-9225
Web: oceanography/GES/


M. Guidry, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)—biogeochemical modeling, mineral precipitation/dissolution kinetics, K-12/university curriculum development assessment, geoscience education
R. Alegado, PhD—marine microbial ecology, influence of bacteria on animal evolution, Hawaiian fishponds
H. Annamalai, PhD—diagnostic and modeling aspects of the Asian Summer Monsoon system, prediction and predictability of the Asian Summer Monsoon system, dynamical and physical link between Monsoon-ENSO
D. Beilman, PhD—long-term terrestrial ecology, paleoscience approaches to global change science, carbon cycling
R. R. Bidigare, PhD—bio-optical oceanography, pigment bio-chemistry, plankton metabolism
S. M. Bushinsky, PhD—biogeochemical cycles, interpretation of data from autonomous vehicles to understand the biological carbon cycle, air-sea gas exchange, Southern Ocean processes controlling air-sea oxygen and carbon fluxes and nutrient export
S. Businger, PhD—evolution and structure of destructive atmospheric storms including: frontal cyclones, hurricanes, and severe thunderstorm
B. C. Bruno, PhD—planetary geosciences, geoscience education
G. S. Carter, PhD—physical oceanography, ocean mixing, tides, internal waves, underwater ocean gliders
Q. Chen—environmental changes and use of multiple tools to address these issues
M. J. Cooney, PhD—high rate anaerobic digestion, bio-oil extraction from biomass, and the analytical characterization of chemical microenvironments surrounding immobilized enzymes
J. L. Deenik, PhD—soil fertility and soil quality, nitrogen and carbon cycling in agroecosystems, traditional agroecosystems, biochar and sustainable agriculture
E. F. DeLong, PhD—application of contemporary genomic technologies to understand the ecology, evolution and biochemistry of complete microbial assemblages
S. Dollar, PhD—biogeochemistry, nearshore processes and effects of human activity on the coastal zone
J. C. Drazen, PhD—physiological ecology of marine fishes, energetics and tropodynamics, deep-sea biology, adaptions of fishes to the deep-sea
K. Edwards—phytoplankton ecology, community ecology, ecological theory and statistics, benthic communities
M. Edwards, PhD—marine geology and geophysics, remote sensing of the seafloor, Mid-Ocean Ridges, Artic Basin
A. El-Kadi, PhD—hydrogeology, modeling groundwater systems
R. C. Ertekin, PhD—hydrodynamics, computational methods, offshore and coastal engineering, oil-spill spreading, fishpond circulation, ocean renewable energy
P. J. Flament, PhD—dynamics of surface ocean layer, mesoscale structures, remote sensing
C. H. Fletcher, PhD—quaternary and coastal marine geology, sea-level history, coastal sedimentary processes
O. Francis—strom-generated ocean waves, meteorological and ocean processes on costal infrastructure, water, and wastewater systems affected by climate change and water shortage
K. Frank—identifying environmental drivers of microbial dynamics and to characterize the impact of the microorganisms on biogeochemical cycling in mineral-hosted ecosystems from mountain ridge to mid-ocean ridges
P. Fryer, PhD—marine geology, petrology, tectonics
E. Gaidos, PhD—molecular evolution; microbiology of extreme environments; biosphere-climate feedbacks; critical intervals in Earth history; exobiology; biological networks
T. W. Giambelluca, PhD—interactions between the atmosphere and the land surface, including influences of land use and land cover change on climate and surface hydrology and effects of global climate change on hydrologic processes and terrestrial ecology
B. T. Glazer, PhD—biogeochemical processes in marine environments; use of molecular methods to characterize and understand synergy of geomicrobiology
C. R. Glenn, PhD—paleoceanography, marine geology, sedimentology, sediment diagenesis
E. Goetze, PhD—marine zooplankton ecology; dispersal and gene flow in marine plankton populations; evolution, behavioral ecology and systematics of marine calanoid copepods
E. G. Grau, PhD—environmental physiology and comparative endocrinology of fish
M. P. Hamnet, PhD—coastal zone management; fisheries economics; disaster preparedness and mitigation
N. Hawco, PhD—impacts of micronutrient scarcity on phytoplankton growth and the carbon cycle, sources, sinks, and transformations of iron, cobalt and other metals in the ocean, elemental and isotopic tracers of environmental change
D. T. Ho, PhD—air-water gas exchange, tracer oceanography, carbon cycle, and environmental geochemistry
S. Howell, PhD—environmental aerosol research, aerosol chemistry
A. Jani—ecology of infectious diseases
C. Karamperidou—ENSO dynamics and predictability, ENSO in past climate, response of mid-latitude atmospheric circulation to climate change and variability.
D. Karl—microbiological oceanography, oceanic productivity, biogeochemical fluxes
M. Kirs—environmental microbiology, Microbial source tracking, recreational water quality, quantitative PCR
D. E. Konan, PhD—international trade, microeconomics, computational economics
K. Lowry, PhD—design, planning and evaluation of ocean and coastal management programs; experience in Hawai‘i, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand
D. Luther—tides, internal waves, abyssal mixing, energy flow, wave interaction at the coast, interactive ocean observation
S. J. Martel, PhD—engineering and structural geology
M. A. McManus, PhD—descriptive physical oceanography, coupled physical-biological numerical models; development of ocean observing systems
M. Merlin, PhD—biogeography, natural history of the Pacific
A. Misra—material science, remote sensing, remote Raman, micro Raman, High Tc_Superconductor, stress strain sensors
T. Miura, PhD—remote sensing of terrestrial vegetation, GIS
G. F. Moore, PhD—marine geophysics, structural geology
P. Mouginis-Mark, PhD—volcanology from space, remote sensing of natural hazards
P. K. Müller—ocean circulation, waves and turbulence
C. E. Nelson, PhD—structure and function of natural bacterial communities in aquatic habitats such as coral reefs lakes, streams, and open ocean
A. Nugent—mountain meteorology and cloudy physics, orographic convection and precipitation, shallow cloud dynamics, cloud microphysics
B. N. Popp, PhD—isotope biogeochemistry, organic geochemistry
J. N. Porter, PhD—atmospheric science, use of satellites to study aerosol and cloud forcing, ship measurements of aerosol and cloud optical properties
J. Potemra, PhD—general ocean circulation and its relationship to climate; oceanic processes in the western equatorial Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean and their connection
B. S. Powell, PhD—numerical modeling, variational data assimilation, ocean predictability, ocean circulation, and ecosystem dynamics
B. Qiu—large-scale ocean circulation, ocean atmosphere internation, satellite observations, and numerical modeling of ocean circulation
M. S. Rappe, PhD—ecology of marine microorganisms; genomics; coral-associated microorganisms; ecology of microorganisms in the deep subsurface
G. Ravizza, PhD—paleoceanography and environmental chemistry; geologic history of chemical weathering; geochemistry of recent and ancient metalliferous sediments; anthropogenic influences on the geochemical cycles of the platinum group elements; chemical signatures of extraterrestrial matter in marine sediments; biogeochemistry of molybdenum in the marine environment
K. J. Richards, PhD—observation and modeling of ocean processes, ocean dynamics, ocean-atmosphere interaction, ecosystem dynamics
M. A. Ridgley, PhD—resource management and human-environment system analysis
J. Roumasset, PhD—environmental economics and sustainable growth
K. Rubin, PhD—isotope geochemistry, chronology
K. Ruttenberg, PhD—biogeochemistry of phosphorus and phosphorus cycling in the ocean, rivers, and lakes; nutrient limitation of aquatic primary productivity; effects of redox chemistry on nutrient cycling; early diagenesis in marine sediments with focus on authigenic mineral formation and organic matter mineralization
C. L. Sabine, PhD—global carbon cycle, ocean inorganic carbon, ocean acidification, carbonate biogeochemistry, air-sea gas exchange, multitracer relationships, sensor and ocean platform development
N. Schneider, PhD—decadal climate variability, tropical air-sea interaction, coupled modeling
K. Selph—biological oceanography, microbial ecology, protistan grazer feeding dynamics, phytoplankton distributions, use of flow cytometry in ecological research
S. K. Sharma, PhD—atmospheric instrumentation and remote sensing; Lidar, Raman, and infrared spectrometry and fiber-optic environmental sensors
C. R. Smith, PhD—benthic and ecology, deep-sea biology, sediment geochemistry, climate-change effects on Antarctic ecosystems, marine conservation
G. F. Steward, PhD—aquatic microbial ecology, molecular ecology and diversity of viruses and bacteria
M. F. Stuecker, PhD—internal climate variability and forced changes in the past, present, and future; El Niño-Southern Oscillation dynamics; decadal variability, climate connections between the tropics and poles and between different ocean basins
B. Taylor—plate tectonics, geology of ocean margin basins
R. Toonen—dispersal and recruitment of invertebrate larvae, population genetics, evolution and ecology of marine invertebrates
B. Wang, PhD—atmospheric and climate dynamics
R. Wright, PhD—hyperspectral imaging instrument development, remote sensing, infrared radiometry, volcanology
R. E. Zeebe, PhD—global biogeochemical cycles, carbon dioxide system in seawater and interrelations with marine plankton, paleoceanography, stable isotope geochemistry

Degree Offered: BS in global environmental science

The Academic Program

Global Environmental Science (GES) is a holistic, scientific approach to the study of the Earth system and its physical, chemical, biological, and human processes. This academic program is designed to educate leaders and citizenry to become wise stewards of our planet. GES focuses on the global reservoirs of hydrosphere (water, primarily oceans), biosphere (life and organic matter), atmosphere (air), lithosphere (land, sediments, and rocks), and cryosphere (ice); their interfaces; and the processes acting upon and within this interactive system, including human activities. In the course of their scientific studies, GES students are able to investigate natural as well as economic, policy, and social systems and their response and interaction with the Earth system. GES has important ties to the more classical sciences of geology and geophysics, meteorology and climatology, oceanography, and ecology as well as to the social sciences. Thus, the scope of GES is extremely broad. This breadth is reflected in the interdisciplinary nature of the faculty, which is primarily drawn from numerous departments and research institutions within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

GES has much to offer the student who is interested in the environment and the effect of humans on the environment. The skills developed in GES can be brought to bear on local, regional, and global environmental issues. Many of the critical environmental problems confronting humankind involve large-scale processes and interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, shallow lithosphere, and people. Some of the problems derive from natural causes; others are a result of human activities. Some of the issues that GES students deal with are: climatic changes from anthropogenic inputs to the atmosphere of CO2 and other greenhouse gases; human interventions and disruptions in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, trace metals, and other substances; emissions of nitrogen and sulfur oxide gases and volatile organic compounds to the atmosphere and the issues of acid deposition and photochemical smog; depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer and associated increase in the flux of ultraviolet radiation to Earth’s surface; increasing rates of tropical deforestation and other large-scale destruction of habitat, with potential effects on climate and the hydrologic cycle; disappearance of biotic diversity through explosive rates of species extinction; global consequences of the distribution and application of potentially toxic chemicals in the environment and biotechnology; interannual and interdecadal climate variability, e.g., El Niño/Southern Oscillation; eutrophication; water and air quality; exploitation of natural resources with consequent problems of waste disposal; earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural hazards and prediction; and waste disposal: municipal, toxic chemical, and radioactive. In all cases, the student is encouraged to understand and appreciate the social, economic, and ultimately the policy decisions associated with these and other environmental issues.
Specifically with respect to learning objectives, the students develop competency in understanding how the physical, biological, and chemical worlds are interconnected in the Earth system. They obtain skills in basic mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology that enable them to deal with courses in the derivative geological, oceanographic, and atmospheric sciences at a level higher than that of qualitative description. In turn, these skills enable the students to learn the subject matter of GES within a rigorous context. The students develop an awareness of the complexity of the Earth system and how it has changed during geologic time and how human activities have modified the system and led to a number of local, regional, and global environmental issues. They become competent in using computers and dealing with environmental databases and with more standard sources of information in the field. They are exposed to experimental, observational, and theoretical methodologies of research and complete an environmentally focused senior research thesis in environmental study using one or more of these methodologies. Project field work is encouraged for the senior thesis and, depending on the topic chosen by the student, can be carried out at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology’s Coconut Island facility, E. W. Pauley Laboratory, associated He‘eia ahupua‘a, Ka Papa Lo‘i O Kanewai, or elsewhere.

The ultimate objective of the GES program is to produce a student informed in the environmental sciences at a rigorous level who is able to go on to graduate or professional school; enter the work force in environmental science positions in industry, business, or government; enter or return to teaching with knowledge of how the Earth system works; or enter the work force in another field as an educated person with the knowledge required to become a wise environmental steward of the planet. The GES program is accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Commission of ABET.

Mission Statement

  1. Educate students in creating, developing, and disseminating knowledge through high-quality and innovative faculty-mentored research experiences;
  2. Train environmental scientists able to apply a rich diversity of knowledge systems that are committed to sustain and transform our islands and the world.
  3. Cultivate creative and innovative leaders in environmental science impacting local to global communities.

Program Educational Objectives

There are four GES Program Educational Objectives, which are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few years after graduation.

  1. Apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to attain advanced disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and professional degrees.
  2. Apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to the practice of environmental science to become leaders in public and private sector professional careers impacting local to global communities.
  3. Apply principles of environmental justice and ethics, sustainability, and Indigenous practices and knowledge in their careers.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to conduct independent basic or applied research.

Student Outcomes

All graduates of the Global Environmental Science program are expected to have demonstrated an ability to:

  1. Identify, formulate, explain, and solve broadly defined technical or scientific problems relevant to local communities and/or global contexts by applying knowledge of mathematics, science, and Indigenous practices and knowledge in environmentally-related disciplines.
  2. Design a system, process, procedure or program to meet desired needs.
  3. Develop and conduct experiments or test hypotheses, analyze and interpret data and use scientific judgment to draw conclusions.
  4. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences in both written and oral communication.
  5. Understand ethical and professional responsibilities and the impact of technical and/or scientific solutions in economic, environmental, and societal contexts; both locally and globally.
  6. Function effectively on teams that establish goals, plan tasks, meet deadlines, and analyze risk and uncertainty.


Students contemplating a major in Global Environmental Science should contact the Student Academic Services in HIGH 131B (808) 956-8763. The GES Program Chair can be contacted via and phone (808) 956-2913.

BS in Global Environmental Science

University Core and Graduation Requirements

Of the 31 credits of General Education Core Requirements, 10 are in math and science and are fulfilled through the GES degree. Graduation Requirements include 8 Focus courses, 7 of which can currently be taken through the GES program requirements [Contemporary Ethical Issues (GES 311), Oral Communications (GES/OCN 490), and 5 Writing Intensive courses (BIOL 171L, GES 311, 320, 401, and 499)].

Global Environmental Science Requirements

Aside from General Education Core and Graduation requirements, the global environmental science program has core requirements of two basic types: basic sciences and derivative sciences. The former provides the foundation to understand and appreciate the latter in the context of basic skills and mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. Both global environmental science core requirements provide the necessary cognitive skills to deal with the higher academic level courses within the global environmental science curriculum. These include 7 required foundation courses in global environmental science and a minimum of 4 coupled systems courses. It is within this latter category of course work that the formal course program will be tailored to the individual student’s needs. For example, we anticipate that most students will follow closely a natural science track of study, perhaps concentrating on the terrestrial, marine, or atmospheric environment. However, because of the human dimensions issues involved in the subject matter of environmental change, some students may wish to expand their academic program into the social sciences that bear on the issues of global change.

A minimum grade of C must be obtained in all GES required courses.

Core Basic Sciences Requirement (40 credits)

  • BIOL 171/171L, 172/172L
  • CHEM 161/161L, 162/162L
  • MATH 241, 242
  • MATH 243 or OCN/ERTH 312
  • MATH 244 or ECON 321
  • PHYS 170/170L, 272/272L
  • OEST 100

Core Derivative Sciences Requirement (11 credits)

  • ATMO 200
  • ERTH 101/101L or ERTH 170
  • OCN 201/201L

Foundation Course Requirements (18 credits)

  • GES/OCN 100 Global Environmental Science Seminar
  • GES/OCN 102 Introduction to the Environment, Climate Change, & Sustainability
  • GES 311 The Changing Earth and Climate System
  • GES 319L Global Environmental Change Laboratory
  • GES/OCN 320 Aquatic Pollution
  • GES/OCN 401 Biogeochemical Systems
  • GES/OCN 463 Data Analysis in Earth Science

Coupled Systems Courses (4 minimum–Examples)

  • ANTH 328 Food Origins, Food Culture
  • ANTH 335 Society and Environment
  • ANTH 459 Extinctions
  • ANTH 482 Anthropology and the Environment: Culture, Power, and Politics
  • ASTR 210 Foundations of Astronomy
  • ATMO 302 Atmospheric Physics
  • ATMO 303 Introduction to Atmospheric Dynamics
  • BIOC 141 Fundamentals of Biochemistry
  • BIOL 265 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • BIOL 301 Marine Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL 310 Environmental Issues
  • BIOL 340/CMB 351 Genetics, Evolutions and Society
  • BIOL 360 Island Ecosystems
  • BIOL 404 Advanced Topics in Marine Biology
  • BIOL 410/GEO 410 Human Role in Environmental Change
  • BIOL 411 Corals and Coral Reefs
  • BOT 350 Resource Management & Conservation in Hawai‘i
  • BOT/HWST/SUST 457 ‘Āina Mauliola: Hawaiian Ecosystems
  • BOT/HWST/SUST 458 Natural Resource Issues and Ethics
  • BOT/HWST/SUST 459 Strategies in Hawaiian Resource Use
  • BOT 480 Algal Diversity and Evolution
  • CHEM 272 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 273 Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 445 Synthesis & Analysis of Organic Compounds
  • CMB 351/BIOL 340 Genetics, Evolutions and Society
  • ECON 321 Introduction to Statistics
  • ECON 358 Environmental Economics
  • ECON 458 Project Evaluation and Resource Management
  • ECON 638 Environmental Resource Economics
  • GEO 300 Introduction to Climatology
  • GEO 310 Introduction to Planning
  • GEO/SUST 322 Globalization and Environment
  • GEO/TIM 324 Geography of Global Tourism
  • GEO/SUST 330 Culture and Environment
  • GEO 388 Introduction to GIS
  • GEO 401 Climate Change
  • GEO 402 Agricultural Climatology
  • GEO 404 Climate, Air Quality, & Policy
  • GEO 405 Water in the Environment
  • GEO 410 Human Role in Environmental Change
  • GEO 411/SUST 413 Past Global Change and the Human Era
  • GEO 412 Environmental Impact Assessment
  • GEO 413 Resource Management in Southeast Asia
  • GEO 414 Environmental Hazards and Community Resilience
  • GEO/TIM/SUST 415 Nature-Based Tourism Management
  • ERTH 301 Mineralogy
  • ERTH 309 Sedimentology aProcesses and Environments
  • ERTH 325 Geochemistry
  • ERTH 413 Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
  • ERTH 420 Beaches, Reefs, and Climate Change
  • ERTH 425 Environmental Geochemistry
  • ERTH/OCN 444 Plate Tectonics
  • ERTH 455 Hydrogeology
  • ERTH 466 Planetary Geology
  • HWST 457 ‘Âina Mauliola: Hawaiian Ecosystems
  • HWST 458 Natural Resources Issues and Ethics
  • HWST 459 Strategies in Hawaiian Resource Use
  • HWST 460 Hui Konohiki Practicum
  • MICR 401 Marine Microbiology
  • MBBE 412 Environmental Biochemistry
  • NREM 301/301L Natural Resources Management/Lab
  • NREM 302 Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
  • NREM 304 Fundamentals of Soil Science
  • NREM 461 Soil and Water Conservation
  • OCN 318 Introduction to Environmental Monitoring Systems and Measurements
  • OCN 321/PPC 340/SUST 323 Applied Principles of Environmental & Energy Policy
  • OCN/ORE 330 Mineral and Energy Resources of the Sea
  • OCN 331 Living Resources of the Sea
  • OCN 340 Ecology of Infectious Diseases and Symbioses
  • OCN 403 Marine Functional Ecology and Biotechnology
  • OCN 411 The Ethics of Climate Change and Geoengineering
  • OCN 418 Advanced Environmental Monitoring Systems
  • OCN 430 Introduction to Deep-Sea Biology
  • OCN 435 Climate Change and Urbanization
  • OCN/CEE/SUST 441 Principles of Sustainability Analysis
  • OCN/SUST 442/TIM 462 Environmental Management Systems
  • OCN/GES 454 Earth’s Microbiome
  • OCN 457 Ridge to Reef: Coastal Ecosystem Ecology and Connectivity
  • OCN 480 Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems: Biological-Physical Interactions in the Oceans
  • OCN 481 Introduction to Ocean Ecosystem Modeling
  • OCN 620 Physical Oceanography
  • OCN 621 Biological Oceanography
  • OCN 622 Geological Oceanography
  • OCN 623 Chemical Oceanography
  • OCN 633 Biogeochemical Methods in Oceanography
  • OCN/ERTH 638 Earth System Science and Global Change
  • PEPS 310/SUST 320 Environment and Agriculture
  • PEPS 451 Environmental Law
  • PH 201 Introduction to Public Health
  • PH 310 Introduction to Epidemiology
  • PH 340 Public Health and the Environment
  • PH 341 Public Health Biology and Pathophysiology
  • PH 655 Biostatistics I
  • PH 663 Principles of Epidemiology I
  • PH 664 Principles of Epidemiology II
  • PHIL 316 Science, Technology, and Society
  • PLAN 310 Introduction to Planning
  • PLAN 414 Environmental Hazards and Community Resilience
  • PLAN 473 GIS for Community Planning
  • PLAN 600 Public Policy and Planning Theory
  • PLAN/SUST 620 Environmental Planning and Policy
  • POLS 315 Global Politics/International Relations
  • POLS 316 International Relations
  • POLS 380 Environmental Law and Politics
  • POLS/SUST 387 Politics of the Ocean
  • SOC 412 Analysis in Population and Society
  • TIM 321 Sociocultural Issues in Tourism
  • TIM/GEO 324 Geography of Global Tourism
  • TIM/GEO/SUST 415 Nature-Based Tourism Management
  • TIM 420/SUST 421 Sustainable Tourism Policies and Practices

The student may also wish to take additional courses in fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, or mathematics.

In addition to students being able to choose their own coupled systems courses to customize their degree per their interests and goals, the Global Environmental Science program has six tracks (with defined coupled system courses) in the cross-disciplinary environmental science areas of (1) environmental anthropology, (2) environmental health, (3) environmental planning, (4) risk management and insurance (5) sustainable tourism, and (6) sustainability science. For each of these tracks, the collaborating department and their faculty have agreed to support the major required research thesis project so that GES students are able to focus both their curricular and research experience in track’s subject material.

  1. Environmental Anthropology (cross-disciplinary with the Department of Anthropology): Environmental anthropology is distinct from approaches to the environment in other social sciences. While all the social sciences share a common commitment to understanding environmental problems and issues of sustainability as, in essence, social problems, amenable to the tools of the social sciences, anthropology brings a number of distinct emphases and approaches to the problem. Anthropologists have long been committed to understanding the environment from others’ points of view, engaging in the kinds of deeply committed, extended and engaged research that forms the basis of ethnographic inquiry. As a holistic science, anthropologists learn new languages, immerse themselves in other cultures, and strive to understand perceptions of the environment from wholly distinct ideological, linguistic, and cosmological perspectives. As part of their holistic approach, anthropologists have also developed models for understanding human interactions with the environment that draw on evolutionary ecology and ecosystem science, studying such things as energy and nutrient flows through systems that include humans as components of broader networks of interaction. Finally, anthropologists have worked to test the assumptions built in to various models of environmental behavior, empirically testing models from political economy or common property theory, but doing so in ways that dig deeper and overcome more social distance than can the survey-based methodologies of sociology or the econometric, sampling and statistical approaches used by social sciences focused on aggregate social action.
    This program builds on the Department of Anthropology’s focus on applied anthropology, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The Environmental Anthropology track will challenge students to question their assumptions about the human relationship to the environment and the practice of environmental management. Students will be trained in methods and approaches that will allow them to understand the linkages between human cultural systems and the environment, and will be trained to contextualize human behavior within broader social, political and economic contexts. Course work, mentoring, and independent research will address such issues as the social dimensions of sustainability, resiliency, and will emphasize anthropological approaches to environmental problems. GES EA track graduates will be prepared to undertake applied graduate studies and to work professionally in such fields as natural resource management, applied environmental archeology, or advocacy and policymaking for environmental sustainability.
  2. Environmental Health Sciences (cross-disciplinary with Office of Public Health Studies): This track enables a student in the Global Environmental Sciences Program to concentrate his/her academic studies in areas of significant importance in the relationship between environmental issues and public health. The inter-relationship between the environment and its impact on human health is vast and constantly changing. Issues such as food security, emerging zoonotic diseases, water scarcity, air and water pollution, over population, waste disposal, pesticide use, depletion of resources on land and in the sea are just a few of the pressing environmental issues that affect the health and well-being of millions of people worldwide. In this track students will gain the basic scientific knowledge necessary to understand the underlying science of the environment while simultaneously being exposed to public health principles that are essential for establishing cause and effect relationships between environmental conditions and human health, as well as understanding the compromises that sometimes must be made to accommodate economic, health, and environmental preservation goals. Graduates of this track will be uniquely positioned for careers in the environmental health field ranging from laboratory workers to regulatory policy and enforcement officers with environmental agencies.
  3. Environmental Planning (cross-disciplinary with Department of Urban and Regional Planning): Global environmental problems like human-induced climate change challenge local strategies to manage natural resources, protect sensitive species’ habitats, and ensure the long-term health of ecosystems. With over fifty-percent of the world’s population now living in urban areas and consuming most of the Earth’s resources, the way we plan, design, and regulate our cities exacerbates local conditions. At the same time, urban areas are also important locations for solutions. Environmental planners adopt solutions-oriented approaches to address environmental problems, such as supporting local food production, building disaster risk reduction, deploying clean sources of energy, conserving biodiversity and natural habitats, managing urban waste, adapting to sea-level rise, and preserving freshwater resources. Planning as a discipline has a long tradition in problem solving across different scales from neighborhoods to entire regions with extensive community involvement. Graduates will be uniquely positioned for careers as environmental planners, specialists, and consultants employed by government agencies or private firms required to review planning permits, develop master plans, prepare environmental impact studies, or develop mitigation strategies to minimize development impacts.
  4. Risk Management and Insurance are an integral part of the decision making processes of corporations and individuals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, geoscience finance and insurance-related jobs are projected to grow by over 37% in the next eight years. The projected growth is the response of the finance and insurance industry to “pricing in” current and future impacts of climate and environmental change into all aspects of their provided services. As such, geoscientists with finance and insurance expertise are needed to bridge the two disciplines in the finance and insurance industry.
    The Risk Management and Insurance track in the Global Environmental Science program will provide students the knowledge and the toolkit of managing risk exposures for corporations and/or individuals. Students will be introduced to personal financial decision making, insurance industry and operations, different insurance policies and their applications in personal and business planning, corporate risk management techniques, and other related financial decision making techniques. In short, this track is designed to prepare students for the dire need of risk professionals and/or the fast growing insurance industries.
  5. Sustainability Science: In collaboration with Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute, Sustainability Science probes interactions between global, social, and human systems, the complex mechanisms that lead to degradation of these systems, and concomitant risks to human well-being. As Sustainability Science has emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline, it brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine–facilitating the design, implementation, and evaluation of practical interventions that promote sustainability in particular places and contexts. The GES graduate from the sustainability track is prepared for opportunities in all fields that would hire environmental scientists, and to be especially competitive for those opportunities that target the design, analysis, implementation, maintenance, and/or monitoring of processes or systems that target increased sustainability.
  6. Sustainable Tourism (cross-disciplinary with the School of Travel Industry Management): The relationship between tourism and the natural environment is intimate and complex. The desire for contact with nature drives enormous volumes of tourism, yielding not only tourist spending and associated jobs and tax revenues, but also pollution, waste, and overdevelopment resulting from the transportation of masses of people and the construction and operation of tourism-related facilities. Indeed, such pollution, waste, and overdevelopment diminish the quality of the very environments that impel nature-based tourism to begin with. In addition, issues such as food security, water scarcity, overpopulation, urban sprawl, pesticide use, global warming, rising sea levels, and depletion of resources on land and in the sea are just a few of the pressing environmental issues that affect the attractiveness, competitiveness, and sustainability of destinations throughout the world. Graduates will be uniquely positioned for careers as planners, specialists, and consultants employed by government agencies required to prepare environmental impact studies and/or tourism plans, consulting firms that prepare such studies and/or plans for government agencies, and nonprofit organizations that operate tourism “ecocertification” programs that provide tourism-related businesses with credentials of their “greenness.”

Global Environmental Science Honors Track

The Global Environmental Science Honors track trains students to conduct sustained, supervised research in the fields of environmental science. Honors students work closely with a faculty mentor, take Honors courses, present their finished research at both the Undergraduate Showcase and the GES Symposium, write an Honors/GES thesis based on their research, and submit the thesis to both Honors and GES programs to satisfy each program’s requirements.

Students can apply to either the Four Year Honors track or the Upper Division Honors track.

Directed Reading

  • GES/OCN 399 Directed Reading

Course offering with an individual faculty member to do a one-on-one study on a topic of particular interest to you.

This could be used to explore a topic before deciding on a senior thesis, or because you are interested in an area in which there isn’t a formal course offering. It can be taken for CR/NC or for a grade and you can register for 1-3 credits. This is not considered a CS class.

Senior Research Thesis (5-8 hours)

  • GES/OCN 490 Communication of Research Results
  • GES/OCN 499 Undergraduate Thesis

Each student is required to complete a written senior thesis based on research conducted with one or more chosen advisors, and to make a public presentation of their research results.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Pathways

In collaboration with select departments across the UH Mānoa campus, the Global Environmental Science program offers combined Bachelor’s-and-Master’s (BAM) degree pathways, which help students earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years. The pathways allow GES students to double-count relevant credits towards both their undergraduate and graduate degrees and also earn graduate-level credits at the undergraduate tuition rate, essentially saving time and money. The pathway choices available to GES students are BAM with (1) Master of Public Health, Epidemiology Emphasis (MPH) and (2) Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP).

  1. Combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health, Epidemiology Emphasis (MPH) Pathway
    In collaboration with the Office of Public Health Studies, the program offers a combined Bachelor of Science in GES and Master of Public Health, Epidemiology Emphasis (MPH) pathway that helps students earn both degrees in five years. This pathway allows GES students to earn eleven (11) graduate-level credits that apply to the MPH degree, in addition to the nine (9) upper-division credits that will be double-counted towards both GES and MPH degrees, in their senior year. Once in the MPH program, after graduating with their GES BS degree, students take the remaining 22 credits necessary to complete the MPH degree.
  2. Combined Bachelor of Science in Global Environmental Science and Master of Science in Finance
    In collaboration with the Shidler College of Business, the Global Environmental Science (GES) program offers a combined Bachelor of Science in Global Environmental Science and Master of Science in Finance pathway that helps students earn both degrees in five years. This pathway allows GES students to earn six (6) graduate-level credits that apply to the MSF degree, in addition to the nine (9) upper-division credits that will be double-counted towards both GES and MSF degrees in their senior year. Once in the MSF program, after graduating with their GES BS degree, students take the remaining 15 credits necessary to complete the MSF degree.
  3. Combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) Pathway
    In collaboration with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the program offers a combined Bachelor of Science in GES and Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) pathway that helps students earn both degrees in five years. This pathway allows GES students to earn six (6) graduate-level credits that apply to the MURP degree, in addition to the nine (9) upper-division credits that will be double counted towards both GES and MURP degrees, in their senior year. Once in the MURP program, after graduating with their GES BS degree, students take the remaining 27 credits necessary to complete the MURP degree.
  4. Combined Bachelor of Science and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Teacher Education (Secondary Science) Pathway
    In collaboration with the College of Education, the program offers a combined Bachelor of Science in GES and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Teacher Education (PBCTE) in Secondary Science pathway, which allows candidates to earn a degree and complete a teacher licensure program in five years. Candidates complete fifteen (15) credits from the PBCTE program as electives in the bachelor’s program, thus saving time and money in the process. With this pathway, GES students would be dual-enrolled in their final spring semester, graduate from the bachelor’s program, and complete the PBCTE program the following year. Candidates who successfully complete the PBCTE program will then be eligible to apply for initial teacher licensure in science from the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board and teach in the State of Hawai‘i.