Spring 2018 Curricular Updates

Each year, departments add, update and, occasionally, discontinue academic programs in our ongoing efforts to ensure that we provide our students with the most relevant educational offerings. This year we have made several enhancements to the graduate and undergraduate curriculum, as well as to our online offerings.

I am pleased to announce the following changes to the UC Santa Cruz curriculum this academic year:

  • The Science Communication M.S. degree program was established in the Science Communication Program. The program will supersede the existing certificate program, providing students with a terminal degree in scientific and technical communication.
  • The Games and Playable Media M.S. has been revised into a five quarter program. The new structure of the program will accommodate students with a much broader set of educational backgrounds and preparedness. Moreover, this revision will provide additional technical education for students, improving their opportunities in the games industry post-graduation.
  • The campus has established a professional M.S. in Coastal Science and Policy. This program will produce graduates capable of creating and implementing real-world solutions to current and emerging concerns for coastal sustainability.
  • A proposed professional M.S. program in Serious Games based at the Silicon Valley campus is currently under final review by UCOP. Once approved, the program will be first of its kind, training students in the growing field of “serious games”—which have proven effective toward societal goals ranging from fundamental mathematics education to crowdsourcing novel scientific discovery.
  • A proposed M.S. and Ph.D. in Statistical Science offered by the Applied Math & Statistics Department is currently under final review by UCOP. This program emerges out of the Statistics track of the existing Statistics and Applied Mathematics program. It will meet the explosion of data driven applications that touch upon almost all professional and academic fields.
  • The Mathematics Department has established a contiguous five-year Bachelor’s/Master’s pathway.
  • The Environmental Sciences B.S. has been approved to begin fall 2018. This major will build upon existing campus strengths to educate students interested in environmental science problems and issues, with a focus on issues within the physical sciences.
  • The History Department has established an intensive major track in history. The department has also revised the names of two undergraduate concentrations. The Europe concentration is now Europe and the Mediterranean World and the East Asia concentration will become Asia and the Pacific.
  • The Earth and Planetary Sciences department has established a concentration in geology in the Earth Sciences B.S. program.
  • The Biomolecular Engineering concentration has moved from the Bioengineering B.S. to the Bioinformatics B.S. Additionally, the Bioinformatics B.S. has been renamed the Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics B.S.
  • All concentrations in the Feminist Studies major have been discontinued.
  • The German Studies major has been suspended.
  • The Earth and Planetary Science Education concentration has been discontinued in light of the establishment of the Science Education B.S. program in 2016-17.
  • The Assistive Technology: Cognitive/Perceptual concentration within the Bioengineering B.S. has been discontinued.

Online Course Offerings

  • Faculty have also been active in developing and launching fully online credit-bearing courses. This summer, faculty will offer 35 different courses online, with 2,500 projected enrollments allowing students from anywhere in the world to make progress towards degree completion.
  • In the past year the campus increased its offering of free online courses on Coursera from six to nine, adding new courses on cyber-physical systems (Sanfelice), ecosystems of California (Zavaleta), and Russian history (Kenez).
  • In the coming months we will see the launch of three new freely available online courses: Professor and Associate Dean Abel Rodriguez will contribute the campus’ third course in a series on Bayesian statistics; Professor Emeritus Ira Pohl will release the first of a two-part sequence on C programming; and Distinguished Professor and UC Presidential Co-Chair Bettina Aptheker will add a timely course on feminism and social justice.


Herbert Lee, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs