College of Science

The School of Natural Sciences transforms into Three New Departments Beneath the College of Science

The School of Natural Sciences was once home to four undergraduate majors and two graduate programs: Environmental Science, Technology & Policy (BS), Marine Science (BS, MS), Biology (BS), Environmental Studies (BA) and Environmental Science (MS). With a growing student body and a desire to meet the needs of all students, this large academic unit recently split into three new departments under the College of Science.

We recently touched base with the Dean of the College of Science, Dr. Andrew Lawson, and the chairs of each new department to gain more insight into this change and the future of these academic units.

Dean of the College of Science | Andrew Lawson, PhD

"The former School of Natural Sciences provided an excellent framework for faculty from across the natural science disciplines to collaborate and deliver high quality degree programs, particularly when there were only one or two faculty representing a discipline. As additional faculty were hired and new programs were added, the administrative burden of managing the largest academic unit on campus became a challenge. The new structure of three smaller departments will not only spread the administrative load, but will allow faculty to focus on their respective degree programs while maintaining the innovation and academic excellence that our programs are known for. The new structure also positions our programs well as we prepare for another growth phase in the College."

- Dean Andrew Lawson

The Department of Applied Environmental Science is now home to Environmental Science, Technology & Policy (BS), Environmental Studies (BA) and the Environmental Science graduate program (MS). Dr. Suzanne Worcester will be serving as the chair of this department, and is looking forward to providing students with the skills required to succeed in various environmental fields.

Chair of the Department of Applied Environmental Science | Suzanne Worcester, PhD

"The Department of Applied Environmental Science builds on the strong interdisciplinary science foundation that CSUMB is known for. This community-focused, applied, and project-based department offers bachelor's degrees in Environmental Studies, Environmental Science Technology and Policy, and a Master’s in Environmental Science. Throughout their studies, students gain marketable technical and soft skills in fields from environmental resource assessment and management to environmental outreach and sustainability. Our faculty provide research and community engagement opportunities for students in environmental fields; such as watershed science, applied ecology, wildlife biology, environmental education, sustainability, and advanced geospatial technologies. The skills gained throughout our degree programs have prepared our graduates for rewarding careers in the Monterey region, across California, and beyond."

- Dr. Suzanne Worcester

The Department of Marine Science houses the Marine Science undergraduate and graduate degrees (BS, MS). With Dr. James Lindholm serving as chair, this department is dedicated to marine research and stewardship.

Chair of the Department of Marine Science | James Lindholm, PhD

"The CSUMB campus sits at the heart of the Monterey Bay, one of the best living laboratories in the world for marine science. The new Department of Marine Science is committed to honoring that location by providing students with a compelling, multifaceted educational experience while conducting the scientific research necessary to address society's most pressing environmental concerns."

- Dr. James Lindholm

The Department of Biology and Chemistry is home to the Biology bachelor’s degree (BS) and Chemistry minor. With Dr. Arlene Haffa serving as chair, this department is looking forward to substantial growth and student success.

Chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry | Arlene Haffa, PhD

"The Biology major started in 2009 and quickly rose into a popular and successful major. Students from the Biology program have gone on to prestigious institutions like UC San Francisco, UC San Diego, and MIT for graduate and professional programs. Now, with the resources and focus that a new department provides we will build student, faculty, and staff success with a goal oriented organization that takes everyone's ideas into consideration. The program has faculty research programs in electrochemistry and batteries, genetics, genomics, microbiology, and evolutionary and organismal biology that are funded by national agencies as well as supported by the local Salinas and Monterey Bay communities. We have added faculty in Plant Pathology and Weed Management to support a new degree in Agricultural Plant and Soil Science in the near future. We are confident that the Department of Biology and Chemistry will soon be known for the faculty’s commitment to research, innovative pedagogy, and community ties. We are excited to remain a collaborative entity with all CSUMB programs and to continue to build a rich community of graduates who become scientific leaders in our ever-changing world."

- Dr. Arlene Haffa

Despite these structural changes, one thing remains the same, these three new departments are committed to collaboratively provide experiences that help shape student minds and prepare graduates for rewarding science careers.

To learn more about the new departments, check out their websites below.