UCSB Master’s of Environmental Data Science (MEDS)

This website provides program information for current MEDS students, staff and faculty. More information about the program can be found on the Bren website.

Text: The Next Generation of Environmental Scientists are Data Scientists, NCEAS post by Jenny Seifert and Kathryn Meyer (June 2018). Background photo: aerial image of ocean and shoreline, by Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

The Master’s of Environmental Data Science (MEDS) is a professional degree program at UC Santa Barbara, administered by the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management in partnership with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. The 11-month program is designed to train environmental professionals in data science skills. Coursework includes scientific programming, machine learning, remote sensing, spatial analysis, data visualization and much more. The program ends with a 6-month group Capstone project. These projects are proposed by clients with a need for data science solutions to solve their environmental problems or answer environmentally-related questions. Students work in groups of 3-4 during the Winter and Spring quarter and present final results at the end of the year.

In the MEDS program, students build skills to:

The MEDS experience is a cohort experience

We believe that building a strong sense of community is critical for success in learning and working within the data science space. Our summer intensive session is designed to foster this sense of community within a cohort from the start, while also preparing students with the fundamental math, programming, and analytical skills needed to complete the program. Students are encouraged to work and troubleshoot in pairs or groups for all exercises, promoting a collaborative work environment and establishing a support system that extends beyond the walls of the classroom.

“Although the academics were intense at times, I enjoyed spending so much time with my cohort. It really helped us all bond this summer and thus gave us a strong support group for going into the rest of the year.” - Anonymous MEDS student

Collaborative learning is woven throughout all aspects of MEDS, from group discussions and team-based class assignments to the 6-month long group capstone projects. Through these experiences, students learn to use tools and develop skills that are critical for all professionals who are expected to work on data science teams.

Hear more from some of our students about their shared experiences on our student advice page!


For more information about the program, including how to apply, please visit the Bren website.