Program Overview


Each student should plan to attend two orientations: (1) a 1.5-day MEDS-only orientation on the Thursday and Friday before the first day of summer classes, and (2) a 3-day campus-wide UCSB orientation the week that fall quarter begins.

More information on both the summer and fall orientations for our 2023 cohort coming soon!


Summer Intensive Courses

During the first 6 weeks of the MEDS program (August through mid-September), students will take 4 intensive courses:

For more detailed descriptions of the summer courses, see our Courses page.


All Summer courses will be held at the new NCEAS building (and new designated MEDS learning space!) in downtown Santa Barbara. The address is 1021 Anacapa Street.

NCEAS is ~11 miles (a 15 minute drive, without traffic) from the UC Santa Barbara campus, or a ~35 minute bus ride on the 24x line. The transit center downtown is ~3 blocks from NCEAS (a <10 minute walk).

A day in a Summer course

During intensive Summer courses, students should plan to arrive at NCEAS by 8:45am daily, ready for full days of learning (usually 9am - 5pm PST, M - F). Students generally should not expect additional assignments or MEDS-related work outside of those hours. In other words, courses will be structured so that all course requirements can be completed within the 9am - 5pm window while at NCEAS.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be watching lectures from 9am - 5pm! Summer session days will be active, varied, and flexible, and students can expect a combination of course content (e.g. lectures, computational labs, individual and group tasks) and built-in “flex time” for community-building, professional & career development activities, and more.

For example, a day during a Summer course might look like this:

Time (PST) Activity
9:00am - 10:00am Lecture 1 (60 min)
10:00am - 11:00am Interactive Session 1 (60 min)
11:00am - 11:10am Break (10 min)
11:10am - 12:00pm Flex time (50 min)
12:00pm - 1:15pm Lunch (75 min)
1:15pm - 2:15pm Lecture 2 (60 min)
2:15pm - 3:15pm Interactive Session 2 (45 min)
3:15pm - 5:00pm Group & individual tasks (90 min)

With built-in breaks for coffee and lunch, interactive sessions for hands-on learning, and flex time for activities that change daily, we on the MEDS Team are working to make these days dynamic and fun while you build fundamental skills in environmental data science.

Class activities

Summer is a special time for our MEDS students to bond both in and outside of class. You will be spending 6 weeks together from 9 am to 5 pm each day. While the coursework will be rigorous, we will also have dedicated breaks and events for relaxing, mingling and socializing. Thursday Happy Hour on the third floor terrace is a great opportunity to not only get to know your classmates, but also other MEDS and NCEAS staff, researchers, and faculty. We also look forward to celebrating important MEDS milestones, like both the halfway-point and completion of summer session.


In Fall Quarter, MEDS students will complete 16 units of coursework. There are two 2-unit courses (EDS 213 and EDS 211) that only span 5 weeks, so in any week of the quarter students will be taking a total of 4 required courses.


In Fall, Winter and Spring quarters, MEDS courses will be held at both the Bren School (UCSB campus) and downtown at NCEAS. Students will only have required courses / events at a single campus on any given day - i.e., to minimize travel, we will not schedule required MEDS events at both campuses on the same day. You can add the MEDS google calendar here.

For example, a week in Fall Quarter might look something like this:

Day Activities Campus
  • 8:00am - 9:15am: EDS 213 (weeks 1-5) or EDS 211 (weeks 6-10)

  • 9:30am - 10:45am: EDS 220

  • 11:00am - 12:00pm: Livestream Bren Seminar

  • 9:30am - 10:45am: EDS 222
Bren Hall
  • 8:00am - 9:15am: EDS 213 (weeks 1-5) or EDS 211 (weeks 6-10)

  • 9:30am - 10:45am: EDS 220

  • 11:30pm - 12:30 pm: NCEAS Roundtable

  • 8:15am - 9:15am: Career workshop

  • 9:30am - 10:45am: EDS 222

Bren Hall
  • 9:00am - 12:00pm: EDS 223
Bren Hall


In Winter Quarter, students will complete 16 units of coursework, three traditional academic courses and one 4 unit capstone project course.


In Spring Quarter, students will complete 12 units of coursework, three traditional academic courses and one 4 unit capstone project course.