Bachelor's/Master's Contiguous Pathway

The Earth and Planetary Sciences contiguous five-year Bachelor's/Master's program allows motivated students to complete a B.S. in Earth sciences or environmental sciences, and then an M.S. in Earth sciences in five years with appropriate planning. The program is designed for promising students who have demonstrated aptitude for fundamental course work in the classroom, as well as the capacity, interest, and motivation to conduct independent research through collaborations with a faculty mentor.

A complete description of the program can be found in the UCSC General Catalog.

To be eligible for the Earth and Planetary Sciences contiguous five-year Bachelor's/Master's program, students must meet the following criteria:
  • Be a currently enrolled UC Santa Cruz undergraduate and declared as an Earth Sciences B.S. or Environmental Sciences B.S. major*;
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 in the major, or better; and
  • Be engaged in undergraduate research with an Earth & Planetary Sciences faculty member who endorses your application.

*Interested students from other majors may petition the department for admission to the pathway, provided that they have been participating in research with faculty in Earth and Planetary Sciences and have a coursework foundation that will enable success in the graduate curriculum.

Interested students should attend an information session during their junior year and complete this online form to declare their interest in the Bachelor's/Master's program. Students should also meet with their undergraduate research advisor to complete the Earth & Planetary Sciences Contiguous B.S./M.S. Pathway Application form. During the fall quarter of their senior year, students must formally apply to the master's program during the normal admissions cycle and through the standard graduate application process.

Students who apply to the Earth Sciences M.S. program through the contiguous 5-year pathway will enjoy a streamlined application process. The personal history statement and one letter of recommendation are waived. The Earth & Planetary Sciences Contiguous B.S./M.S. Pathway Application form should be uploaded to the graduate application in lieu of the statement of purpose. Two letters of recommendation are required - one from your research advisor, and a second from a faculty member with whom you have taken an upper-division class in your major.

For advising on how to prepare for the Earth & Planetary Sciences Contiguous B.S./M.S. Pathway as an undergraduate, please reach out to the Undergraduate Advisor, Jade Loftus, at

For advising on formally applying to the Master's program and graduate program requirements, please contact the Graduate Advisor, Jennifer Fish, at