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Demand For ‘Green Majors’ At UCSD Outstrips Resources

Above: UCSD students opting for 'green majors' in larger numbers.

Audio

Aired 12/20/10

The demand for majors related to environmental jobs is climbing at UC San Diego. What is driving the growing interest?

The demand for majors related to environmental jobs is climbing at UC San Diego. What is driving the growing interest?

The short answer: climate change and finding solutions to reduce its cause-greenhouse gas emissions.

David Woodruff is a Professor of Biological Sciences at UCSD and also director of the school's Sustainability Solutions Institute.

"Students have figured out the threat to human kind and to civil society as we know it and they're looking for careers in this area," said Woodruff. "You know, 20-years ago when we had hippies we talked about 'saving the Earth.' Now, they're deadly serious about it and student interest is increasing every year."

Woodruff said UCSD students majoring in Environmental Engineering jumped from 92 last year to 157 this academic year.

Environmental Systems majors increased from 200 to 270 during the same period.

He says enrollment in two of the majors, Energy Economics and Economics of the Environment, increased so much that more teaching assistants were added to help out.

But Woodruff said student interest in "green" topics is rising at a time when budget restrictions make it difficult for UCSD to meet the demand.

"We'd like to do more but we have no resources and so the sad part is we're turning away good students who would like training in these areas," said Woodruff.

Woodruff added the UCSD would be able to play a larger role in providing "green education" when the overall economy improves.

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