Practicum in Environmental Science

The Senior Practicum is a year-long capstone program for all IoES Environmental Science majors — and one of the best environmental science and policy educational experiences in the world.

We have designed the Practicum to launch our students into impactful careers. And it works: alumni routinely describe it as the best thing they did as a UCLA student — a life-changing year. And clients rave about the insights Practicum students provide them.


Clients from across California and increasingly the nation approach IoES with environmental systems and sustainability problems for the Practicum to address. Practicum students conceive and deliver science-based solutions directly to these clients, working in small groups under tailored support from faculty and outside experts.

Practicum projects are so much more than internships. Practicum students push toward answers for critical contemporary questions such as:

  • Do industrial poultry and livestock operations increase antibiotic resistance to critical drugs?
  • How serious is the threat to California groundwater supplies posed by spills at hydraulic fracturing sites?
  • How do we prevent bobcat and other free-ranging wildlife mortality from urban pest control poisons?
  • Can spectral light be leveraged to reduce numbers of malarial insects – protecting millions through a simple shift in light-bulb type?
  • How can a mid-sized California city go carbon neutral?
Hunter Connell

The Practicum really brought my experience at UCLA full circle, it allowed me to understand how to apply what I had learned in school and academic knowledge to a real world problem and that’s helped me tremendously in my career.

Hunter Connell, Class of 2014
Rachel Chung

Being able to work with really inspiring, educated people who are passionate about these issues made me feel like we can do anything

Rachel Chung, Class of 2015


The Practicum client list includes leaders in government, the non-profit world and business — from the National Park Service to Northrop Grumann, the Natural Resources Defense Council to The Nature Conservancy, Walt Disney Imagineering to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

And many of our clients return to participate in the Practicum year after year. They tell us the projects give them valuable information that serves their missions — and that they feel good about directly contributing to educating the next generation of environmental problem-solvers.

Charles Stringer

I don’t know of any other schools that are doing this … The fact that this is being done among undergraduates is just incredibly impressive

Charles Stringer, Chair, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board
Damon Nagami

If this is the next generation of environmental scientists, the future looks very promising

Damon Nagami, Senior Attorney and Director of the Southern California Ecosystems Project, Natural Resources Defense Council

Clients: Submit a Problem for Practicum Solution

For more information about the Practicum, contact Noah Garrison.