Common Ground Academics

The fall quarter Food and Community class on a field trip at the Alan Chadwick Garden.

We offer undergraduate coursework that supports personal and professional development in the areas that matter most to students. Faculty members Christine King, David Shaw, and Stewart Cooper teach courses each quarter that inspire and encourage life-long learning in regenerative design, transformative action, and social justice. These classes are experiential, interactive, and project-based. In many cases the class is co-taught with undergraduate student Peer Mentors, affording a select group of committed returning students the opportunity to participate in a track of educational leadership & change.

Being in close connection with undergraduate Peer Mentors also allows the faculty to stay abreast of the critical issues and cultural trends that make the pursuit of a university degree relevant in the context of today’s rapidly changing world. Based on this connection, faculty are able to modify their curriculum appropriately to focus on solutions nuanced to the issues at hand.

Lastly, the faculty support Independent Studies, Internships, Student-Directed Seminars and Individual Majors in their areas of expertise. 

Independent Studies and Internships

Opportunities for faculty-mentored research and independent study are available to students who have existing relationships with our faculty. Click here to download the Independent Study Form. Additionally, the UCSC Career Center offers a listing of Internships, as well as Environmental Studies Internship Office.

Student-Directed Seminars

A Student-Directed Undergraduate Seminar option is available to highly qualified students only. It requires three quarters of preparation directed by a faculty adviser and approval by the Academic Senate Committee on Educational Policy. This option can be taken only by petition and must be approved by the faculty adviser. Students teach a lower-division seminar under Kresge faculty supervision. Prerequisite(s): upper-division standing in Kresge, a proposal supported by a Kresge faculty member willing to supervise, and college approval.

Individual Major

UCSC offers an Individual Major program for extremely independent, self-starting, organized, and motivated students. See this archive of the 2011-2012 UCSC General Catalog for more information about the Individual Major and for details.

Typically the journey to creating an Individual Major is a year long process before the proposal is submitted/approved to the Committee on Educational Policy, and the student leads the way. One of the best first steps is to contact your College's Academic Preceptor.

Example Individual Major Proposals

Jennifer Barron, Transformative Philosophy (2014), ProposalCourse List

Nadia Peralta, Cosmopolitics in the Americas (2012), Proposal

Jameson Hubbs, Social Ecology (2015), Proposal