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Professor Emily Moran and Ph.D. alumna Mengjun Shu measuring seedlings in the campus greenhouse.
Professor Emily Moran
Moran's lab is interested in how ecological and evolutionary processes, and their interactions, may affect responses to environmental change.
Professor Gerardo Diaz's lab 
Professor Gerardo Diaz
Professor Gerardo Diaz's lab is converting biomass to low-emission fuel.
Professor Peggy O'Day
Oday's research on soils and sediments takes her to the most breath-taking locales. 
Professor Stephen Hart
Professor Stephen Hart
Hart's lab looks at controls on biochemical processes and productivity in managed and wildland ecosystems. 
Solar array
Professor Roland Winston
Winston continues his work on non-imaging optics and solar science.

Environmental Systems Graduate Group 

The Environmenal Graduate Group focuses on understanding the Earth as an integrated system that includes the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere in order to address the environmental consequences and develop sustainable solutions to providing food, energy and other basic services to the Earth’s ever-growing population. Recognizing that solutions to local, regional and global environmental problems cross traditional academic departments, domain knowledge is complemented by an interdisciplinary shared curriculum that provides a foundation in the fundamental ideas and methods of the earth, environmental and social sciences. Environmental Systems faculty, staff and students are dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and service and strive to develop an atmosphere of transparency, inclusiveness, rigor, integrity and environmental awareness.

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   The research conducted within the Environmental Systems Graduate Group has the potential to change the world we live in now and for future generations. We dig deeply into the issues facing the natural and built world: climate change, water quality, soil conservation, ecosystem science and sustainability, alternative energy and resource management.

Apply Now

If you are ready to take the next step in your academic career – and devote yourself to the study of our environment and the systems that combine to make it work – submit your application. Our program is always looking for talented people with the passion and drive necessary to solve tomorrow’s problems today.


Our Environmental Systems Graduate Group is unlike any other, but don’t take our word for it. Listen to the students and researchers involved with our program.

Alumni Highlights

Earning your master's or Ph.D. from UC Merced means something. Follow in the footsteps of our alumni, many of whom now hold faculty appointments and meaningful positions in the public and private sectors.



The Environmental Systems Graduate Program trains students to tackle the most challenging problems facing our planet – water, soil, climate, energy and resources.

Through understanding the Earth as an integrated system of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere that intersects human society, ES students are uniquely poised to address critical research needs of the environment and its sustainability. Graduates are prepared for careers in academia, research, government, and industry that integrate expertise from across engineering, natural sciences and social sciences.