New Degrees for a 21st Century Education

TWELVE NEW ACADEMIC PROGRAMS will begin at Cal Poly Humboldt in Fall 2023, with 15 more slated by 2029. These programs build on strong existing faculty expertise in natural resources management and environmental sustainability and are aligned with the State of California’s goals regarding areas like climate resilience and wildfire mitigation. They will also create access to impacted degree programs in the California State University system that correlate with huge workforce gains.

Many of the new programs are highly interdisciplinary by design. They align with Humboldt’s strategic objectives of being rooted in place and meeting the needs of the region’s rural communities, with particular emphasis on underserved populations. A large emphasis will be placed on authentic engagement and collaboration with Indigenous communities to leverage their expertise and community practices.

Degree Programs

Applied Fire Science & Management, Bachelor of Science, will give students the practical knowledge and skills to become fire science or management professionals. Created in collaboration with Humboldt’s respected Forestry & Wildland Resources and Native American Studies programs, the Applied Fire Science & Management major will also include a breadth of perspectives and Indigenous knowledge (also known as traditional ecological knowledge), with an emphasis on incorporating Indigenous practices.

Cannabis Studies, Bachelor of Art, will prepare students to act as socially engaged, historically informed stewards of an unprecedented sea-change in local, national, and global cannabis laws and policies related to cannabis legalization. Students will engage critical perspectives on both cannabis prohibition and legalization en route to concentrations in Equity and Social Justice and Environmental Stewardship.

Data Science, Bachelor of Science, will prepare students to synthesize knowledge and apply contemporary statistics, data analysis, and computational science methods to solve social and environmental problems. Students will work with data that relates to local issues. For example, sea-level rise data for Humboldt Bay and Crescent City is currently being used in some courses and could further be leveraged in introductory data science courses, weaving a theme throughout several classes to give students a holistic perspective of local challenges and solutions.

Energy Systems Engineering, Bachelor of Science, incorporates elements commonly included in civil, environmental, mechanical, and electrical engineering disciplines. It is designed to prepare students for careers in developing, designing, operating, and analyzing clean energy systems. The program will be focused on energy-related infrastructure, devices, planning, and operations. It will emphasize systems integration and use an interdisciplinary approach to considering how energy systems are situated in social, ecological, and economic contexts.

Engineering & Community Practice, Master of Science, is a one-year program designed to develop future engineering leaders who will sustain, restore, and protect natural resources and the environment. The degree is tailored to those who wish to pursue resource management positions that require strong technological and management skills with a particular focus on interfacing and working with Indigenous and traditionally under-served communities.

Geospatial Information Science & Technology, Bachelor of Science, prepares students for careers as Geographic Information System analysts and specialists, remote sensing analysts, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and geographers. Geospatial Information Science & Technology is critical to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges, as well as local problems like sea-level rise, emergency preparedness, and providing health services. The size and complexity of the data involved are second only to genetics data. The data and methods involved require experts who are trained in geospatial skills and how to apply these skills to other disciplines.

Marine Biology, Bachelor of Science, explores the diversity of marine life, its evolutionary history, the importance to our planet, and how it is impacted by human activities. Students will take advantage of the Telonicher Marine Laboratory, which gives students opportunities for hands-on observation and experimentation with living marine organisms, and Humboldt’s research vessel, the 90-foot R/V Coral Sea. Students travel aboard this vessel to observe whales offshore, collect and examine seawater samples, and trawl for marine fishes and invertebrates. Several smaller boats are used in nearshore waters, coastal lagoons, and in nearby Humboldt Bay.

Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor of Science, is an evolving discipline that adapts to the current needs of society. Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal systems, sensors, and devices. Due to the variety of fields relevant to this profession, the undergraduate program covers areas in dynamics, materials, thermal/fluids, vibrations, controls, computer-aided engineering, design, and manufacturing. Areas of advanced coursework and research could include advanced energy systems, sustainable energy systems, biosensors, computational modeling, and sustainable manufacturing.

Software Engineering, Bachelor of Science, applies engineering concepts to software development. It encompasses the development, operation, and maintenance of programs. The curriculum of software engineering programs includes computing fundamentals, software design and construction, requirements analysis, security, verification, and validation; software engineering processes and tools appropriate for the development of complex software systems; and discrete mathematics, probability, and statistics, with applications appropriate to software engineering.


Cybersecurity Stackable Certificate aligns well with cybersecurity job requirements and pathways for community college transfers or employed adults seeking to upskill and advance in their careers. In addition to relevant leadership coursework, the certificate will advance understanding of computer and network security, hacking and risk analysis, computer forensics, intrusion detection and investigation, prevention, and recovery. The program will incorporate apprenticeship and internship opportunities to provide real-world experience, working with Humboldt ITS and other partners.

Equitable & Sustainable Future Certificate is designed for professionals in the educational workforce and prepares administrators, faculty, and staff to be sustainability leaders and foster social and environmental responsibility in educational settings. The courses are designed to provide applicable knowledge and skills to promote equity and sustainability. Upon completion of the certificate, an individual will have acquired foundational knowledge, creative abilities, and practical skills to reduce environmental impacts and associated costs for an educational setting, to promote health and wellness for students and staff, and to advance climate justice and sustainability.

Information Technology Certificate offers a range of learning experiences that connect student learning in cohorts and projects that culminate in a portfolio team-based project, with learners accumulating various industry certificates. An affordable and scalable strategy combines existing industry resources with a flexible curated learning program designed to meet the plethora of IT job requirements that emphasize IT skills and experience with industry certificates.

Current Plans for Future Academic Programs

By 2026

  • Biotechnology B.S.
  • Biotechnology Certificate
  • Clinical Lab Science Certificate
  • Computer & Information Technology B.S.
  • Digital Arts & Media B.A.
  • Food Systems Science B.S.
  • Health Advocacy B.A.
  • Indigenous Science & the Environment B.S.
  • Nursing M.S.N.
  • STEM Education M.Ed.

By 2029

  • Agriculture B.S.
  • Cybersecurity B.S.
  • Forest Engineering B.S.
  • Regenerative Engineering Design & Technology B.S.
  • Speech Language Pathology M.S.