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Extended Learning

Online Bachelor of Science in Wildfire Science



CSUSM’s Bachelor of Science in Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface is the only program of its kind in California. Developed in partnership with local, state and national fire associations, it is designed to help you stand out among your peers and be part of a new generation of firefighters, technical experts, decision-makers and scientists.

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Edison Wildfire Science Scholarship

Thanks to the generous support of Southern California Edison, we are offering an Edison Wildfire Science Scholarship for select students in their service area who apply by Feb. 1, 2023. Visit the FAQ section on this page for details. 

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New cohorts begin every fall semester.

Application and document deadlines:

  • Fall 2024: July 24, 2024

View application instructions.

Fall 2024 Application


Admission Requirements

Financing Your Education

Program Structure

Program Details


    How to Apply

    Admission Requirements

    This program is designed as a transfer program. It is preferred that you meet the Lower-Division General Education requirements prior to enrolling in this program. Please note that these are required for graduation from CSUSM.

    • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in all transferable units attempted
      • 2.5 GPA for students who have already completed a bachelors
    • Successful completion of a minimum of 60 transferable units
    • Successful completion of the following courses with a C- or better (12 units)
      • Oral Communication (A1)
      • Written Communication (A2)
      • Critical Thinking (A3)
      • Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4)

    Lower-Division General Education Requirements

    • Successful completion of all the following CSUSM lower-division requirements:
      • Physical Science (B1)
      • Life Science (B2)
      • Laboratory (B3)
      • Arts (C1)
      • Humanities (C2)
      • Arts and/or Humanities (C3)
      • Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (D7)
      • Discipline-specific or Second Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (D)
      • Lifelong Learning and Information Literacy (E)
    • Successful completion of the U.S. History, Constitution and American Ideals requirement
    • Must be in good standing at the last college or university attended

    Please note: To be considered for admission you must reside in an approved state.

    View Catalog Page

    Semester Units* Subtotal**

    Fall Semester 1

    12 $5,700
    Spring Semester 1 12 $5,700
    Summer Semester 1 12 $5,700
    Fall Semester 2 12 $5,700
    Spring Semester 2 12 $5,700
    Total 60 $28,500

    *Unit rate for this program is $475 (discounts available for active duty military, view details)

    **University semester fees not included. View complete breakdown of Extended Learning fees. Semester tuition subtotals based on sample program sequence. All quoted tuition rates are based on previous academic years and are subject to change without notice.

    Funding and Financial Aid

    • This program is eligible for financial aid
    • Visit the Extended Learning funding page or call 760-750-4850 to learn more about your funding options
    • Federal VA educational benefits can be used for this program (not eligible for Cal Vet fee waiver)
    • Cal Grant can be used for this program
    • Active duty military, veterans and dependents should visit the military services page or call 760-750-8705


    Edison Wildfire Science Scholarship 

    Southern California Edison is offering scholarships for select students in their service area who apply by Feb. 1, 2023. Visit the FAQ section on this page for details. 


    View course descriptions and specific program requirements on the Wildfire Science Catalog Page.

    Please note: This program has a set schedule of courses that you are expected to follow as part of your cohort.


    Sample Schedule for Fall Start

    Semester Course (units)

    Fall Semester 1

    FIRE 101 (3) - Wildland Urban Interface 

    FIRE 105 (3) - Fire Science 

    FIRE 210 (3) - Emerging Technologies and Topics

    BIOL 216 (3) - Biostatistics for Wildfire Science

    Spring Semester 1

    BIOL 391 (3) - Fire Ecology

    BIOL 392 (3) - Natural Resource Management

    FIRE 352 (3) - Emergency Management, Operations and Administration

    UDGE-DD - TBD (3) - Upper Division GE

    Summer Semester 1

    BIOL 338 or BIOL 339 (UDGE-BB) (3) - Human Impact on the Environment or Conservation Biology

    CHEM 311 (3) - Chemicals and the Environment

    PHIL 340 (UDGE-CC) (3) - Ethics and the Environment

    FIRE 351 (3) - Wildfire Law and Economics

    Fall Semester 2

    FIRE 353 (3) - Firefighter Health and Safety

    FIRE 355 (3) - Land Use Planning and Community Resiliency

    FIRE 354 (3) - Firefighter Stress, Behavioral, and Mental Health

    FIRE 402 (3) - Fire Behavior, Fuels, and Resource Management

    Spring Semester 2

    FIRE 489 (3) - Research Methods and Design 

    KINE 306 (3) - Exercise Fitness and Health

    FIRE 499 (3) - Senior Experience in Wildfire Science

    FIRE 399 (3) - Special Topics in Wildfire Science

    Schedules are subject to change.

    Non-Cohort Course Options

    If you are not a member of the Wildfire Science cohort, but wish to enroll in select Wildfire Science courses, you can register for the courses listed below. Additional sections of classes may be offered based on student demand. Course offerings will vary each semester depending on space availability.

    This option is for:

    • Students matriculated into the university but not part of the Wildfire Science cohort
    • Students who are not matriculated into the university and are not able to participate in the Wildfire Science cohort
    Summer 2023 Non-Cohort Courses Block Registration
    PHIL 340 1st Block PHIL 340 Registration
    BIOL 339 1st block BIOL 339 Registration
  • FAQ

    Who is eligible for the Edison Wildfire Science Scholarship?

    The Edison Wildfire Science Scholars program will support 6-10 students to achieve a part-time or full-time course load toward their bachelor’s degree in wildfire science. Students must be enrolled in the BS in Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface and live within Southern California Edison’s service area.

    Given the details of the award and the campus process for reviewing and selecting students to receive scholarships, the money will be available for students who will be taking classes during the Fall 2023 semester. To apply, you need to fill out the general CSUSM scholarship application between Oct. 1, 2022, and Feb. 1, 2023. Early application submission ensures you can collect all of the needed materials in time and access support available to CSUSM scholarship applicants.

    Even if you do not live in Southern California Edison’s service area (view their major cities served – see page two or check your energy bill provider), we highly encourage you to fill out this application as there are many other scholarship opportunities you might qualify for and the process will help identify those for you.

    What is a cohort?

    A cohort is a group of students who work through a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree. Because they are accepted into the same program, take their classes together and graduate together, students in cohorts tend to form a strong support system and professional network that benefit them during their degree program and beyond.

    What services do you offer to active military, veterans and dependents?

    Please visit our military and veteran services page to learn how we can help.

    What if I have to work a large fire or an incident comes up while I’m in the program?

    This program is flexible to accommodate working firefighters who must respond to sudden large fire events or other significant incidents.

    If I’m not a firefighter yet, can I still take this program?

    Yes! This program will give you a leg up in your future career, but you must still complete the materials, preparation and appropriate training at a fire academy. Some academies may have additional requirements such as passing a physical abilities test. For specific requirements and more information, contact the fire academy you wish to attend.

    What are the requirements for students with an associate degree?

    It is expected that students enrolled in this program will have completed an associate degree in a related field (e.g., fire science, fire administration, forestry, natural resource management, environmental sciences, etc.) and have taken basic lower-division coursework in mathematics and natural sciences.

    What are the requirements for transfer students?

    If you are transferring into the program, you need to have completed the requisite 60 units of your undergraduate degree or have obtained an associate degree. We recommend you contact us to meet with an advisor to expedite your transfer plan.

    Is there a minimum GPA I have to meet while in the program?

    Yes. All courses counted toward the major must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

    Why would I want a bachelor’s degree when I’m already making a good salary?

    If you want to move up or advance your career within the fire industry, you need to distinguish yourself from your peers. Having a bachelor’s degree sets you apart from many candidates applying for just a few jobs. The industry is moving in a direction where bachelor’s degrees will soon become the standard.

Flexible program

Complete the program in just five semesters with convenient online classes designed to help you advance within the wildfire industry

Expert curriculum

This program was developed in partnership with CAL FIRE, CAL FIRE Local 2881, San Diego County Fire, Los Angeles County Fire, U.S. Forest Service, National Institute of Standards and Technology and International Association of Fire Fighters

Clear path to promotion

Many fire departments now require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in fire science to advance beyond battalion chief

Range of topics

Program topics include fire ecology, wildland urban interface, fire science, wildfire law and economics, emergency management, firefighter stress and behavioral health, biostatistics and more


Since 1990, 60 percent of new homes nationally have been built in the wildland-urban interface. In 2017, more than 9,000 California wildfires burned approximately 1.3 million acres in the state.

– White House Fact Sheet

Mitigating the Risk of Wildfires in the Wildland-Urban Interface, 2016; Calfire and the U.S. Forest Service

– White House Fact Sheet

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