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BS Wildfire Science

Offered Online

Overview

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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Information Sessions

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New cohorts begin every fall and spring semester.

Application and document deadlines:

  • Fall 2020: July 29, 2020
  • Spring 2021: Sept. 9, 2020

View application instructions.

Fall 2020 ApplicationSpring 2021 Application

Please note: We are temporarily accepting unofficial transcripts for applications to our programs.

  • 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

Program Details

  • ADMISSION

    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
    • 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
    • Successful completion of the Language Other Than English Requirement (LOTER)
    • 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

  • COSTS

    Semester Units* Subtotal**

    Fall Semester 1

    12 $5,388
    Spring Semester 1 12 $5,388
    Summer Semester 1 12 $5,388
    Fall Semester 2 12 $5,388
    Spring Semester 2 12 $5,388
    Total 60 $26,940

    *Unit rate for this program is $449

    **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
  • COURSE SEQUENCE

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

    Sample Schedule for Fall Start

    Semester Course (units)

    Fall Semester 1

    FIRE 101 (3)

    FIRE 105 (3)

    FIRE 210 (3)

    BIOL 216 (3)

    Spring Semester 1

    BIOL 391 (3)

    BIOL 392 (3)

    FIRE 352 (3)

    UDGE-DD - TBD (3)

    Summer Semester 1

    BIOL 338 or BIOL 339 (UDGE-BB) (3)

    CHEM 311 (3)

    PHIL 340 (3)

    FIRE 351 (3)

    Fall Semester 2

    FIRE 353 (3)

    FIRE 355 (3)

    FIRE 354 (3)

    FIRE 402 (3)

    Spring Semester 2

    FIRE 489 (3)

    KINE 306 (3)

    FIRE 499 (3)

    FIRE 399 (3)

    Sample Schedule for Spring Start

    Semester Course (units)
    Spring Semester 1

    FIRE 101 (3)

    FIRE 105 (3)

    FIRE 210 (3)

    BIOL 216 (3)

    Summer Semester 1

    BIOL 338 or BIOL 339 (UDGE-BB) (3)

    CHEM 311 (3)

    PHIL 340 (3)

    FIRE 351 (3)

    Fall Semester 1

    BIOL 391 (3)

    BIOL 392 (3)

    FIRE 352 (3)

    UDGE-DD - TBD (3)

    Spring Semester 2

    FIRE 353 (3)

    FIRE 355 (3)

    FIRE 354 (3)

    FIRE 402 (3)

    Summer Semester 2

    FIRE 489 (3)

    KINE 306 (3)

    FIRE 499 (3)

    FIRE 399 (3)

    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 pre-health professions cohort
    • Students who are not matriculated into the university and are not able to participate in the pre-health professions cohort
    Summer 2020 Non-Cohort Courses Block Registration
    FIRE 351 2nd Block Fire 351 Registration
    FIRE 399 2nd Block Fire 399 Registration
  • FAQ

    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.


 

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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