Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface, B.S.*

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Program of Study

California State University San Marcos offers a Bachelor of Science degree, through Extended Learning, in Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface (referred to as Wildfire Science) that provides foundational and advanced coursework necessary for a career in the fire industry, with a specific emphasis on wildland fires and the wildland urban interface. This degree fulfills a significant societal need by providing a focus on wildfires and the wildland urban interface, designed to increase the scientific foundations and improve access and understanding in a critically important area of public safety.

This is a progressive, career-oriented degree, training a new generation of expertly skilled firefighters, technical experts, decision-makers, and scientists ready to meet the evolving and increasing demands of the industry. Offered completely online, the program is designed for working professionals, individuals seeking career advancement, and those pursuing future employment in the fire industry.


*Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface Program is offered through Extended Learning.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface will be able to:

  1. Identify issues and risks related to firefighter health and safety with an emphasis on the wildland and wildland urban interface environments
  2. Identify and apply appropriate practices, tools, tactics, and strategies to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the risks of fires in the wildland and wildland urban interface
  3. Apply scientific methods and statistical/mathematical concepts in order to demonstrate problem-solving and leadership skills within their field of study
  4. Communicate in both oral and written form wildfire and urban interface perspectives, concepts, and theories related to societal problems, threats, risks, and safety impacts

Career and Educational Opportunities

A degree in Wildfire Science prepares students for public safety careers in the rapidly growing field of wildfire science and the wildland urban interface. The program provides advanced education and training for traditional firefighters, company officers, administrators, fire investigators, and fire inspectors. The degree also supports careers in land-use planning, natural resource management, emergency management, homeland security, and forensics. Students interested in these careers should consult with advisors as they plan their studies and select their coursework. The degree has both the breadth and depth of an interdisciplinary field, with Wildfire Science also being an appropriate degree for students wanting to apply for graduate programs in natural resource management, forestry, fire science, environmental science, and similar fields of study.


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.  The earned Associate Degree is anticipated to provide the first two years of a 2+2 program, with the Wildfire Science Bachelor of Science offered through CSUSM regarded as the second two years of the program.

Students anticipating employment as a firefighter are expected to have completed the materials, preparation, and appropriate training at an appropriate fire academy. Some academies may have additional requirements such as passing a physical abilities test. For specific requirements and further information, contact the fire academy you wish to attend and evaluate the entry requirements for any specific agency with which you are interested in working.

Transfer students entering the program are expected to have completed the equivalent of lower-division requirements during their first two years, including the lower-division general education requirements and the U.S. History, Constitution and American Ideals requirement. Students will adhere to current Language Other Than English Requirement before graduating from CSUSM. Coursework that fulfills the major requirements for some Associate Degrees may not satisfy all transfer requirements necessary to enroll in the Wildfire Science major at CSUSM. Prospective transfer students are advised to access www.assist.org, review the CSUSM catalog and transfer requirements, and meet with an advisor to expedite their transfer plan.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Science in Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface

All courses counted toward the major must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A minimum of 30 units of the major must be completed at CSUSM.

General Education (48 Units)


Upper-Division General Education (9 Units)

Upper-Division Electives (18 Units)

Select 18 units from the following courses in consultation with advisor 4

  • Units:
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1 If taken after students have completed (or transferred) 60 units, this course will satisfy Upper Division General Education requirements in areas BB

2 If taken after students have completed (or transferred) 60 units, this course will satisfy Upper Division General Education requirements in areas CC

3 In consultation with a faculty mentor, students will identify a topic for library or applied research on wildfires and/or the wildland urban interface (WUI). OPTION A: Literature Review: In-depth reading and researching of the literature on current issues in wildland fire/WUI. Student must produce a paper with supporting citations that summarizes the current state of knowledge on the topic. OPTION B: Original research project developed in collaboration with a faculty member. Student will produce a paper or poster with supporting citations and critical analysis of topic area. Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained consent of director. Prerequisite: FIRE 489.

4 Other courses may be approved with the consent of the Program Director.

5 These courses count toward Upper-Division Electives only if they are not taken to satisfy “Upper-Division General Education” requirements.    

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total to a minimum of 120

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