Academic Studies

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Graduate Programs

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts is a unique seven quarter low residency program that provides writers with a path toward publication and production in all genres of writing including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting. Students explore multiple genres, allowing for a cross-disciplinary approach that is ideal for writers seeking the artistic latitude to move fluidly within the field. 

Cal Naturalist

California Naturalist Program

The UC California Naturalist Program is designed to introduce Californians to the wonders of our unique ecology and engage the public in study and stewardship of California's natural communities. The program uses a science curriculum to instill a deep appreciation for the natural communities of the state and to inspire individuals to become stewards of their local resources.

Courses combine classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training and community service. Students are taught by UCR lead instructor Dr. Cameron Barrows and a team of experts. Subjects covered include ecology, geology, plant communities, wildlife, communication and interpretation, citizen science, energy/global environmental issues, and much more.

Call 760-834-0800 or email for more information. 


CA Naturalist Climate Stewards Initiative

The UC California Naturalist Climate Stewards Program is designed to introduce Californians to how climate is changing both natural and social systems and what they can do to improve ecosystem and community resilience. UCR Palm Desert is one of two CA Naturalist programs to offer this pilot program.

The 10-week course uses an interdisciplinary curriculum, online and hands-on learning in the field, experience sharing, and community service to build community connections and instill agency in participants to seek resiliency in themselves and their communities.

UCR's Dr. Cameron Barrows will be the lead instructor with a team of experts covering topics in the classroom and the field, including: climate and earth science; interpretation, communication, and education skills; and more.

The program consists of virtual classes held on Saturdays. Additional program details and application available shortly. 

Call 760-834-0800 or email for more information. 


Future Physician Leaders (FPL)

The Future Physician Leaders (FPL) program is a long-term summer mentorship program for prospective medical students who also want to fulfill a mission of service to the community. The seven-week summer program is made up of three components: the Leadership Lecture Series, Community Service and Research Project, and Physician Shadowing Rotations. One program site is here in the Coachella Valley based out of UCR Palm Desert! The community-based, collaborative program was started in 2009 by Dr. Raul Ruiz. For more information, please contact esmeralda.trejo@medsch.ucr.eduAPPLY NOW!

Master Gardner

Become A Master Gardener

  • Have you always wanted to join the Master Gardener Volunteer training classes in the Coachella Valley but were unable to because you work during the day? Here’s your opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge, have fun learning about horticulture in the desert, and give back to your community.   
  • Certified Master Gardeners receive more than 50 hours of instruction from University of California Cooperative Extension specialists. In return, Master Gardeners volunteer 50 hours during the first year within the community and continue their gardening education. 
  • The program is open to individuals who wish to increase their knowledge and horticultural skills and share them with the community.

For more information, visit the website.