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Thinking Green

What is Environmental Studies?

Environmental Studies is a field that crosses the boundaries of traditional disciplines, challenging students to look at the relationship between humans and their environment from a variety of perspectives. Because of this, students who choose to study the environment often have the benefit of being well rounded and able to understand the important connections between people, culture, and nature.

Environmental Studies teaches students to think, write, and speak knowledgeably and thoughtfully about environmental issues, preparing them to become environmental leaders. It’s about challenging the status quo and shifting to more environmentally sustainable practices. The field of Environmental Studies includes Environmental Science, which tends to place emphasis on the bio-physical sciences, in the context of an interdisciplinary approach. Other areas of Environmental Studies place equal emphasis on the bio-physical and social sciences.

Who Studies the Environment?

Studying the environment goes beyond a single focus approach and looks at how we can combine the tools of various disciplines to solve current environmental problems. Therefore, any person with interests in one or more of biology, chemistry, politics, policy, human nature, culture, physics, math, law, economics, sociology, geology – just to name a few – combined with a broad interest in the world around us will enjoy studying the environment.

What Will I Study?

Environmental issues are everywhere! Potential areas of interest include:

  • Agricultural runoff
  • Loss of Biodiversity/Species at Risk
  • Forest Management
  • Wetland Conservation
  • Environmental Regulations
  • Environmental Lobbying
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Air Pollution and Climate Change
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Groundwater Contamination
  • Water pollution
  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Sustainable Development

Undergraduate Environmental Programs in Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada offers a wide array of programs aimed to serve a variety of environmental interests.

New Brunswick

  • Huntsman Marine Science Centre: University credited field courses in marine, biological, ecological, socio-economic studies, and internships
  • Mount Allison University: Environmental Science Major and Environmental Studies Major and Minor
  • Université de Moncton: Baccalauréat en développement durable et zone côtière (Bachelors, Sustainable Development and Coastal Zones); Maîtrise en études de l’environnement (Masters of Environmental Studies)
  • University of New Brunswick, Fredericton: Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources (majors in Wildlife Conservation, Water Management, and Environmental Management); Interdisciplinary Minor and Secondary Major in Environmental Studies; Bachelors of Science in Forestry; Bachelors of Science (majors in Environmental Biology and Environmental Geochemistry); Bachelors of Engineering (Geoenvironmental Option in Geological Engineering; Environmental Option in Chemical Engineering)
  • University of New Brunswick, Saint John: Environmental Biology Major

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Grenfell Campus (MUN): New program in Sustainable Resource Management leading to a Bachelor of Resource Management degree (BRM)
  • Memorial University: Environmental Science Major and Minors (Chemistry and Biology Streams, Grenfell Campus); Environmental Physics (St. John’s Campus)

Nova Scotia

  • Acadia University: Environmental Science Major; Environmental Studies Honours
  • Cape Breton University: B.Tech Environmental Studies
  • Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS): Diplomas in Planning and Applied Geomatics Research (using GIS and Remote Sensing)
  • Dalhousie University: Environmental Science Major and Concentration; Environmental Studies Minor; College of Sustainability’s ESS (Environment, Sustainability and Society) program/degree offerings: Environment, Sustainability and Society (BA, BSc, BCSc, BCD, BMgmt, Binf, BJH) (co-op also available) Available as a double major undergraduate degree only
  • Dalhousie Agricultural Campus: Environmental Studies Major
  • St. Francis Xavier University: Undergraduate Environmental Sciences program,

St. Francis Xavier University’s Undergraduate Environmental Sciences program is a four-year Advanced Major or Honours degree leading to a B.Sc. in one of four different concentrations. Each concentration offers an integrated approach to understanding the interaction of biological, chemical and physical systems and processes in the environment and their sensitivities to human activities.

Undergraduate Environmental Sciences Program Coordinator: Dr. Lisa Kellman

The following concentrations are available:
B.Sc. Advanced Major or Honours in Environmental Sciences – Biology
B.Sc. Advanced Major or Honours in Environmental Sciences – Chemistry
B.Sc. Advanced Major or Honours in Environmental Sciences – Biogeochemistry
B.Sc. Advanced Major or Honours in Environmental Sciences – Climate and Water

Faculty in the Environmental Sciences Program at StFX also operate a multi-institutional NSERC-CREATE Graduate program “Training Program in Climate Sciences”. The program is based at the Climate and Atmospheric Sciences Institute at StFX and other participating are Acadia University, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Université du Québec à Montréal. More information is available at the StFX CREATE website.

Graduate CREATE Training Program in Climate Sciences PI is: Dr. Hugo Beltrami

  • Saint Mary’s University: Environmental Studies Honours and Major with co-op option

Prince Edward Island

  • University of Prince Edward Island:

Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Specialization in Environmental Thought and Practice; Environmental Innovation and Change Management; Island Environments and Sustainability)
BSc, BA, BBA with minor in Environmental Studies
BSc (with specialization in Environmental Biology)
MSc (Environmental Sciences)
PhD (Environmental Sciences)
MA (Island Studies)

Environmental Careers

Many diverse and rewarding careers exist within the sphere of environmental studies, including the following:

  • Environmental Educator
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Assessment Officer
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Environmental Lobbyist
  • Environmental Planner/Policy Analyst
  • Environmental Protection Officer
  • Energy Policy Analyst
  • Fisheries Resources Manager
  • Forest Resources Manager
  • Water/Waste Resources Manager
  • Land Use Planner
  • Park Naturalist, Ranger
  • Outdoor Interpreter
  • Museum Guide