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The Undergraduate Calendar

Faculty of Environment

School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability

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The School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability offers both an Honours Regular Academic Plan and an Honours Co-operative Academic Plan. These two Honours degree Academic Plans are oriented towards study of the many dimensions of human inter-relationships with various environments, including natural and managed landscapes, buildings and cities, small groups, communities, and whole societies. Through problem- and issue-oriented inquiry into such complex relationships, along with related study in contributing academic disciplines, ample scope is provided for acquiring a broad-based education as well as technical knowledge and skills.

The current emphases in research and scholarship among the faculty fall into four major thematic areas:

  1. Ecosystem sciences for conservation and restoration in parks, and protected urban and rural areas
  2. Environmental governance and policy
  3. Creating sustainable communities via environmental and social impact assessment 
  4. Solving complex environmental problems via transdisciplinary experiential learning

Many of the positions held by graduates of the School can be described by one of these headings.

The overarching goal of the Academic Plans offered by the School is the development of abilities to think and to analyse which are not artificially constrained by conventional boundaries of academic disciplines. This derives from the recognition that the complex interrelated problems of the contemporary world and of the future will be resolved only through this type of approach. These problems require attention from people who not only have specialized technical abilities, but also have increased perspective, awareness, and understanding. Our graduates find employment precisely because of the tapestry of technical and analytical skills amongst the areas of transdisciplinary approaches, ecosystem sciences, and environmental governance and policy.

The School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability Academic Plans are flexible and student-centred as they present a wide range of subjects and problems inherent in the theme of human-environment relationships. Through selection of topics for study within required courses, through selection of electives, and through work or intern experiences in the Regular Academic Plan and work-term experiences in the Co-operative Academic Plan, students can equip themselves for careers. 

Graduates holding the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) degree in Environment, Resources and Sustainability have found employment in a range of government agencies as ecologists, senior scientists, senior policy directors, parks and protected areas management, impact assessment specialists, natural resources management, pollution control, information technology managers, environmental software developers, social services planners, environmental planners, ethical investment counselors, teachers, and as university faculty themselves. These careers span the public, private, and non-governmental organization sectors. A significant number of students have graduated from the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability and been accepted to do post-graduate work in these same fields.

The School is fortunate in having a multidisciplinary faculty whose formal education and experience range over a number of disciplines in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. They bring to the Academic Plan qualifications in such fields as agriculture, ecology, environmental systems, environmental planning, communications, economics, geography, law, mathematics, physics, political science, and sociology, as well as a variety of experiences in such diverse areas as ecological research, economic studies, urban affairs, technology assessment, and work with international organizations.

For the approach used in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, considerable academic innovation has been desirable. Besides lectures and labs, the Academic Plan emphasizes open-door, personal contact among students and faculty members; student-selected projects and community work; field trips to environments other than lecture halls; team teaching; a regular flow of visitors from outside the University; and workshop instruction to help develop techniques and skills relevant to environmental studies. Students in both the Regular and Co-operative Environment, Resources and Sustainability Academic Plans are encouraged to relate aspects of their Academic Plan to summer or work-term employment, involvement with community organizations or other self-generated activity. Students often incorporate this experiential learning into the university-based educational process. For many students a "theme"-oriented academic plan of this kind offers a more satisfying undergraduate education than traditional alternatives.

More information may be obtained from the Undergraduate Officer, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability.


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