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Faculty of Environment

About the Faculty of Environment

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The Faculty of Environment houses the Departments of Geography and Environmental Management (GEM) and Knowledge Integration (KI) as well as the Schools of Planning (PLAN), Environment, Resources and Sustainability (ERS), and Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED). The Faculty and its units are recognized for their interdisciplinary and integrative approaches to solving contemporary, complex challenges in the environment and society. These approaches to problem solving are not limited to research, but are also embodied in the Faculty's innovative teaching.

In the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, students and faculty focus on creatively solving complex environmental, resource, and sustainability problems in the classroom, outdoors, and in the wider urban and rural communities. Many courses use experiential learning to help students take a trans-disciplinary approach to problem-solving through integrative techniques, skills, and knowledge from the fields of (1) ecosystem sciences (e.g., for ecological conservation and restoration), (2) environmental governance, policy, and decision making (especially for energy, water, and food), (3) environmental, social, and sustainability assessment, and (4) social-ecological resilience and complex systems analysis.

Geographers combine natural science, social studies, and information technologies to understand the complex interaction of natural and human forces that define landscapes, regions, and communities – and the environmental challenges facing them. At Waterloo, innovative programs such as Geography and Environmental Management, Geomatics, and Geography and Aviation, give students the opportunity to develop practical skills and a deeper understanding of environmental systems and challenges.

Planners are professionals who guide the design, development, and management of vibrant and healthy communities, the connection of people with their natural and cultural heritage, and respect for the emerging diversity of our communities. With a growing global population and more people migrating from rural to urban areas, planners must increasingly deal with urbanization and environmental issues, such as land conversion from natural to urban land use, development of transportation networks and infrastructure, water and air quality, as well as planning of social and community services. Planners may also address challenges of rural and remote regions as well as parks and protected areas, including creating economic capacity in local communities. The School of Planning's professionally-accredited program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful careers in fields as diverse as municipal planning, urban design, land development and resource management, among others.

The School of Environment, Enterprise and Development includes programs in Environment and Business and International Development. Environment and Business provides all the foundations of a business degree - economics, finance, accounting, management, and marketing – combined with an environmental education including field ecology, environmental assessment, and research techniques. At the core of the program is a set of integrated courses that show how businesses can be both environmentally sustainable and profitable.

International Development brings together various disciplines of study, teamwork, and individual insight to recognize, analyze, and respond effectively to complex human development problems in the places of the world where it is most needed. International Development integrates ethics, cultural and political understanding, knowledge of the natural and planned environment, and creative skills to respond with novel ideas and solutions to development problems.

Environment and Business, as well as International Development are programs for students who are passionate about change that is responsible, accountable, and sustainable.

Knowledge Integration (BKI) is a flexible, integrative arts and science degree that is designed to teach students how to tackle new and complex problems. Knowledge Integration students specialize in interdisciplinary collaboration and personalize their degrees by applying those skills to their specific interests across the arts, humanities, and natural, social, and applied sciences. While based in the Faculty of Environment, Knowledge Integration students are encouraged to access courses and resources in all University of Waterloo faculties.

Our faculty members regularly interact with one another, regardless of the School or Department in which they are housed. They also interact with other members of the University community, for example through joint appointments with other Faculties. Our students are encouraged to take courses from across the whole University and many of our courses (as well as diplomas and options) are available to students from other Faculties.


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University of Waterloo
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Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
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