Faculty of Arts & Science
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Environmental Studies at Queen's University

Environmental Studies

Location: 
BioSciences Complex
Room number: 
3134
Telephone: 
Department Head: 
B.F.Cumming

Undergraduate Chair: Allison Goebel
Graduate Chair: Heather Jamieson

As Canadians have become more aware of the seriousness of environmental problems, so, too, have we realized that solutions are not simple, either scientifically or socio-economically. These problems typically involve interactions among the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere, and without adequate understanding, many solutions create their own problems, which may be as serious as the original. Scientific "fixes" also will not work if people are unwilling to accept the technology or its cost; no environmental issue can be treated in isolation from societal concerns. Therefore, to work in the environmental field, students need an appreciation of the scope and complexity of environmental systems, expertise in a related discipline, and the ability to deal with the socio-economic dimensions of an issue.

The Environmental Studies programs require a concentration in both the Environmental Sciences and a Humanities discipline. Environmental courses include Core introductory science courses in areas such as Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geological Sciences and Mathematics, plus Integrative courses in subjects including environmental history, sociology, economics, and policy. To complete the BA, students select a discipline that provides strength in an area such as Development Studies, Economics, Human Geography, History, Sociology, Philosophy, or Political Studies.

The Major (Science) Plan in Environmental Science provides a multidisciplinary view of environmental science. The Plan includes core courses in science, integrative courses in science and social science, and environmental courses in the humanities. Specific course choices can emphasize themes of environmental sustainability or environment and human health.

The Specialization (Science) Plans provide a multidisciplinary view of environmental science as well as in-depth study in one of six science subjects: Earth System Science, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Life Sciences, or Toxicology. A strong link is made to environmental studies, stressing human response to environmental issues and to questions of environmental policy and management.

Degree Options

Bachelor of Science (Honours) - BScH

Specialization in Environmental Science (Earth System Science, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Life Sciences, or Toxicology)
An intensive, multidisciplinary course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline.

Bachelor of Science (Honours) - BScH

Major in Environmental Science
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH

Major in Environmental Studies
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Medial in Environmental Studies
A dual course of study in Environmental Studies and any other Arts discipline.

Bachelor of Arts - BA

General in Environmental Studies
A less intense course of study leading to a 3-year degree.

Full list of Undergraduate Degree Plans at Queen's University

Graduate Degree Options

Environmental Studies - PhD
Environmental Studies - MES (course-based)
Environmental Studies - MES (research-based)

First Year Courses - Environmental Studies (Arts)

Environmental Studies is one of the most interdisciplinary subjects available in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and it must be pursued in conjunction with another subject.  Arts students may pursue the ENVS Medial Plan in conjunction another Medial Plan in the Arts. Or, they may pursue the ENVS Minor in conjunction with a Major in an Arts subject. 

Science students can pursue the ENVS Minor Plan in conjunction with a Major in a Science subject.  Science students may also pursue a Major or Specialization in Environmental Science. 

To pursue a Plan in ENVS, during your first year you should take:

  • BIOL 111/3.0 or BIOL 103/3.0
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0 
  • At least 3.0 units GEOL at the 100-level (If undecided, choose GEOL 104/3.0)
  • At least 3.0 units from any MATH or CHEM 112/6.0 (If undecided, choose MATH 121/6.0)

What it takes to study Environmental Science / Environmental Studies in your second year >

Click here for the complete list of Courses in Arts and Science

First Year Courses - Environmental Science (Science)

Environmental Science is offered as a Major, which has fairly general first-year requirements, or as one of a number of Specializations, each of which has more specific requirements.  If you are undecided, consider taking the Major requirements, substituting as recommended. Undecided?  Follow the Major in Environmental Science.

To pursue a Major Plan in ENSC, during your first year you should take:

  • BIOL 111/3.0 (If undecided about a Major or Specialization, especially if you may want to pursue Biology or Life Science, substitute BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0)
  • CHEM 112/6.0
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0 
  • GEOL 104/3.0 (If you may wish to pursue Environmental Geology, take GEOL 107/3.0 as well)
  • Any 6.0 units from MATH (If undecided, choose MATH 121/6.0)

Specialization in Environmental Biology

  • BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0
  • CHEM 112/6.0
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0
  • GEOL 104/3.0
  • MATH 121/6.0 or MATH 120/6.0 or MATH 111/6.0

Specialization in Environmental Chemistry

  • BIOL 111/3.0 or BIOL 102/3.0 (If undecided about a Major or Specialization, especially if you may want to pursue Biology or Life Science, substitute BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0)
  • CHEM 112/6.0 
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0 
  • GEOL 104/3.0 
  • MATH 121/6.0 or MATH 120/6.0 
  • PHYS 106/6.0 or PHYS 104/6.0 

Note that the initial requirements of this Plan leave no room for electives at first year.  You may want to consider deferring the Geography or Geology requirements to second year. 

Specialization in Environmental Geology

  • BIOL 111/3.0 or BIOL 102/3.0 (If undecided about a Major or Specialization, especially if you may want to pursue Biology or Life Science, substitute BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0)
  • CHEM 112/6.0
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0
  • GEOL 104/3.0 and GEOL 107/3.0 
  • MATH 121/6.0 or MATH 120/6.0
  • PHYS 106/6.0 or PHYS 104/6.0 or PHYS 117 

Note that the initial requirements of this Plan leave no room for electives at first year.  You may want to consider deferring the Geography or Biology requirements to second year.

Specialization in Earth Systems Science (aka Environmental Geography)

  • BIOL 111/3.0 or BIOL 102/3.0 (If undecided about a Major or Specialization, especially if you may want to pursue Biology or Life Science, substitute BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0)
  • CHEM 112/6.0
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0
  • GEOL 104/3.0
  • MATH 121/6.0 or MATH 120/6.0 or MATH 110/6.0 or MATH 111/6.0 
  • PHYS 106/6.0 or PHYS 104/6.0 or PHYS 117 

Note that the initial requirements of this Plan leave no room for electives at first year.  You may want to consider deferring the Biology or Physics requirements to second year.

Specialization in Environmental Life Science

  • BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0
  • CHEM 112/6.0 
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0
  • GEOL 104/3.0 
  • MATH 121/6.0 or MATH 120/6.0 or MATH 111/6.0

Specialization in Environmental Toxicology

  • BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0
  • CHEM 112/6.0
  • GPHY 101/3.0 and 102/3.0
  • GEOL 104/3.0
  • MATH 121/6.0 or MATH 120/6.0 or MATH 111/6.0

What it takes to study Environmental Science / Environmental Studies in your second year >

Click here for the complete list of Courses in Arts and Science

Job and Career Opportunities for Environmental Science and Studies Grads

Some of our Environmental Science and Environmental Studies grads work in the following industries:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Aquaculture
  • Architecture & Landscape
  • Bioethics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Cartography
  • Ecology
  • Ecotourism
  • Education
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Engineering
  • Management
  • Forensic Science
  • Forestry
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Health Administration ‐ Public Health
  • Horticulture
  • International Development
  • Law
  • Meteorology
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Oceanography
  • Photography
  • Public Service & Public Administration
  • Public Relations
  • Toxicology
  • Transportation
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Career paths for Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies Grads handout from Career Services >

High School Background Required

Any 4U Mathematics and Chemistry or recognized equivalents recommended.

Department Student Council

The Environmental Studies, Department Student Council (DSC) acts as a liaison between the students of the School of Environmental Studies and faculty members. We represent ENSC students at monthly faculty and curriculum meetings as well as school functions.

AND the fun part . . . we get to organize departmental events! Some events that are typical during an academic year are Pizza with Profs, Beer with Profs, Careers Night, as well as a clothing sale. There is always room for suggestions for new event ideas!

The DSC holds weekly meetings to discuss any issues or upcoming events. These meetings are open to anyone in the Environmental Studies program.

To sum it all up, the responsibility of the DSC is to work for you. What would we love in return? Your IDEAS and FEEDBACK. If you would like to see the DSC organize an event, please let us know. Or if you have any suggestions for the program or curriculum, please inform us so we can bring it up at the next appropriate meeting.

More information on the Department Student Council

Graduate Studies

The School of Environmental Studies offers the following options:

  • RESEARCH-based Master's (MES)
  • COURSE-based Master's (MES)
  • PhD in Environmental Studies

PhD in Environmental Studies

Mandate:to provide outstanding graduate training at the doctoral level in sustainability & sustainable practices, facilitating interdisciplinarity across Queen’s faculties.  Degree Level Expectations and Learning Outcomes

The minimum guaranteed funding is $19,000 per year for 48 months.

Master's of Environmental Studies (MES)

The MES program at Queen's University provides graduate level training in the field of Environmental Sustainability by practicing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the long-term nature and impacts of environmental change, the connections between today's decisions and tomorrow's welfare, and the strong dependence of human well-being on environmental quality. Degree Level Expectations and Learning Outcomes

The MES program meets a growing student demand for post-graduate training relevant to environmental careers in industry, government, and non-governmental organizations. It responds to a very strong market in Canada for professionals with environmentally related skills (Environmental Careers Organization).

The minimum guaranteed funding for 2013-14 is $16,150/year to students who are accepted into our program. This stipend is our Basic level of funding and is pro-rated based on the duration of study: 20 months (5 semesters) for a course-based MES, and 24 months (6 semesters) for a research-based MES.

 

Research in Environmental Studies at Queen's

Research by the faculty associated with the School of Environmental Studies is currently directed toward three distinct, yet overlapping areas:

  • Environmental Chemistry & Toxicology
  • Ecosystem & Human Health
  • Society, Culture, Economic Sustainability, and Environmental Planning & Management

Within these major themes, we focus on sustainability through a multidisciplinary approach involving the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

More information on research in Environmental Studies at Queen's >

Analytical Services Unit (ASU)

The ASU is a CALA accredited (for specific tests) environmental analytical laboratory, which has been providing analytical services at Queen's University for over 25 Years.

The unit is available to assist industry, government, the university community and the public with analytical chemistry problems. The ASU also has experience to assist with environmental assessments and associated activities.

The ASU has aided 50 professors in 20 different departments of the university and over 200 industrial organizations with chemical analysis problems. The unit also accommodates the special needs of clients such as analytical method development and specific research projects, both large and small.

More information on the ASU at Queen's

Have Questions?

Call us at 613-533-2470 or email us.

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