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Queen's University

Graduate Courses

PhD in Environmental Studies

The course requirements are:

ENSC 801 Methodological and Conceptual Basis for Environmental Studies, and

ENSC 802 Global Environmental Problems: Issues in Sustainability. 

Students who have already taken these courses during a SES MES program at Queen’s will be exempt from these courses and will not have additional coursework requirements. In the event that similar courses have previously been taken by a student at another University, a thorough evaluation of the course outlines by the Graduate Admission Committee may also exempt a student from taking these courses. 

In addition, all students will be required to register for ENSC 897 Seminar in Environmental Studies.

Please discuss your program and any required/suggested courses with your supervisor.




To all graduate students who began a new graduate degree program on or after September 1, 2011:

In February 2011, Queen’s University approved that, as of September 2011, all new graduate students shall receive mandatory training in accessible customer services, as required by the Government of Ontario, under the  Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).  The applicable regulation appears in the calendar of the School of Graduate Studies here:

Queen’s graduate students who started their graduate degree program on or after September 1, 2011, will satisfy the requirement by completing the online course created for this purpose under the course number/title, AODA-800 Accessible Customer Service Training.  This is to advise you that you will be enrolled in this mandatory course, AODA-800.  Course enrolment will be done automatically by the Office of the University Registrar. Completion of the course is a graduate degree requirement that must be completed prior to graduation. AODA-800 is graded on a Pass/Fail basis, and successful completion of the online training course shall result in a Pass for the course. 

For more details about the course and this requirement, please go to our website

SGS 804 Human Research Ethics (aka CHRPP) is a non-credit course that must be taken by all graduate students who will engage in research involving human subjects. It must be listed on an Academic Change Form so that it will appear on transcripts. SGS 804 does not count towards the MES degree and cannot be substituted for a regular graduate course. It is a web-based tutorial on Canada's national standards of ethics for research. We encourage MES-2 students to take this course if their research involves human subjects. It is compulsory for MES-1 students engaged in this type of research.

Environmental Studies Courses Available

See below for a list of courses that are offered specifically to our Master's of Environmental Studies (MES) students and are available to our PhD students.

What courses have past MES students taken? Go to the COURSE LIST page for a more comprehensive list of courses.

Course Code Course Name & Description
ENSC 801


The course examines methodological and conceptual issues arising from Environmental Studies position as an inter-, multi- and/or trans-disciplinary practice. It will focus on the inherent difficulties in overcoming disciplinary fragmentation in approaches to studying complex issues in environmental sustainability that require integrated understandings of the inter-relations between social and natural systems. The course will promote methodological literacy beyond student's own area of expertise, develop critical and reflexive thinking about how environmental studies might approach issues of sustainability, and encourage and facilitate communication across disciplinary paradigms. The course precedes and compliments ENSC 802, familiarizing students with the historical origins, philosophical underpinnings and practical deployment of key approaches within the social and natural sciences and humanities. Three term-hours; Fall. H. Jamieson, M. Smith

Permission of Instructor Required

Registration by Academic Change Form

Offered Fall 2013 8:30 am to 11:30 am Fridays Jeffrey Hall Rm 319

ENSC 802


This course focuses on real-world environmental problems analyzing their social, ethical, and biogeochemical origins, economic ramifications, and institutional frameworks for their mitigation and resolution in the context of environmental sustainability. This course would logically follow or run concurrently with ENSC 801*, and will deepen and continue the themes through consideration of the intellectual history of theories and concepts relevant to environmental studies, with a focus on the concepts of "sustainability" and "sustainable development". Three term-hours; Winter. S. Brown, M. Hird.

Permission of Instructor Required

Registration by Academic Change Form

Offered Winter 2014 8:30 am to 11:30 am Tuesdays Rm A416 MC

ENSC 816


The course will compare and contrast the behaviour of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic compounds, such as methyl mercury and chlorinated aromatic compounds, with the behaviour of less persistent chemicals such as petroleum hydrocarbons and modern pesticides. Subjects of interest may include sediment diagenesis, long-range transport, methylation processes, and interactions between biomagnification and ecosystem structure and productivity. Three term hours; Last offered Winter 2009; Not offered 2013-14.

ENSC 840


This course provides an opportunity for students to independently study a selected topic under the supervision of one of more faculty members. For detailed information, consult course coordinator. Three term-hours; Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer. Course coordinator: H. Jamieson.

Course Intructor to provide written details of independent study.


Special Topic Offering Winter 2014 - Please contact Department.

Permission of Coordinator Required

Registration by Academic Change Form

Offered Fall, Winter, Spring  2013-14

ENSC 897


This half-credit course spans several semesters and requires students to attend a minimum of 30 seminars, chosen from among those offered by the School of Environmental Studies (at least 18) and other units in any faculty at Queen's.  Submission of the seminar evaluation formis required as proof of attendance. Within the School's annual seminar series, they must also recruit and host one seminar speaker and present one seminar on their own project.
Total contact hours: 30 h, up to 4-5 semesters


Prerequisites: Admission to MES program.

Course coordinator: B. Cumming

Registration by Academic Change Form

Offered Fall, Winter, Spring  2013-14


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