Environmental Studies

Society has become more aware of the seriousness of environmental problems the world faces today and at the same time we have realized that solutions are not simple. No environmental issue can be treated in isolation from the society in which it exists. Therefore, to work in the environmental field, students need knowledge on the cause and magnitude of environmental problems, as well as expertise in planning, policy and other solutions within our complex socioeconomic-cultural world.

The Environmental Studies programs require a concentration in the Sciences or the Social Sciences and the Humanities. 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.

See our Major Map to learn more

BioSciences Complex
Room number: 
Department Head: 
Dr. Alice Hovorka
Undergraduate Chair: 
Allison Goebel
Graduate Chair: 
Graham Whitelaw

Degree Options

Bachelor of Science (Honours) - BScH

Specialization in Environmental Science (Earth System Science, Environmental Biology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Geology, Environmental Life Sciences, or Environmental 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

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

Minor in Environmental Studies
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.

Internship option available

For a full list of Degree Plans, see the Academic Calendar
Graduate Degree Options

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

Job and Career Opportunities for Environmental Science and Studies Grads

Where could Environmental Studies students go after graduation?

  • Agriculture
  • Air quality
  • Architecture
  • Bioethics
  • Biotechnology
  • Cartography
  • Ecology
  • Energy
  • Environmental management
  • Fisheries and wildlife
  • Forestry
  • Geographic information systems
  • Health administration
  • Horticulture
  • Human and environmental health and safety
  • International development
  • Land quality
  • Landscape architecture
  • Law
  • Meteorology
  • Mining
  • Oceanography
  • Parks and natural reserves
  • Public administration
  • Research and development
  • Restoration and reclamation
  • Toxicology
  • Transportation
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Waste management
  • Water quality

Note: Some of these careers may require additional training.

Undergraduate Course Highlights

Many of our courses focus on the environment such as Environmental Toxicology and Chemical Risks, and Environment and Sustainability. To get to solutions we first discuss current issues in courses like Marine Environmental Issues, Wildlife Issues in a Changing World, and Global Water Issues. And once we have discussed issues and solutions we move to inform policy with courses such as Environmental Assessment or Environmental Policy.

Undergraduate Admission for Environmental Science and Studies

BScH students apply to Queen’s Science (QS) through the OUAC (Ontario Universities' Application Centre) website (ouac.on.ca). Secondary School prerequisites include English 4U, Advanced Functions 4U, Calculus and Vectors 4U, plus 2 of Physics 4U, Chemistry 4U or Biology 4U or recognized equivalents.

BAH Students apply to Queen’s Arts (QA) through the OUAC website. Prerequisites include six 4U and 4M courses, including a minimum of three 4U courses, one of which must be ENG4U. Applicants outside of Ontario may have additional requirements. Visit queensu.ca/admission for additional information regarding requirements and admission to Queen's.

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 $20,000 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 is $14,000 per 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

Alumni Profile

After graduating in 2007 from ENSC, Pauline Lie travelled to Hong Kong for an internship with Ocean Park – a world-renowned marine theme park. For three years following that she put her schooling to use as the Environmental Officer focusing on corporate environmental affairs and governance. She found it very interesting to work in a company where virtually every industry is present in its cross-functional infrastructure (i.e. engineering, retail, operations, sales & marketing, finance, legal compliance, etc.). – something that ENSC prepared her well for.