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The Faculty of Science > Bachelor of Science > Environmental Sciences

The B.Sc. specialization in Environmental Sciences, offered by the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, is designed to give students a broad perspective on the environment. The specialization concentrates on understanding the major environmental issues facing human societies and it adopts an integrative cross-disciplinary approach to the study of these issues. The specialization provides a significant background in earth, ocean, atmospheric, and life sciences, and chemistry. The core courses, ENVR 200, 300, 400, and 449, examine environmental issues through seminars and student projects. Students are required to select an Area of Concentration that includes required and elective courses.

Students wishing to enter second-year Environmental Sciences Major or Honours specializations must apply using the online process (www.science.ubc.ca/students/degree/apply) administered by the Faculty of Science. Students will receive an email communication regarding the process in late May or June. Due to the similarity between the Major and Honours Environmental Science specializations in second year, the Faculty of Science only admits students directly to the Majors. For Honours, students require a minimum 72% average in prior courses for admission, and must maintain at least a 68% average for continuation in the program. Qualified students wishing to transfer to Honours should contact the Undergraduate Advisor for advice. The progress of continuing environmental science students will be reviewed at the end of each academic year. Students making satisfactory progress do not require annual specialization approval. The advisor will contact students with unsatisfactory standing in Honours.

A five-year Co-operative Education option is available in Environmental Sciences. The option is intended to help prepare interested and qualified students for careers in environmental sciences and related fields. This is achieved through a minimum of 14 months of approved work placement under the supervision of practicing professionals. To be eligible, students must be admissible into third year of the B.Sc. Major in Environmental Sciences. Admission is by application to the Co-op Office in term 2 of the second year. Selection of students will be based on academic performance and general suitability to the work environment as determined by resume and interview. Total enrolment in the option is subject to the availability of work placements. Work placements are arranged by mutual agreement between employers and students. Participating students must register for EOSC 398, 399, 498, and 499 as appropriate, and pay the required Co-operative Education fee per course (see Program and Course Fees). Graduation in the Co-operative Education option requires a student to complete each of EOSC 398, 399, 498, and 499, in addition to the normal requirements.

For additional information, see Environmental Sciences (www.ensc.ubc.ca/). Please contact Environmental Sciences at 604.822.2449 with any questions.

For details of other undergraduate Science specializations available in the department, see Atmospheric Science, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Geological Sciences, Geophysics, and Oceanography. The department also offers Geological Engineering as part of the B.A.Sc. program.

Specializations

Major (1263): Environmental Sciences (ENSC)

First Year
BIOL 121, 1401 5
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
Communication Requirement3 6
MATH 100 or 102 or 104 (180 or 184 or 120)4 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 105 (or 121)4 3
PHYS 100-level5 3
Electives6,7 2
Total Credits 30
Second Year
BIOL 230 3
Two of CHEM 205 (or 201), 208 (or 202), 211, 2338 6
ENVR 200 3
GEOB 200 or ATSC 201 3
MATH 200 3
STAT 200 or BIOL 3009 3
Electives6,7,8,10 9
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Years
BIOL 306 3
ENVR 300, 400 9
EOSC 372 3
One of ENVR 410, 420, 430, 440 3
'Tools' Elective11 3
Electives6,7 24
Area of Concentration12 15
Total Credits 60
Minimum Credits for Degree 120
1 Students without one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before attempting BIOL 121 or BIOL 140.
2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100.
3 For a full list of acceptable courses, see Communication Requirement.
4 MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. Choosing a 4 credit MATH course lowers the electives by 1 credit. All of the differential calculus courses are suitable prerequisites for later MATH courses. They differ in the expected student background and the types of examples used in the problems.
5 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students without Physics 12 must replace 3 credits of electives with PHYS 100 before taking any other 100-level PHYS course. Students may defer taking any other 100-level PHYS course to second year.
6 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
7 Students interested in elective options in environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability see: www.sustain.ubc.ca/courses-degrees/courses.
8 Students who select 7 credits of second-year CHEM will need to lower the total number of electives accordingly.
9 Students should consider which statistics course will fulfill prerequisites for upper-level courses they intend to take. STAT 200 does not fulfill an upper-level credit requirement.
10 Students interested in the Ecology and Conservation Area of Concentration should consider one of BIOL 204, 205, 209 or 210 in second year.
11 ‘Tools’ Elective: One of ATSC 303, CHEM 311 (requires CHEM 211), CONS 340, CPSC 301, EOSC 211, FRST 443, GEOB 270, GEOB 309, GEOB 370, GEOB 373, or ISCI 422. Must be completed before fourth year.
12 Of the 15 Area of Concentration credits, at least 12 must be at the 3xx level or higher, including no fewer than 6 credits at the 4xx level.

Majors Areas of Concentration Required Courses

Students must select one of the following two Areas of Concentration. A minimum of 15 credits must be taken from the Area of Concentration courses listed below and these courses cannot be used to fulfill any other requirements of the specialization.

Land, Air, and Water Area of Concentration

Students in this Area of Concentration must include at least one course in at least three of the four following categories:

Additional courses for the Land, Air, and Water Area of Concentration include:

Students should be aware that some of these electives have prerequisites that are not explicitly listed here.

Ecology and Conservation Area of Concentration

Students in this Area of Concentration must include one of BIOL 204, 205, 209, 210, and at least two of BIOL 301, 336, 402, 404, 407, 408, 416, 418, 420; GEOB 307.

Additional courses for the Ecology and Conservation Area of Concentration include:

Students should be aware that some of these electives have prerequisites that are not explicitly listed here.

Specialization Objectives

Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. prepare students for employment as technicians or entry-level consultants in environmental sciences;
  2. provide enough background in either biological sciences or physical/chemical sciences to qualify students for graduate school in atmospheric science, ecology, environmental science, oceanography, geography, or geology.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of and a broad perspective on the environment;
  2. use an interdisciplinary approach to tackling environmental issues facing human societies;
  3. understand the distinctions between, and uses of, data, experiment, theory and models in understanding natural phenomena;
  4. use at least one specific environmental science “tool” (e.g., a computational, field, or laboratory measurement technique) to address environmental issues;
  5. conceptualize, develop, and complete a major team project;
  6. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Honours (0589): Environmental Sciences (ENSC)

First Year
BIOL 121, 1401 5
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
Communication Requirement3 6
MATH 100 or 102 or 104 or (180 or 184 or 120)4 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 105 (or 121)4 3
PHYS 100-level5 3
Electives6,7 5
Total Credits 33
Second Year
APBI 200 3
ATSC 201 3
BIOL 230, 306 6
Two of CHEM 205 (or 201), 208 (or 202), 211, 2338 6
ENVR 200 3
MATH 200 3
STAT 200 or BIOL 3009 3
Electives6,7,8,10 6
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
CHEM 301, 302 6
ENVR 300, 449 9
EOSC 372, 373 6
Two of ENVR 410, 420, 430, 440 6
'Tools' Electives11 6
Electives6,7 15
Area of Concentration12 18
Total Credits 66
Minimum Credits for Degree 132
1 Students without one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before attempting BIOL 121 or BIOL 140.
2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100.
3 For a full list of acceptable courses, see Communication Requirement.
4 MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. Choosing a 4-credit MATH course lowers the electives by 1 credit. All of the differential calculus courses are suitable prerequisites for later MATH courses. They differ in the expected student background and the types of examples used in the problems.
5/sup>Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students without Physics 12 must replace 3 credits of electives with PHYS 100 before taking any other 100-level PHYS course. Students may defer taking any other 100-level PHYS course to second year.
6 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
7 Students interested in elective options in environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability see: www.sustain.ubc.ca/courses-degrees/courses
8 Students who select 7 credits of second-year CHEM will need to lower the total number of electives accordingly.
9 Students should consider which statistics course will fulfill prerequisites for upper-level courses they intend to take. STAT 200 does not fulfill an upper-level credit requirement.
10 Students interested in the Ecology and Conservation Area of Concentration should consider one of BIOL 204, 205, 209 or 210 in second year.
11 'Tools’ Electives: Two of ATSC 303, CHEM 311 (requires CHEM 211), CONS 340, CPSC 301, EOSC 211, FRST 443, GEOB 270, GEOB 309, GEOB 370, GEOB 373 or ISCI 422. Consult credit exclusion list before choosing 'Tools' electives. Must be completed before fourth year.
12 Of the 18 Area of Concentration credits, at least 15 must be at the 3xx level or higher, including no fewer than 9 credits at the 4xx level.

Honours Areas of Concentration Required Courses

Students must select one of the following two Areas of Concentration. A minimum of 18 credits must be taken from the Area of Concentration courses listed below and these courses cannot be used to fulfill any other requirements of the specialization.

Land, Air, and Water Area of Concentration

Students in this Area of Concentration must include at least one course in each of the four following categories:

Additional recommended courses for the Land, Air, and Water Area of Concentration include:

Students should be aware that some of these electives have prerequisites that are not explicitly listed here.

Ecology and Conservation Area of Concentration

Students in this Area of Concentration must include one of BIOL 204, 205, 209, 210 and at least two of BIOL 301, 336, 402, 404, 407, 408, 416, 418, 420; GEOB 307.

Additional recommended courses for the Ecology and Conservation Area of Concentration include:

Students should be aware that some of these electives have prerequisites that are not explicitly listed here.

Specialization Objectives

Honours will provide more depth than the Major. Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough background in either biological sciences or physical/chemical sciences to qualify students for graduate school in atmospheric science, ecology, environmental science, oceanography, geography, or geology;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians or entry-level consultants in environmental sciences.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of and a broad perspective on the environment;
  2. use an interdisciplinary approach to tackling environmental issues facing human societies;
  3. understand the distinctions between, and uses of, data, experiment, theory and models in understanding natural phenomena;
  4. use at least two specific environmental science “tools” (e.g., computational, field, or laboratory measurement techniques) to address environmental issues;
  5. define, conduct, and present the results of an individual research project;
  6. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Minor (3085): Environmental Sciences (ENSC)

The Minor consists of 21 credits: ENVR 200, ENVR 300; 6 credits from: EOSC 372, BIOL 306, GEOB 305; and 9 credits from: ENVR 400, 410, 420, 430, 440

Page last updated: June 25, 2019


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