This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental science. Students consider scientific methods, the scale and magnitude of environmental variables, societal pathways and impediments to solving environmental problems, and critical thinking about environmental issues. Topics include: hypothesis testing, social and scientific causation, linear and non-linear processes, temporal and spatial scales, feedback cycles, biodegradation and accumulation, and the social and organizational context of environmental activities. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Students in this algebra-based course are introduced to fundamental concepts regarding physical processes studied in environmental sciences. An understanding of kinematics, linear dynamics, work, power, energy and momentum conservation is developed. Elementary concepts related to fluids, waves and radioactivity are introduced and applied to environmental problems. Dimensional and order-of-magnitude analysis is emphasized. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Green chemistry, or environmentally benign chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Students examine the chemical principles and processes in the development of technology and in the effects that this technology has on the environment. Traditional approaches are avoided that only consider the treatment of pollution after it is created, and will focus on alternative routes that limit the production of waste. Classes 3 hrs. per week.
Students examine human impacts on the environment and ecosystems, locally and internationally, through the medium of case studies, discussions, readings, critical analysis assignments, and practical lab applications. Students will practice biological and environmental sampling techniques, complete a research project, and participate in field trips. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
This course provides a scientific introduction to environmental problems and their solutions. The emphasis is on biological and ecological processes and their importance to global sustainability. Labs include hands on experience sampling local environments, participation on real research projects, and field trips to local environmental industry facilities. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
This course provides a scientific introduction to environmental problems and their solutions, with emphasis on sustainability regarding energy and mineral resources, air, and water. Topics include evolving patterns of resource identification, exploration, and consumption, waste management, environmental pollution, climate change, and their implications for the dynamics of human environment relations from the local to the global scale. Labs offer a hands-on approach to concrete environmental problems, including the practical evaluation of patterns of environmental change based on real data. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
ENVS 3310-3315 Field Course in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 45 credit hours in Science, including ENVS 2300 or ENVS 2310
Field courses are unique learning opportunities designed to bring theory to life in a natural setting. Normally double lectures held every second week during the regular semester are coupled with an intensive field component in spring or summer. Topics can vary with season and instructor expertise. Classes 3 hrs. per week, plus intensive field lab.
Notes: 1. Multiple versions of this course taught on different topics may be offered within the same calendar year. 2. Students may count up to a maximum of nine (9) Field Courses toward their Group C requirements for a major or honours BSc in Environmental Science.
Students are introduced to the essential concepts of groundwater flow and wells. Topics include: flow through varying geologic material, water resources management, baseline groundwater quality, contamination of sub-surface environments, and an introduction to quantitative methods. Students will learn to recognize and interpret groundwater flow and chemical data, and have an opportunity to apply this knowledge via course work, laboratory exercises and field work. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week. Labs may involve field work.
This course describes the legislative background and techniques for the prediction of impacts on biophysical and socio-economic environments. This course will cover screening, scoping, baseline studies, impact prediction, mitigation, monitoring and auditing. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
A range of natural and anthropogenic agents that result in human health problems in industrialized and developing countries are examined. Students explore the scientific causes, the potential health effects and any known synergistic effects of these agents, through case studies, readings, and discussion. Existing policies are evaluated. Students research, critique, and present at least three comprehensive case studies. Classes 3 hrs. per week.
Aquatic resources are essential to all living things on Earth. Students examine the similarities and differences in ecology, chemistry and physics of diverse aquatic ecosystems from marine to freshwater. Wetlands, lakes, rivers, estuaries, tidal systems and oceans are all considered. There are field trips to representative habitats. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
The Indigenous experience is examined in relation to environmental assessments (EA) using case-studies. The degree to which Indigenous peoples participate in the EA process is discussed. The challenges and shortcomings of the EA process from an Indigenous perspective are investigated. An examination of EA reviews helps to identify gaps in the current environmental assessment legislation. Classes 3hrs. per week.
Students examine sources, movements and ultimate destinations of chemicals in air, water and soil. Topics include: principles of green chemistry; reactions of the ozone layer; chemistry of ground-level air pollution; greenhouse effect; fossil fuel energy; global warming; alternative energy sources; polycyclic organic compounds; and the chemistry of natural waters including pollution and disinfection. Classes 3 hrs. per week.
ENVS 3826 – 3849 Special Topics in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 45 credit hours and permission of the instructor
ENVS 3876 – 3899 Directed Study in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 45 credit hours and permission of the instructor
Students pursue a short term research project in such areas as: oceanographic sampling and analysis, policy development or environmental impact assessment. Students must identify an appropriate supervisor; provide a project proposal; and at the end of the project, submit a written report. Lab 6 hrs. per week.
Students develop information management skills required for an effective approach to environmental challenges in a complex and fast-changing context, involving a wide range of stakeholders. Concepts, methods, and practical training are provided in an interdisciplinary active learning environment that focuses on real-world applications regarding information identification, interpretations, and context-adapted processing. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Data science, including skills such as database management, data manipulation, mapping, data visualization and interpretation, data ethics, coding, and statistical analysis, is increasingly important in environmental science. Students in this course work with ecological data collected in the field at the beginning of the course to develop skills in data science and learn to use the programming language R. Class sessions focus on active and hands-on learning. Classes and lab 4.5 hours per week.
Students study environmental and natural resource policy in Canada and the world. Attention is paid to all scales at which policy is developed – local, provincial, national and international. The process and determinants of policy making are examined, including aspects of legislation and regulations, estimating their economic impact, participatory and stakeholder approaches, and conflict resolution. Interactions between policy, environmental management and compliance measures are explored, including the role of standards, estimating the status and sustainability of natural capital, and related circumstances under which business, communities and households comply with regulations of environmental impacts and natural resource use. Classes 3 hrs. per week.
This interdisciplinary course is an examination of the management of natural resource industries such as fisheries, forestry, mining and energy, focusing on interactions between biophysical, ecological, socioeconomic, and technological components. Topics include: sustainable development and environment-economy interactions in the resource sector; approaches to integrated natural resource development; theoretical and practical aspects of managing resources and resource industries; economics of sustainable resource use; methods for analysing the impacts of resource use. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Students focus on theory and practical methods for characterizing the structural and dynamic features relating to environmental systems. Practical applications include environmental systems related to rivers, lakes, coastal areas, fisheries, forests, ecosystems, underground mineral distribution, atmospheric variables (wind, temperature), and pollution. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Current approaches to remediating damaged ecosystems, including such topics as mine reclamation, invasive species control, ecological restoration and constructed ecosystems are examined. Emphasis is placed on the scientific and socioeconomic bases for remediation and restoration, including the following: theoretical approaches; the role of traditional ecological knowledge; gaps between theory and practice; and hands-on training in local ecological restoration projects. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
The focus of this course is on key environmental contaminants, including mercury, other metals, and selected volatile organic compounds. Emphasis is placed on experiential approaches, including field work and laboratory research, to study these environmental contaminants. Students are expected to participate in the critical analyses of literature, and in the discussion and presentation of their own research results. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Students review scientific evidence for climate change, and its natural and anthropogenic attributions. The mechanisms of climate change are emphasized and students analyze and evaluate proposed climate change mitigation strategies. Other topics include major impacts, feedback effects, modeling and prediction, the international assessment process, and “skepticism”. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
The course deals with selected topics in environmental science. Specific topics vary depending on current issues, new developments, availability of speakers and the interests of students and instructor. Seminar 3 hrs. per week.
Honours students work with a research advisor who will guide the students in the formulation of research proposals, the methodology to be followed during the course of the research, and in the analysis and write-up of the research findings. The thesis is presented orally. Lab 6 hrs. (minimum) per week.
Through a series of seminars and discussions, students review and develop their knowledge of and capability with a range of Environmental Science research methods, skills and approaches across various environmental research frameworks. Students prepare research for presentation within the School of the Environment.
ENVS 4826 – 4849 Special Topics in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 60 credit hours and permission of the instructor.
ENVS 4876 - 4899 Directed Studies in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: restricted to students in the honours program or permission of the Environmental Science Chairperson.
The course provides an opportunity for ENVS honours students to study a particular subject in detail. It requires independence and initiative from the student. It involves discussion of research papers and lab work. This course is intended particularly to meet the special needs and interests of honours students. Major students may be admitted with permission of the Environmental Science Program Coordinator. Classes and labs 6 hrs. per week.
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