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Sustainable Environmental Management (BES)

Explore some of the most critical issues facing the earth today: the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, waste management, energy consumption and sustainable solutions.

In the Sustainable Environmental Management program, you will investigate how the environment and natural resources are managed, and how we can transition toward more just and sustainable systems. You will learn key problem-solving, innovation and holistic strategies, combined with an understanding of policy, social dynamics with applied aspects of environmental science and technology.

Students will explore these critical issues in environmental and resource management:

  • Low-carbon energy transition
  • Environmental policy and governance
  • Ecological economics
  • Climate change science and mitigation
  • Urban ecology
  • Sustainable and just transitions
  • Community energy and planning
  • Wildlife conservation

As you learn first-hand about energy, water, biodiversity, food and waste, you will develop the technical skills to analyze, synthesize and evaluate political, economic and social dimensions of environmental problems and develop pathways to sustainability transitions and innovation. 

You will benefit from practical experience through hands-on classroom activities, field and lab-based courses, guest lectures, case studies, and community engagement. The program offers educational work placements and opportunities to participate in the Las Nubes EcoCampus in Costa Rica. You will develop transferrable skills in critical thinking, communication, leadership, and project management to effectively engage in environmental issues in government, the private sector, and not-for-profit sectors in Canada and abroad, and make positive contributions toward a sustainable future.

Program Details

4 years

Full time and some part time

Fall, Winter, and Summer entry

Bachelor in Environmental Studies (BES)

Curriculum Highlights

First year core courses

  • Weather and Climate
  • The Dynamic Earth
  • The World Today
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Management

Sample upper year courses

  • Energy and the Environment
  • Economics for the Anthropocene
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Business and Sustainability
  • Urban Habitats and Restoration
  • Ecosystem services

Hands-on learning and field study

  • Introduction to Environmental Science. This course will take you into York University woodlots to collect ecological data to develop keys skills for presenting scientific data
  • Solutions: Sustainability, Justice, Transitions. This course will use real world case studies to learn about the successes or failures of transitions to new systems.
  • Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This course will train you to use GIS software in the lab for real world applications
  • Work Placement with private or public organization, agency or ENGOs.
  • Semester Abroad at the Las Nubes EcoCampus in Costa Rica

Career Possibilities

The environmental sector is one of the fastest growing in the world.  With issues of sustainability, climate crisis, and equity at the forefront of the public conscious, more organizations and businesses are looking to hire environmental professionals.  By developing technical, hands-on abilities coupled with transferrable skills such as project management, critical thinking, and communication, our graduates are working in both the public and private sector in a variety of fields including business, science and technology, education, government, and more.

Some sample careers include:

  • Environmental Outreach and Stewardship Coordinator
  • Energy Assessor
  • Geographic Information Systems Technologist
  • Environmental Educator
  • Green Entrepreneur
  • Policy Analyst
  • Project Coordinator
  • Environmental Site Assessor
  • Environmental Consultant

To help you succeed, our Experiential Education Coordinator provides a variety of career support services to our students including resume help, interview prep, and career planning workshops, and maintains an exclusive job board just for our students.

Additional Details

Admission Requirements

Please note that meeting the minimum academic requirements is not a guarantee of admission.  More information is available on the York University Admission Requirements page.

  • ENG4U
  • Mid to high 70s
  • Grade 12 English
  • Mid to high 70s
  • Overall average of 3.0 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent)
  • Overall average of 2.3 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent)

How to Apply

Deadlines can be found on the York University Future Students website.

  1. Complete an Online Application Form.
  2. Pay the application fee.
  3. Submit supporting documents through the York University online portal, MyFile.
    • Within four business days of application, you will receive a confirmation email with your nine-digit student reference number, which will allow you to access your MyFile account and upload your documents.
    • It is important to check your MyFile regularly for any documents you are required to submit and updates to the status of your application.
    • More information about supporting documents, document processing times and decision processing times is available on the I’ve Applied page.