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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.

Aerial view of a road next to a pond

At a Glance

4 years of study

Bachelor in Environmental Studies (BES)

Offered full time and part time

Accepts applications for Fall (September), Winter (January), & Summer (May) Entry

Application Process

Our programs are open for students direct from high school, with previous post-secondary studies, international students, exchange students and mature applicants.

Learn more about our admission requirements

Tuition and Fees will be paid to York University. Please see the Undergraduate Tuition and Fees information on the Future Students Website.Entrance Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries are available each year to support your education.

We recommend reviewing funding available exclusively for our students and the funding available for all York University students

  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.

Important Note: Deadlines for each entry period (Fall, Winter & Summer) can be found on the York University Future Students website.

Hands-on Learning and Field Studies

Learning in the field is a key component in our program. Your courses will take you on location with field trips to various places in Toronto, across the Ontario and in the work place. 

student taking picture of a plant with his phone

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.

view of a city with industrial and residential area

Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This course will train you to use GIS software in the lab for real world applications.

Work Placement

Course for degree credit is an option for all Cities, Regions, Planning students with private or public organization, agency or ENGOs.

worker installing a solar panel

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.

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.

Sample Careers

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

Overseas Placements

Going global is optional in this program. You can choose to Study Abroad on an international Exchange program or take courses on our Semester Abroad at the Las Nubes EcoCampus in Costa Rica.

We also offer you the opportunity to complete a Global internship with York International

Las Nubes Campus

Program Curriculum

We recommend all students understand their degree requirements by referring the official York University Academic Calendar for the year they started the program. Depending on which degree you are pursuing requirements will be different. You are encouraged to meet with your Academic Advisor each year to ensure you are on track for graduation. 

Residency requirement: a minimum of 30 course credits and at least half (50 per cent) of the course credits required in each undergraduate degree program major/minor must be taken at York University.

Graduation requirement: students must successfully complete (pass) at least 120 credits which meet the Faculty's degree and program requirements with a cumulative grade point average of at least 5.00.

General education: to fulfill the Environmental and Urban Change general education requirements students must take 18 general education credits as follows:

  • 6.00 credits in Natural Science (NATS) which may be satisfied by taking EU/GEOG 1401 3.00 (cross-listed to: SC/GEOG 1401 3.00) and EU/GEOG 1402 3.00 (cross-listed to: SC/GEOG 1402 3.00) or any other 1000-level natural science general education course (at least 6 credits) not listed as either satisfying the Humanities or the Social Science requirement.
  • 6.00 credits in Humanities (HUMA), which may be satisfied by taking EU/ENVS 1010 3.00 and EU/ENVS 1100 3.00 or any other 1000-level humanities general education course (at least 6 credits) not listed as satisfying the social science requirement.
  • 6.00-credit in Social Science (SOSC) which may be satisfied by taking EU/GEOG 1000 6.00 or any other 1000-level social sciences general education course (at least 6 credits) not listed as satisfying the Humanities requirement.

Major credits: students will take at least 21 credits in environmental studies, including

Faculty Requirements: 6 credits to be selected as follows:

Additional Major credits: students will take at least 27 credits, 9 credits of which must be at the 3000 level and 18 credits must be at the 4000 level, chosen from:

Upper-level credits: This requirement is met by satisfying the above additional major credits requirement.

Credits outside the major: at least 48 credits. (Note: students who are completing a double major or major/minor are deemed to have fulfilled some of this requirement.)

To enrol in the research-based course EU/ENVS 4000 6.00 or EU/GEOG 4000 6.00 (cross-listed to: SC/GEOG 4000 6.00), students must successfully complete (pass) six credits of methods courses requirements with a B+ (7.00) overall cumulative grade point average by the end of their third year (completion of 84-90 credits) to be approved in June prior to enrolling in this course.

A Double Major option in Environmental Arts and Justice can be pursue jointly with an Honours program in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, the Faculty of Science, the School of Arts, Performance, Media and Design, Glendon College or where a Double Major is offered to students whose degree program allows completion of a Double Major.

Major credits: students will take at least 18 credits in environmental studies, including

Additional Major credits: students will take at least 24 credits; 12 credits must be at the 3000 level and 12 credits must be at the 4000 level chosen from among:

Note: in a double major program, a course may count only once toward major credits. Students should be aware that in order to complete the requirements of the Honours double major programs it may be necessary to complete more than 120 credits.

The Honours BES Environmental Arts and Justice program described above may be pursued jointly with approved Honours Minor degree program in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, the Faculty of Science, the School of Arts, Performance, Media and Design, Glendon College or where a Major/Minor is offered to students whose degree program allows completion of a Minor.

Note: in a major/minor program, a course may count only once toward major credit or minor credit. Students should be aware that in order to complete the requirements of the Honours major/minor programs it may be necessary to complete more than 120 credits.

Major credits: students will take at least 18 credits in environmental studies, including

Additional Major credits: students will take at least 12 credits, 6 credits of which must be at the 3000 level and 6 credits must be at the 4000-level chosen from among:

Note: in a major/minor program, a course may count only once toward major or minor credits. Students should be aware that in order to complete the requirements of the Honours major/minor programs it may be necessary to complete more than 120 credits.

Residency requirement: a minimum of 30 course credits and at least half (50 per cent) of the course credits required in each undergraduate degree program major/minor must be taken at York University.

Graduation requirement: students must successfully complete (pass) at least 90 credits which meet the Faculty's degree and program requirements with a cumulative grade point average of at least 4.00.

General education: to fulfill the Environmental and Urban Change general education requirements students must take 18 credits general education credits as follows:

  • 6.00 credits in Natural Science (NATS) by taking EU/GEOG 1401 3.00 (cross-listed to: SC/GEOG 1401 3.00) and EU/GEOG 1402 3.00 (cross-listed to: SC/GEOG 1402 3.00) or any other 1000-level natural science general education course (at least 6 credits) not listed as either satisfying the Humanities or the Social Science requirement.
  • 6.00-credits in Humanities (HUMA) by taking EU/ENVS 1010 3.00 and EU/ENVS 1100 3.00 or any other 1000-level humanities general education course (at least 6 credits) not listed as satisfying the Social Science requirement.
  • 6.00-credits in Social Science (SOSC) by taking EU/GEOG 1000 6.00 or any other 1000-level social sciences general education course (at least 6 credits) not listed as satisfying the Humanities requirement.

Major credits: students will take at least 21 credits, including:

Faculty Requirements: 3 credits to be selected as follows:

Additional Major credits: students will take at least 18 credits at the 3000-level or (4000-level, subject to space availability and approval from the program). chosen from among:

Upper-level credits: at least 18 credits in the major must be at the 3000 level. This requirement is met by satisfying the Additional Major Credits requirement, above.

Credits outside the major: at least 30 credits.