Bachelor in Environmental Studies

Bachelor in Environmental Studies

The BES is a comprehensive environmental studies program for students who want to change the world. Our award winning professors will inspire you to study the environment with a range of different perspectives including the economic, legal, social, scientific, artistic, and political. As a close knit, student-centric community, we will be providing you with the support you need to make the degree your own with our diverse program options. Whether you want to be designing a more liveable Toronto, exploring alternative sustainable energy sources, or engaging youth through environmental education, the BES gets you the job.

Program Details

Program

  • 4 year honours degree
  • Full time and some part time
  • Fall (September), Winter (January), and Summer (May) entry
  • Types of Classes: Lectures, tutorials, labs, seminars, field courses, field trips, and placements

Sample Career Outcomes

  • Environmental Law
  • Urban Planning
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Public Policy
  • Community Arts
  • Corporate Sustainability
  • Indigenous Affairs
  • Find out more

Class Size

  • 1st and 2nd year: 100-200 students
  • 3rd and 4th year: 30-40 students

Tuition Fees

  • Domestic: Approximately $7,500 per year
  • International: Approximately $24,600 per year
  • Find out more

The First Year Experience

In the first year of the BES program, you will take required core courses that will introduce you to a wide range of approaches to environmental well-being and social justice, while starting to build your critical academic and practical knowledge, including reading, writing, analytical, communication and environmental science skills. Supported by our professors and dedicated team of student service staff members, including your very own Student Success CoordinatorPeer Mentors , Research Librarian and Environmental Career Expert, your first year in the BES program will allow you the opportunity to explore your passion for changing the world and provide you with the foundations and skills you will need to succeed in your studies at York University.

Your first year classes will likely be 100-200 people which will break off into smaller tutorials and seminars of about 20-30 people each.  Your classes may take place in a lecture hall, in a lab, a seminar room, or around campus.

First Year Courses

Earth in Our Hands: Introduction to Environmental Studies

This course will give you a broad understanding of environmental studies and exploring our responsibility to make positive decisions in our everyday life. Learn to live more sustainably, and to better understand how our actions impact the world.

Taking Action: Engaging People and the Environment

In small groups, you will discover how to identify research problems and act on environmental and social justice issues. You will connect with organizations addressing the issues and get involved by taking action!

Introduction to Environmental Science: The Web of Life

This course will provide you with an introduction to the key areas of science necessary to study environmental problems. No previous science background is required.

Introduction to Environmental Writing or Equivalent

This course will provide  you with the tools you need to create action in your writing. In the process of reading, discussing and practicing different kinds of environmental writing, you will develop a variety of writing skills in addition to an appreciation of writing as an important form of environmental action. Instead of Environmental Writing, you may instead take an equivalent course in History, Philosophy, Humanities or a Language. Chat with your Student Success Coordinator at Advising for more details.

Natural Science Requirement

Choose from a variety of courses in Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Natural Science, Physics and Astronomy, or Science and Technology Studies. Chat with your Student Success Coordinator at Advising for more details.

Choose Your Own Direction

3 Areas of Concentration

After developing a strong foundation of knowledge relating to environmental and social issues in Year 1 and 2, you will officially declare your area of concentration at the beginning of Year 3.

Environmental Politics, Justice and the Arts

This concentration focuses on the relationship between humans and the environment using literary texts, digital images, pop art and performances. You will study environmental inequalities such as class, race, and gender, explore the concept of social justice, and learn strategies for addressing them both locally and globally. Future career outcomes include environmental law, indigenous rights activist, and policy analyst.

Urban and Regional Environments

This concentration focuses on the relationships between people, buildings, cultures and all aspects of our environment. Using Toronto and surrounding urban area as your field lab, you will apply classroom theory to practical research on transportation, food systems, sustainable energy and other aspects of urban studies. Future career outcomes include urban planning, international development, and environmental educator.

Environmental Management

This concentration explores the different perspectives of studying environmental challenges including the economic, the scientific, the political, the social and the legal. You will discover ways to address issues via conservation, natural resource management and policy approaches. Future career outcomes include resource management, corporate sustainability officer, and transportation.

Accelerate your Future

4 Dual Credential Programs with Ontario Colleges

Dual Credentials allow you to get the best of both the college and university experience. Taking advantage of the outstanding professors, facilities, and courses offered by both schools, you could receive a university degree and a college diploma or certificate in less time than it would take to do them separately.

Exploring topics such as conservation, ecological restoration, and the environmental impact on health, this program allows you to complete the Bachelor in Environmental Studies degree at York University and the Ecosystems Management Technology Advanced Diploma at Fleming College in just 5 years. Future career outcomes of this program include rural planning, habitat assessment, and Geographic Information Systems. You can learn more about the York/Fleming Dual Credential program here.
Year 1: YorkU

Year 2: YorkU

Year 3: YorkU

Year 4: Fleming

Year 5: Fleming

OR

Year 1: Fleming

Year 2: Fleming

Year 3: Fleming

Year 4: YorkU

Year 5: YorkU

Additional Admission Requirements:

Students beginning their studies at York University

  • 2 Math courses from either grade 11 or grade 12 or equivalent
  • Students who do not have the math requirement at time of admission may complete this requirement during their first 3 years of the BES program to be eligible for a Dual Credential program. These students can then submit an application form before the end of their third year of study.
Students beginning their studies at Fleming College

  • Completion of the 3 year Fleming College Advanced Diploma in EcoSystems Management Technology with a 3.0 GPA
From studying water resource to transportation planning, this program allows you to complete the Bachelor in Environmental Studies degree from York University and the Civil Engineering Technology Advanced Diploma in just 5 years. Preparing you in the planning, design, and construction of major services and infrastructure, future career outcomes of this program include urban planning, water management, and Geographic Information Systems.
Year 1: YorkU

Year 2: YorkU

Year 3: YorkU

Year 4: Seneca

Year 5: Seneca

OR

Year 1: Seneca

Year 2: Seneca

Year 3: Seneca

Year 4: YorkU

Year 5: YorkU

Additional Admission Requirements:

Students beginning their studies at York University

  • MCT4C or MHF4U or MCV4U or equivalent
  • Students who do not have the math requirement at time of admission may complete this requirement during their first 3 years of the BES program to be eligible for a Dual Credential program. These students can then submit an application form before the end of their third year of study.
Students beginning their studies at Seneca College

  • Completion of the 3 year Seneca College Advanced Diploma in Civil Engineering Technologies with a 3.0 GPA

Focusing on environmental technologies, resources, and applied science, this program allows you to complete the Bachelor in Environmental Studies degree at York University and the advanced diploma in Environmental Technologies at Seneca College in just 5 years. Future career outcomes include environmental sampling, surveying, and transportation design.
Year 1: YorkU

Year 2: YorkU

Year 3: YorkU

Year 4: Seneca

Year 5: Seneca

OR

Year 1: Seneca

Year 2: Seneca

Year 3: Seneca

Year 4: YorkU

Year 5: YorkU

Additional Admission Requirements:

Students beginning their studies at York University

  • MCT4C or MHF4U or MCV4U or equivalent
  • Students who do not have the math requirement at time of admission may complete this requirement during their first 3 years of the BES program to be eligible for a Dual Credential program. These students can then submit an application form before the end of their third year of study.
Students beginning their studies at Seneca College

  • Completion of the 3 year Seneca College Advanced Diploma in Environmental Technology with a 3.0 GPA

Looking to make a difference on a global scale? This dual credential program combines the Bachelor in Environmental Studies degree at York University with the post-diploma certificate in International Development Management Studies at Humber. To be completed in just 4 years, you will study topics such as development, sustainability, and policy in global context preparing you for a career in an NGO or environmental law.
Year 1: YorkU

Year 2: YorkU

Year 3: YorkU

Year 4: Humber

Enhance Your Studies

You have the opportunity to add an additional qualification to your studies to satisfy a specific academic or professional interest that will not cost you more time or more money.

5 Certificate Programs

Certificate in Cultural and Artistic Practice

This certificate can be done separately or as part of the BES degree.

The first certificate of its kind in Canada, it allows you to develop creative artistic skills, deepen your social analysis, and learn to work collaboratively with community arts groups. You will gain real world experience in placements with local cultural agencies and community organizations and have the opportunity to participate in international internships in Los Angeles, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Certificate in Geographic Information Sensing (GIS) and Remote Sensing

This certificate can be done separately or as part of the BES degree.

This certificate encompasses the art, science and technology involved in collecting and managing geographically-referenced information. You will learn applied skills including computer cartography, statistical techniques, satellite image processing, and remote sensing to strengthen and enhance your degree.

Certificate in Sustainable Energy

This certificate can be done as part of the BES degree.

This certificate allows you to explore and gain applied skills in the area of sustainable energy, specifically in energy efficiency, conservation and demand management, and renewable energy sources. You will discover sustainable energy technologies and practices as foundations of cost-effective strategies to prevent dangerous climate change and acquire expertise in sustainable energy policy, economics, law, technology, management, communications, and evaluation along with hands-on applied training.

Certificate in Urban Ecologies

This certificate can be done as part of the BES degree.

In this certificate, you will explore how the conflicts between natural and urban environments emerge, are represented, and can be addressed. Exploring the many connections between the two kinds of environments, you will learn how thoughtful planning can help address contemporary problems.

Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies

This certificate can be done as part of the BES degree.

This certificate allows you to explore refugee and migration issues in an interdisciplinary, environmental studies context. Working with internationally recognized professors from a wide range of academic disciplines, you can enhance your studies by working with leading refugee organizations such as Amnesty International.

The Student Experience

As a close knit, student-centric community, we will be providing you with the support you need from the admissions process all the way to graduation and beyond. We are all about the personal touch! With an individual as unique as you, the BES is also highly customizable so that you can discover your passions and explore the environment in your own way.

For students who don’t want to be sitting in a lecture hall all day, we offer many ways inside and outside the classroom for you to get your hands dirty! You may want to check out working in one of our three community gardens, earning credits while through the BES work placement program, working abroad or completing an international exchange, or taking part in our semester abroad program in our very own Eco-Campus in Costa Rica.

BES Placement

As part of your BES degree, you have the opportunity to complete a work placement beginning in your third year. Our Student Resource Assistant will help you find exclusive postings, apply for positions, prepare for the interview, and be job ready for your unpaid or paid position. Your placement will allow you to gain both valuable work experience and credits towards your degree.

Semester Abroad at our EcoCampus

You may wish to do a semester abroad at our EcoCampus located in south-central Costa Rica. Typically completed in the summer after your third year or fourth year, you can gain credits toward your degree while studying in the ultimate hands on classroom in the Las Nubes Biological Reserve.

Careers in Environment

We know the a career, is important which is why we are preparing our students to be engaged citizens with the critical skills and understanding to create real solutions to complex environmental and social challenges. Our graduates work on the local and global scale in both the private and public sector. So whether you want to be designing a more liveable Toronto, exploring alternative sustainable energy sources, or engaging youth through environmental education, the BES gets you the job.

Admissions

Minimum Academic Requirements

Please note that meeting the minimum academic requirements is not a guarantee of admission to our program.
More information is available on the Admission Requirements page. See deadlines for more information.

Ontario high school applicants

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Six 4U/M courses including ENG4U (Francophone applicants may present FRA4U, FEF4U, FIF4U)
  • Mid to high 70s

High school applicants from other Canadian provinces

  • Same general requirements as university study in your home province
  • Mid to high 70s

Applicants transferring from a college

  • Completion of at least two full semesters (4 full year courses) of academic study at an accredited college
  • Overall average of 3.0 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent)

Applicants transferring from a university

  • Completion of at least two full semesters (4 full year courses) of degree studies at an accredited university
  • Overall average of 2.3 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent)

Mature applicants

  • 20 years or older as of the first day of classes
  • Have been out of full-time high school studies for at least two years or have returned to upgrade after a two year absence;
  • Have attempted less than one full year of studies at an accredited university or college
  • Do not have a recent unfavourable academic record
  • Have demonstrated potential for success through academic, professional or volunteer activities and other accomplishments.

International applicants

Contact Us

Get in touch with our Recruitment and Admissions Team and visit our campus!

fesinfo@yorku.ca

416 736 5252