Your 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 Coordinator, Peer 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.

First Year Core Courses

Earth in Our Hands: Introduction to Environmental Studies
This course will give you a broad understanding of environmental studies, viewing the fate of the Earth as “in our hands” 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, discover how to identify research problems and act on environmental and social justice issues. Connect with organizations addressing the issues and get involved by taking action! This workshop based course introduces you to the praxis pedagogy of FES, where theory meets practice, connecting you to organizations addressing the issues, and culminating in actions and presentations.

Introduction to Environmental Science: The Web of Life
Understanding environmental problems involves examining how our ecological systems work. This course prepares you to find the answers to your questions by providing you with an introduction to the key areas of science necessary to study environmental problems. It also acquaints students with very little science knowledge with techniques to better respond and interpret quantitative data. No previous science background is required.

Introduction to Environmental Writing
To effect change, you need to communicate well. This course provides the tools you need to create action in your writing. In the process of reading, discussing and practicing different kinds of environmental writing, students will develop a variety of writing skills in addition to an appreciation of writing as an important form of environmental action. The course also considers writing in relation to oral traditions and newer communication technologies.