Program Details

The Faculty of Environmental Studies at York (FES) offers a unique and interdisciplinary doctoral program for students who wish to conduct critical environmental research.

As a FES PhD student, you will be studying in an intrinsically interdisciplinary program, where you do not follow a set curriculum. Our doctoral program follows three stages: the PhD program plan stage, the comprehensive examination stage and the dissertation stage. In our PhD program are supported by your Supervisory team but are guided by your own Program Plan – your self-created guide to your studies.

In the first two stages of the PhD program, you develop your own program plan and prepare your comprehensive exams. The remainder of the program is dedicated to dissertation research.

Students will be able to engage in cutting-edge research undertaken in our faculty and benefit from the rich research culture that connects the Faculty of Environmental Studies to other faculties at York University.  Students will also be able to draw on the activities of many research institutes and centres at York University, including the City Institute.

Explore our PhD program through multiple research interests:

Applied Ecology

applied ecology – arctic ecology – biodiversity – biogeochemistry – climate change ecology – conservation policy – ecotourism – ecosystem management – forest fire modeling – habitat analysis – human wildlife conflict – impact assessment – limnology – neotropical ecology – protected areas – resource management – spatial ecology – traditional ecological knowledge – watershed management – wildlife health and disease – wildlife management and conservation - infectious disease ecology - industrial ecology

Critical Urban Research

critical urban and regional studies – metropolitan politics – urban and regional planning and governance – urban political ecology and economy – climate justice -urban-regional restructuring – urban redevelopment processes – gentrification – global urbanization - transnationalism, multiculturalism and race – cities in a post-colonial world – gender, sexuality and cities - critical urban sustainability – urban agriculture and food – urban environmental disasters – urban and regional infrastructure – suburbanization, exurbanization, global suburbanism – urban social movements and justice

Environment and Culture

environmental, sustainability, and popular education - ecosocial/cultural critique - community arts practice, arts-based research, performance - food cultures and politics - indigenous environmental thought and methods - environmental literatures and writing - environmental history - critical animal studies - environmental philosophies - feminist and queer ecologies - anti-racist and postcolonial studies -  bodies and embodiment - oral cultures, storytelling - media studies, film and video - posthumanist and new materialist thought - critical science studies and biotechnologies - biological conservation, ecological restoration

Environmental Politics, Critical Development Studies and Globalization

environmental politics - social and environmental movements - political ecology and critical geographies (of urbanization, extraction, food systems, watersheds) - social and political theory - feminism, antiracism, queer politics and environmental justice - indigenous politics and globalization - climate justice - critical development studies - foreign aid - colonization and postcolonial studies/politics - participation and democratic politics - cultural imperialism - transnational cultural politics, activist art and performance - the global politics of refugees and migration

Health and Environment

social, environmental and political determinants of health - health as it relates to indigeneity, social movements, planning, international development, environmental disasters, and ecosystem approaches - risk - community-based participatory research – reproductive and environmental justice – ethics - infectious disease in urban environments - HIV and globalization - pandemic planning - the endocrine hypothesis - critical public health - popular epidemiology - the precautionary principle

Policy and Management

environmental management and policy - sustainable energy policy - environmental and ecological economics - community-based environmental monitoring - climate change science and policy - environmental and climate justice - wildlife, habitat and conservation - sustainable food policy and systems - systems thinking and complex systems theory - environmental impact assessment - gender and public policy - community development - natural resources management - protected area management - risk assessment and management - disaster analysis

For more examples of PhD fields of study, please search the PhD dissertation titles in the Research & publications section of our website.

Learn more about our Current PhD Students and our PhD Alumni.