Bachelor in Environmental Studies
The BES program provides a well-rounded, interdisciplinary education in various fields relating to natural, built, and social environments. The program is designed to equip students with the knowledge, critical understanding, and capacity to deal effectively and sensitively with complex environmental and social challenges arising at the local, regional, national and/or global scale.
The BES program introduces students to the relationships between the exploitation of the natural world and justice issues. Aware of the growing interdependencies of human and natural life in a globalized world, the Faculty of Environmental Studies believes that non-Western and Indigenous perspectives are essential to a fruitful discussion of environmental issues. To that end, Faculty members strive to include a broad range of perspectives in their course offerings.
We strongly encourage you to review your degree program requirements in the York University Academic Calendar.
Please note: Depending on the program you are registered for, you must follow degree requirements that are listed in this calendar for your first year of entry into the BES program for either the Specialized Honours (120.00 credits/ 4 years), Honours (120.00 credits/4 years) or BES (90.00 credit/3-years) in order to graduate.
Your Area of Concentration
To succeed in the upper level courses, and to provide a critical foundation of Environmental Studies, all BES students take all three foundation courses and two methods courses. Students also declare an Area of Concentration which allows specialization within the field of Environmental Studies. The three areas in the BES program reflect our broad understanding of Environmental Studies. Within each Area of Concentration there are two required courses and then students select the remaining courses based on content and availability. The courses in each Area of Concentration were established by scholarly, professional, and pragmatic considerations. When making course selections it is important to look at the course descriptions as some courses may have prerequisites or build on another course. While it is expected that students do one Area of Concentration, courses in other Areas of Concentration can be used as electives. Students will use an Area of Concentration, as well as additional options such as certificates, to help define their own path through the program. For example, students in Environmental Management may also undertake a certificate in Sustainable Energy; or Students in Urban and Regional Environments may also undertake a certificate in Urban Ecologies.
As you enter Year 2, you need to pick your Area of Concentration. Your choices are:
- Environmental Politics, Justice and Arts
- Environmental Management: Policy, Resources and Conservation
- Urban and Regional Environments: Analysis, Planning and Design
You will state your Area of Concentration on your Program Checklist. However, we understand that you are just starting to explore different areas and might need to learn more before you make a final decision. You will be able to change your Area of Concentration when you enter Year 3 and fill out an updated Program Checklist.
You must complete all foundation courses in your second year (ENVS 2000, ENVS 2200, and ENVS 2400) one of which will be your Area of Concentration.
As you enter Year 2, you should also decide whether you are going to take one of our Certificate programs or Dual Credential Programs with Ontario colleges . In addition, you may want to explore other campus-wide certificate programs and research their requirements to see if you can fit them in with your studies in FES. Keep in mind that the sooner you declare your intention to pursue a Certificate or Dual Credential Program, the easier it will be for you to strategically plan your course of study to avoid unnecessary additional tuition costs or time at York.
MANDATORY – Program Checklist
Beginning in February and by the end of April you are required to submit a completed Program Checklist. You will do this each year until you graduate. The Program Checklist will ensure you are making the appropriate course selections to complete your degree. The courses you list can be update/changed at a later date. Please speak to the Student Success Coordinator for details.
Once your Program Checklist is submitted, your enrolment block will be lifted and you can enrol in your courses on the assigned date.
Enrolling in your courses
Students enrol in their Fall/Winter classes in June. You will be assigned this specific date and time based on the credits you have completed. For assistance, review the Registrar’s Enrolment and Registration Guide. You can find detailed information on courses through the York Courses Website or the Environmental Studies Undergraduate Handbook.
IMPORTANT: You will be blocked from enrolment until you submit your mandatory Program Checklist before the due date. Check with OSAS in HNES 137. The checklist must be completely filled out – incomplete checklists will not be accepted.
For BES students entering Year 3 or 4
MANDATORY – Program Checklist
Each year, beginning February 1st and by April 30th you are required to submit a completed Program Checklist mapping out your course choices for your degree in preparation for the next year’s enrolment, which begins early June. All sections of the checklist must be completed, including year 3 AND 4 course selections. Incomplete checklists will NOT be accepted and will hinder your enrolment process.
You will be blocked from enrolling in courses until you submit your checklist. Please note that it takes at least two business days to remove the enrolment block.
Completing your Area of Concentration and degree requirements
By the end of year two you should have declared your Area of Concentration on your program checklist and completed all foundation courses. Your focus in Year 3 and Year 4 will be on completing your Area of Concentration requirements as well as the other requirements for your degree. For details, please refer to the Program Checklists, as well as the Honours BES degree requirements and the BES degree requirements.
Enrolling in your courses
Based on the number of credits you have completed, you will be assigned a date in June at which you are able to enrol – see the various steps on How to Enrol in your courses. You can also visit the current Enrolment and Registration Guide. You can find detailed information on courses through the York Courses Website or the Environmental Studies Undergraduate Handbook.
Applying to graduate
Students in Year 3 and/or Year 4 must apply to graduate online by following the instructions on the York Convocation website. The deadline to apply to graduate is January 31 for June convocation and May 31 for October convocation. We recommend that you apply prior to the deadline, preferably in the fall term for June convocation and winter term for October convocation. An earlier application may prompt an earlier degree audit assessment. As a result of the early assessment, should any missing degree and/or program requirements be identified, you may be able to rectify the situation and still graduate at your preferred ceremony.