faculty of environmental studies

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Your first year

You may have a lot of questions about what to expect when you get to York. In Environmental Studies, you are a welcome part of our close community from day one. You become a familiar face right away, sharing a core schedule with only about 200 students in your entire year. With so much activity on campus, you’ll be able to flex your imagination right away and connect with many others who share your diverse interests.

Your first year 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". Learn how 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 and act on environmental and social justice issues. Connect with organizations addressing the issues, and get involved by taking action!

*Introduction to Environmental Science: the web of life
In studying the environment, scientific questions will come up. This course prepares you to find the answers. No scientific background required.

*Environmental writing
To effect change, you need to communicate well. This course provides the tools you need to create environmental action through your writing.

Free elective of your choice
Some say variety is the spice of life. Your degree offers added room to grow, with time available for classes outside of environmental studies.

* More options may be available in place of these courses. Your academic adviser will help find the best fit for you.

What will my classes be like?

This is the most common class type you will have. Lectures are in a large setting where all students in the course are addressed by the instructor. In our program, professors sometimes take lectures outside for hands-on learning. Many classes include both a lecture and a tutorial or lab, so you can discuss issues raised in a smaller group.

Tutorials are there for you to really work with ideas covered in lecture. You will meet with 15-30 classmates and a tutorial leader (often the instructor or a graduate student) to discuss concepts in further detail and to solidify your understanding of the material.

In general, labs are a class type set aside for “lab” work. This could involve using geographic mapping software in a computer lab, or conducting science experiments in a traditional lab setting. Sometimes a lab can mean a specific time slot for field trips. Most often, labs are smaller in size, with about 20-40 students in each.