Bachelor in Environmental Studies

Bachelor in Environmental Studies

The Bachelor in Environmental Studies (BES) degree 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.

Our close knit, student-centric community includes a Student Success Office where 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. Learn more about Careers in the Environment and check out the success our BES graduates have achieved through our Alumni Profiles.

Small Class Sizes

Exclusive Scholarships

Dynamic Careers

How to Apply

The BES Program

Degree Details

  • Program Length: 4 year Honours degree (120.00 credits required)
  • Study Options: Full time and part time offered
  • Course Offerings: Daytime and some online & evening courses available
  • Entry: Fall (September), Winter (January), and Summer (May)

Class Size

  • 1st and 2nd year: 100-200 students
  • 3rd and 4th year: 30-40 students
  • Types of Classes: Lectures, tutorials, labs, seminars

Tuition Fees

  • Domestic: Approximately $7,100 per year
  • International: Approximately $29,600 per year
  • Find out more

Exclusive Entrance Scholarships

Awards are exclusive to our students with over $80,000 available. 1 in 4 students can receive an award! In addition to the awards awards exclusive to the BES program, BES students can also apply to York University Entrance Scholarships.

Award Value Availability
Dean’s Entrance Scholarship for Environmental Studies $7,500 5
Unilever Canada Undergraduate Entrance Award in Environmental Studies $5,000 1
George and Helen Vari Foundation Entrance Award for Environmental Studies (BES) $2,500 2
The Han Shan Sih Buddhist Society Bursary for Environmental Studies (BES) $2,000 8
The Faculty of Environmental Studies’ Specialist High Skills Major Award $1,000 20
The Sgro Academic Leadership Entrance Award $5000 1

The First Year Experience

In the first year of the BES program, you will take core courses that will introduce you to different perspectives in the study of environmental well-being and social justice. You will develop both your practical knowledge and marketable transferrable skills such as communication, critical thinking, and research.

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 Courses

  • ENVS 1000: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ENVS 1200: Taking Action: Engaging People and the Environment
  • ENVS 1500: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ENVS 1800: Introduction to Environmental Writing or Equivalent
  • NATS 1xxx: Natural Science Requirement
How to Apply

Choose Your Own Direction

3 Areas of Concentration

4 Dual Credential Programs

5 Certificate Programs


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

Studying environmental inequalities such as class, race, and gender, you will explore the concept of social justice and learn strategies for addressing them both locally and globally.

Future career outcomes include:

  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Indigenous Rights Activist
  • Housing Policy Analyst

Sample Courses:

  • ENVS 3122: Community Arts Practice Workshop
  • ENVS 3340: Global Environmental Politics
  • ENVS 4421: Environmental Law and Justice

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 Planner
  • Manager of Transportation Infrastructure
  • Environmental Educator

Sample Courses:

  • ENVS 3226: Sustainable Urbanism: Environmental Planning and Design
  • ENVS 4220: Urbanization in Developing Nations
  • ENVS 4442: Environmental Auditing

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:

  • Environmental Stewardship Coordinator
  • Corporate Sustainability Officer
  • Environmental Site Assessor

Sample Courses:

  • ENVS 3450: Environment and Health
  • ENVS 3505: Business and Sustainability
  • ENVS 4401: Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency

Hands-On Learning

Experiential education is one of our specialties. We know that one of the best ways to learn is through direct experience. Our professors are known for taking their teaching out of the classroom, into different environments, community settings, and habitats. Along with field trips, labs, community action projects, and outdoor classes, our students can take part in unique programs such as our BES Work Placement and semester abroad at our EcoCampus all to prepare you for a great career. You can learn more on our Experiential Education page.

24 Billion Dollars Invested in Canada’s Clean Energy Sector Over the Last 5 Years

460,000+ Organizations in Canada Hiring Eco-Professionals

6,000+ of Our Graduates Leading Our Eco-Future


BES Placement

Semester Abroad at our EcoCampus

Careers in Environment

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.

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.

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.

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.

EcoSystem Management

Ecosystems Management with Fleming College

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.

Urban Sustainability

Urban Sustainability with Seneca College

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 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5

Environmental Management and Technology

Environmental Management and Technology with Seneca College

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.

International Development

International Development with Humber College

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 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

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 Systems (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.


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. Deadlines can be found on the Future Students website.

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

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 and have attempted less than one full year of studies at an accredited university or college
  • Have demonstrated potential for success through academic, professional or volunteer activities and other accomplishments.

International applicants

Additional Admissions Requirements for Dual Credential Programs

These requirements differ depending on entry point into BES and program of interest*:

Dual Credential Program Students beginning their studies at York University Students beginning their studies at Fleming College
Ecosystem Management with Fleming College 4U Math Completion of the 3 year Fleming College Advanced Diploma in EcoSystems Management Technology with a 3.0 GPA
Urban Sustainability with Seneca College 4U Math Completion of the 3 year Seneca College Advanced Diploma in Civil Engineering Technologies with a 3.0 GPA
Environmental Management Technology with Seneca College 4U Math Completion of the 3 year Seneca College Advanced Diploma in Environmental Technology with a 3.0 GPA

* 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.

apply now!

You’re Invited

Meet our Recruitment and Admissions team at one of our upcoming events:

York Environmental Studies (YES)! for a Day

Offered November, February and March

The YES! for a Day shadow program is your opportunity to sit in on a lecture and take an environmental campus tour with one of our current students.

Change Your World

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A one-day conference inspiring the next generation of environmentally active citizens through engaging speakers and hands-on workshops

Fall Campus Day

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Meet with professors, students, and support staff at our Fall open house. Attend an info session, check out our campus, and get to know Environmental Studies.

Spring Open House

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Attend a mini-lecture, explore our green campus, and chat with professors and current students about our program at our Spring open house.

High School Outreach

Offered November-March

Discover the Environmental Studies program with your class by having your teacher book an Environmental Studies lecture or hands-on workshop.

Meet us at your School

We’re travelling across Ontario visiting different high schools, colleges, and universities. Check out our calendar to see when we’re in your neighbourhood. Can’t come out to an event? Check out our current student blog the Insider’s Guide to Environmental Studies to get a first-hand look at our program, the campus, careers and much more.