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.
Please note: Depending on the program you are pursuing, you must follow degree requirements that are listed in the calendar for your first year of entry into the BES program for either the 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
- Urban and Regional Environments: Analysis, Planning and Design
- Environmental Management: Policy, Resources and Conservation
Each student in the Bachelor in Environmental Studies (BES) degree program is required to complete a program checklist to declare which area of concentration they will pursue. 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.
Student Success Corner
As a student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies you should know that we want to make it easier for you to navigate your way at York University.
The Student Success Corner is part of the Office of Student and Academic Services (OSAS). The purpose is to assist students in their academic and personal development pursuits. OSAS works closely with other campus associates and colleagues to establish and maintain a welcoming and enthusiastic experience for our students as their progress through their program at York University. In these pages you will find the various support services, initiatives and in-house programs that are available to you to help you succeed while at York.
Experiential education is one of our specialties in Environmental Studies at York. We recognize hands-on learning as one of the best ways for a student to deeply understand the concepts taught in our courses and we know the added growth and training these opportunities provide for your future.
Professors in the Faculty of Environmental Studies are known for taking their teaching out of the classroom, into different environments, community settings, and habitats. At the same time, we are great at inviting the world into our classrooms, through guest speakers, community-based action projects, or work experiences so you can enrich your learning and enhance your skills.
Through the various experiences, you will learn hands-on skills and grasp current theories to help address challenging environmental questions.