MES Program

Masters in Environment and Sustainability Degree

Program Overview


The Master’s in Environment and Sustainability program creates graduates that can work on interdisciplinary teams and who can take leadership in solving the challenges posed by societal changes related to the environment and ecological demands. 

The program is designed to focus and develop the intellectual and practical skills for the application and advancement of environmental sciences and sustainability in scientific, business, industrial and policy sectors.   The program is designed for students who have sufficient formal education at the undergraduate and possibly graduate level and/or work experience.  With this depth of knowledge, students in the program seek to better understand the interdisciplinary and complex nature of environmental programs through course work, professional development workshops, and job skills.  A consulting program will challenge students with the complex nature of a specific project on the environment or sustainability – from inception through analysis, documentation, and presentation.  In the final (summer) term, a cooperative education (co-op) placement provides a first-hand opportunity at learning on the job.

Course Requirements

Foundations of Sustainability
            EnvrSust 9011A: Foundations of Sustainability (0.5 course credit)

Pillars of Environment & Sustainability
            EnvrSust 9012A: Planning and Management (0.5 course credit)
            EnvrSust 9013A: Building Sustainable Business (0.5 course credit)
            EnvrSust 9014A: Ecosystem Health (0.5 course credit)
            EnvrSust 9015B: Engineering Solutions (0.5 course credit)

Consulting Project
           EnvrSust 9200X:Consulting Project (1.0 course credit)

Cooperative Education Experience (2.5 course credit)
            EnvrSust 9300:Cooperative Education Experience (Co-op)

Critical Skills of an Environmental Professional (0.25 course credits)
2013-2014 Professional Development Workshops:

EnvrSust  9101: Understanding Team Leadership
EnvrSust  9102: Conflict Resolution in Team Settings
EnvrSust  9103: Legislation and Certification Systems
EnvrSust  9104: Measuring Change in the Environment and Sustainability
EnvrSust 9105: Writing for Professional Audiences
EnvrSust 9106: The Natural Step Approach 
EnvrSust 9107: Life Cycle Assessment
Envrsust 9108: Fundamental Concepts LEED

Inter-Active Seminars:

Introduce Yourself in Professional Settings
Resume Preparation and Interview Skills

Course Description Summary


EnvrSust 9011A (0.5 course credit)

Foundations of Sustainability

The Foundations course will cover a wide range of interrelated topics, from population to energy to pollution, which highlight the environmental issues that have brought us to the point in time where we recognize the need to act in a sustainable manner.  The course will meet once weekly over the Fall semester.  The course will cover a series of topics presented using a lecture/discussion format. 


EnvrSust 9012A (0.5 credit)
Planning and Management

This course considers the concept and practice of sustainability in the context of environment and resource management.  After an introduction to resources, resource management and the legal framework in Canada, the course pays particular attention to different forms of planning and techniques used in environment and resource management, such as benefit-cost analysis and impact assessment.  Some time of the course will be devoted to the role of bargaining in resource and environmental management.  Particular approaches as to how we address the change, uncertainty, complexity and conflict (associated with many types of environmental issues) are explored.  Student projects on a variety of case studies will provide further insight into the practice of planning and management. 

Course objectives:

EnvrSust 9013A (0.5 credit)
Sustainable Business Practices

This course builds on the foundations of sustainability concepts to consider the combination of environmental, social, and economic issues from a management perspective.  As these are difficult challenges, students will not be presented with either easy questions or simple answers.  Exploring these issues tends to generate active and heated scientific, social, and economic debate..
This course is designed to foster in-depth discussion and equip students with the concepts and tools to develop an interesting, insightful project that explores sustainable development into practice.  The course will examine one firm in detail during each weekly session, supplemented with other readings or activities.  There will be group presentations in mid-December.
By the end of this course, you should have gained tools, skills, and intuition that will enable you to:

  1. characterize the drivers of current social and environmental issues in business;
  2. integrate financial, social and environmental performance within a general business model; and
  3. formulate effective approaches to make progress toward improving the triple bottom line.

EnvrSust 9014A (0.5 credit)
Ecosystem Health

Sustainable development and environmental sciences deal directly with the environmental determinants of health.  Projects, contacts, or initiatives undertaken by MES practitioners will likely start with an assessment of the general health of an ecosystem or a population and then be required to maintain or remediate the situation back to the unperturbed, balanced natural state.  Thus you are making judgments on the “health” of an ecosystem or population.  In “Ecosystem Health” we will explore the theory and practice of measuring and implementing projects that deal with the interrelationships between humans and all aspects of their environment, including disease, health and well being.  In this context, the health of all parts and individual species of the ecosystem is important, particularly where illness is due to exposures to pollutant chemicals or biological agents in the environment.
By the end of this course you should be able to:

  1. review and critique modern determinants of health, with an emphasis on problems that lead to human illness or community health issues;
  2. create an assessment of the wellness and sustainability of specific environmental projects;
  3. actuate the concept of community research partnerships into research projects on the environment and sustainability; and
  4. implement a multi-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary approach to the study of complex environmental problems associated with community or human health issues.

EnvrSust 9015B (0.5 credit)
Engineering Solutions

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the basic fundamentals of environmental science and engineering and their synergistic role for the maintenance of a healthy and sustainable environment.  Several case studies will be studied and analyzed, including carbon dioxide emissions, global warming, air and water pollution control, solid waste management and treatment, renewable energy resources, world population and environmental sustainability issues.
By the end of this course you will have an understanding of:

  1. population growth kinetics and environmental sustainability;
  2. problem solving with respect to calculations of energy and mass balances;
  3. problem solving with respect to waste-water treatment and applications;
  4. problem solving with respect to pollution emissions and reduction strategies and technologies;
  5. opportunities to use biological wastes as raw materials in biochemical processes to produce value-added commercial products; and
  6. opportunities to use biological processes and economic analysis for the production of renewable energy and biofuels (e.g., bioethanol, biodiesel, methane, hydrogen gas).

EnvrSust 9200X (1.0 credit)
Interdisciplinary Consulting Project

The purpose of this course is to give students an opportunity to work with the Client in a non-academic, applied setting.  Members of each Consulting Group will jointly undertake environmental research.  Upon completion of the course, each Consulting Group will make a formal presentation of their research findings and recommendations and will provide their Client with a professional quality report.
Success in this course requires each student to undertake both secondary and primary research.  Secondary research is defined here as a review of data, including documents, that has been published in some form, such as scholarly books and articles, industry or government reports, and newspaper articles.  Primary research means the collection and analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, including verbal or written statements from people, or from governmental or other documents.
The course Instructor will present the projects and students will compete for the projects. 
By the end of the course, you should have gained experience to:


EnvrSust 9300 (2.5 credits)
Cooperative Education Experience

Cooperative education (co-op) is a program through which students gain professional work experience related to their Masters of Environment & Sustainability graduate program and career objectives.  The MES co-op is a mandatory component of the MES Program, and carries a 2.5 credit weight.  The MES co-op provides students with skills and experience needed to compete for an entry-level position as an environmental professional in industry, a non-governmental organization, or a government department.  Students will be employed between May 1 and August 30th.  Upon completion of the MES co-op, students will be required to present their technical experiences to representatives of the MES program through the submission of a written technical report, followed by an oral presentation.  In addition, students will also have the opportunity to reflect and learn from each other’s work placements through recounting their overall experience. 
In this course, students will:

 

This page was last updated on December 21, 2012
Centre for Environment and Sustainability Web Contact: hsanders@uwo.ca