MES Program courses are designed exclusively for MES program students. Students who are not registered in the program may not enroll in MES program courses or workshops.

There are five required courses in the MES program, a series of professional development workshops and a summer co-op work term. Students will take all courses and workshops as scheduled in the first two semesters of the program followed by the work term. There are no elective course options in the MES program.

Students will be provided with course outlines on the first day of classes.

Pillars of Environment & Sustainability

EnvrSust 9012: Planning and Management (0.5 course credit)

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:

  • to introduce students to the change, complexity, uncertainty and conflict associated with a variety of resources and environmental issues;
  • to encourage critical thinking about the nature and solutions to current problems;
  • to consider how planning can contribute to solving problems; and
  • to understand the theory and practice of selected approaches to resource and environmental management.

EnvrSust 9013: Building Sustainable Business (0.5 course credit)

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:

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

EnvrSust 9014: Ecosystem Health (0.5 course credit)

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:

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

EnvrSust 9015: Engineering Solutions (0.5 course credit)

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:

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

Foundations of Sustainability

EnvrSust 9011: Foundations of Sustainability (0.5 course credit)

This course will expose students to the sustainable development tools in decisions making and environmental management from conceptual perspective lens taking into consideration and informed by, environmental, socio and economical aspects. The course considers the concepts of sustainable development in topics ranging from strategic macro level - integrated water resources management, cumulative effects, land use planning, and strategic environmental assessment to local site specific developments - industrial, commercial, and urban development. Furthermore, introduces new theories and advancement in environmental planning and management - climate change, environmental justice/equity, and traditional environmental knowledge. Case studies will include Canada and abroad. 

The course objectives is to expose, build and develop student’s ability to:

  • Strategically encompass the overarching principles of sustainable development within the environmental planning and management conceptual framework; and apply these principle avenues and multi- disciplinary sciences effectively in their areas of expertise and professional careers
  • Describe sustainable development concepts, methods, and frameworks; and Interrelate provincial, national and international environmental policies and governance
  • Distinguish and understand the fundamentals of environmental/strategic assessment; the key role of experts, stakeholders, government, and other stakeholders; and the role of economic and social valuation of ecosystems
  • Incorporate the principals of eco-justice and traditional environmental knowledge in deliberation and decision making
  • Critically assess local, regional and global impacts of decision-making and design

Consulting Project

EnvrSust 9200: Consulting Project (1.0 course credit)

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:

  • work with a Client in a non-academic setting;
  • work as a member of a research team that collectively plans and carries out research and writing tasks;
  • plan and organize use of your time in co-ordination with others;
  • define/negotiate a research question, hypothesis and/or terms of reference with the Client and course Instructor;
  • conduct detailed and comprehensive research of the secondary literature on a given topic;
  • develop a methodology for primary research that will augment the secondary literature;
  • conduct primary research;
  • plan and write a report that presents secondary and primary research findings, analysis and recommendations based upon those findings;
  • present a verbal report to the Client; and
  • carry a major written document through all the stages of organization, drafting, revisions, editing, copy-editing, formatting and printing.

Critical Skills of an Environmental Professional

2021-2022 Professional Development Workshops*

  • Working in a Team Setting
  • Professional Writing
  • Environmental Law and Management
  • Change Management
  • Life Cycle Assessment and the Circular Economy
  • Sustainable Buildings
  • Waste Management
  • Corporate Responsibility and GHG Accounting
  • GIS Primer
  • Community Engagement

*This listing is indicative of the workshops offered each year; however, offerings may change from year to year.   

Cooperative Education Experience

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

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 the 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 a pre-recorded video presentation. 
In this course, students will:

  • develop cover letter and resume writing skills;
  • learn about different interview styles and how to prepare for them;
  • improve professional business writing and presentation skills; and
  • apply environmental science knowledge to an employment setting.

* Note on paid co-op work terms: The MES program cannot guarantee summer co-ops position, but will make every effort to assist students in obtaining suitable co-op work term employment.