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<Faculty of Environmental Studies

The Bachelor in Environmental Studies

The Faculty of Environmental Studies offers both a Specialized Honours BES program (120 credits) and a bachelor program (90 credits).

The Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) provides a unique educational experience in an expanding field of study and research. Defined broadly from an interdisciplinary perspective, environmental studies at FES is a combination of core courses and four distinct academic and professional areas of concentration in:

  • Environment and Culture: Philosophy, Arts, Technology and Education;
  • Urban and Regional Environments: Analysis, Planning and Design;
  • Environmental Politics: Development, Globalization and Justice; and
  • Environmental Management: Policy, Resources and Conservation.

A coherent set of core courses, area of concentration courses and elective courses provides a well-rounded education in various fields relating to natural, built, organizational and social environments. Faculty members come from a wide range of backgrounds including political science, ecology, planning, philosophy, sociology, geography, economics, education, architecture, and anthropology. All share a commitment to exploring the complex questions and solutions of the human and environmental challenges facing the world.

The BES program introduces students to the links between the exploitation of the natural world and justice issues related to class exploitation, racism, and gender inequity. Fully aware of the growing interdependencies of human and natural life worlds in a globalized environment, the Faculty of Environmental Studies believes that an inclusion of non-Western perspectives is essential to a fruitful discussion of all environmental issues. To that end, faculty members strive to include a broad range of perspectives in their course offerings. York's BES program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and understanding to deal effectively yet sensitively with complex environmental and social problems arising at the local, regional, national or global scale. In this light, the BES program offers:

  • interdisciplinary expertise to understand and solve environmental problems;
  • opportunities to develop specific skills and in-depth learning;
  • a wide range of courses covering the humanities, social sciences and environmental science;
  • an outlook that includes local and global, philosophical and applied questions;
  • an emphasis on bringing theoretical and practical matters together in the classroom;
  • the knowledge and skills needed for environmental careers and graduate studies;
  • an atmosphere in which students know that learning matters.

In the first two years of the program, students take required courses that introduce them to the wide range of Environmental Studies while building critical academic and practical knowledge, including research, writing, analytical and communication skills. During the latter half of the first year, students start thinking about areas of concentration within the BES program they are interested in. In the second year, students choose at least two foundation courses that are associated with the areas of concentration in which they wish to pursue in more detail in subsequent years in the BES program. A specific set of courses is associated with each area of concentration. The course selections within a given area of concentration are designed to give structure and focus to a student's program. The course selection process is supported through the completion of a program checklist that is completed on the basis of individual preferences and consultation with the BES program adviser.


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last modified:
June 4, 2007

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