Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES)

Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES)

Program Mission

The Bachelor of Environmental Studies is a multidisciplinary degree program offered by the Faculty of Arts. It is designed to prepare students for work related to environmental issues – from natural resource management and protection, to sustainable economic planning and development for the protection and preservation of the environment.  The program includes geographical, cultural, sociopolitical, economic and ecological orientations to the environment. Studies in these fields provide a strong foundational understanding of natural processes and systems that make up the environment.  Students can focus their environmental interests through exposure to a broad spectrum of knowledge about the human experience and the natural world, and practice in identifying, analyzing and mitigating environmental problems from a human perspective.

Degree Requirements

The program is a 4-year (120-credit-hour) B.E.S.  It is comprised of 21 credit hours of required core foundation courses from the Faculties of Arts, Commerce and Science; 24 credit hours of core courses beyond the required foundation courses; 30 credit hours from thematic area choices; 12 credit hours from specified elective courses in both introductory and advanced-level natural sciences, environmental sciences, social sciences, and the humanities; and 33 credit hours of free electives.   At the 4000-level, the two required core capstone courses take an integrative and applied orientation to environmental policy and practice.  To graduate, students must achieve a minimum requirement of a DGPA of at least 2.00.

Program Structure

In selecting their courses, B.E.S. Students are advised to follow the yearly program structure outlines below as much as possible. Students should also be aware of course prerequisites when choosing their courses. In the event that a stated prerequisite has not been earned, students must obtain instructor’s permission in order to enroll.
A Minor in Geography is available for B.E.S. Students as outlined in Section 4 of this Calendar. Students need to consult with the B.E.S Coordinator or a BA Advisor early in their program in order to take the required prerequisite courses for this minor.

Note: when choosing approved B.E.S. electives to meet the degree requirements specified below, students are not permitted to take more than two 1000-level courses from any one subject area (ENVS, GEOG, POLI, etc.).

Cooperative Education Program (Co-op)

A B.E.S. degree with Cooperative Education (Co-op) is designed to provide interested and qualified students with an opportunity to integrate academic studies with active
work experience in an approved job placement. The B.E.S. Co-op option is supplementary to the B.E.S. and Honours B.E.S. degree requirements, alternating periods of full time academic study with three months or more of practical experience in the working world. The Cooperative Education program will make every effort to provide students with up to three (3) paid work placements relevant to their undergraduate degree and/or future careers but cannot guarantee placements. Work terms start in September, January, or May, and have a minimum duration of 13 weeks, with at least 32.5 work hours per week.

  1. Enrolment in the co-op option is limited and admission is evaluated on a competitive basis. The requirements listed below are the normal minimums. Satisfying these requirements does not guarantee admission.
  2. Students are considered for admission after the completion of forty-five (45) credit hours. Normally, this will occur at the end of the first semester of the second year.
  3. The normal admission requirement is a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.70 (B-). For Honours students the admission requirement is a minimum grade point average of 3.00 (B).
  4. Candidates will be admitted on the basis of their interest, aptitude, and assessed ability to successfully combine the academic requirements of a B.E.S. or a B.E.S. Honours program with the special work-term requirements of the Co-op option. The feasibility of the three proposed work-term placements will also be assessed.

Honours Program

The overarching Honours regulations for the Faculty of Arts will apply to students wishing to enter, continue and graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree. The Honours option requires B.E.S. students to achieve a higher standard of academic performance and to complete a thesis, encompassing research related to environmental studies.

  1. In consultation with the B.E.S. Program Coordinator, students should formally declare their interest in taking an Honours degree after completing sixty (60) credit hours in the B.E.S. program.
  2. The prerequisite for admission into Honours is a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00, with no grades below C (2.00).
  3. To graduate with an Honours degree, students must achieve a minimum degree grade point average of 3.00.
  4. In addition, Honours students must also complete BEST 4599.0 - Honours Thesis as part of their 120 credit hour degree program. This would normally be completed in the final year of the program and would replace six (6) of the required credit hours in approved B.E.S. electives. Before students may register for BEST 4599.0 they must get the approval of a faculty member teaching within the B.E.S. degree program, who agrees to act as the student’s thesis advisor.
  • Year 1 Foundation (30 credit hours):
    • Twenty-one (21) credit hours in core social and life sciences courses:
      • ENVS 1200 Environmental Challenges
      • GEOG 1100 Global Perspectives on Land and Life
      • GEOG 1200 People, Place and Environment
      • ECON 1201 Introduction to Economics: Micro
      • POLI 1201 Politics: Contemporary Issues
      • Six credit hours in electives chosen from Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy and/or Computing Science
    • Three (3) credit-hours in communications:
      • EDUC 1000 Introduction to University Education
    • Six (6) credit hours in humanities courses chosen from:
      • CLAS 1001 Ancient Civilizations of the Near East and Egypt
      • CLAS 1002 The Ancient Civilizations of Greece and Rome
      • ENGL 1205 Introduction to Literature
      • HIST 1201 Civilization in the West
      • HIST 1203 The Twentieth Century in Europe
      • HIST 1208 Global History: 1450 to the Present
      • PHIL 1200 Critical Thinking
  • Year 2 (30 credit hours)
    • Fifteen credit hours in core environmental courses:
    • Six (6) credit-hours course in community development courses chosen from:
      • ANTH 1202 Introduction to Socio-Cultural Anthropology
      • IDST 2301 Introduction to International Development Studies: Perspectives
      • PSYC 1250 Social Behaviour
      • SOCI 1210 Introduction to Sociology
      • SJCS 1211 Social Power Relations
    • Three (3) credit-hours in courses in environmental thought chosen from:
    • Three (3) credit-hours in public policy courses:
    • Three (3) credit hours in biogeography:
  • Year 3 (30 credit hours):
    • Three (3) credit-hours in environmental management:
    • Three (3) credit-hours in environmental sciences courses chosen from:
    • Three (3) credit-hours in economic development courses chosen from:
    • Three (3) credit-hours in research methods courses from:
    • Six (6) credit-hours in courses in environmental thought and communications chosen from:
    • Nine (9) credit-hours in approved B.E.S. electives at the 2000 level or above (see list below):
      • Three (3) credit-hours in an approved B.E.S. elective at the 2000 level or above from BIOL, CHEM or GEOL
      • Three (3) credit-hours in an approved B.E.S. elective at the 2000 level or above from CLAS, ENGL, HIST, PHIL or RELS (see below)
      • Three (3) additional credit-hours in an approved B.E.S. elective at the 2000 level or above
    • Three (3) credit-hours of free electives
  • Year 4 (30 credit hours):
    • Nine (9) credit hours in core capstone courses:
    • Nine (9) credit-hours in approved B.E.S. electives at the 2000-level or higher
      • Honours students are required to take BEST 4599.0 Honours Thesis (six credit hours) plus three credit hours in approved B.E.S. electives at the 2000-level or higher.
    • Twelve (12) credit-hours of free electives

Course Descriptions

  • 4599.0 Honours Thesis
    6 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Honours standing in B.E.S. degree and identification of a faculty member to act as a thesis advisor

    The Honours thesis requires an independent research project to be completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The advisor will guide the student in the formulation of the research proposal, methodology to be followed, the collection and analysis of data, and in the writing of the thesis.

List of Approved B.E.S. Elective Courses

For course descriptions, please refer to the appropriate Department of Program section of this Academic Calendar.

ACST 4631 Environmental History of Atlantic Canada
ACST 4632 Atlantic Canada Ecology and Resources
ACST 4633 Reading the Landscapes of Atlantic Canada
ANTH 1202 Introduction to Socio-Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 2826 Environmental Anthropology
ANTH 3366 Worldview: Anthropological Approaches [RELS 3366]
ANTH 3831 Coping with Climate Change
BIOL 1201 Molecular and Cell Biology
BIOL 1202 Organismal and Ecological Biology
BIOL 2303 Plant Biology
BIOL 2304 Animal Biology
BIOL 2324 Ecology
BIOL 3308 Biostatistics
BIOL 3332 Ecosystems
BIOL 3328 Plant Identification and Taxomomy
BIOL 4410 Plant Ecology
BIOL 4422 Conservation Biology
CHEM 1210 General Chemistry I
CHEM 1211/12 General Chemistry II for Physical/Life Sciences
CHEM 1221 Chemicals
CHEM 2373 Environmental Chemistry
CLAS 1001 Ancient Civilizations of the Near East and Egypt
CLAS 1002 The Ancient Civilizations of Greece and Rome
CLAS 3317 Greek Sanctuaries [RELS 3314]
CLAS 3318 Classical Archaeology
CLAS 3610 Field Study in Roman Archeology
ECON 1201 Principles of Economics: Micro
ECON 1202 Principles of Economics: Macro
ECON 3362 Natural Resource Economics
ECON 3363 Environmental Economics
EDUC 1000 Introduction to University Education
ENGL 1205 Introduction to Literature
ENGL 2318 The Writer and Nature
ENGL 3518 Canadian Nature Writing
ENVS 1200 Environmental Challenges
ENVS 1250 Physical Processes in the Environment
ENVS 2100 Green Chemistry [CHEM 2100]
ENVS 2200 Introduction to Environmental Science
ENVS 3410 Environmental Impact Assessment [GEOL 3410]
ENVS 3420 Environmental Monitoring and Auditing
ENVS 3430 Environmental Information Management
ENVS 3440 The Environment and Human Health
ENVS 4440 Environmental Policy
ENVS 4450 Natural Resource Management [GEOG 4424]
ENVS 4460 Environmental Pattern Analysis [GEOG 4444]
ENVS 4470 Environmental Remediation and Restoration
ENVS 4499 Environmental Seminar
GEOG 1100 Global Perspectives on Land and Life
GEOG 1200 People, Place and Environment
GEOG 2306 Geospatial Concepts
GEOG 2310 Geography of Canada
GEOG 2312 Urban Geography
GEOG 2313 Geomorphology [GEOL 2373]
GEOG 2315 The Oceans
GEOG 2325 Sedimentology [GEOL 2325]
GEOG 2332 Global Cities
GEOG 2333 Biogeography
GEOG 2341 Economic Geography
GEOG 2343 Weather and Climate
GEOG 2349 Cultural Geography
GEOG 2356 Inquiry and Explanation in Geography
GEOG 2386 Introduction to Mapping and Geographical Information Systems
GEOG 2390 Geography of Ireland [IRST 2391]
GEOG 3004 Geography Practicum and Environmental Studies in Practice
GEOG 3100 Geography Field School
GEOG 3150 Geography Behind the Headlines
GEOG 3213 Applied Geomorphology
GEOG 3302 The Built Environment
GEOG 3304 Environmental Management
GEOG 3311 Rural Geography
GEOG 3320 Geography of the North
GEOG 3321 Spatial Processes of Economic Globalization
GEOG 3326 Statistical Methods in Geography
GEOG 3329 Geographical Perspectives on Nature
GEOG 3340 Geography of Nova Scotia [ACST 3340]
GEOG 3350 Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa
GEOG 3351 Demography and Migration
GEOG 3356 Remote Sensing of the Environment
GEOG 3380 Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation
GEOG 3386 Geographical Information Systems Analysis
GEOG 3416 Qualitative Research Methods in Geography
GEOG 3433 Fluvial Geomorphology
GEOG 3454 Bay of Fundy: Environments and Issues
GEOG 4406 Capstone Seminar in Geography GEOG 4412 Urban History and Preservation
GEOG 4413 Coastal Geomorphology [GEOL 4476]
GEOG 4423 Glaciers and Glaciation [GEOL 4475]
GEOG 4426 Ecosystem and Natural Area Management
GEOG 4431 Community and Regional Development
GEOG 4432 Social Geography of the City
GEOG 4434 Watershed Management
GEOG 4442 Urban Planning
GEOG 4443 Natural Hazards
GEOG 4449 Tourist Geographies
GEOG 4459 The Power of Maps: A Social History of Cartography
GEOG 4465 Advanced Sedimentology [GEOL 4465]
GEOG 4496 Applications in Geomatics
GEOL 1202 Planet Earth: Atlantic Canada Perspective
GEOL 1203 Earth History: Atlantic Canada Perspective
GEOL 1206 Global Change
GEOL 1207 Environment, Radiation and Society
GEOL 1208 Environmental Geology: Atlantic Canada Perspective
GEOL 2325 Sedimentology [GEOG 2325]
GSCI 1300 Introduction to Science Communication
GSCI 3300 Advanced Science Communication
HIST 1201 Civilization in the West
HIST 1203 The Twentieth Century in Europe
HIST 1208 Global History: 1450 to the Present
HIST 2201 Environmental History of Europe, 1300-1900
IDST 2301 Introduction to International Development Studies: Perspectives
IDST 2302 Introduction to International Development Studies: Policies and Practice
IDST 4470 Environment and Development
MGMT 3480 Ethical Responsibilities of Organizations
PHIL 1200 Critical Thinking
PHIL 2305 Environmental Ethics
PHIL 2318 Science and Society
PHIL 2331 Business Ethics
PHIL 3200 Environmental Aesthetics
PHYS 1370 Scientific Method [PHIL 1255]
POLI 1201 Politics: Contemporary Issues
POLI 1210 Political Ideas: “isms” and Beliefs
POLI 2307 Provincial Government and Politics
POLI 3321 International Organization
POLI 3245 Public Policy I
POLI 3246 Public Policy II
POLI 4493 Global Social Movements
PSYC 4418 Environmental Psychology
RELS 2347 Ecology and Religion
RELS 3348 Ecological Crisis: Religious Perspectives
RELS 3349 Science and Religion
SJCS 1211 Social Power Relations
SJCS 2000 Canadian Society and Social Justice
SJCS 2100 Community Organizing
SJCS 3408 Urban Social Justice
SJCS 3508 Corporate Crime
SJCS 4570 Indigenous-Settler Relations
SOCI 1210 Introductory Sociology
SOCI 3310 Society and Environment
SOCI 3491 Rural Sociology