Success Maps

Environmental Science Success Map


All Pillars | All Years
1st Year (0-30 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required ENVS courses: ENVS 1200 & ENVS 1250.

Plan to complete, if possible, CHEM 1210, BIOL 1201, BIOL 1202, ENVS 1205, and GEOG 1200 in your first year.

Be aware that a minimum GPA of 2.2 is required in all courses counting towards the major program in B.Sc. degree.

To develop your interdisciplinary skills, consider Group B & C electives in Arts, Business and other departments.

Enroll in the online WHMIS safety course. You can’t start your ENVS, CHEM or BIOL labs without it.

Review MATH MAP and choose the right MATH courses for your program.

Whenever possible, take part in on-campus collaborative projects with professors.

Ask your Advisor for the summer course schedule in January. ENVS 3310, ENVS 1200 and other courses. Note that all ENVS students are required to take at least one field course.

Explore your options for majors and minors by attending the Programs Day across faculties in February.

Register for classes as soon as registration opens. Classes fill early!

Visit your Science Advising Centre to be sure you have the right courses.

Gather information on Cooperative Education opportunities and Honours thesis opportunities.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Map out your major assignment and midterm deadlines early in the semester, and set intermediate deadlines. Consider using an online calendar synched across your phone and other devices.

Begin the critical thinking process by extracting main concepts or ideas from what you read, recognizing pattern and flow, and then organizing and presenting your analysis.

Environmental Science incorporates concepts from biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and other fields. Practice your interdisciplinary thinking by considering how concepts in individual courses can apply across all of your courses and your experience outside of the classroom.

Practice problem-solving skills in your ENVS assignment questions by planning how you will answer questions, then solving it. Finally, ask yourself: Does my answer make sense?

Drop in early for a free refresher workshop on significant figures, logarithms, exponents, trig, graphing—and more at the SNAP Centre.

Improve your writing and thinking skills at the Writing Centre. Get expert feedback and incorporate it into your work.

Develop research skills by navigating online databases and the stacks at the Patrick Power Library. Take a virtual tour.

Develop your collaborative skills by pursuing a summer research project. Apply for Summer Research Awards, including NSERC-USRAs, ACEnet and Dean’s Awards. Many deadlines start in February, so start early!

Increase your environmental literacy by examining environmental issues in popular media and in scientific papers. Learn to differentiate between opinions and evidence-based reporting.

Build a résumé at a Résumé Seminar, to prepare for internships, scholarships, and summer jobs.

Start your Co-Curricular Record. Document your acquired skills from on- and off-campus activities and volunteer work.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Attend Welcome Week. Make friends. Meet classmates, faculty, and advisors at academic orientation. Attend a session about a culture of safety and respect at Saint Mary’s.

Introduce yourself to your professors after class or during office hours.

Get involved in the SMU Environmental Society (SMUES) and other on-campus environmental-related activities.

Read the SMU Science Newsletter for deadlines, reminders, contests, and opportunities in the Faculty of Science.

Follow SMU Science on Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #SMUScience.

Follow Environmental Science and School of the Environment on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit the Societies Fair. Explore student societies, including those that are culturally-based, before deciding which to join.

Try Speak Up!, a program where international students practice speaking English with Canadian students.

Stay Active. Explore SMUfit, campus sports, exercise, and recreation opportunities—no extra fees!

Apply for a scholarship. There are more than 260 available!

Need help with time management, organizational, or presentation skills? Book an Academic & Life Skills Coaching session.

Learn to budget your money. Attend a Financial Literacy workshop or get advice from Financial Aid and Awards.

Check in with Career Services to start discussing your career goals, related to your program. Experiment with different classes to see what you like.

When facing a personal crisis, get help from the Counselling Centre.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider courses with global themes for your electives.

Need a job? Create a HireSMU account to find available jobs.

Not from Halifax? Explore and discover all our cultural opportunities and have fun.

Keep current with local events. Read Pride in Your Shared Neighbourhood newsletter.

Travel while studying after 1st year. Investigate travel options beyond Canada at International Activities.

Obtain or update your passport in preparation for possible international travel.

Not from Canada? Browse Services for International Students for available support.

Attend International Night—an annual banquet showcasing SMU’s many cultures.

2nd Year (30-60 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete your required ENVS courses (ENVS 2300 and 2310) and consider the optional ENVS Program Streams. Check your ENVS Major list of requirements.

Consider whether an honours ENVS degree and/or a double major ENVS degree with another department might be a good match for your interests and skills.

Choose your Science electives and remember that real-world problems require you to apply knowledge from different Science subject areas.

Explore your interests by taking courses designated in Group B (Physical Geography) to help fulfill the requirement of eighteen (18) credit-hours.

Meet with your Academic Advisor to be sure you have the right courses.

Declare your major in this year and get support from an assigned Academic Advisor.

Update your WHMIS safety training. Your last certification expires after 12 months.

Thinking of changing majors or minors? Attend Programs Day for help.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Develop strong fundamental skillsin information literacy, numeracy, and critical judgement to serve you through the rest of your SMU experience.

Engage in the ethical & sustainability issues of the Environmental Science profession by taking the ENVS elective, Green Chemistry and/or PHIL 2305 (Environmental Ethics).

Tutor first-year MATH, CHEM, PHYS, or BIOL at the SNAP Centre. It will help you sharpen your own problem-solving skills and improve your interpersonal skills.

Practice your interdisciplinary thinking by seeking volunteer and work opportunities on campus (ENTACTUS, SMUES, SNAP centre, Dump and Run) and off campus (Ecology Action Centre, Nature Conservancy, The Clean Foundation).

Upgrade your writing with one-on-one tutorials at the Writing Centre or through online resources.

Learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

Continue building skills by participating in on- and off-campus environment-related activities.

Update your Co-Curricular Record to keep track of your accomplishments and set new goals.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life


Apply your classroom learning and improve soft skills by participating in SMU Environmental Society or some student societies.

Take on a leadership role in SMUES or other ratified campus society as a member of the executive/planning team.

Attend interdisciplinary talks in the School of Environment Seminar Series (Biology, Chemistry, Geography Blue Box Series, and International Development Studies) by guest speakers from industry, government, and university.

Go to the pizza lunches hosted by graduate school, recruiting professors, and other speakers who want to talk to students about their careers in environmental science.

Participate in intramurals. Demonstrate your team skills and character to future employers and admissions officers.

Browse the Scholarship List and modify your cover letter to match the criteria. Apply between February and May.

Participate as a research subject in a Psychology study.

Need more academic support? Contact Personal Counselling or Academic & Life Skills Coaching.

Seek Career Counselling. Explore the core competencies of your major, and career possibilities related to your strengths, interests, and values.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Meet other Environment students in Atlantic Canada by attending the Science Atlantic Annual Environment Conference in March. The School of Environment provides some funding for students presenting their research (Apply in February).

Be an ENVS Ambassador. Help our faculty members and staff show what we do in ENVS during open-house and outreach events.

Consider attending seminars at other universities and organizations, including the Nova Scotia Institute of Science, Dalhousie University, and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

Discover ways to give back to your community, from local to global. Come to the Volunteer Fair held every September, or speak to a Career and Employment Coach at Career Services.

Get involved with activities outside of your major and minor. Employers like well-rounded candidates.

Attend a LinkedIn photo shoot and a LinkedIn Seminar with Career Services. Put your best (and most professional) face forward!

Keep your HireSMU Account updated with accurate contact information and most recent résumés.

Consider applying for the Co-op Program at the beginning of 2nd year (30+ credits). Gain work experience over three terms.

Visit the International Activities office for a study-abroad program or an international field study course in 2nd - 4th years.

Explore options for international internships in your area of study.

3rd Year (60-90 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete your chosen ENVS courses in your program stream, and other 3000-level and above courses.

Strengthen interdisciplinary knowledge. Choose science and arts electives that compliment your ENVS courses.

Complete any MATH, PHYS, CHEM, BIOL or other outstanding requirements of the ENVS major.

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you’re on the right track to meet graduation requirements.

Meet with your Academic Advisor and Program Advisor for help with course selection, career advice, or certifications.

If you are considering completing an Honours degree, speak to the Honours Program Coordinator.

Thinking about graduate school? Contact Career Services for options and admission procedures, and begin planning for applications with your Department Chair.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Practice argument and conclusion writing in more advanced lab report discussion sections. Ask for feedback.

Maintain a Dean’s List GPA, and be eligible to work as a tutor in the SNAP Centre, reinforcing your numeracy skills.

Exercise responsibility and communication with a TA job in a 1000-level and 2000-level ENVS course.

Improve your research skills and grades by visiting the Library and using the Research-by-Appointment service for one-on-one help.

Visit the Writing Centre for workshops on Exam Writing & Preparation

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Get to know your professors. They are excellent contacts for reference letters. Chat about your future plans for 4th year and beyond.

Attend the Research Expo. Learn from the research and critical analysis of peers and professors. Also, showcase your own research project.

Join campus societies in your field. These provide opportunities to network with the industry and professionals.

Run for a leadership position in a campus group.

Apply for over 200 scholarship and bursary awards.

Focus on summer or internship jobs within your major or career field of interest to gain specific experience and build credentials.

Visit the Career Development Centre for help with tactical job searches, including using social media, information interview, fine-tuning your résumé and cover letter, and practicing interview skills.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Volunteer for outreach activities. Travel with your prof to visit schools, or welcome visitors to our campus and showcase science at SMU. Contact the Department Secretary for more information.

Attend the Halifax Career Fair in September and March. Discover career opportunities and employer expectations.

Let your networks know your major. Seek out potential employers for information and interviews.

Attend events like the Science Atlantic conferences or the Atlantic Canadian Association of Geographers conference.

Explore new internships designed to help international graduates gain experience in Nova Scotia.

4th Year (90-120 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required ENVS Major courses, including ENVS 4499, and all program requirements in time to graduate, while transitioning to work or graduate school.

Is it too late to do an Honours degree? Speak to the Department Chair about your idea.

Complete a CAPP Degree Evaluation in Banner.

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Discuss SMU graduate opportunities.

Contact your Academic Advisor or Program Advisor to ensure you are on track for graduation requirements and post-graduation plan.

Apply to graduate. Fill out an application for graduation form and submit it to the Service Centre. Get your picture taken for the yearbook.

Consider graduate schools or professional programs. Start early, and ask your professors and the Writing Centre to review your personal statement, cover letter, and applications.

Apply for graduate scholarships (NSERC) and other graduate funding. Start early, and consult with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research on funding opportunities.

 Request transcripts, if required.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Demonstrate and share your skills by considering a senior ENVS TA position.

Before you graduate, do a final update of your Co-Curricular Record, and request an official copy.

Visit Career Services to prepare to clearly and persuasively articulate all you have learned at Saint Mary’s (in and out of class) to an employer.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Continue to attend thesis defenses to broaden your knowledge and support your fellow students.

Enhance your skills in geographical research and communication/presentation by volunteering to work with professors or special events.

 Serve as Department Student Rep. Speak to your Department Chair.

Enter your best research paper for the Academic Writing Awards.

Join the Nova Scotia Institute of Science (NSIS) and submit your best written work for a writing award.

Consider applying for the ENVS Prize ($500).

Consider suggesting guest speakers to be invited to present in the Seminar Series.

Get recognized for your involvement in the classroom and in the Saint Mary’s community. Apply for the Student Leadership Award.

Apply for other awards, including the SMUFU scholarship.

Brush up on your Financial Literacy. Receive guidance for a successful and healthy financial future, including student loan repayment.

Your degree can open the door to many types of careers. Use Career Counselling to discover where you want to go and how best to get there.

Plan to attend Career Services’ 4-week Job Search Seminar Series before or after graduation.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider presenting your honours research thesis or other research projects at the Science Atlantic Environment Conference. The School of Environment has travel funding for students who are presenting their work.

Volunteer to work with professors or with special events to improve your communication and presentation skills.

Be prepared to apply, interview, and network when school begins, to maximize your chance of receiving some job offers before graduation.

In addition to the Halifax Career Fair, attend some career fairs specific to your program. Bring your résumé. Prepare in advance to speak with recruiters and potential employers.

Apply for the Halifax Connector program. Meet with a Halifax professional in a field of your interest.

If you are a co-op student, arrange for your final work term placement early.

Are you an international student interested in staying in Canada and receiving permanent resident status? Contact the International Centre.

Get in contact with the SMU Young Alumni Association to begin your next phase as a Santamarian.

Remember, you have access to Career Services for three years post-graduation. Use these services to help you continue to get the most out of your degree.