Success Maps

Environmental Studies Success Map


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

Explore SMU's diverse course offerings, while completing the Basic Arts Requirements.

Consult the Academic Calendar to become familiar with the 1st year requirements for the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (B.E.S.).

Lay the foundation for success throughout your university education by taking EDUC 1000.

Aim to excel in your core Social and Life Science courses: ENVS 1200, GEOG 1100, GEOG 1200, ECON 1201, POLI 1201, plus 6 additional science credits. Talk to your professors to learn about more opportunities in Geography.

Explore your interests by taking six (6) credit hours in designated Humanities courses in Classics, English, History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

Need extra help? Visit a peer mentor of the SMarts Advantage Program in room MM214A.

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

Meet with the B.E.S. Coordinator for help with course selection and degree planning.

Gather information on Cooperative Education opportunities related to the Environmental Studies program.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

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

Advance your understanding of how human activity and the natural environment interact to create complex events, issues, and challenges.

Develop fundamental knowledge of the Earth’s systems, spatial distribution, and patterns of its physical and human characteristics.

Begin to critically assess the environmental problems in your community and contribute to developing workable solutions.

Improve your writing 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.

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.

Monitor the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies News and Events page for information regarding department events and opportunities. Do the same with the School of the Environment’s News and Events page.

Join the Saint Mary’s University Environmental Society (SMUES) and the Saint Mary’s University Geography Society (SMUGS).

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.

Stay Active. Explore SMUfit, campus sports, exercise, and recreation opportunities.

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 volunteering within the community (Farmer’s Market, Community Centres, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, etc.).

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

Consult the Academic Calendar to become familiar with the 2nd year requirements for the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (B.E.S.).

Aim to excel in your core Environmental courses, ENVS 2200 and PHIL 2305.

Expand your knowledge of Geography by selecting 3 credit hours in Physical Geography (choose one of: GEOG 2313, 2315, 2343) and 3 credit hours in Human Geography (choose one of: GEOG 2312, 2341, 2349).

Meet with your Academic Advisor and view the Geography and Environmental Studies Prerequisite Map to find other courses of interest and choose electives. 

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

Explore your interests in Environmental Thought by taking 3 credit hours selected from ENGL 2318, HIST 2201, RELS 2347, or PHIL 2331.

Complete your 2nd year requirements by taking POLI 3245, GEOG 2333, and an additional ENVS elective.

Meet with the B.E.S. Coordinator to be sure you have the right courses.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Acquire additional knowledge of terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric systems in the natural environment, and an understanding of their interconnectedness, complexity, and meaning for human experience.

Develop collaboration and teamwork skills, combining independent thought and group interaction.

Advance your ability to understand and create maps, graphs, charts, and statistical findings.

Develop the skills to research and act on environmental and social justice issues.

Cultivate your ability to present information related to environmental issues in professional written and oral forms appropriate for various audiences.

Apply the critical thinking process to your coursework: select and analyze diverse and credible evidence to construct and sustain a critical argument.

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

Learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

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 joining some student societies.

Join (or create) a SMUES society group.

Attend seminars organized by the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the School of the Environment.

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.

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

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

CONNECT Locally & Globally

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.

Be aware of a potential Geography Field School course that may be available in your 3rd and 4th years.

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

Keep up-to-date with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies News and Events page.

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.

Research opportunities to study abroad in 3rd year as part of the Environmental Studies program.

Explore options for international internships in your area of study.

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

Consult the Academic Calendar to become familiar with the 3rd year requirements for the Bachelor of Environmental Studies.

Expand your understanding of Environmental Management by taking GEOG 3304.

Advance your knowledge of Environmental Science by selecting one of ENVS 3410, 3420, 3430, or 3440.

Meet with your Academic Advisor or Department Chair for help with course selection, career advice, or certifications.

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

Broaden your comprehension of Economic Development by taking ECON 3362 or ECON 3363.

Enhance your research skills by taking a Research Methods course in Geography, Mathematics, Psychology, or Sociology.

Explore your interests in Environmental Thought and Communications by taking 6 credit hours selected from courses in Geography, International Development Studies, Management, Philosophy, or General Science.

Complete your 3rd year requirements by taking Approved B.E.S. Electives (at the 2000-level or above) in the following areas:

  • 3 credit hours in Biology, Chemistry, or Geology
  • 3 credit hours in Classics, English, History, Philosophy, or Religious Studies
  • 3 credit hours in an approved B.E.S. elective

Explore SMU’s diverse course offerings by taking a course of your choice as a free elective.

Meet with the B.E.S. Coordinator for help with course selection, degree planning, and to discuss possibilities and procedures for pursuing the Honours program.

Thinking about graduate school? Contact Career Services for options and admission procedures, and begin planning for applications with the B.E.S. Coordinator.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Strengthen your ability to research, critically analyze, and present quantitative and qualitative data, in relation to major theories.

Expand your knowledge of local, national, and global environmental problems and opportunities.

Enhance your ability to recognize and analyze the ethical, cultural, and historical dimensions of environmental issues and their effect on public discourse and environmental problem-solving.

Advance your ability to interpret data from scientific experimentation and draw conclusions based on research.

Build your knowledge of the social, cultural, economic, and political factors affecting spatial relationships and environments.

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.

Update your Co-Curricular Record.

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.

Become involved with volunteer opportunities or summer jobs offered through the School of the Environment or Career Services.

Attend thesis defenses to broaden your knowledge and support your fellow students.

Improve your time-management, leadership skills, and résumé by becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA). Be sure to apply for TA positions at the beginning of the fall term.

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.

 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

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

Inform your networks about your degree program. Seek out potential employers for information and interviews.

Consider joining professional associations like the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, the Environmental Careers Organization, Greenpeace, or the National Association of Environmental Professionals.

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

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

Consult the Academic Calendar to become familiar with the 4th year requirements for the Bachelor of Environmental Studies, while transitioning to work or graduate school.

Cap your degree with the core Environmental Science courses, ENVS 4440 and ENVS 4499.

Expand your understanding of environmental issues with 9 credit hours in Approved B.E.S. Electives (at the 2000 level or above).

Explore your broader interests with 12 credit hours of Free Electives.

Meet with the B.E.S. Coordinator for help with final course selection, degree completion, and to discuss your post-graduation plans.

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.

Request transcripts, if required.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Use your capstone courses to further your ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers and to constructively critique their proposals, theories, ideas, and reports.

Advance your analytical and problem-solving skills by analyzing data for trends and applying statistical tests.

Cultivate your ability to plan and develop projects or experiments in groups, while also learning to delegate tasks to others.

Continue to hone your capacity to critically observe, evaluate, and assess geographical and environmental information.

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

Assess what experience you are lacking and fill in gaps with volunteering, clubs, or internships – and check out the Career Services skills workshop for help.

Enter your best written work for the Academic Writing Awards.

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

Apply for the Environmental Studies Prize, awarded to the most well-rounded and accomplished student graduating from the B.E.S. program.

Go to the Geography Department - Scholarships and Awards website to learn how to become eligible for the ESRI Canada GIS Scholarship.

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

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.

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.