The Environmental Sciences Specialization is designed to give students both a strong foundational science background and a broad perspective on the environment. It concentrates on understanding the major environmental issues facing human societies and adopts an integrative cross-disciplinary approach to the study of these issues.

Students graduating from Environmental Science at UBC are required to develop skills in either analytical or field based methods. Team work, writing and oral presentations are embedded in the ENVR courses.

Students will choose one area of concentration to focus their studies:

Land, Air, and Water

Ecology and Conservation

This concentrations integrates chemical and physical approaches to Earth Sciences. It draws on courses offered by our department and the Department of Geography.

This concentration has a life science focus allowing students to integrate conservation approaches. It draws on courses offered by both our department and the Department of Biology.

All environmental science students are required to do a major project (two terms) in their senior year. Majors students engage in a team project in collaboration with a community partner organization, while Honours students undertake an individual research project with a Faculty supervisor.

UBC Calendar Description

About the Discipline

Environmental Science investigates how humans impact the environment and how the environment impacts human societies. Through observation, monitoring, experiment, data analysis and modeling, environmental scientists tackle questions relating to climate change, food production, water resources, air quality, waste management, biodiversity, energy production and more.

Environmental Science might be seen as an applied science as it tends to tackle problems facing society: How will climate change alter where people can live and flourish? What roles do other organisms play in maintaining resilient and functioning ecosystems? How can we protect or conserve functioning ecosystems? What will be the impact of ocean acidification? Is sunscreen killing coral reefs?


Environmental scientists usually work in teams. Individuals might spend their days in the field, in a lab or in front of a computer. Good communication skills are not only critical for successful teamwork but also for communicating effectively to other scientists, policy makers and the general public.

The Environmental Science specialization at UBC provides grounding in interdisciplinary science, a systems understanding of environmental challenges, strong critical thinking and research skills, the ability to work in teams and regular opportunities to communication orally and in writing. These skills are transferable to many workplaces.

Graduates from an environmental science degree can move into careers in research, government, industry, law, medicine, occupational health, education or advocacy. Combined with other interests, environment science meaningfully informs international development, film-making or journalism, food systems management, sustainable business practice, resource conservation and management, environmental consulting or transportation and urban planning.