Environmental Science (BSc Program)

Todd Whitcombe, Associate Professor and Chair
Stephen Déry, Professor
Peter Jackson, Professor
Jianbing Li, Professor
Philip Owens, Professor and Endowed Research Chair in Landscape Ecology
Michael Rutherford, Professor
Jueyi Sui, Professor
Youmin Tang, Professor
Ron Thring, Professor
Steve Helle, Associate Professor
Nikolaus Gantner, Adjunct Professor
Tricia Stadnyk, Adjunct Professor
You Qin Wang, Senior Lab Instructor

Major in Environmental Science

The Environmental Science Bachelor of Science degree is an interdisciplinary degree in which students take a core curriculum along with an area of specialization. The core curriculum is designed to provide students with knowledge of the fundamental biological, chemical, physical and applied aspects integral to the field of environmental science. In addition, students receive exposure to many of the human dimensions that underlie environmental issues. This approach ensures a uniform preparation among students and allows for the development of a diversity of expertise necessary to address the complexity of present environmental problems and future unanticipated ones.

The degree has been designed in part to address educational components of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Environmental Employment set out by Environmental Careers Organization (ECO Canada). The NOS forms the basis of the Canadian Certified Environmental Practitioner (CCEP) accreditation process of the Canadian Environmental Certification Approvals Board (CECAB).

Undergraduate students are required to take a total of 93 credit hours of program core requirements in addition to an Area of Specialization as indicated below. The Area of Specialization allows students to develop expertise within an area of their interest. The major requires elective credit hours as necessary to ensure completion of a minimum of 126 credit hours, including any additional credit hours necessary to meet the Academic Breadth requirement of the University (see Undergraduate Academic Regulation 15).  Students needing to improve their communication skills should take ENGL 170-3 Writing and Communication Skills or NRES 100-3 Communication in NRES as an elective.  Note that ENGL 170-3 also fulfills the Academic Breadth requirement for Arts and Humanities. Other areas of Academic Breadth are covered in the major.

Program Core Requirements

Lower Division Requirement

BIOL 103-3Introductory Biology I
BIOL 104-3Introductory Biology II
BIOL 123-1Introductory Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 124-1Introductory Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 101-3General Chemistry II
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 121-1General Chemistry Laboratory II
Introduction to Environmental Science 
MATH 100-3Calculus I
MATH 101-3Calculus II
PHYS 100-4Introduction to Physics I
and PHYS 101-4Introduction to Physics II
     OR **
PHYS 110-4Introductory Physics I: Mechanics
and PHYS 111-4Introductory Physics II: Waves and Electricity
** PHYS 110-4 and PHYS 111-4 are strongly recommended.

BIOL 201-3Ecology
BIOL 203-3Microbiology
ENSC 201-3Weather and Climate
ENSC 202-3Introduction to Aquatic Systems
ENSC 250-2Introduction to Environmental Data Analysis
FSTY 205-3Introduction to Soil Science
GEOG 205-3Cartography and Geomatics
GEOG 210-3Geomorphology
STAT 240-3Basic Statistics
     or STAT 371-3
Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers 

3 credit hours of any 200-level CHEM courses.
Students who are interested in pursuing professional designations should contact the program advisor regarding the correct course sequences required for individual program as well as the appropriate choice of electives.

Upper-Division Requirements

Environmental Impact Assessment
Environmental Law
ENSC 308-3Northern Contaminated Environments
Environmental Modelling
Environmental Measurement and Analysis
Internship*
     or ENSC 499-3
Independent Study
Environmental and Geophysical Data Analysis
Environmental and Professional Ethics 

One of the following:
ENVS 225-3Global Environmental Change: Science and Policy
FNST 304-3Indigenous Environmental Philosophy
GEOG 307-3Changing Arctic: Human and Environmental Systems
GEOG 401-3Tenure, Conflict, and Resource Geography
INTS 307-3Global Resources
OR 3 credit hours of any upper-division ENVS courses.

Two of the following:
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENSC 404-3Waste Management
ENSC 412-3Air Pollution
ENSC 452-3Reclamation and Remediation of Disturbed Environments

*Students with extensive experience related to the environment may be waived from this degree requirement with approval from the Program.

Area of Specialization Requirement for BSc (Major) in Environmental Science
Environmental Science majors are required to complete an Area of Specialization satisfying the requirements of any available minor at UNBC as part of their degree.  A minor allows students to specialize in a subject area relevant to the advancement, utilization and dissemination of environmental knowledge.  Some minors may result in students taking more than the required 126 credit hours in order to obtain the Environmental Science Major.  Many minors allow 100-level prerequisite courses and an additional 6 credit hours of other courses to be used for meeting the requirements of both the major and minor. Consult the current Undergraduate Calendar for the requirements of minors available at UNBC.

BSc Honours-Environmental Science

The BSc Honours-Environmental Science provides a higher level of specialization and research experience, especially for students planning to proceed to postgraduate work.
Honours students are required to complete the degree requirements for the BSc Environmental Science Major, with the exception that Honours students must complete an undergraduate thesis chosen from ENSC 430-6 (Undergraduate Thesis), or NRES 430-6 (Undergraduate Thesis) in place of the requirement for ENSC 440-3 (Internship) or ENSC 499-3 (Independent Study).  ENSC 440-3 or ENSC 499-3 may be taken by Honours students, but they are not required for the Honours degree.  The undergraduate thesis must be conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.
The minimum requirement for a BSc Honours degree is 129 credit hours. Students are responsible to find their own undergraduate thesis research supervisor. Faculty members are under no obligation to supervise Honours students.
To be admitted to the Honours degree program, students must have completed 60 credit hours and obtained a minimum Cumulative GPA of 3.33. Attaining the minimum requirement will not guarantee admission into the Honours program, which will be at the discretion of the Environmental Science Program. Maintenance of a Cumulative GPA of 3.33 is required to remain in the Honours program.

Minor in Aquatic Science
The minor in Aquatic Science provides students with an opportunity to focus on aquatic processes associated with different water environments, such as rivers, lakes and groundwaters. Emphasis is given to physical, chemical and biological processes that govern the movement, fate and management of water on timescales of seconds to decades.
Students are required to take 35 credit hours. Of these, 14 credit hours are foundational courses in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics; 12 credit hours are required aquatic science courses; and 9 credit hours are selected from a list of suggested elective courses. In addition to the 14 credit hours of foundational courses at the 100 level, an additional 6 credit hours of upper-division courses can also be used to meet the requirements of a major or another minor. 

Required Courses
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Laboratory I
Introduction to Aquatic Systems
BIOL 302-3Limnology
Groundwater Hydrology
Hydrology 
      or NREM 410-3
Watershed Management 
MATH 100-3Calculus I
MATH 101-3Calculus II
PHYS 100-4Introduction to Physics I
     or PHYS 110-4Introductory Physics I: Mechanics
     (PHYS 110-4 is strongly recommended.)

Elective Courses*

Nine credit hours from the following list:
Aquatic Plants
Fish Ecology
Fluid Mechanics
Environmental and Geophysical Data Analysis
Snow and Ice
GEOG 311-3Drainage Basin Geomorphology
GEOG 405-3Fluvial Geomorphology
 
*Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course.


Minor in Atmospheric Science

The minor in Atmospheric Science provides students with an opportunity to focus on atmospheric processes.
Atmospheric Science, or meteorology, is the study of Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate. The minor in Atmospheric Science provides students with an opportunity to focus on atmospheric processes that occur near Earth’s surface. Emphasis is given to physical and chemical processes that govern the development of weather systems on timescales of days and that regulate Earth’s climate on timescales of decades.
Students are required to take 32 credit hours. Of these, 14 credit hours are foundational courses in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics; 12 credit hours are required atmospheric science courses; and 6 credit hours are selected from a list of suggested elective courses. In addition to the 14 credit hours of foundational courses at the 100 level, an additional 6 credit hours of  courses can also be used to meet the requirements of a major or another minor. NOTE: Some upper-division courses may be taught in alternate years; students should consider this when planning their course schedules.

Required Courses

CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Laboratory I
ENSC 201-3Weather and Climate
ENSC 312-3Biometeorology
ENSC 408-3Storms
Climate Change and Global Warming
MATH 100-3Calculus I
MATH 101-3Calculus II
PHYS 100-4Introduction to Physics I
     or PHYS 110-4Introductory Physics I: Mechanics
     (PHYS 110-4 is strongly recommended.)
Elective Courses*

Six credit hours from the following list:
Air Pollution
ENSC 450-3
Environmental and Geophysical Data Analysis
Snow and Ice 
GEOG 310-3
Hydrology 
     or NREM 410-3
Watershed Management 
  
*Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course.


Minor in Environmental Science

The minor in Environmental Science offers an introduction to four environmental systems: aquatic, atmospheric, ecological, and terrestrial, as well as pollution and management, with the ability to develop more depth in one or two areas. Students in this minor will gain an exposure to fundamental biological, chemical and physical aspects integral to the field of environmental science.

The minor in Environmental Science requires the completion, from the courses listed below, of 21 credit hours, 12 of which must be at the upper-division level. A maximum of two courses (6 credits hours) used to fulfill program requirements for a major or another minor may also be used to fulfill requirements for a minor in Environmental Science.

Students must select at least one course from each of the following categories (important: all courses listed for the minor have prerequisites; it is the student's responsibility to ensure that they have the required prerequisites):

Aquatic Systems
BIOL 302-3Limnology
BIOL 402-3Aquatic Plants
BIOL 406-3Fish Ecology
ENGR 350-3Fluid Mechanics
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENSC 202-3Introduction to Aquatic Systems
Snow and Ice 
GEOG 310-3Hydrology

Atmospheric Systems
ENSC 201-3Weather and Climate
ENSC 312-3Biometeorology
ENSC 408-3Storms
ENSC 412-3Air Pollution
ENSC 425-3Climate Change and Global Warming
Snow and Ice 

Ecological Systems
BIOL 201-3Ecology
BIOL 202-3Invertebrate Zoology
BIOL 203-3Microbiology
BIOL 210-3Genetics
BIOL 301-3Systematic Botany
BIOL 401-3Plant-Microbial Interactions
BIOL 404-3Plant Ecology
BIOL 410-3Population and Community Ecology
BIOL 411-3Conservation Biology

Terrestrial Systems
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENSC 325-3Soil Physical Processes and the Environment
ENSC 435-3Soil Biological Processes and the Environment
ENSC 452-3Reclamation and Remediation of Disturbed Environments
FSTY 205-3Introduction to Soil Science
GEOG 210-3Geomorphology
GEOG 311-3Concepts in Geomorphology
GEOG 405-3Fluvial Geomorphology
GEOG 411-3Advanced Elements in Geomorphology
GEOG 412-3Geomorphology of Cold Regions
GEOG 414-3Weathering Processes

Environmental Pollution and Management
ENPL 305-3Environmental Impact Assessment
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENSC 302-3Energy Development
ENSC 308-3Northern Contaminated Environments
ENSC 404-3Waste Management
ENSC 406-3Environmental Modelling
ENSC 412-3Air Pollution
ENSC 452-3Reclamation and Remediation of Disturbed Environments
ENSC 453-3Environmental Resources Management and Decision Making
NREM 410-3Watershed Management

Minor in Soils and the Environment

Processes and their dynamics at the interface between the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere are critical to the regulation of environmental quality from the micro-scale of millimetres to macro-scale climatic conditions. The minor in Soils and the Environment provides students with an opportunity to focus on the Earth’s “Critical Zone,” the thin outer layer which supports terrestrial life on the planet. The emphasis is on key biological, chemical and physical processes active in soils, and how they influence environmental conditions.

Students are required to take 34 credit hours. Of these, 16 credit hours are prerequisites to FSTY 205 and ENSC 435, 15 credit hours are required soils courses, and 3 credit hours are selected from a list of suggested elective courses. In addition to the 16 credit hours of prerequisite courses at the 100 level, an additional 6 credit hours can also be used to meet the requirements of a major or another minor.
Required Courses
BIOL 103-3
Introductory Biology I
BIOL 104-3
Introductory Biology II
BIOL 123-1Introductory Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 124-1Introductory Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 101-3General Chemistry II
CHEM 120-1
General Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 121-1General Chemistry Laboratory II
ENSC 307-3Introduction to Geochemistry
Soil Physical Processes and the Environment
Soil Biological Processes and the Environment
FSTY 205-3Introductory Soil Science
FSTY 425-3Soil Formation and Classification
Elective Courses*
Three credit hours from the following list:
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENSC 404-3
Waste Management
ENSC 452-3Reclamation and Remediation of Disturbed Environments
FSTY 415-3Forest Soils

*Students must ensure they have the appropriate prerequisites to take these courses.