Environmental Science (BSc Program)

Andrea Gorrell, Acting Chair
Stephen Déry, Professor and NSERC/Rio Tinto Industrial Research Chair in Climate Change and Water Security
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
Todd Whitcombe, Associate Professor
Nikolaus Gantner, Adjunct Professor
Corinne Schiller, Adjunct Professor
Tricia Stadnyk, Adjunct Professor
Ronald Stewart, Adjunct Professor
Siraj ul Islam, Adjunct Professor
You Qin Wang, Adjunct Professor
Natalie Linklater, Senior Lab Instructor

Major in Environmental Science

The Environmental Science Bachelor of Science is an interdisciplinary degree in which students take a core curriculum along with a minor. 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 are exposed 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). In addition, it may be possible to use some courses toward professional designations (i.e. P.Ag., P.Geo.). Students interested in this option are responsible for making themselves aware of the required courses for the professional designations and for planning to take the courses at the appropriate points in their program.

Undergraduate students are required to take a total of 93 credit hours of program core requirements in addition to a minor as indicated below. Students take foundational science courses in year 1 (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics and calculus) as well as an introduction to environmental science course that introduces students to environmental systems and provides information on courses and options available in years 2 to 4 of the Environmental Science major. The minor requirement allows students to develop expertise within an area of their interest. There is also an option to take a BSc Honours in Environmental Science program, which is described below. 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 or NRES 100-3 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
BIOL 201-3Ecology
BIOL 203-3Microbiology
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 101-3General Chemistry II
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 121-1General Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 210-3Analytical Chemistry I
Introduction to Environmental Science
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 204-3Introduction to GIS
GEOG 210-3Introduction to Earth 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
STAT 240-3Basic Statistics
     or STAT 371-3
Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers 


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
       or an approved         3-credit field               course
Environmental and Geophysical Data Analysis
Environmental and Professional Ethics
NREM 306-3Society, Policy and Administration

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 or who have completed a co-op work term may be waived from this degree requirement with approval from the Program Chair. Co-op students may receive credit for ENSC 440-3 at the same time as they are completing a co-op work term with the following conditions: students must register in ENSC 440-3 before the co-op work term starts, and meet both the co-op and the ENSC 440-3 requirements.

Minor Requirement Associated with the Environmental Science Degree

Environmental Science students are required to complete 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 to meet 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. Attention is also given to the role of water (and associated chemicals, nutrients and sediments) within ecosystems and society.

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. Students may use 17 credit hours of lower-division courses and 6 credit hours of upper-division courses 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 sequences.

Required Courses

Lower Division Requirements
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Laboratory I
Introduction to Aquatic Systems
MATH 100-3Calculus I
MATH 101-3Calculus II
PHYS 100-4Introduction to Physics I
   or PHYS 110-4Introductory Physics I: Mechanics

Upper Division Requirements
BIOL 302-3Limnology
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
GEOG 310-3Hydrology 

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

Atmospheric Science, or meteorology, is the study of the Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate. The minor in Atmospheric Science provides students with an opportunity to focus on atmospheric processes that occur near the 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 the 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. Students may use 17 credit hours of lower-division courses and 6 credit hours of upper-division courses 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 sequences.

Required Courses

Lower Division Requirements
CHEM 100-3General Chemistry I
CHEM 120-1General Chemistry Laboratory I
ENSC 201-3Weather and Climate
MATH 100-3Calculus I
MATH 101-3Calculus II
PHYS 100-4Introduction to Physics I
     or PHYS 110-4Introductory Physics I: Mechanics

Upper Division Requirements
ENSC 312-3Biometeorology
ENSC 408-3Storms
ENSC 425-3Climate Change and Global Warming

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 
*Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course.

Minor in Earth Sciences

The Earth Sciences minor provides depth in areas of earth science that support natural resource management. Students are required to complete 18 credit hours (12 of which must be at the 300- or 400-level) chosen from the following lists, with at least one course from each of the first three groups. Students may use a maximum of two upper-division courses (6 credit hours) used to fulfill the requirements for a major or another minor. Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course. NOTE: Some upper-division courses may be taught in alternate years; students should consider this when planning their course sequences.

Hydrology
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENSC 202-3Introduction to Aquatic Systems
ENSC 454-3Snow and Ice
GEOG 310-3Hydrology
Geomorphology
GEOG 311-3Drainage Basin Geomorphology
GEOG 320-3Sedimentology
GEOG 405-3Fluvial Geomorphology
GEOG 411-3Quaternary and Surficial Geology
GEOG 416-3Mountains
Soil Science
FSTY 415-3Forest Soils
FSTY 425-3Soil Formation and Classification
Other
ENSC 307-3Introduction to Geochemistry
ENSC 425-3Climate Change and Global Warming
GEOG 357-3Introduction to Remote Sensing
GEOG 413-3Advanced GIS
GEOG 457-3Advanced Remote Sensing
Minor in Environmental Science

The minor in Environmental Science is intended for students who are not majoring in Environmental Science and offers an introduction to pollution and management and the four environmental systems: aquatic, atmospheric, ecological, and terrestrial. Students are given the opportunity to develop more depth in one or two areas. Students in this minor 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 of 21 credit hours from the courses listed below, 12 of which must be at the upper-division level. Students may use a maximum of two courses (6 credits hours) to fulfill the program requirements for a major or another minor.

Students must select at least one course from each of the following lists. All courses listed for the minor have prerequisites; students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course. NOTE: Some upper-division courses may be taught in alternate years; students should consider this when planning their course sequences.

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 210-3Introduction to Earth Science
GEOG 311-3Drainage Basin Geomorphology
GEOG 405-3Fluvial Geomorphology
GEOG 411-3Advanced Elements in Geomorphology

Environmental Pollution and Management
ENGR 451-3Groundwater Hydrology
ENPL 305-3Environmental Impact Assessment
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
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 the macro-scale of 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 foundational courses in biology and chemistry, 15 credit hours are required soils and geochemistry courses, and 3 credit hours are selected from a list of suggested elective courses. Students may use 16 credit hours of 100-level courses and 6 credit hours of other courses 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 sequences.

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 that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course.
Updated: April 30, 2020