Sample classes

As a student in the Environmental Science program, you’ll take a variety of classes relating to environmental topics to fulfill core requirements. To meet the elective requirements—and explore your own interests—you’ll have a choice of a wide range of classes from other departments across campus.

ENVS 2000
Urban Field School

This field course offers an introduction to urban environmental science by examining the role of humans in ecosystems and how humans change ecosystem processes and functions within urban areas. Students gain hands-on experience in environmental science techniques during excursions in different urban settings within the Halifax Regional Municipality.

NOTES: Offered in early May. Daily field trips and/or labs. An auxiliary fee is charged to cover field expenses.

Prerequisites: ENVS 1000.06 or SCIE 1505.18 or ENVS 1100.03 and ENVS 1200.03, or equivalent and open only to students in the BSc or BA Environmental Science Programs

ENVS 2100
Environmental Informatics


Environmental Informatics is the knowledge, skills and tools that enable information to be collected, managed and disseminated to support research in environmental science. Students develop skills for the analysis, evaluation and synthesis of knowledge in environmental science. Information systems, tools, and techniques are introduced and applied to current environmental challenges.

In addition to three hours of lecture time per week, students are also expected to participate in labs.

Prerequisites: ENVS 1000

ENVS 3200
Introduction to Environmental Law

Of all the problems facing the world, those of the environment are among the most difficult and perplexing. They are both naturally occurring and manufactured; they cross all boundaries; they are both latent and manifest. Trying to control environmental hazards through legislation, regulation and the law is particularly difficult.

While it is often difficult to achieve consensus as to the nature and effect of an existing environmental condition, it is impossible to predict what form an environmental hazard will take and consequently difficult to anticipate what manner of legislation will best contain the damage.

In this class, you’ll look at how environmental law operates in Nova Scotia and discover some of the multidisciplinary aspects that make this area of law part science, part art, and part soothsaying. The class will also touch briefly on the international aspect of environmental law, for the environment does not recognize national boundaries.

Instructor: Peter Mushkat

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

ENVS 3400
Environment and Human Health

In this class, you’ll examine the relationships between the health of populations and health determinants in the context of environmental sustainability. Many current global environmental diagnoses indicate that human activities are corroding the environmental conditions required to sustain human beings, as well as the many species with whom we share this planet.

Weekly laboratory exercises will help you learn how geomatics—such as geographic information systems (GISs), global positioning systems (GPSs), and remote sensing technologies—along with epidemiological tools, can be used to assess the links between the health of human populations and the health of the environment. You’ll also learn how to use these tools for environmental health research.

Instructor: Dr. Daniel Rainham

Prerequisites: Completion of second year or permission of the instructor. Cross-listing: GEOG 3400

ENVS 3501
Environmental Problem Solving I

This class introduces you to concepts, models, and methods for analyzing environmental problems. You’ll learn analytical approaches for problem solving that are appropriate for a wide range of environmental issues and apply these to the analysis of case studies. Materials introduced in the class will illustrate the interrelationships among environmental issues that are often perceived to be isolated from one another, but in fact are rooted in ecological, economic, and social systems.

Prerequisites: ENVS 1000 (with a grade of B or better) or ENVS 2001. Also, completion of second year or permission of the instructor.

ENVS 3601
Global Biogeochemical Cycles

This is an interdisciplinary class that examines example global cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur, and human impacts on these cycles as manifested in our atmospheric, soil, ocean and freshwater environments. This class involves discussion of the latest developments in this rapidly changing field and will provide a framework for those interested in global change.

Prerequisites: An introductory Chemistry class and one of ENVS 1000, SUST 1001, ERTH 1080, or ERTH 1090. Cross-listing: ERTH 3601.

Holistic problem solving
Tarah Wright_Environmental Science (69x69)

Dr. Tarah Wright has cross-appointments in five different programs and departments at Dal, including the School for Resource and Environmental Studies and the College of Sustainability. She brings these diverse interests to teaching the Environmental Decision Making class. Read more about Dr. Wright's expertise—and why she believes it's important to bring different perspectives to solving current environmental issues.

"In class, we look into the roots of environmental problems, considering how religion, philosophy, economics, and human nature—and science—have contributed to them."