Environmental Science

B.Sc. or B.A. Major in Environmental Science

This interdisciplinary program focuses on environmental science issues, emphasizing analysis and problem-solving. The common core classes introduce students to the scientific, cultural, economic, historic, legal and social aspects of environmental issues.

B.Sc. and B.A. Major Environmental Science Requirements

Please choose program based on the year you started your Science or Arts degree at Dalhousie:
Before 2019: B.Sc. Major and Honours in Environmental Science [PDF 158KB]
September 2019 and later: B.Sc. Major and Honours in Environmental Science [206KB]

BA Major / Honours in Environmental Science [PDF 143KB]


B.Sc. or B.A. Double Major in Environmental Science

The double major or combined honours degree programs allow students to combine the study of Environmental Science with another subject. The other subject may be in any discipline from the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Computer Science, the College of Sustainability or Community Design in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning.

The Environmental Science courses focus on the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues preparing students to analyze environmental problems. The courses from the other major provide another focus of study and a depth of expertise in a potentially related subject.

You should consult both the Environmental Science advisor and an advisor from your other subject when determining the double major or combined honours program requirements.

Some double major options that have attracted students to our program here at Dalhousie include Environmental Science with Sustainability, Biology, Earth Sciences, Ocean Sciences, Marine Biology, International Development Studies, or Community Design

Double Major Options

Bachelor of Science degree options

Please choose program based on the year you started your Science or Arts degree at Dalhousie
Before 2019: B.Sc. Double Major/Combined Honours [198KB]
September 2019 or later: BSc Double Major/Combined Honours [232KB]

Bachelor of Arts degree options
BA Double Major / Combined Honours in Environmental Science [PDF 186KB]

BSc and BA Degree Options with Environment, Sustainability and Society

Refer to BSC and BA double major/ combined honours listed above.
If you started your ESS program before 2015, contact your Academic Advisor for program details.

Double Major in Environmental Science and Community Design

The environment is now a major area of focus in the community planning field. In combining these two areas of study, students examine ways in which people can work towards creating and maintaining healthy and sustainable communities. Please see Academic Calendar for program


Honours Program in Environmental Science

Students who are interested in conducting independent research and have achieved a high level of academic standing are encouraged to apply for the Honours program during their undergraduate studies. This program is encouraged for, but not limited to, students who plan to pursue a postgraduate degree.

The Honours program is available to both Major students (Concentrated Honours) and Double Major students (Combined Honours) in Environmental Science. Interested students must apply for the program before their final year where they will complete an independent research thesis on a topic within the realm of the environmental sciences. Double Major students have the choice of completing the Combined Honours program in either subject A or B and register for the appropriate Honours courses in that Department. Double Major students must consult with Advisors in both subjects and meet requirements of both departments to be eligible for the Combined Honours designation.

Honours Requirements

For success in the Honours program it is vital that students are sufficiently prepared for independent research and to successfully write a thesis.  A consistently high level of performance in ENVS coursework is a good indicator of preparation.

  • All Students applying for the Environmental Science Honours Program are expected to have a GPA of 3.5 and no grade below C in any ENVS course
    • For admission to the Environmental Science Honours program in 2021, GPA will be calculated using underlying letter grades, however one course in ENVS may be omitted (i.e. a PASS may be used instead of the letter grade for one ENVS course) with the exception of ENVS 3502.
    • Students who have a GPA above 3.3, but below 3.5 GPA may petition to enter the Environmental Science Honours program. To do so, the student must write a letter addressed to both the Honours Coordinator and their ENVS Undergraduate Advisor to make a case for why they should be allowed into the program, and giving specific details regarding the project they intend to pursue and the supervisor they would prefer to work with.  The Honours Coordinator and ENVS Undergraduate Advisor will make a decision regarding the application to Honours within 3 weeks of receipt.
  • ENVS4901 and 4902: Honours Thesis (or the equivalent Honours course in the A Subject for Double Majors)
  • For ENVS Majors: a minimum of 54 credit hours of ENVs courses beyond the 1000 level. This amounts to an additional two ENVS electives from the approved list of ENVS courses.

Applying for Honours

Students who intend to undertake an Honours should begin planning a course sequence that meets Honours requirements during their second year of study. The calendar for the academic year in which a student began their degree program applies.

The formal application process occurs in the Winter semester of the student's penultimate year (i.e., their second last year, typically 3rd year for most students), at which time most of the required second and third year courses have been completed. In that semester, students should do the following:

  • Attend the Environmental Science Honours Information Session. Details will be emailed to all students each term.
  • Conduct a self-check to ensure that Honours GPA and course requirements (completed and planned) are satisfied.
  • Find an appropriate thesis topic and supervisor. It is the responsibility of students to arrange for a supervisor for their Honours project. Supervisors may be a faculty member of the department or by an external scientist, subject to the approval of the Honours Coordinator. Students should begin to search for a supervisor and topic during the year prior to starting the thesis, and are strongly recommended to have the topic and supervisor in place by May of that penultimate year. A list of potential topics and supervisors are posted by the department during the winter semester, but students are encouraged to begin searching prior to this posting.
  • Fill out the Honours Application Form (obtained from the Office of the Registrar) and submit it to the Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Advisor by May. All completed and planned courses must be listed in chronological order (the order in which they were taken) on the Honours Application. The Undergraduate Advisor and the Registrar will check the form to ensure requirements are met.
    • Double Major students must have the form reviewed and signed by the Undergraduate Advisor in both Departments.
  • If your application is approved (usually in the spring or summer before your final year), you will receive permission to register for ENVS4901/4902

Thesis and Defense

An oral defense follows completion of the thesis. Defenses are held in the Honours Symposium near the end of the winter semester of the final year. The defense is graded independently from the thesis and comprises a student's Honours Qualifying Examination. A grade of B- or better must be achieved on the Honours Qualifying Examination.


Minor in Environmental Science

A minor in Environmental Science is available to non-Environmental Science students in a 120 credit hour degree program within the College of Arts and Science. The Minor is also available to students in some other Faculties (please consult the appropriate section for your Faculty in the Undergraduate Calendar).

Minor Requirements

Departmental Requirements
    A minimum of 18 credit hours in Environmental Science (ENVS) courses at the 2000 level or higher.

Minor In Environmental Studies

Students enrolled in the following degree programs can take a Minor in Environmental Studies:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Community Design (BCD)
  • Bachelor of Computer Science (BCSc) 

Minor Requirements

Bachelor of Science with Minor in Environmental Studies

Students pursuing another major within the Faculty of Science can opt for a Minor in Environmental Studies. Exploring the broader environmental issues can complement a degree in any other scientific discipline. With this minor, science students develop an appreciation for the scientific, cultural, economic, historic, legal and social complexities of environmental issues.

Bachelor of Arts with Minor in Environmental Studies

The Minor in Environmental Studies is also available to students who have chosen their major within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. An arts education can benefit from deeper exploration of environmental issues, since the environment has become a central concern in political and economic decision-making. Through this minor, arts students can examine the scientific, cultural, legal, historic and social aspects of environmental issues.

Bachelor of Community Design with Minor in Environmental Studies

Students enrolled in the Community Design Honours/Major program in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning can add an environmental specialization to their degrees. With this minor, they can earn an additional degree credential that recognizes the special concentration of courses in Environmental Studies. Approval for the program is required from the School of Planning and the Director of the Environmental Science Program.

Bachelor of Computer Science with Minor in Environmental Studies

Computer Science majors also have an opportunity to add an environmental emphasis to their degrees. Advances in technology can present a number of solutions to environmental challenges, so a foundation in both areas can be very worthwhile.  With this minor, computer science students develop an appreciation for the scientific, cultural, economic, historic, legal and social aspects of environmental issues.

Minor in Environmental Science (90 credit) *NEW*

The 90-credit hour degree with Minor in Environmental Science is appropriate for students who want to study some Environmental Science but do not wish to complete the conventional four-year program. The degree is best suited for students who want a general science degree with some specialization in Environmental Science. In addition, the 90-credit hour BSc or BA in Environmental Science is usually the preferred option for students who wish to combine studies in Environmental Science with a degree in Engineering (see BSc/BEng or BA/BEng Concurrent Program).  

Minor Requirements

  • ENVS 1100.03: Foundations of Environmental Science and ENVS 1200.03: Current Environmental Challenges
  • A minimum of 18 credit hours in Environmental Science (ENVS) courses at the 2000 level or higher to a maximum of 36 credit hours. A maximum of 6 credit hours may be ENVS-equivalent.

*Please note that upper level Environmental Science (ENVS) courses have prerequisite requirements.
For more information please consult the Undergraduate Calendar.