About the Master of Environment & Sustainability

The MES is an intensive, 12-month research-stream program that responds to the growing need of society to understand and develop solutions to the environmental and human well-being challenges facing us in the 21st century. Upon graduation, MES graduates will have acquired a transdisciplinary perspective on environmental issues, learned to use methodologies and tools relevant to environmental protection and sustainability solutions, and will be well prepared for a variety of careers in the private and public sectors, or for further studies at the doctoral level.

The hands-on supervision of students guarantees the quality of student learning overall. By working closely with their individual thesis advisor and advisory committees on an extended project, students can anticipate a strong and effective learning environment. To encourage transdisciplinary perspectives, each MES student will have an advisory committee comprised of a primary supervisor and two other faculty members from at least two disciplines or departments.

Looking to speak to a representative about the MES program? Email our Graduate Administrator for more information.


MES Concentrations

Adaptation and Resilience

How will the world cope with the impacts of climate change? Adaptation focuses on how natural and human systems can prepare for change, to minimize harmful impacts. Resilience describes the ability of communities and ecosystems to cope with change and evolve in ways that improve their future sustainability. Together they determine how humanity will anticipate and respond to environmental crises.

Understanding global environmental change requires an examination of how human activity interacts with the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and biosphere, and the ways in which climate change, biodiversity loss, and persistent pollutants disrupt these systems. This concentration will offer a transdisciplinary perspective on the scientific study of these processes of change.

Social Sustainability

Cultural assumptions and values shape the human relationship to nature, so it is important to draw on different worldviews – particularly indigenous perspectives – as we seek a just transition to a sustainable society. This concentration addresses issues of equity, diversity, social cohesion, quality of life, well-being, democracy, and governance within the concept of sustainability.

The Sustainability Transition

The transition to sustainability is a social revolution as profound as the European transition from feudalism to capitalism. To create a low-carbon economy will require systemic change in energy production, resource management, human settlement, trade, digital technologies, and human governance. This concentration will examine the scientific, political, and historical implications of this transition.

Students may select three half-credit elective courses (for a total of 1.5 FCE), relevant to their chosen concentration, from the list of electives below. Please note that not all elective courses are offered every academic year.

  • ENV1001H: Environmental Decision Making
  • ENV1111H: Special Topics in Adaptation and Resilience 
  • ENV1703H: Water Resources Management and Policy
  • ENV1704H: Environmental Risk Analysis and Management
  • ENV4002H: The Environment and Health of Vulnerable Populations
  • CHL5413H: Public Health Sanitation
  • CHL5903H: Environmental Health
  • CHL5910H: Occupational and Environmental Hygiene I
  • CHL5911H: Occupational and Environmental Hygiene II
  • CSC2720H: Systems Thinking for Global Problems
  • ESS1136H: Climate Change Adaptation 
  • FOR1416H: Forest Fire Danger Rating
  • FOR1575H: Urban Forest Conservation
  • JGE1413H: Workshop in Environmental Assessment
  • JGE1425H: Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in Developing Countries
  • JNC2503H: Environmental Pathways
  • JPG1404H: Issues in Global Warming
  • JPG1428H: Greening the City: Urban Environmental Planning and Management
  • PLA1601H: Environmental Planning and Policy
  • ENV1001H: Environmental Decision Making
  • ENV1005H: Ecological Statistics 
  • ENV1007H: The Warming Papers: The Scientific Foundation of Climate Change
  • ENV1112H: Special Topics in Global Change Science
  • ANT4065H: Specific Problems: New World
  • CHE1435H: Fundamentals of Aerosol Physics and Chemistry
  • CHM1401H: Transport and Fate of Chemical Species in the Environment
  • CHM1410H: Analytical Environmental Chemistry
  • CHM1420H: Environmental Chemistry of Soil
  • CHM1425H: Modelling the Fate of Organic Chemicals in the Environment
  • ESS1461H: Paleoenvironmental Studies
  • ESS2303H: Earth Systems Evolution
  • FOR3000H: Current Issues in Forest Conservation
  • PHY1498H: Introduction to Atmospheric Physics
  • PHY2502H: Climate System Dynamics
  • PHY2504H: Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics
  • PHY2505H: Atmospheric Radiative Transfer and Remote Sounding
  • PHY2506H: Data Assimilation and Retrieval Theory
  • ENV1001H: Environmental Decision Making
  • ENV1008H: Worldviews and Ecology
  • ENV1113H: Special Topics in Social Sustainability
  • ENV1444H: Capitalist Nature
  • ENV1701H: Environmental Law
  • ENV4001H: Graduate Seminar in Environment and Health
  • ENV4002H: The Environment and Health of Vulnerable Populations
  • ANT3034H: Advanced Research Seminar IV
  • ANT6018H: Approaches to Nature and Culture
  • JGE1425H: Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in Developing Countries
  • JPG1426H: Natural Resource, Difference and Conflict
  • JPG1518H: Sustainability and Urban Communities
  • JPG1672H: Land and Justice
  • LHA1104H: Social Action Education — Community Development, Social Services, and Social Movements
  • LHA1160H: Introduction to Transformative Learning Studies
  • LHA1193H: Adult Education for Sustainability
  • LHA1837H: Environmental Health, Transformative Higher Education, and Policy Change: Education Toward Social and Ecosystem Healing
  • POL2213H: Global Environmental Politics
  • SJE1909H: Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice I
  • ENV1001H: Environmental Decision Making
  • ENV1002H: Environmental Policy
  • ENV1003H: Global Climate Politics and Policy
  • ENV1114H: Special Topics in the Sustainability Transition
  • ENV1444H: Capitalist Nature
  • ENV1707H: Climate Finance 
  • CIV1307H: Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment of Engineering Activities
  • FOR1270H: Forest Biomaterial Sciences: Fundamentals, Applications, and the Next Frontier
  • FOR1288H: Design and Manufacturing of Biomaterials
  • FOR1294H: Bioenergy and Biorefinery Technology
  • FOR1610H: Sustainable Forest Management and Certification
  • GGR1407H: Efficient Use of Energy
  • GGR1408H: Carbon-Free Energy
  • JPG1518H: Sustainability and Urban Communities