Experiential Learning

Experiential learning provides students with opportunities to apply their course work outside the classroom, participate in authentic practices, develop their skills, and engage in critical reflection. The School of the Environment offers many experiential learning opportunities, including through course assignments, internships, organization-partnered projects, and field courses. Students may engage with a broad range of community partners working in the areas of climate justice, food systems, environmental health, transportation, land conservation, sustainable buildings, and more.

Our collaboration project was incredible for both developing my personal interests in the environmental field and supporting a community organization that does meaningful work. - ENV421 student

Experiential Learning Courses


Introductory Courses

Students analyze the challenges posed by the ecological crisis by integrating scientific, technological, economic, political, psychological, historical, and ethical perspectives and evaluate a variety of approaches that move us towards authentic sustainability.

This course focuses on methods of sampling and analyzing natural air, water and solid Earth materials that are relevant to current environmental issues. It integrates approaches from chemistry, physics, geology and biology, and covers techniques in field sampling, laboratory analyses and analyses of large environmental data sets.

This course is offered during late summer at a Southern Ontario field station, providing students with an overview of common assessment tools for states of ecosystems. Students are introduced to the impacts of humans on semi-natural and human-dominated environments of southern Ontario.

Capstone Courses

This eight-month research course provides students with an opportunity to work with a local community partner and engage in an action-focused group research project.

The course offers students academic internships in the non-profit, public, and or private sector. Students complete 70-80 hours with the organization, which is complemented by educational seminars and assignments.

Students undertake an applied group research project on an aspect of campus sustainability at the University of Toronto. Working in partnership with operational staff, students develop skills needed to work across disciplines and fields of study, and with non-academic partners.

This course situates students and campuses within the context of broader movements for more ecologically rational and socially-just food systems. Students engage in change-making on campus and beyond through an action-focused project with a campus or community partner.


ENV299 & ENV399 Research Opportunities Program

 The Research Opportunities Program (ROP) gives second- and third-year Faculty of Arts & Science undergraduate students the chance to join an instructor’s research project and earn course credit towards their degree.  
Recent ROP Projects: 

  • Bees for Peace: Engaging Religious Communities for Pollinator Protection, Professor Stephen Scharper
  • Simulating Complexity, Chaos and Emergence, Professor Brad Bass
  • Environmental Action in Faith Communities, Professor Tanhum Yoreh
  • Land Use Economics and Sustainable Planning, Professor Brad Bass

“There's something really special about getting to interact closely with a student who is so early on in their academic career – the potential to have a meaningful relationship with that student and watch that student grow and learn and be a part of your work for perhaps the rest of their time in university, and perhaps beyond.” - ROP Faculty member


Research Excursions Program 

The Research Excursions Program (REP) provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to travel off-campus as part of an instructor’s research project, while earning course credit. The Faculty of Arts & Science covers travel and living expenses for students to participate.

REP Highlight:  EEB398 - Early spring breeding of amphibians in Algonquin Provincial Park with Professor Njal Rollinson.