Department of Environmental Science

Course Descriptions

1200 Environmental Challenges
3 credit hours

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental science. Students consider scientific methods, the scale and magnitude of environmental variables, societal pathways and impediments to solving environmental problems, and critical thinking about environmental issues. Topics include: hypothesis testing, social and scientific causation, linear and non-linear processes, temporal and spatial scales, feedback cycles, biodegradation and accumulation, and the social and organizational context of environmental activities.

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week. 


1250 Physical Processes in the Environment
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Nova Scotia Grade 12 Mathematics or equivalent

Students in this algebra-based course are introduced to fundamental concepts regarding physical processes studied in environmental sciences. An understanding of kinematics, linear dynamics, work, power, energy and momentm conservation is developed. Elementary concepts related to fluids, waves and radioactivity are introduced and applied to environmental problems. Dimensional and order-of-magnitude analysis is emphasized.

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week.

Note: Credit for ENVS 1250 will not be given after PHYS 1210 or PHYS 1211.


2100  Green Chemistry [CHEM 2100]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CHEM 1211 or CHEM 1212 or CHEM 1213.

Green chemistry, or environmentally benign chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Students examine the chemical principles and processes in the development of technology and in the effects that this technology has on the environment.  Traditional approaches are avoided that only consider the treatment of pollution after it is created, and will focus on alternative routes that limit the production of waste.

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week.


2200 Introduction to Environmental Science*
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: ENVS 1200 and 3 credit hours in BIOL

Students examine human impacts on the environment and ecosystems, locally and internationally, through the medium of case studies, discussions, readings, critical analysis assignments, and practical lab applications. Students will practice biological and environmental sampling techniques, complete a research project, and participate in field trips.

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week

*Note: For non-science majors, including B.E.S.


2300 Environmental Science: Populations & Ecosystems
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  ENVS 1200 and 3 credit hours in BIOL

This course provides a scientific introduction to environmental problems and their solutions. The emphasis is on biological and ecological processes and their importance to global sustainability.  Labs include hands on experience sampling local environments, participation on real research projects, and field trips to local environmental industry facilities.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week


2310 Environmental Science: Energy, Resources and Pollution
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: ENVS 1200, ENVS 1250 and CHEM 1210

This course provides a scientific introduction to environmental problems and their solutions, with emphasis on sustainability regarding energy and mineral resources, air, and water. Topics include evolving patterns of resource identification, exploration, and consumption, waste management, environmental pollution, climate change, and their implications for the dynamics of human environment relations from the local to the global scale. Labs offer a hands-on approach to concrete environmental problems, including the practical evaluation of patterns of environmental change based on real data.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week


2373 Environmental Chemistry [CHEM 2373]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CHEM 1211 or 1212 or 1213.

Students examine sources, movements and ultimate destinations of chemicals in air, water and soil. Topics include: principles of green chemistry; reactions of the ozone layer; chemistry of ground-level air pollution; greenhouse effect; fossil fuel energy; global warming; alternative energy sources; polycyclic organic compounds; and the chemistry of natural waters including pollution and disinfection.

Note: There is no laboratory component for this course.


2410 Energy and the Environment
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: ENVS 1200, ENVS 1250; and one of: CHEM 1211, 1212 or 1213.

Students explore the history of energy use and the associated scientific and philosophic problems from ancient times to 21st-century. The current carbon-based economy, and alternative energy sources such as geothermal, wind, and solar energy will be examined.  Students are introduced to energy use including thermodynamics, combustion reactions, electrochemistry, and photovoltaics.


3310-3315 Field Course in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  45 credit hours in Science, including ENVS 2300 or ENVS 2310.

Field courses are unique learning opportunities designed to bring theory to life in a natural setting. Normally double lectures held every second week during the regular semester are coupled with an intensive field component in spring or summer. Topics can vary with season and instructor expertise.

Classes 3 hrs per week, plus intensive field lab.

Notes:
i)    Multiple versions of this course taught on different topics may be offered within the same calendar year.
ii)   Students may count up to a maximum of nine (9) credit hours in Field Courses toward their Group C requirements for a major or honours BSc in Environmental Science.


3340 Principles of Hydrogeology [GEOL 3340]
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: GEOL 1200 and GEOL 1201.

Students are introduced to the essential concepts of groundwater flow and wells.  Topics include: flow through varying geologic material, water resources management, baseline groundwater quality, contamination of sub-surface environments, and an introduction to quantitative methods. Students will learn to recognize and interpret groundwater flow and chemical data, and have an opportunity to apply this knowledge via course work, laboratory exercises and field work.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week. Labs may involve field work.


3410 Environmental Impact Assessment [GEOL 3410]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite:  45 credit hours, including one of ENVS 1203, 2200, 2300 or 2310.

This course describes the legislative background and techniques for the prediction of impacts on biophysical and socio-economic environments.  This course will cover screening, scoping, baseline studies, impact prediction, mitigation, monitoring and auditing.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week


3420 Environmental Monitoring and Auditing
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 45 credit hours, including one of ENVS 2200, 2300 or 2310.

This course describes the principles and applications of environmental auditing and monitoring. Techniques for environmental audit of facilities, organizations and projects will be covered, together with the design of monitoring programs and techniques for atmospheric, biological, hydrological, and socio-economic monitoring.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week. 


3430  Environmental Information Management
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: 45 credit hours, including one of ENVS 2200, 2300 or 2310.

Students develop information management skills required for an effective approach to environmental challenges in a complex and fast-changing context, involving a wide range of stakeholders. Concepts, methods, and practical training are provided in an interdisciplinary active learning environment that focuses on real-world applications regarding information identifitication, interpretations, and context-adapted information processing.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week


3440 The Environment and Human Health
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: 45 credit hours; and one of: BIOL 1202ENVS 2200, or ENVS 2300.

A range of natural and anthropogenic agents that result in human health problems in industrialized and developing countries are examined. Students explore the scientific causes, the potential health effects and any known synergistic effects of these agents, through case studies, readings, and discussion.  Existing policies are evaluated. Students will research, critique, and present at least three comprehensive case studies.

Classes 3 hrs. per week.


3450 Aquatic Environments
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: ENVS 2300, ENVS 2310, BIOL 1202; and one of: CHEM 1211, 1212 or 1213.

Aquatic resources are essential to all living things on Earth. Students examine the similarities and differences in ecology, chemistry and physics of diverse aquatic ecosystems from marine to freshwater. Wetlands, lakes, rivers, estuaries, tidal systems and oceans are all considered. There are field trips to representative habitats.

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week.


3630 Climate Change: Evidence and Uncertainty
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: ENVS 2300 and 2310.

Students review scientific evidence for climate change, and its natural and anthropogenic attributions. The mechanisms of climate change are emphasized and students analyze and evaluate proposed climate change mitigation strategies. Other topics include major impacts, feedback effects, modeling and prediction, the international assessment process, and “skepticism”.

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week.  


3826 – 3849 Special Topics in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 45 credit hours and permission of the instructor


3876 – 3899 Directed Study in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 45 credit hours and permission of the instructor


4430 Directed Research
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 60 credit hours, including one of: ENVS 2300 or 2310, and permission of the Environmental Science Chairperson.

Students will pursue a short term research project in such areas as: oceanographic sampling and analysis, policy development or environmental impact assessment. Students must identify an appropriate supervisor; provide a project proposal; and at the end of the project, submit a written report.

Lab 6 hrs. per week.


4440 Environmental Policy
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Seventy-five (75) credit hours, including one of: ENVS 2200, 2300, 2310 or GEOG 3304.

This course focuses on environmental and natural resource policy in Canada and the world. Attention is paid to all scales at which policy is developed – local, provincial, national and international. The process of policy making is examined, including aspects of legislation and regulations, participatory and stakeholder approaches, and conflict resolution.  Interactions between policy, management measures and compliance are explored, including the role of standards and environmental management systems, and the circumstances under which organizations and businesses comply with regulations concerning environmental impacts and natural resource use. 

Classes 3 hrs. per week


4450 Natural Resource Management [GEOG 4424]
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 60 credit hours, including one of: ENVS 2200, ENVS 2300, 2310, or GEOG 3304

This interdisciplinary course is an examination of  the management of natural resource industries such as fisheries, forestry, mining and energy, focusing on interactions between biophysical, ecological, socioeconomic, and technological components.  Topics include: sustainable development and environment-economy interactions in the resource sector; approaches to integrated natural resource development; theoretical and practical aspects of managing resources and resource industries; economics of sustainable resource use; methods for analysing the impacts of resource use.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.


4460 Environmental Pattern Analysis and Modeling [GEOG 4444]
3 credit hours
Prerequisites:  ENVS 2300, or ENVS 2310 and GEOG 2200; one of GEOG 3326, BIOL 3308 or MATH 1216, and 60 credit hours

The focus of this course is theory and practical methods for characterizing and modeling environmental systems, which are complex and often strongly variable in space and/or time. It includes approaches to patterns and pattern change evaluation, data mining, and dynamic system modeling. Geoscience and life science applications are studied, such as rivers, coastal areas, fisheries, forests, mineral distribution, geomorphologic features, geohazards, ecosystem dynamics and atmospheric variables

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.


4470 Environmental Remediation and Restoration
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: 45 credit hours and one of: ENVS 2200, 2300 or 2310.

Current approaches to remediating damaged ecosystems, including such topics as mine reclamation, invasive species control, ecological restoration and constructed ecosystems are examined. Emphasis is placed on the scientific and socioeconomic bases for remediation and restoration, including the following: theoretical approaches; the role of traditional ecological knowledge; gaps between theory and practice; and hands-on training in local ecological restoration projects. 

Classes 3 hrs and lab 3 hrs per week.


4480 Environmental Contaminants
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: 60 credit hours, including ENVS 2300, ENVS 2310, BIOL 1202 and one CHEM 1211 or CHEM 1212

The focus of this course is on key environmental contaminants, including mercury, other metals, and selected volatile organic compounds. Emphasis is placed on experiential approaches, including field work and laboratory research, to study  these environmental contaminants,  Students are expected to participate in the critical analyses of literature, and in the discussion and presentation of their own research results.

Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.


4499 Environmental Seminar
6 credit hours
Prerequisite: Seventy-five (75) credit hours. including ENVS 2200, ENVS 2300 or 2310. Restricted to students registered in Environmental Science (minor, major, or honours) and to students registered in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies, or with permission of the Environmental Science Chairperson.

The course deals with selected topics in environmental science. Specific topics vary depending on current issues, new developments, availability of speakers and the interests of students and instructor.

Seminar 3 hrs. per week.


4599 Honours Research Project
6 credit hours
Prerequisite: Honours standing in Environmental Science.

Honours students work with a research advisor who will guide the students in the formulation of research proposals, the methodology to be followed during the course of the research, and in the analysis and write-up of the research findings. The thesis is presented orally.

Lab 6 hrs. (minimum) per week.


4826 – 4849 Special Topics in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: 60 credit hours and permission of the instructor.


4876 - 4899 Directed Studies in Environmental Science
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: restricted to students in the honours program or permission of the Environmental Science Chairperson.

The course provides an opportunity for ENVS honours students to study a particular subject in detail.  It requires independence and initiative from the student.  It involves discussion of research papers and lab work.  This course is intended particularly to meet the special needs and interests of honours students.  Major students may be admitted with permission of the Environmental Science Program Coordinator.

Classes and labs 6 hrs. per week.


Minor in Environmental Science - Requirements

Students may combine a minor in Environmental Science with a major in another discipline as part of a Bachelor of Science, Arts or Commerce degree.

The specific Thirty (30) credit hours required to satisfy 9 (b) for a minor in Environmental Science are listed below, for which a minimum GPA of 2.20 is also required:

Nine (9) credit hours from:

  • ENVS 1200 Environmental Challenges
  • ENVS 1250 Physical Processes in the Environment 
  • ENVS 2300 Environmental Science: Populations and Ecosystems
  • ENVS 2310 Environmental Science: Energy, Resources & Pollution

 Nine (9) credit hours from:

Twelve (12) credit hours taken from the following courses and/or from ENVS courses not counted in meeting the above requirements:

NOTE:
For details on the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) degree requirements in the Faculty of Arts, please refer to the BES section of this Academic Calendar.