Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences: foundational science and perspectives on the environment

 The UBC calendar page for Environmental Sciences has formal degree specialization details.


Understanding and managing the pressing environmental challenges of today depends upon solid scientific foundations. Students taking the Environmental Sciences Specialization will gain both a strong foundational science background and a broad perspective on the environment. The focus is on understanding the major environmental issues facing human societies and adopts an integrative cross-disciplinary approach to the study of these issues.

Students graduating from Environmental Science at UBC will develop skills in both analytical and field or community-based methods. Team-work, writing and oral presentations are embedded in the ENVR courses.

Students generally choose to focus their studies either on chemical, physical or computational approaches to Earth Sciences or in areas that are more related to the biological, ecological and conservation sciences. Both perspectives draw upon courses offered by our own department (EOAS), the Department of Geography or the Department of Biology.

All environmental science students are required to do a major project (two terms) in their senior year. Majors students engage in a team project in collaboration with a community partner organization, while Honours students undertake an individual research project with a faculty supervisor.

For career opportunities – see our Career Pathways page.

Degrees Offered


Guidelines for current students


Faculty and Teaching

Our faculty in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences conduct research and teach in the broad fields of geology, mineralogy, geophysics, groundwater hydrology, physical & biological oceanography, climatology, environmental science, glaciology and related disciplines. They are experienced in modern pedagogical practices that emphasize active learning, a balance of solo and group or team learning, and project-based, application-oriented settings. Also, we are constantly innovating and collaborating on educational development with colleagues both within UBC and beyond. Environmental Sciences students in particular also encounter a wide range of faculty in other Departments across UBC’s Faculty of Science.

Student Experiences

Students gain scientific skills and perspectives on environmental issues that are applicable in wide range of occupations or studies. Students will benefit particularly from our …

  • interdisciplinary courses, faculty, and research
  • attention to students, including small classes and a vibrant student community
  • community-focused emphasis in all ENVR courses
  • connections with geoscience, oceanographic, resource sector, and government organizations
  • a departmental commitment to ongoing support of course-development


Courses involve hands-on labs, equipment and computing facilities related to geology, geochemistry and isotope studies, field studies and many more. Examples of the many facilities at EOAS include:

  • A new, modern field station in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley for housing researchers and students and supporting their studies and research,
  • World-class equipment, expertise and capabilities in geochemical research and isotope studies
  • Laboratory facilities to support geological and mineralogical studies
  • Several active student clubs with dedicated space for undergraduates
  • The Pacific Museum of Earth with a large collection of minerals, fossils and rocks,
  • Oceanographic field and research facilities including access to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.
  • Extensive computing capacity for numerical modeling and mapping work.