Academic Calendar 2023/24

Environmental Studies

Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Natural Sciences) degree

Environmental Studies represents an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to examining human-environment relationships. The Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) (Natural Sciences) equips graduates with the tools needed to engage in proactive environmental citizenship and to work in environmental science fields in Canada and abroad. Upon completion, students will have developed the depth of knowledge required to continue to graduate or other professional studies, and they may seek additional related professional accreditation after graduation.

Students interested in a more flexible Arts- and Sciences-based program in environmental studies are encouraged to consider the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES).

Applicants who are unsure about which credential to pursue (BES or BES-NS) should make an appointment with the Advising Centre or contact Environmental Studies for more information.

Entrance requirements

Option 1: Secondary school (for students with secondary school graduation only)

  1. B.C. secondary school graduation or equivalent.
  2. A minimum grade of C+ in English Studies 12 or English First Peoples 12 (see Note 1).
  3. Prerequisites for BIO 111.
  4. Prerequisites for CHEM 110 (See Note 2).
  5. Prerequisites for STAT 104 or STAT 106.

Note 1: Students may also present English 12, English Literature 12, English 12 First Peoples, AP English, or IB English A (standard level or higher level), or out-of-province equivalent.

Note 2: Applicants who plan to complete additional Chemistry should complete the prerequisites for CHEM 113 while in secondary school or through upgrading once at UFV. See CHEM 113 for the current prerequisites for this course.

Option 2: University entrance (for students who have attended some post-secondary school)

  1. Prerequisites for ENGL 105 or CMNS 125.
  2. Prerequisites for BIO 111.
  3. Prerequisites for CHEM 110.
  4. Prerequisites for STAT 104 or STAT 106.
  5. One of the following:
    • A minimum CGPA of 2.50 on the last 18 credits of university-level courses attempted, including completion of GEOG 111 and GEOG 103, with a grade of C or better.
    • Completion of a minimum of 30 credits in courses numbered at the 100 level and above, with a CGPA of 2.00 on all credits attempted.
    • Completion of a minimum of nine transferable credits in courses numbered at the 100 level and above, with a minimum CGPA of 3.00 on all credits attempted.
    • Completion of a post-secondary career or technical diploma (minimum of two years post-secondary credit) from a recognized Canadian or international post-secondary institution, with a minimum CGPA of 2.50 (equated to the UFV grading scheme), calculated on all courses taken.
    • Completion of a three- or four-year Bachelor degree from a recognized Canadian or International institution, with a minimum GPA of 2.00 (equated to the UFV grading scheme). Students who have completed a previous degree are governed by UFV's Subsequent and Concurrent Bachelor Degree policy (98).

Students who do not meet these requirements might consider Qualifying Studies and/or a meeting with an Academic Advisor.

When to apply

Applications are accepted for entrance to the Fall, Winter, and Summer semesters. For application deadlines, see Specific intake application process.

How to apply

  1. Apply online at

    Additional documents required for a complete application:

    • Official transcripts (or interim transcripts) from all secondary and post-secondary institutions attended showing grade/course achievement as per entrance requirements. To be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly to UFV from the originating institution; see the Transfer Credit section for details.
  2. Applicants will be advised of an admission decision and, if accepted, will be provided with registration information. A deposit is required prior to registration (see the Fees and Other Costs section) and will be applied toward tuition fees.
  3. In cases where course work is in progress, an admission decision may be made conditional upon completion of academic requirements.

Basis for admission decision

Applicants who meet the entrance requirements will be admitted in order of their application date. This date is set when an application, all required documentation, and the application fee have been submitted.

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section. Additional fees for course field trips and practicum courses will apply to all students enrolled in Environmental Studies courses, and students enrolled in courses within the degree, e.g. Geography.

Program duration

With appropriate planning, the 120 credits required for the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Natural Sciences) degree can be completed in four years of full-time study. Because upper-level courses are offered on a limited basis, students should seek the help of an Advisor to plan their coursework in advance, in order to complete their degree in a timely manner. Part-time studies are available.


The majority of courses in the program will be offered on the Abbotsford and Chilliwack campuses; required Agriculture courses are offered in Chilliwack. Students may choose to complete a practicum in order to meet requirements. Practicums may be Canada-based or international.

Program outline

BES (Natural Sciences) students are required to take the following:

Environmental core: 24–30 credits

Course Title Credits
CMNS 257/ GEOG 257 Environment: Science and Communications 3
ENV 200 Living in Our Watershed 4
ENV 310 Leadership in Environmental Professions 3
or PORT 398 Portfolio I: Bridging University and Career  
ENV 410 Environmental Seminar 4
GEOG 111 Environmental Issues and Strategies 3
GEOG 331 Environmental Assessment and Management 4
PHIL 318 Environmental Ethics 3
One of: 0–6
COOP 110 Co-op Work Term Performance and Report I (see Note 1)  
GEOG 412 Environmental Geography Practicum  
  Demonstration of previous environmental work (see Note 2)  

Note 1: Students must be admitted to the Co-operative Education program in order to take COOP courses. COOP 110 is the only COOP course that may be used toward program requirements.

Note 2: Demonstration of previous environmental work (paid or unpaid) corresponding to professional competency learning outcomes is subject to program chair review. See the BES website for more details.

Research, methods, and engagement core: 23–26 credits

Course Title Credits
CMNS 125 Communicating Professionally to Academic and Workplace Audiences 3
or ENGL 105 Academic Writing  
GEOG 253 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 4
GEOG 353 GIS Applications 4
or GEOG 357/ BIO 357 Conservation GIS  
PHIL 100 Reasoning: An Introduction to Critical Thinking 3
One of: (see Note 1) 3–4
PSYC 110 Applied Statistical Analysis in Psychology
STAT 104 Introductory Statistics
STAT 106 Statistics I
STAT 270/ MATH 270 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
  One course from List 1C (see Note 2): Professional and Research Skills (lower-level) 3–4
  One course from List 2B (see Note 2): Professional and Research Skills II (upper-level) 3–4

Note 1: Students are encouraged to complete their Statistics requirement within the first 30 credits (direct entry) or first year in the program (transfer students).

Note 2: Environmental careers are very diverse, with many requiring practical experience in communications and media, GIS, statistics, and others demanding graduate-level study. Because students will choose to pursue different pathways, they are encouraged to select the Professional and Research Skills course of greatest relevance to their goals.

Breadth requirements: 53–61 credits

Course Title Credits
  One course from List 1A: Society and Culture 3–4
  One course from List 1B: Political Economy 3
BIO 111 Introductory Biology I 5
BIO 112 Introductory Biology II 5
BIO 210 Introduction to Ecology 4
or BIO 219/ GEOG 219 Biogeography  
CHEM 110 Introductory Chemistry (see Note 1) 4-5
or CHEM 113 Principles of Chemistry I (see Note 1)  
GEOG 103 The Physical Environment 4
GEOG 201 Climate and People 4
or GEOG 202 Understanding Your Earth: Landforms and Processes  
One of: 3
AGRI 124 Introduction to Horticulture  
AGRI 163 Pest Biology and Identification  
AGRI 204 Introduction to Soils and Soil Fertility  
AGRI 220 Plants in the Landscape  
AGRI 237 Introduction to the Health of Farm Animals  
AGRI 238 Equine Production and Management  
AGRI 239 Management and Production of Beef, Sheep, and Goats  
AGRI 256 Management and Production of Poultry and Swine  
  One courses from List 2A: Society, Culture, and Economy 3–4
  Five courses from List 2C: Sciences II (see Note 2) 15-20

Note 1: Students wishing to complete additional courses in Chemistry will be required to take CHEM 113 and CHEM 114. Please see calendar for prerequisites for CHEM 113. Courses in 200-level Chemistry and above are highly recommended for students continuing on into Environmental Science employment and graduate school.

Note 2: Students wishing to apply for the Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) designation will need to take courses from this list that fits the B.C. Institute of Agrologists' definition of “agrology”. These students are also encouraged to complete a sixth course from List 2C, including one or more upper-level AGRI courses.

Elective courses

Students will also complete 7–24 elective credits. A minimum of 45 upper-level credits are required to complete the degree.

Thematic lists

Some of the following courses have prerequisites. Please check the course descriptions section of the calendar for details.

List 1A: Society and Culture

Course Title Credits
AH 270 Architecture and Nature: Building Between Earth and Sky 3
ANTH 268 Culture and Environment 3
ENGL 215 Creative Writing: Creative Non-fiction 3
GEOG 109/ GDS 100 A World of Development 3
GEOG 140 Human Geography 3
IPK 102 Introduction to Indigenous Studies 3
MACS 130 Introduction to Digital Media and Communications 3
MACS 210 History of Communication 3
MACS 240 Media, Money, and Power 3
SOC 247 Culture of Capitalism 3
SOC 260/ ANTH 260 Food for Thought: Food, Culture, and Society 3
SOC 289 Sociology of Animals in Western Society 3

List 1B: Political Economy

Course Title Credits
ECON 100 Principles of Microeconomics 3
ECON 101 Principles of Macroeconomics 3
ECON 242/ GEOG 242 Economic Geography 3

List 1C: Professional and Research Skills

Course Title Credits
AGRI 247 Enterprise Project: Part I 3
BUS 204 Introduction to Non-Profit Management 3
CHEM 241 Analytical Chemistry 4
CIS 145 Web Publishing 3
CMNS 180 Introduction to Intercultural Communication 3
CMNS 235 Public Speaking 3
CMNS 251 Professional Report Writing 3
COMP 120 Computing for the Sciences 3
GD 157 Digital Design Media I 3
GD 159 Digital Design Media II 3
GD 202 Interactive Design I: Foundations in Web Design 3
GEOG 252 Explanation in Geography: Quantitative Methods 4
MATH 111 Calculus I 4
MATH 112 Calculus II 4
MATH 118 Calculus II for Life Sciences 4
PSYC 202 Research Methods in Psychology 4
SOC 255/ ANTH 255/ MACS 255 Introduction to Social Research 3
VA 180 Digital Photography 3
VA 271 Image, Sound, and Performance Art I 3

List 2A: Society, Culture, and Economy

Course Title Credits
AGRI 371 Sustainable Holistic Agriculture: Planning and Practices 3
BUS 400 Business and Society 3
ECON 352 Technological Progress and Economic Growth 3
ECON 361/ GEOG 361 Environmental Economics 3
GDS 332 Refugees, Displacement, and Development 4
GEOG 311 Global Resources and Environment 4
GEOG 312 Political Ecology 4
GEOG 314 Geography of Food 4
GEOG 340/ GDS 340 Geographies of Development: Landscapes of Inequality 4
GEOG 360 Introduction to Regional and Community Planning 4
GEOG 364 International Planning and Development Policy: Adapting to Climate Change 4
IDS 300F Interdisciplinary Studies III: Planting Reconciliation 3
IPK 386 Indigenous Worldviews of Turtle Island 3
IPK 401 Indigenous Worldviews and Spirituality 4
PHIL 412 Corporations, Globalization, and Ethics (formerly PHIL 312) 3
PSYC 364 Environmental Psychology 3
RLST 380 Religion, Nature, and Science 3
SOC 346 Environmental Justice 4
SOC 348 Social Movements 4
SOC 360/ ANTH 360 Eating and Thinking: Food, Identity, and Power in Global Societies 4
SOC 368/ ANTH 368 Environment and Society (formerly SOC 468/ANTH 468) 4

List 2B: Professional and Research Skills II

Course Title Credits
CMNS 300/ JRNL 300 Introduction to the Practice of Journalism (discontinued) 3
CMNS 301/ JRNL 301 Advanced Practice of Journalism 4
CMNS 312 Public Relations Campaigns 3
CMNS 325 Writing for the Sciences and Technologies 3
CMNS 335 Advanced Public Speaking 4
CMNS 360 Advocacy Writing 3
CMNS 375 Understanding Design for Print Publications 3
CMNS 380 The Cross-Generational Workplace 3
CMNS 465 Grant and Proposal Writing 3
CMNS 480/ MACS 480 Crisis Communications 4
ENGL 373/ JRNL 373 Creative Writing: Advanced Creative Non-Fiction 4
GEOG 353 GIS Applications 4
GEOG 357/ BIO 357 Conservation GIS 4
GEOG 453 Remote Sensing of the Environment 4
GEOG 454 Geospatial Data Analysis and Modeling 4
IPK 344/ ANTH 344/ SOC 344 Indigenous Research Methodologies (formerly IPK 444/ANTH 444/SOC 444) 4
MEDA 469 Design Thinking for Creative Leadership 3
PHIL 305 Philosophy of Decision Making and Dispute Resolution (discontinued) 3
PHIL 310 Ethics and Public Policy (discontinued) 3
SOC 313/ GEOG 313 Agriculture and Rural Life 4
SOC 352/ POSC 352 Public Policy Analysis 4
SOC 353 Program Evaluation 4
SOC 355/ ANTH 355/ MACS 355 Quantitative Research Methods 4
SOC 356/ ANTH 356/ MACS 356 Qualitative Research Methods 4
SOC 357 Advanced Research Methods 4
SOC 358 Advanced Research on a Selected Topic 4
SOC 475 Communities, Difference, and Belonging 4
STAT 307 Data Visualization 3
STAT 315 Applied Regression Analysis 3
STAT 330 Design of Experiments 3
STAT 350 Survey Sampling 3
VA 365/ FILM 365/ JRNL 365 Documentary Video Storytelling 3
VA 371 New Media III: Interactive Art 3
VA 372 New Media IV: Project in New Media 3
VA 390 Community Arts Practice 3

List 2C: Sciences II

Course Title Credits
AGRI 311 Sustainable Soil Management 3
AGRI 321 Vegetable Crop Production: Science and Practice 3
AGRI 323 Fruit Crop Production: Science and Practice 3
AGRI 324 Greenhouse Production: Science and Practice 3
AGRI 327  Nursery Production and Propagation: Science and Practice 3
AGRI 328 Forage Crop Production: Science and Practice 3
AGRI 331 Dairy Herd Management: Science and Practice 3
BIO 310 Conservation Biology 3
BIO 330 Plants and Animals of British Columbia 4
BIO 335/ GEOG 335 Freshwater Ecology 4
BIO 340 Population and Community Ecology 4
BIO 360 Insect Biology 4
BIO 370 Introduction to Mycology 4
BIO 380 Ornithology 4
BIO 410/ GEOG 410 Plant Ecology 4
BIO 426 Environmental Microbiology 4
BIO 430 Forest Ecology 3
CHEM 311 Intermediate Organic Chemistry I 4
CHEM 312 Intermediate Organic Chemistry II 4
CHEM 341 Instrumental Analysis/Applied Spectroscopy 4
CHEM 412 Special Topics in Chemistry 3
GEOG 302 River Geomorphology 4
GEOG 303 Environmental Hydrology 4
GEOG 304 Coasts and Climate Change 4
GEOG 307 Urban Climatology 4
GEOG 308 Climate Change and Variability 4
GEOG 315 Soilscapes 4
GEOG 318 Water Resources Management 4
GEOG 319/ BIO 319 Swamps and Bogs 4
GEOG 402 Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology 4
GEOG 419/ BIO 419 Paleoecology 4
IPK 477/BIO 477 Traditional Ecological Knowledges 4
Any BIO or GEOG special topics course, directed studies, or field course designated with an environmental science focus (contact the Biology department or Geography program for more information).

Note: No more than four credits may be in directed studies/directed readings courses.

Co-operative Education option

Students in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Natural Sciences) degree program are strongly encouraged to apply for Co-operative Education. Co-operative Education is common to most Environmental Studies programs. The Co-operative Education option provides students with the opportunity to acquire paid, career-related work experience in conjunction with their studies in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Natural Sciences) program. Co-operative Education experiences can be used to meet the program's professional competency requirement. See the Co-operative Education section for more details.

Co-op students will use COOP 110 to satisfy part of the Environmental Core requirements. No additional COOP courses may be used toward program requirements.

Program requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 120 credits, to include a minimum of 45 upper-level (300- or 400-level) credits.

Minors in other programs

Students completing requirements for the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Natural Sciences) may combine this with the requirements for any of the existing minors or extended minors offered at UFV, with the exception of Biology, Geography, or Physical Geography. In such cases, the transcript will specify both the BES (Natural Sciences) and extended minor or minor program completed.

In order to complete the degree in a timely fashion, students wishing to combine the BES (Natural Sciences) degree with any minor and/or extended minor (except Biology, Geography, or Physical Geography) must seek approval of the appropriate program advisors. Students should be aware that if they choose to fulfill the requirements of both the degree and a minor or extended minor, they will most likely need to complete more than 120 credits in order to meet all requirements, and will need to meet the graduation/program requirements for both the degree and the selected minor or extended minor.

Courses at other institutions

UFV students who wish to take academic work at other institutions for credit toward the degree must obtain permission in advance from an Advisor. A Letter of Permission request is available at or can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. Students must be in good standing (CGPA > 2.00) to receive a Letter of Permission. When approval has been granted, the Office of the Registrar will issue a Letter of Permission to the student.

Policies relevant to the BES (Natural Sciences)

Course Repeat policy (86): Students may not register for a course more than twice without the permission of the department head/director for the discipline or their designate. All attempts will be recorded on the transcript, but only the highest grade will be included in the GPA. Transfer courses are considered in the number of attempts. A “W” or “AU” course is not counted as a duplication. Multiple repeats of the same course count as a single duplication.

Undergraduate Continuance policy (92): Students must have a CGPA of at least 2.00 to remain in good academic standing. Failure to meet or maintain a 2.00 will result in restrictions on registration and may lead to academic suspension.

Subsequent and Concurrent Bachelor Degree policy (98): Students who have already completed a degree at the bachelor’s level may be granted an additional bachelor’s degree provided that the two degrees are different, and that the student has met the program requirements. Students will complete at least one third of the total credits required for the additional degree, including at least 30 additional upper-level credits, beyond the credits taken in the first or concurrent degree. All 30 upper-level credits must be obtained through completion of UFV courses.

Transfer Credit policy (107) and Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) policy (94): Students who successfully complete academic course work at another post-secondary institution can transfer this credit to UFV to satisfy BA degree requirements. They can also earn academic credit through an assessment of prior learning.


Of 120 credits for the BES, at least 60 must be completed at UFV. At least 30 upper-level credits must be completed at UFV.

Graduation requirements

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure all program requirements are met. This should be done by regular consultation with an Advisor. To be eligible to graduate, students must have completed the BES (Natural Sciences) program with a minimum program GPA of 2.00.

Students must apply for graduation in the first month of their final semester. Visit the Graduation webpage for more information. The final deadline for students who wish to attend the June Convocation ceremony is April 1 of each year, with all program requirements completed by April 30.

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.

Current Students