Academic Calendar 2024/25

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).

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

  3. One of the following:
    • (One of Life Sciences 11, Biology 11, or BIO 083 with a C+ or better) and (one of Chemistry 12, CHEM 093, or CHEM 110 with a C or better).
    • (One of Anatomy and Physiology 12, Biology 12, or BIO 093 with a C+ or better) and (one of Chemistry 11, Chemistry 12, CHEM 083, CHEM 093, or CHEM 110 with a C or better).

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

  1. Completion of 9 university-level credits with a minimum CGPA of 2.00 on all attempted credits.
  2. One of the following:
    • (One of Life Sciences 11, Biology 11, or BIO 083 with a C+ or better) and (one of Chemistry 12, CHEM 093, or CHEM 110 with a C or better).
    • (One of Anatomy and Physiology 12, Biology 12, or BIO 093 with a C+ or better) and (one of Chemistry 11, Chemistry 12, CHEM 083, CHEM 093, or CHEM 110 with a C or better).

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 courses 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
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 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: 24–26 credits

Course Title Credits
CMNS 125 Communicating Professionally to Academic and Workplace Audiences 3
or ENGL 105 Academic Writing  
ENV 212 Environmental Field and Lab Techniques 4
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
Plus: One course from List 2B: Professional and Research Skills (see Note 2) 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 203 Fundamentals of Integrated Pest Management  
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  
AGRI 306 Field Techniques in Integrated Pest Management  
  One courses from List 2A: Society, Culture, and Economy 3–4
  Five courses from List 2C: Sciences (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 130 Geography of Canada 3
GEOG 140 Human Geography 3
IPK 102 Introduction to Indigenous Peoples Knowledges 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 2A: Society, Culture, and Economy

Course Title Credits
AGRI 371 Agroecology 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
IPK 386 Braiding Indigenous Knowledges, Practices, and Worldviews 3
IPK 401 Indigenous Worldviews and Spirituality 3
PSYC 364 Environmental Psychology 3
RLST 380 Religion, Nature, and Science (discontinued) 3
SOC 346 Environmental Justice 4
SOC 348 Social Movements 4
SOC 368/ ANTH 368 Power, Inequality, and the Environment 4

List 2B: Professional and Research Skills

Course Title Credits
CMNS 300/ JRNL 300 Introduction to the Practice of Journalism (discontinued) 3
CMNS 301/ JRNL 301 Multimedia 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 465 Grant and Proposal Writing 3
CMNS 480/ MACS 480 Crisis Communications 4
ENV 345 Invasive Species Management 4
GD 469 Design Inquiry: Practice (formerly MEDA 469) 3
GEOG 252 Explanation in Geography: Quantitative Methods 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 Research in Action: Indigenous Meaning Making (formerly also offered as ANTH 344/SOC 344) 3
PLAN 366 Resiliency Principles and Spatial Planning 4
SOC 255/ MACS 255 Introduction to Social Research (formerly also offered as ANTH 255) 3
SOC 355/ MACS 355 Quantitative Research Methods (formerly also offered as ANTH 355) 4
SOC 356/ MACS 356 Qualitative Research Methods (formerly also offered as ANTH 356) 4
SOC 357 Advanced Research Methods 4
STAT 307 Data Visualization 3
STAT 315 Applied Regression Analysis 3
STAT 330 Design of Experiments 3
STAT 350 Survey Sampling 3
VA 390 Community Arts Practice 3

Note: Students choosing to take lower-level courses in List 2B must ensure that they still meet the prerequisites for the required upper-level courses.

List 2C: Sciences

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 Protected Crop 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 307 Anatomy and Diversity of Plants 4
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 390 Animal Behaviour 4
BIO 410/ GEOG 410 Plant Ecology 4
BIO 418 Ethnobotany 4
BIO 426 Environmental Microbiology 4
BIO 430 Forest Ecology 3
CHEM 341 Instrumental Analysis/Applied Spectroscopy 4
ENV 321 Science of Waste Management 4
ENV 345 Invasive Species Management 4
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