What is a Major in Human Dimensions of Environmental Management?

This major will allow you to focus on how social change is involved in environmental issues. You’ll learn how to use collective action, policies, institutions and management approaches to influence environmental and natural resource issues. Professors will offer current events as practical case studies to deepen your understanding of concepts and principles. Graduates will emerge with a deep understanding of environmental change that can be applied to a variety of workplaces. 

Is this program for me?

Are you interested in the world around you, and how it shapes and is shaped by the people within it? Study and develop real-world solutions for environmental issues such as land conservation, water conservation, biodiversity and adaptation to climate change in this program. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in field schools, as well as a project-based capstone course, to practice critical thinking that will serve you well throughout your career.

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Featured Courses

The Plate, the Planet and Society (AREC 173)

A cornerstone course that provides an introduction to social perspectives on everything from what we eat for breakfast to how we protect endangered species and agricultural landscapes. Topics covered include current issues around food production and consumption and issues related to sustainability of our natural and social systems. Debates over new technologies (e.g., GMOs, nanotechnology), food, environment, and health can only be understood in the context of political, economic and personal decisions.

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The Politics of Food and Natural Resources (R SOC 271)

Students will gain a sociological understanding of contemporary Canadian politics in the food and natural resources sectors. Examination of the nature of political organizations and policymaking in Canada; the particular roles played by the state, the public, and certain sectors of civil society, including social movements, industry organizations, labour unions, scientific organizations, and rural and aboriginal peoples. Contemporary case studies may include climate change and energy dependence, genetic engineering in agribusiness, the organic food products movement, mining in the circumpolar north, forestry expansion in the boreal region and cod management in the Atlantic fisheries.

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Sociology of Environment and Development (R SOC 365)

Examines the relationship between development and environment at the local, regional, national and international levels. Critically discusses development strategies, the environmental and social forces promoting them, and the distribution of environmental and social impacts. Also examines alternative development strategies, sustainable development experiences and relevant international policy.

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Environmental Sociology (R SOC 450)

Introduction to a field in sociological inquiry that addresses how individuals and groups influence, and are influenced by, natural resources and environmental conditions. Examination of individual-level influences, such as beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as broader social-level influences at the institutional and organizational level. Focus is on providing an understanding and appreciation for the interaction between human attitudes, behaviors, and organizations with other components of the ecosystem.

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Feature Careers

Sustainability specialists champion environmental best practices to help their team deliver a project that meets or exceeds green targets. They address issues such as waste-stream management, tracking and minimizing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts, green and social procurement practices, and achieving energy efficiency.

Conservation officers protect and manage natural resources and visitors in parks and on public lands. Average salary: $74,795

Source: Government of Alberta, Occupations in Alberta



  • Conservation Officer
  • Environmental Scientist/Consultant/Coordinator/Educator
  • Environmental Communications Officer
  • Environmental Impact Assessor
  • Environmental Policy Analyst
  • Environmental Training Specialist
  • Land Use Advisor
  • Sustainability Specialist

Check out the U of A’s Environmental Science Career Guide for more options.


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