What is a Major in Northern Systems?

Are you ready for a little adventure, and to learn on location? Take University of Alberta courses at Yukon University in Whitehorse to receive a degree in Northern Environmental and Conservation Sciences (ENCS) with a major in Northern Systems!
Study natural and social sciences in relation to issues such as wildlife conservation, land use, resource management under modern treaties, energy and global climate change. This program includes significant northern and Indigenous studies content, reflecting the local environmental, economic and social context. Students develop the knowledge and skills to understand environmental conditions and evaluate impacts on plants, soils, water quantity and quality, and animals. The structure and function of ecosystems are explored as students learn to plan, assess and implement conservation and restoration measures for natural and managed ecosystems.

Application Information

Start by contacting the Northern ENCS Program Coordinator at Yukon University (ualberta@yukonu.ca) to discuss if this unique program is for you, then apply for admission through the U of A. U of A application procedures, deadlines and fees apply.

Yukon University Transfer Students
Students planning to apply to transfer to the ENCS Program from a diploma program at Yukon University should complete a minimum of 24 credits (8 courses) from the core and/or elective courses listed in the attached Recommended Courses document: Recommended Courses for 1st and 2nd Year Students Interested in the BSc/ENCS.pdf Students applying from other post-secondary institutions should contact the ENCS Program Advisors at ualberta@yukonu.ca about transfer credit options.


“For effective conservation, I believe that there is more to be considered than the biological and ecological factors. Conservation should be an inclusive and collaborative process, expanding on both western science and traditional knowledge for the benefit of all wildlife, landscapes, and communities.” Read more...


- Undergraduate student Rachel Wiebe explored new perspectives, as well as the land and culture of the Yukon, during the REN R 465 Northern Exposures Field Course.

Photo by Rachel Wiebe


Featured Courses

Indigenous | Canada: Looking Forward/Looking Back (NS 200)

Course available to students with an interest in acquiring a basic familiarity with Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationships, particularly in the lands now called Alberta and Canada. Consists of a survey of historical and contemporary relationships between Indigenous peoples and newcomers, with the aim of expanding the understandings held by many Canadians about these relationships.

View in the course catalogue

Biological Adaptations to Northern Environments (REN R 463)

An overview of evolutionary processes and their role in shaping animals and plants in northern environments; adaptations to extreme conditions and potential effects of climate change will be explored.

View in the course catalogue




Climate Change and the North (REN R 466)

Current and projected impacts of climate change on the circumpolar north, including the land, its biota, northern communities and drivers that shape these interactions.

View in the course catalogue

Land-use Planning in Canada's North (REN R 491)

Contemporary approaches to land-use planning applied to northern systems in Canada, addressing the integration of social, environmental and economic values, and maintenance of ecosystem integrity through proactive measures. 

View in the course catalogue



Feature Careers

Indigenous liaisons help build and maintain positive and effective relationships between people of Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) cultures, people who are not Indigenous to Canada, and stakeholders who work for or are served by an organization that employs an Indigenous liaison. Average salary: $62,124

Conservation officers protect and manage natural resources and visitors in parks and on public lands. Are you passionate about protecting the environment? Do you have strong people skills? Do you love being outdoors? Do you deal effectively with difficult situations? Then you may find being a conservation officer is a natural career choice. Average salary: $74,795

Source: Government of Alberta, Occupations in Alberta



  • Indigenous relations specialist 
  • Traditional ecological knowledge advisor 
  • Sustainability specialist 
  • Environmental relations advisor
  • Environmental educator 

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


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