Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies

Why Study the Environment?

It will take interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world’s complex environmental problems, such as climate change, natural resource depletion, pollution and biodiversity loss. To equip our future leaders to tackle these challenges, the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Arts have partnered to offer the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. This flexible, collaborative program also draws on the Faculties of Native Studies and Science to expose students to a diverse range of views and concepts.

This degree will educate students in the scientific, cultural, economic, moral, political and social dimensions of environmental issues, and develop the expertise required to identify, frame and develop solutions to important environmental issues. You will gain scientific literacy and critical thinking skills to analyze complex environmental problems and evaluate sustainable solutions. Throughout the program, investigate food, natural resource economics, politics, biology, geology, history and sociology, among other topics, to graduate with a well-rounded perspective and the skills to build a better and more sustainable world.  

Hands-on Learning

Take action during your degree by pursuing the Certificate in Sustainability, which challenges you to apply what you learn in the classroom to solve real-world problems. Your independent project can address renewable resources, social sustainability, waste and recycling, or other areas of interest with environmental benefit. Use this opportunity to delve deeper into a previous school project, or build off an internship, volunteer or fieldwork experience. Upon graduation, you’ll receive a certificate in addition to your degree – and an edge in the job market.


Culture, Society, and Peoples of Canada

Three cows outside a feed shed.Understand Canada’s environmental challenges and study indigenous perspectives and issues in environmental and resource management.  

Program Requirements
Politics, Society, and the Global Environment

An artistic image of a field of snow. The image is crisply focused at the bottom and the trees and builidings in the distance are intentionally out of focus.Learn about political and social methodologies relevant for understanding environmental issues from a global perspective. 

Program Requirements
Food and Society

An artistic image of a field of snow. The image is crisply focused at the bottom and the trees and builidings in the distance are intentionally out of focus.Explore issues related to sustainable food and agriculture, incorporating social, political, cultural, economic, ethical and feminist perspectives on issues of contemporary food production. 

Program Requirements
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Featured Courses

Build your knowledge base to protect Canada's northern systems while earning credit towards your degree by spending a semester at Yukon University. By learning and training in Whitehorse, students gain socially and ecologically relevant experience.
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 the sustainability of our natural and social systems. Debates over new technologies (e.g., GMOs, nanotechnology), environment, and health can only be understood in the context of political, economic and personal decisions.




Students from faculties outside the Faculty of Native Studies are invited to acquire 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.
Introduction to animals in the context of conservation, interactions with people, and roles in natural ecosystems. Labs provide a survey of Western Canadian animal life, both vertebrate and invertebrate, with emphasis on recognition of higher taxa and on hierarchical classification. Learn on location on a field trip.



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.

Interpretive naturalists explain the natural and scientific features of parks, botanical gardens and wilderness areas to visitors. Average salary: $91,023

Source: Government of Alberta, Occupations in Alberta


Careers in Environmental Studies

  • Community Relations Advisor
  • Public Servant & Sustainability Consultant
  • Sustainability Coordinator
  • Environmental Education Specialist
  • Policy Analyst
  • Environmental/Indigenous Relations Advisor
  • Communications Officer

Turn your commitment to environmental sustainability into a lifelong career. Graduates are well prepared for careers in law, business, economics, resource management and journalism, as well as graduate education in either the professions or in research. Check out the U of A's Environmental Career Guide for more options.


Study Here

The U of A was recently ranked 7th in the world in our efforts to advance the global Sustainable Development Goals, which makes it the perfect place to study and evaluate sustainable solutions. The environmental studies program at the U of A is offered jointly through the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Arts to offer a multidisciplinary educational foundation in environmental sciences, social studies and humanities. Be inspired by faculty members and staff who apply their broad scientific expertise in world-class facilities to improve lives at local and international levels. Students have access to one of the largest faculty scholarship programs at the institution, and can get involved with the thriving student community for a memorable and life-changing university experience.