Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology

Why Study Human Ecology?

Human Ecology is a dynamic field that explores the relationships between people and the environments they interact with. In this program, students will take a multidisciplinary approach to solve problems and enhance potential in all environments where people live and work: the social, natural, cultural, political and material. It's a fascinating, applied field of study that provides graduates with the tools necessary to understand and enhance everyday life. This program will help you prepare for a future career as a professional human ecologist (P.HEc) or for work in one of the many related fields. Our department specializes in two areas: 

  • Family science, which includes studies on family dynamics, and working with government and community partners to enhance the well-being of children, youth and families. By addressing challenges throughout the human lifecourse,  human ecologists in this area help families reach their full potential.
  • Clothing, textiles and material culture, such as the creative, technical, historical, cultural and applied aspects of clothing and textiles and interiors. Human ecologists in this field may dedicate their careers to fashion, protective textiles and clothing sustainability.

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Hands-on Learning

Study the relationship between humans and the environments in which they live and work by learning on location. The human ecology program requires students to participate in a 200-hour practicum placement to turn your classroom learning into real-world experience, plus build your professional network. You’ll apply some of the theoretical concepts from your studies at community organizations and agencies under the guidance of a practicing professional.


Clothing, Textiles & Material Culture

Lauren in a sewing lab, standing in front of tables with sewing machines.Explore the creative, technical, historical, social and applied aspects of clothing and textiles, products and interiors, and examine issues such as increasing sustainability in the global fashion and textile industry.

Program Requirements
Family Science

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.Specialize in family theory and family policy, and practice across many dimensions including parent-child relationships, work-family integration, family poverty and marginalized youth and families.

Program Requirements



Associate professor and relationship researcher Matthew Johnson shares what students can look forward to in studying family science. In his undergraduate courses, like Intimate Relationships and Interviewing & Counselling, students will learn to help people through social service settings.


A medium shot of Kevin, in an open space inside a glass enclosed Atrium. He is smiling and looking off-camera.


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Featured Courses

An introduction to interviewing and counseling strategies for working with individuals using a strengths-based, human ecological approach.
An inquiry into the nature of sexual behavior, its personal and cultural sources, and the personal, familial and societal implications.




In this studio course students develop fundamental awareness and skills for the textiles and clothing field including machine operation, design and construction terminology, pattern manipulation and fit, and quality construction techniques. Students construct samples and garments with a focus on professional standards in problem solving and production.
Students explore opportunities offered by nanotechnologies and smart materials/structures as they relate to textile products. Mechanisms involved, materials used, fabrication processes, properties/performance obtained, and some examples of commercial applications are presented. Challenges encountered with these new technologies are also discussed.



Feature Careers

Human Ecologists help people enhance their well-being and quality of life at home, at work and in the community. They provide advisory, counselling, management, research and education services related to family functioning, parenting, consumer issues, money management, textiles and clothing, and community resources.

Average Salary:  $66,952

Conservators plan, coordinate and participate in the preservation and conservation of natural and cultural heritage. This may include contemporary, historic and prehistoric objects, Indigenous materials, natural history specimens, archival materials and works of art. They also study and manage environmental influences on artifact preservation.

Average Salary:  $72,557

Source: Government of Alberta, Occupations in Alberta


Careers in Human Ecology

  • Human Ecologist
  • Conservator
  • Family Support Worker
  • Child and Youth Program Coordinator
  • Policy Analyst
  • Seniors Support Worker
  • Community Developer
  • Fashion Marketer or Buyer
  • Retail Manager
  • Interior Decorator
  • Historic Sites or Theatre Costume Designer
  • Textile Quality Control Manager
  • Clothing Construction Instructor or Designer

    Check out the U of A's Human Ecology Career Guide for more options.


Study Here

When you study in the U of A’s Department of Human Ecology, you’re joining a tradition that’s over 100 years old. Students interested in clothing and fashion will have access to the Anne Lambert Clothing and Textile Collection, one of the country's leading collections of fashion and textiles, housing more than 23,000 garments, accessories and textiles.

The Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) at the University of Alberta provides solutions to global challenges in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, the environment and human ecology. ALES faculty members and staff 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.