Environmental Science

Program Overview

The Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences offers opportunities for graduate studies in environmental science, leading to the degrees of Master of Environmental Science (MEnvSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Science.

The MEnvSc program is a 12-month professional program that is largely course based for two sessions. Students spend their third session in a workplace internship or carrying out an environmentally related research with a faculty member. A part-time option is available.

Students choose this degree program following undergraduate training in environmental science or one of its foundational disciplines such as geology, biology, chemistry, or engineering. Graduates are well placed to assume positions in government, industry, or non-governmental organizations that impact environmental policy and practice. Students can specialize in Conservation and Biodiversity; Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation; or choose the general program on Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems.

The PhD program attracts students from various disciplines who are interested in research on the causes of or solutions to the pressing environmental problems of our time, using perspectives from different disciplines. It prepares students for careers in teaching and research within universities and colleges, and also in government laboratories or private organizations where fundamental research on the environment is carried out. The program is designed to provide a broad knowledge of current environmental research issues, and specific training in the most appropriate research methodologies to address questions that lie at the interface between traditional science disciplines.


Quick Facts

Domestic International
Application payment deadline MEnvSc, PhD:

30-Apr-2020

MEnvSc, PhD:

15-Jan-2020

Supporting documents deadline MEnvSc, PhD:

15-May-2020

MEnvSc, PhD:

1-Feb-2020

Minimum admission average MEnvSc:

Mid-B average in the last two years

PhD:

B+ average in Master’s

MEnvSc:

Mid-B average in the last two years

PhD:

B+ average in Master’s

Direct entry option from bachelor's to PhD? PhD:

Yes (minimum A-minus average in bachelor’s degree)

PhD:

Yes (minimum A-minus average in bachelor’s degree)

Is a supervisor identified before or after admission? MEnvSc:

After

PhD:

Before

MEnvSc:

After

PhD:

Before

If a supervisor is identified after admission (as per question above), is admission conditional upon securing a supervisor? MEnvSc:

No

MEnvSc:

No

Is a supervisor assigned by the graduate unit or secured by the applicant? MEnvSc, PhD:

Applicant

MEnvSc, PhD:

Applicant

Program length (full-time only) MEnvSc:

3 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years if entering directly from bachelor’s

MEnvSc:

3 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years if entering directly from bachelor’s


Master of Environmental Science

Program Description

The MEnvSc is a 12-month degree program committed to the development of well-trained practitioners in environmental science in all fields, primarily to meet the needs of industry, governments, and environmental policy/education organizations.

The MEnvSc offers three enrolment options—research, internship, and part-time studies—in each of the three fields. The three designated fields of study are:

  1. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: Students are trained in the science, data analysis, and rigorous assessment process for the impacts of climate change on a wide range of natural and human systems.

  2. Conservation and Biodiversity: A major focus is the application of ecological theory and principles to real-world conservation challenges.

  3. Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems: A major focus is understanding the flux of contaminants and excess nutrients through surface and sub-surface environments and the methods/solutions needed to remediate contaminated or damaged environmental systems.

In all three fields, students can opt for an internship or a research option after eight months of coursework. The Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences has the support of two dedicated internship coordinators who help students find and successfully complete an internship by focusing on development of their job seeking, interpersonal, communication, and critical thinking skills. The MEnvSc program works closely with a broad employer base for internship opportunities. Research-stream MEnvSc students receive intensive and individualized academic and research support from mentors of their choice.

Full-time and part-time study options are available in all fields and study modes.
 

Field: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

  • A minimum mid-B grade average in the last two years of the undergraduate program.

  • Applicants must submit a written statement explaining their objectives for entering the program and the suitability of their background. Appropriate post-graduate work experiences will be considered as part of the admission application.

  • A science or engineering undergraduate degree including at least two half courses or one full course in each of chemistry, physics, calculus, and biology.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework consists of 5.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • EES 1100H Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 1117H Climate Change Impact Assessment (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 1132H Climate Data Analysis (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 1133H Climate Change Science and Modelling (0.5 FCE)

    • Completion of two of the following three courses:

      • EES 1131H Applied Climatology (0.5 FCE)

      • EES 1134H Climate Change Policy (0.5 FCE)

      • EES 1136H Climate Change Adaptation (0.5 FCE)

    • Completion of either:

      • 0.5 FCE in elective courses (see course list) and 2.0 FCEs for the internship (EES 1116Y), or

      • 1.0 FCE in elective courses (see course list) and 1.5 FCEs for the research paper (EES 1101Y). Students planning to complete the research paper option must complete the prerequisite (EES 1114H).

  • Students will choose either a research or internship option.
    Research option: Each student is required to have a research supervisor. For full-time students, the intensive research necessary for the research paper will normally be completed in the final Summer session. The final research paper needs to be written in scientific journal format and will be presented and defended orally in front of an examination committee. The committee will include the supervisor and two other members of the graduate faculty.
    Internship option: For full-time students, the internship in private industry, government, or a non-governmental organization (NGO) will normally be completed in the final Summer session. It will consist of a minimum of four consecutive months. Successful completion of the internship is based on an assessment completed by the student's work supervisor, the satisfactory completion of a written experience report, and the satisfactory completion and presentation of a poster highlighting the internship experience.

  • A final grade below 70% in any course equates to an FZ, which is an insufficient grade. A MEnvSc student who receives more than one final grade of FZ (i.e., two or more) will be recommended for termination of registration from the MEnvSc program.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);
6 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time
 

Field: Conservation and Biodiversity

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

  • A minimum mid-B grade average in the last two years of the undergraduate program.

  • Applicants must submit a written statement explaining their objectives for entering the program and the suitability of their background. Appropriate post-graduate work experiences will be considered as part of the admission application.

  • An undergraduate degree in biology or a closely related field.​

Program Requirements

  • Coursework consists of 5.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • EES 1100H Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 3000H Applied Conservation Biology (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 3001H Professional Scientific Literacy (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 3002H Conservation Policy (0.5 FCE)

    • EES 3003H Topics in Applied Biodiversity (0.5 FCE)

    • Completion of either:

      • 1.0 FCE in elective courses (see the course list) and 2.0 FCEs for the internship (EES 1116Y) or

      • 1.5 FCEs in elective courses (see the course list) and 1.5 FCEs for the research paper (EES 1101Y).

  • Students will choose either a research or internship option.
    Research option: Each student is required to have a research supervisor. For full-time students, the intensive research necessary for the research paper will normally be completed in the final Summer session. The final research paper needs to be written in scientific journal format and will be presented and defended orally in front of an examination committee. The committee will include the supervisor and two other members of the graduate faculty.
    Internship option: For full-time students, the internship in private industry, government, or a non-governmental organization (NGO) will normally be completed in the final Summer session. It will consist of a minimum of four consecutive months. Successful completion of the internship is based on an assessment completed by the student's work supervisor, the satisfactory completion of a written experience report, and the satisfactory completion and presentation of a poster highlighting the internship experience.

  • A final grade below 70% in any course equates to an FZ, which is an insufficient grade. A MEnvSc student who receives more than one final grade of FZ (i.e., two or more) will be recommended for termination of registration from the MEnvSc program.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);
6 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time
 

Field: Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English, and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English, must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

  • A minimum mid-B grade average in the last two years of the undergraduate program.

  • Applicants must submit a written statement explaining their objectives for entering the program and the suitability of their background. Appropriate post-graduate work experiences will be considered as part of the admission application.

  • A science or engineering undergraduate degree including at least two half courses or one full course in each of chemistry, physics, calculus, and biology.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework consists of 5.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • EES 1100H Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (0.5 FCE)

    • Complete either:

      • 3.0 FCEs in elective courses (see the course list) and 2.0 FCEs for the internship (EES 1116Y) or

      • 3.5 FCEs in elective courses (see the course list) and 1.5 FCEs for the research paper (EES 1101Y). Students planning to complete the research paper option must complete the prerequisite EES 1114H.

  • Students will choose either a research or internship option.
    Research option: Each student is required to have a research supervisor. For full-time students, the intensive research necessary for the research paper will normally be completed in the final Summer session. The final research paper needs to be written in scientific journal format and will be presented and defended orally in front of an examination committee. The committee will include the supervisor and two other members of the graduate faculty.
    Internship option: For full-time students, the internship in private industry, government, or a non-governmental organization (NGO) will normally be completed in the final Summer session. It will consist of a minimum of four consecutive months. Successful completion of the internship is based on an assessment completed by the student's work supervisor, the satisfactory completion of a written experience report, and the satisfactory completion and presentation of a poster highlighting the internship experience.

  • A final grade below 70% in any course equates to an FZ, which is an insufficient grade. A MEnvSc student who receives more than one final grade of FZ (i.e., two or more) will be recommended for termination of registration from the MEnvSc program.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);
6 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time​

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description

Research and teaching are focused on the interfaces between traditional disciplines in dealing with fundamental scientific issues. Faculty members are cross-appointed from several departments including: chemistry, earth sciences, geography, ecology and evolutionary biology, cell and systems biology, engineering, forestry, physics, and social sciences. Research is clustered into six major concentrations:

  1. Climate Change and the Environment

  2. Contaminant Flux

  3. Environmental Science in Transitional Economies

  4. Great Lakes Ecosystems

  5. Remediation and Restoration of Degraded Environmental Systems

  6. Urban Geoscience

Applicants may be accepted into the PhD program via one of three routes: 1) following completion of an appropriate master’s degree; 2) transfer from an appropriate master's program; or 3) direct entry following completion of an appropriate BSc degree.
 

PhD Program

​Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants may be accepted into the PhD program:

    • Following completion of the MEnvSc degree, an MSc degree in environmental science, or a related discipline, or the MASc degree in environmental engineering or related discipline, or equivalent from a recognized university with a minimum of B+ average in all work completed in the master's program.

    • By requesting transfer from a suitable master's program (see above); students may reclassify from the master's program after 12 months of full-time study. Transfer from the MEnvSc program is not permitted

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. A total of 2.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • A mandatory 0.5 FCE (EES 2200H Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science) plus 1.5 FCEs to provide background for the student's research. Courses selected must be approved by the student's supervisor and the Graduate Chair. In some cases, additional courses may be required if a student's preparedness is assessed as being insufficient.

    • ​​​​​​​​Students may apply to take a number of PhD-level courses taught by the core faculty, both within the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and outside the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences as part of their 1.5 FCEs for the degree. However, all courses for the PhD degree must be approved by the student's supervisor and the Graduate Chair.

  • Thesis. The execution of an original piece of research in environmental science carried out under faculty supervision and presented in thesis form. The program requires the development and submission of a thesis proposal, and its examination in an oral thesis proposal appraisal (before the end of Year 2), a departmental oral examination of the completed thesis, and a Doctoral Final Oral Examination (FOE) carried out under the auspices of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) involving examination by an appropriate at-arms-length external examiner.

    • ​​​​The PhD proposal appraisal consists of a 20-minute presentation given by the student on the proposed thesis work followed by a question period of approximately two hours. The emphasis will be on the theory and proposed approach, rather than on progress to date. A negative outcome requires that the student retake the exam within four months after incorporating recommendations from the committee for improving the thesis research proposal. The outcome of the second exam will be either a pass or withdrawal from the program.

    • The Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' PhD program requires that all PhD candidates complete two thesis defences: a Departmental Thesis Defence and an FOE with SGS. Normally, the Departmental Thesis Defence will be held at least eight weeks prior to the FOE. The committee will notify the Graduate Chair that the thesis is ready to be forwarded to SGS for the FOE. If the PhD candidate does not pass the Departmental Thesis Defence, the committee may recommend that the PhD candidate postpone their FOE.

Program Length

4 years full-time; 5 years transfer-from-master's

Time Limit

6 years full-time; 7 years transfer-from-master's​
 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

​Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • In the case of exceptional students, applicants may be accepted into the PhD program by direct entry; that is, after completing an honours BSc degree in a related discipline with a minimum University of Toronto average of A– or equivalent.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. A total of 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • A mandatory 0.5 FCE (EES 2200H Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science) plus 2.5 FCEs to provide background for the student's research. Courses selected must be approved by the student's supervisor and the Graduate Chair. In some cases, additional courses may be required if a student's preparedness is assessed as being insufficient.

    • ​​​​​​​​Students may apply to take a number of PhD-level courses taught by the core faculty, both within the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and outside the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences as part of their 2.5 FCEs for the degree. However, all courses for the PhD degree must be approved by the student's supervisor and the Graduate Chair.

  • Thesis. The execution of an original piece of research in environmental science carried out under faculty supervision and presented in thesis form. The program requires the development and submission of a thesis proposal, and its examination in an oral thesis proposal appraisal (before the end of Year 2), a departmental oral examination of the completed thesis, and a Doctoral Final Oral Examination (FOE) carried out under the auspices of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) involving examination by an appropriate at-arms-length external examiner.

    • ​​​​The PhD proposal appraisal consists of a 20-minute presentation given by the student on the proposed thesis work followed by a question period of approximately two hours. The emphasis will be on the theory and proposed approach, rather than on progress to date. A negative outcome requires that the student retake the exam within four months after incorporating recommendations from the committee for improving the thesis research proposal. The outcome of the second exam will be either a pass or withdrawal from the program.

    • The Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences' PhD program requires that all PhD candidates complete two thesis defences: a Departmental Thesis Defence and an FOE with SGS. Normally, the Departmental Thesis Defence will be held at least eight weeks prior to the FOE. The committee will notify the Graduate Chair that the thesis is ready to be forwarded to SGS for the FOE. If the PhD candidate does not pass the Departmental Thesis Defence, the committee may recommend that the PhD candidate postpone their FOE.

Program Length

5 years full-time

Time Limit

7 years full-time

Boluwatife Awonaike

“I have been exposed to a world of cutting-edge research, and it has been very rewarding.”

Boluwatife Awonaike
PhD Student, Environmental Science
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