Algoma University has received ministerial consent to offer a new four-year Honours Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree. Intake to the program will begin immediately for September of 2017.
“We are thrilled to have received ministerial consent for our new Environmental Science program,” said Algoma U Academic Dean, Dr. Richard McCutcheon. “The quality of this program sets it apart from others across the province. We are confident it will attract students from the Algoma region, the rest of Ontario, and abroad.”
The new program is interdisciplinary in nature, integrating courses in biology, chemistry, and geography. Students enrolled in the program will develop critical thinking skills that will allow them to contribute solutions to the current environmental, social, and economic challenges facing the world in the twenty-first century. Subject areas include, but are not limited to, the spread and threat of invasive species, the continued loss of biodiversity and degradation of agricultural soil quality and availability, and other environmental changes.
At the core of the Environmental Science program is hands-on, experiential learning. Students in their third year of the program will participate in an 80-hour internship within the Algoma region with a local environmental organization. In their fourth year, students design, research, and carry-out their own ideas to complete the research component for their honours thesis. Those who choose not to complete the thesis have the option of completing a second internship.
To further enrich their experiences, students in Algoma’s program take courses in the social sciences, including courses in political science, sociology, economics, and law and justice. These courses provide students with a broad understanding of social, cultural, legal, and ethical matters that may be applied to addressing environmental challenges, a skill that is sought after by many employees.
Students in the program will also benefit from small class sizes, one-on-one interactions with faculty, and will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories in the University’s Essar Convergence Centre.
The Environmental Science program was specifically designed to fulfill the need for environmental workers in Canada. According to ECO Canada’s 2013 Labour Market Research Study, Canada’s environmental workforce continues to increase, and has increased tenfold since 1993. Seventy-five per cent of employers are expected to hire environmental workers in the next two years, and another 340,000 employees are expected to retire from the sector over the next 10 years. Plus, new government policies are encouraging businesses and industries to be environmentally conscious and compliant with legislation, creating further demand for environmental workers.
“This degree is a big deal for this community because, increasingly, there is a demand for qualified personnel with expertise in environmental science. In particular, expertise in various areas of environmental science such as climate change, toxicology, and waste management is in demand by industry, governments, and consulting and biotechnology companies,” said Dr. Pedro Antunes, Associate Professor at Algoma U and Canada Research Chair in Invasive Species Biology. “In addition, a unique opportunity will be created to acquire expertise that currently does not exist in Sault Ste. Marie despite its privileged location to study the natural environment and environmental protection.”
A public launch of the program is being planned for the end of March.
For more information on the program or to apply, please visit www.algomau.ca/environmental-science.
About Algoma University
Algoma University was established in 1965 and is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Algoma University is a small, undergraduate, teaching-focused university that places an emphasis on serving the needs of Northern Ontario. Algoma University offers a wide range of degrees spanning the liberal arts, sciences, and professional disciplines. As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma University has a special mission to cultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal populations and other communities. Algoma University also offers satellite programming in Brampton and Timmins. For more information, please visit www.algomau.ca.