BA in Environment and Sustainability

Revised Environment & Sustainability program: 2018W

Department of Geography, UBC

We have updated the Environment & Sustainability (E&S) program to provide students with more flexibility, more options, and a stronger academic experience overall. In revising the program, we aimed to achieve

  • Enhanced focus on change-oriented environmental justice, and
  • Expanded attention to tangible, practical skills necessary for analyzing critical environmental and sustainability issues.

Part of this revision includes two brand-new third year courses that are especially tailored by Geography faculty to serve students in Geography E&S program, speaking directly to our contemporary political, economic, social, scientific and cultural contexts:

GEOG 313 (3) Environmental Justice and Social Change

  • Economic, social, political and cultural structures and institutions that shape contemporary socioecological challenges. This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.
    Prerequisite: GEOG 121.

GEOG 314 (3) Analysing Environmental Problems

  • Concepts and techniques employed in environmental research; challenges in the areas of climate change, water use, knowledge translation and natural hazards. This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.
    Prerequisite: Two of GEOG 211, GEOB 102, GEOB 103.

As this suggests, we have maintained our unique interdisciplinary nature! Our revised program, including those new courses, will be available for registration this Spring (June 2018).

How will this affect current students in the E&S program?

All current E&S students can choose to stay in their former program, or switch to the new, revised program.  Students joining the program from September, 2018 forward will join the updated program.

Academic Calendar:

All of the changes to the E&S program are designed to make the program more accessible, relevant, and adaptable.  There are 18 credits in first and second year: two core E&S courses (GEOG 121 and 211), Geographic Information Science (GEOB 270) and two fundamental geoscience courses (GEOB 102 and 103).  The sixth course can be chosen from a range of geographic topics, based on the students’ interest (from GEOB 200, 204, 206, 207; GEOG 122, 220, 250).

In third and fourth year, (30 credits total) the program has been streamlined into a core ‘trunk’ of three required courses, plus seven ‘branching’ courses students can choose across the department’s offerings.  Comprising the trunk are the new courses, GEOG 313 and GEOG 314, plus statistics (GEOG 374).  By creating courses that all E&S students will take together, the department encourages students to engage more deeply with their fellow students, with faculty, and with the course materials. With the range of options available at 3rd and 4th year, students will have a greater flexibility to engage in enriched programs like exchange, co-op, internships, community-based learning, research experiences, and more, that will complement and integrate with their E&S studies.  If you have any questions or concerns, come see advising staff in Geography, room 217, 1984 West Mall.

The full program requirements appear below, including over-arching themes and ideas.

Core ideas and Themes of the Environment & Sustainability Major: 

The Environment and Sustainability Program offers an integrated understanding of physical, ecological, economic, socio-cultural and political systems, as they shape the world in which we live and influence the future of life on planet earth. It provides an excellent grounding for those interested in working in the environmental sphere and a strong platform for the development of a sense of global stewardship.

The Environment and Sustainability Program offers a BA degree within the Department of Geography. It is carefully designed to integrate the perspectives of the Geographical Biogeosciences (leading to a BSc degree) and those of the broader field of Human Geography (in which a BA degree is also available), by focusing on the varied, ever-changing interactions between humans and nature.  These interactions have long been a concern of Geography, a wide-ranging discipline that provides a unique perspective on the habitable earth by bringing together scientific, social scientific, and humanistic approaches to understanding.  This program therefore offers many of the advantages associated with interdisciplinary studies of the environment and benefits from its location in a single department in which research and teaching straddle the categories that elsewhere divide knowledge and narrow the search for understanding. This location also offers students an identifiable, socially engaging, and intellectually rewarding home on campus. In sum, the Environment and Sustainability program encourages students to see the world whole, to develop a sense of global citizenship and to consider how they can act responsibly to foster the resilience and enhance the sustainability of the earth’s environments and societies.



The Faculty of Arts offers Academic Advising to provide students with assistance and guidance in their academic decision-making. Faculty of Arts degree requirements are here.

Your Departmental Undergraduate Advisor:

Michael More
Manager, Student Services / Undergraduate Advisor
Office: Room 218
Phone: 604-822-2020
Book an appointment at: