Concordia University

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Environmental Assessment Graduate Diploma

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor's degree in an appropriate discipline in Arts or Science is required. Students who lack appropriate Ecology or Geographic Information Systems preparation are required to take preparatory courses such as BIOL 205, Introduction to Sustainability; a 300-level physical geography course; or GEOG 363, Geographic Information Systems.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Requirements for the Diploma

Credits. A fully qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 30 credits as follows:

  1. Compulsory Courses. All students must take 15 credits: ENVS 601, ENVS 652, ENVS 653, ENVS 667.
  2. Elective  Courses. All students must take 15 credits from:  BIOL 618, ECON 659, ENVS 604, ENVS 605, ENVS 620, ENVS 664, GEOG 607, GEOG 620, HENV 610, HENV 625, HENV 660, HENV 655, HENV 670, HENV 675, HENV 680.
     

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  3. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.

     

Courses

Required Courses

ENVS 601 EA: Concepts, Principles and Practice (6 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
This course aims to provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge related to environmental assessment and its role in project planning and policy development. The evolution of environmental assessment (EA), its current practices and functions, and future directions arediscussed. The roles and components of EA and EA procedures in Canada (at both the federal and provincial levels) are emphasized. Guest speakers, regular readings and in-class discussions supplement the lectures.

ENVS 652 Data Collection and Analysis for EA (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
This course focuses on methods and issues in data collection and analysis appropriate for impact prediction in the abiotic, biotic and built environment, including air, surface and ground water, soil, landscape, biodiversity, noise, cultural and socio-economic conditions.
Note: Students who have received credit for ENVS 662 many take this course for credit.

ENVS 653 Geographical Information Systems for EA (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
This course examines the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Environmental  Assessment (EA), particularly focusing on the role of GIS in the analysis of environmental data and in decision-making processes. Topics covered include data acquisition multi-criteria decision analysis, fuzzy sets and interpolation techniques. The course comprises lectures, lab exercises and case study analysis. The instruction is built around a series of practical exercises mainly using industry-standard GIS software. The objective of the course is to provide a sound theoretical and practical background in the use of geospatial technologies for EA applications.
Note: Students who have received credit for ENVS 663 may not take this course for credit.

ENVS 667 Situating EA: Knowledge, Politics and Development (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
Environmental assessment has risen to prominence during a time of escalating ecological crisis, rapid and uneven development (including the spread of neoliberal politics and economics), growing civil unrest and social movements, and significant shifts in environmental governance from local to international scales. EA shapes and is shaped by these trends. This seminar course surveys recent research in various fields (political ecology, science and technology studies, critical geographies, development studies) to acquaint students with this dynamic and pressing context. A key objective of the course is to build students’ capacity to reflect on the possibilities and limitations of EA as a political tool within struggles for social and environmental justice.

Elective Courses

BIOL 618 Ecology for Environmentalists (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
This course discusses the principles of the ecology of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems and the effects of environmental disturbances ranging from immediate pollution to long-term climate change.
Note 1: Students who have received credit for BIOL 508 may not take this course for credit.
Note 2: Students registered in a graduate program in Biology may not take this course for credit.

ECON 659 Economics for Environmentalists (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
This course considers one of the most serious problems facing our global civilization: the on-going conflict between economic activity and the bio-physical world upon which all human activity ultimately depends. The course explains the basic theoretical framework most economists use to describe economic activities and the relationship between these activities and the natural world. Understanding the logical apparatus of economics theory shows why market forces and environmental integrity are often in conflict and why economic arguments dominate environmental policy debates at both national and international levels.
Note 1: Students who have received credit for ECON 559 may not take this course for credit.
Note 2: Students registered in programs in Economics, or programs in the John Molson School of Business, may not take this course for credit.

ENVS 604 Environmental Law and Policy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Programme Director.
This course introduces students to environmental law and policy at the international, North American and regional levels with an emphasis on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool for promoting environmentally sound and sustainable development. The course provides an overview of issues such as environmental security, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), banking and environmental finance, access to justice in environmental decision making, climate change, biodiversity, and green growth. The role of international organizations and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) is given particular attention.

ENVS 605 Environmental Standards (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
This course provides an overview of the International Standards Organization (ISO) standards and guidelines for industry to implement a sound Environmental Management System (EMS). These guidelines are outlined in a series of publications designated as ISO 14000. Topics covered will include: the evolution and benefits of EMS, the ISO 14001 principles, integration between ISO 9001 and 14001, the registration process, auditing an EMS, life cycle assessment, and environmental labelling. Upon successful completion of the course, students are encouraged to pursue formal accreditation.
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under an ENVS 505 number may not take this course for credit.

ENVS 620 Advanced Topics in Environmental Assessment (3 credits)
This course focuses on selected topics within the discipline. Topics vary to permit investigation of current and developing theories and research areas.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. ENVS 620A, ENVS 620B, etc.

ENVS 664 Field Course in EA (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the EA Graduate Program Director.
The goal of this course is to expose students to practical issues related to Environmental Assessment (EA). The course comprises: (1) in-class preparation meetings followed by (2) a one-week in-field experience. During this week, students meet practitioners and individuals from local communities, industries and/or governments involved in EA. Through these interactions, students are exposed to a diverse range of perspectives and experiences related to EA. The course is validated through an assessment of the knowledge acquired during the trip. Students are responsible for the cost of food, accommodation and transportation associated with the one-week field trip (cost varies depending on destination).
Note: Students who have received credit for ENVS 662 may not take this course for credit.

GEOG 607 Indigenous Peoples and the Environment (3 credits)
This course provides an extended, in-depth exploration of the relationships and roles of Indigenous peoples with respect to their traditional territories and natural resources. Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies are highlighted in addition to Indigenous aspirations and approaches for use and stewardship of the environment. The course examines theoretical and case-study literature, with a broad regional focus on Aboriginal peoples in Canada while also drawing from comparative international experiences of Indigenous peoples.

GEOG 620 Special Topics in Geography (3 credits)
This course focuses on selected topics within the discipline. Topics vary to permit investigation of current and developing theories and research areas.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. GEOG 620A, GEOG 620B, etc.

HENV 610 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
This course considers experimental design and advanced data analysis methods in Geography and Environmental Sciences. The course focuses on statistical analysis of quantitative data, using the R programming environment. Specific topics include data exploration and plotting, advanced statistical tests, linear regression, statistical model selection, non-parametric tests and mixed effects models.

HENV 625 Sustainable Resource Management (3 credits)
This seminar examines the impact of human activities on natural resources. Topics such as integrated management and exploitation practices, biodiversity and conservation, focusing particularly on forest and water resources from physical, chemical, biological, socio-economic, and technological perspectives are investigated.

HENV 660 Climate Change and Sustainability (3 credits)
This seminar examines the interface between climate science, and the demands and challenges of developing sustainable human societies. Class discussions are oriented around current literature on topics such as the potential impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities, strategies to enhance resilience and increase global equity in climate mitigation efforts, and opportunities to develop sustainable energy systems. The course also includes quantitative analysis and visualization of spatial change datasets.

HENV 655 Environmental Modelling (3 credits)
The different approaches to modelling the bio-physical, built or human environment are examined. The conceptualization of simple models to examine how human interventions affect the environment is investigated. Different modelling approaches such as system models, computer visualization and simulation are covered. Students develop a model scheme related to their thesis topic. Lectures and laboratory.

HENV 670 Environmental Governance (3 credits)
This course examines the principles, practices and institutions involved in environmental conservation and management as well as the sustainable exploitation of natural resources. Topics include sustainability, the precautionary principle, social capital, adaptive capacity, common property resource theories, deliberative democracy, environmental justice and environmental conflict resolution. Attention is given to issues of scale, particularly the mismatch of spatial, temporal and functional scales that characterize unsustainable management and use practices.

HENV 675 Community-Based Conservation (3 credits)
This course addresses the question of community participation in conservation and development initiatives. Focusing on the particular experience of local communities, it presents participatory concepts, principles, tools, and processes that have practical application to a broad range of contexts and settings.
Note: Students who have received credit for GEOG 607 may not take this course for credit.

HENV 680 Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of current research in environmental and related scientific disciplines. The course involves seminars, presentations, and critical analysis of scientific literature, including discussion of cutting-edge research topics in fields such as ecological restoration, biodiversity, climate change, renewable energy, food and water security, and natural resource conservation.

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