School of Graduate Studies
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 Master of Environmental Science program is a twelve-month professional program that is largely course based for two sessions. Students spend their third session in a work place internship or carrying out 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 positioned 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 our general program, Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems .
- See video: Master of Environmental Science program
Students may also be interested in combined degree programs .
The Doctoral Program in Environmental Science 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.
- See video: Doctoral Program in Environmental Science
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:
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.
Conservation and Biodiversity : A major focus is the application of ecological theory and principles to real-world conservation challenges.
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 providing them with professional skills training and in-class workshops on topics that include job search preparation and skills such as: environmental labour market, workplace expectations, professionalism, networking, and more. 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 of study.
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.
Coursework. Students must successfully complete a total of 5.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:
EES1100H Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (0.5 FCE)
EES1117H Climate Change Impact Assessment (0.5 FCE)
EES1132H Climate Data Analysis (0.5 FCE).
Note: students who have completed EESD21H3 as part of their undergraduate degree, and achieved a minimum grade of 70%, should replace EES1132H with another elective graduate course of the same credit weight (0.5 FCE).
EES1133H Climate Change Science and Modelling (0.5 FCE)
Completion of two of the following three courses:
EES1131H Applied Climatology (0.5 FCE)
Note: students who have completed EESD31H3 as part of their undergraduate degree, and achieved a minimum grade of 70%, cannot complete EES1131H as part of the MEnvSc program; they should complete EES1134H and EES1136H.
EES1134H Climate Change Policy (0.5 FCE)
EES1136H 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 (EES1116Y), or
1.0 FCE in elective courses (see course list) and 1.5 FCEs for the research paper (EES1101Y). Students planning to complete the research paper option must complete the prerequisite (EES1114H).
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.
3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S); 6 sessions part-time
3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Field: Conservation and Biodiversity
An undergraduate degree in biology or a closely related field, and successful completion of an undergraduate course in conservation biology. Students who have not successfully completed an undergraduate course in conservation biology will be required to complete an undergraduate course, BIOC63H3 Conservation Biology (0.5 FCE), as an extra (EXT) course.
EES3000H Applied Conservation Biology (0.5 FCE)
EES3001H Professional Scientific Literacy (0.5 FCE)
EES3002H Conservation Policy (0.5 FCE)
EES3003H Topics in Applied Biodiversity (0.5 FCE)
1.0 FCE in elective courses (see the course list) and 2.0 FCEs for the internship (EES1116Y) or
1.5 FCEs in elective courses (see the course list) and 1.5 FCEs for the research paper (EES1101Y).
Field: Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems
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.
3.0 FCEs in elective courses (see the course list) and 2.0 FCEs for the internship (EES1116Y) or
3.5 FCEs in elective courses (see the course list) and 1.5 FCEs for the research paper (EES1101Y). Students planning to complete the research paper option must complete the prerequisite EES1114H.
Master of Science
The purpose of the MSc in Environmental Science is to train Bachelor of Science or Engineering graduates in the design, execution, and dissemination of research that is focused on the interfaces between traditional disciplines in dealing with fundamentally scientific, environment-focused issues. This is a full-time, 16-month program with a unique May start date that will help students to rigorously gather data towards the completion of an MSc thesis.
The MSc in Environmental Science will allow students to address major emerging research themes in the environment and pursue projects that make use of complementary research concepts, approaches, and tools. Faculty members are cross-appointed from several graduate units including: Cell and Systems Biology; Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry; Chemistry; Earth Sciences; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Geography and Planning; Forestry; and Physics, which ensures the supervision of research projects across a broad range of expertise and research facilities. This program will engage these strengths in order to foster research that is critical for finding solutions to, or elucidating the root causes of, today’s critical environmental challenges.
A science or engineering undergraduate degree with a minimum mid-B grade average in the last two years of the undergraduate program.
Applicants must submit a written, maximum 300-word statement describing their interests in Environmental Science. The statement should describe any research experience, the suitability of their academic background for an MSc in Environmental Science, and their environmental science-related research objectives in the MSc program. Applicants must make clear in their written statement the supervising professor with which they plan to conduct their thesis research and their interest in conducting research in their chosen area.
Applicants must have completed one of the following:
At least one supervised research experience during their undergraduate studies. This may include an honours thesis, a research-based work term (involving lab or field work, modelling), a summer research experience, or another course formally linked to a research project. One of the applicant’s reference letters must be from their research experience supervisor or co-supervisor.
At least 10 one-term courses at the upper levels (Years 3 and 4 of full-time undergraduate studies) in a science discipline (for example, environmental science, earth science, physical geography, biology, chemistry, mathematics/statistics, physics, computer science, forestry) or in a branch of engineering (for example, civil, chemical, environmental).
Coursework. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 1.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:
EES1200H Environmental Science Research Experience (0.5 FCE)
EES1201H Environmental Science: Approaches and Methods in Research (0.5 FCE)
A minimum of 0.5 elective FCE 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 graduate-level courses taught by the core faculty, both within and outside the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, as part of their 0.5 elective FCE for the degree. However, all courses for the MSc 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 oral examination of the completed thesis to a committee of three faculty members, including the faculty supervisor(s).
4 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: S/F/W/S)
3 years full-time
Doctor of Philosophy
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:
Climate Change and the Environment
Environmental Science in Transitional Economies
Great Lakes Ecosystems
Remediation and Restoration of Degraded Environmental Systems
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.
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.
Coursework. Students must successfully complete a total of 2.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:
A mandatory 0.5 FCE (EES2200H 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 within the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences. Courses taught by faculty outside the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences can be considered for the PhD degree as part (0.5 FCE) 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 where the student is examined on their proposal and their mastery of concepts in environmental science. 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.
4 years full-time; 5 years transfer-from-master's (some students may take longer to complete the program)
6 years full-time; 7 years transfer-from-master's
PhD Program (Direct-Entry)
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.
Coursework. Students must successfully complete a total of 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:
A mandatory 0.5 FCE (EES2200H 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 within the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences. Courses taught by faculty outside the Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences can be considered as part (up to 1.0 FCE) 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.
5 years full-time
7 years full-time
“I have been exposed to a world of cutting-edge research, and it has been very rewarding.”
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University of Toronto
PhD in Environmental Science
PhD in Environmental Science at University of Toronto
Environmental Science ,
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PhD in Environmental Science at the prestigious University of Toronto is a prestigious degree that offers in-depth learning in Environmental Science. Being a renowned university, University of Toronto receives enough funds to ensure the best education facilities for its students across all programs. This doctorate program offered full-time primarily focuses on the practical implementation of fresh ideas through rigorous study and research. The students are encouraged to add new aspects and findings to the existing area of knowledge. PhD in Environmental Science at UToronto is ranked globally by estimated organisations. Such recognition speaks volumes about the course’s importance and effectiveness in the present scenario. The top-notch faculty, modern facilities, and the aura of creativity and innovation in the UToronto campus is a life-changing experience for the students looking forward to kickstarting or upgrading their careers. Overall, a PhD in Environmental Science at University of Toronto is an excellent opportunity to grow into a learned professional and bring new developments in the world.
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