Students on a field trip to Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve.

At SENS, we believe in continually seeking student and alumni feedback and reviewing program content to provide students with courses that are innovative, challenging and applicable to today’s professional realities. 

Beginning in May 2014, SENS is offering a new suite of core courses and has a new set of program requirements. In 2013, we embarked on an ambitious strategy to renew our curriculum across all three graduate programs. Through extensive consultation with students, the development of key graduate attributes and enormous effort by faculty and staff, a curriculum was created that builds knowledge around sustainability and integrates social and natural sciences throughout. Additionally, our required courses now explicitly introduce field skills and analytical and problem-solving methods. 

The core and elective courses we offer provide students with a deep understanding of sustainability and how it is conceptualized across disciplines. Core courses are team-taught and emphasize interdisciplinary concepts and hands-on learning. Students learn to integrate a variety of perspectives and disciplines to solve complex environmental challenges. Our core field course ENVS 806 teaches students valuable field method skills and immerses them in place-based learning.

Course Requirements

MSEM students*

MSEM students are required to take ENVS 805, 806, 807, 808, 990 and 992 (18 credit units). They must also complete 12 credit units of additional courses offered through the U of S. 

An MSEM student may take up to two senior undergraduate courses to fulfill elective requirements, with approval of the graduate chair. Please note that not all elective courses listed below will be offered each year.

MES and PhD students*

MES students must complete a minimum of 12 credit units of graduate coursework. They are required to take ENVS 803, 807, 990 and 994 with an additional six credit units of electives.

PhD students must complete a minimum of six credit units of graduate courses. They are required to take ENVS 809, 990 and 996. They are also required to take three credit units of electives. 

MES and PhD students must consult their faculty supervisor or advisory committee when selecting their elective courses. A student may take one 400-level undergraduate course to fulfill the elective requirement with the approval of the advisory committee. Credit may be granted for graduate-level courses taken previously at the U of S or another university, provided they have not already been credited toward a bachelor's or advanced degree. Students are encouraged to consult the elective list for courses that may be of interest to them.

*Students who began their program prior to May 2014 and who still have outstanding courses should consult with the graduate chair and their supervisor(s). 

Core Courses

ENVS 803.3 – Research in Environment and Sustainability: This course is designed for MES and PhD students. It introduces graduate students to conceptual, practical, and ethical issues in conducting interdisciplinary research about environment and sustainability. By the end of the course, students will have a research plan from which their proposal and research activities can be developed.

ENVS 805.3 – Data Analysis and Management: Environmental data management is complex because of its volume, qualitative and quantitative forms, and temporal and spatial characteristics. This course introduces students to statistical, qualitative, and visual methods of problem solving and data reduction and representation and describes methods for managing large and complex data sets.

ENVS 806.3 – Field Skills in Environment and Sustainability: Combining a field experience at Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve with a team-oriented sustainability assessment, this course will provide hands-on training in a variety of practical skills and techniques in ecological, hydrological and social sciences related to rural communities and agro-ecosystems. Students should be prepared to work in the outdoors. 

  • This course has excursion fees in addition to regular tuition.
  • Important dates (tentative): September 3 - 9, 2014, 5 day field trip and two campus learning days.

ENVS 807.3 – Sustainability in Theory and Practice: This course is designed for graduate students to improve their knowledge of applied environmental and sustainability problems and develop problem-solving skills. The focus will be on problem identification concepts, investigation of potential causes, identification and implementation of potential solutions or remedial measures, and action plans to evaluate anticipated results. 

ENVS 808.3 – Tools and Applications for Sustainability Problem-solving: Intended to enhance students' professional and scholarly effectiveness, this course introduces an interdisciplinary approach to environmental conservation problems (from the policy sciences) that enables them to critically appraise and constructively engage with environmental and sustainability policy and processes, and develop functional understanding of conventional institutional approaches to environmental management and new emergent approaches.

ENVS 809.3 - PhD Seminar in Sustainability: This seminar course examines ideas and assumptions that underpin attempts to acheive 'sustainability' and explores different strategies aimed at advancing sustainability objectives. Students will examine fundamental conflicts in values and choices, governance options and challenges, and scientific and societal uncertainty about human-environment interactions. This course is open to PhD students only.

ENVS 990 – Seminar in Environment and Sustainability (no credit unit)

ENVS 992.6 – Project in Environment and Sustainability: Project in Environment and Sustainability is a requirement of the Master of Sustainable Environmental Management (MSEM) degree, and accessible only to those students. Intended to permit students to build upon skills gained through the course component of their program, the project gives an opportunity to further investigate an aspect of environment and sustainability of particular interest and in a manner which contributes to their professional development.

ENVS 994 – Master's Research in Environment and Sustainability (no credit unit): For MES students only.

ENVS 996 - PhD Research in Environmenta and Sustainability (no credit unit)

Suggested Elective Courses Offered by SENS and Affiliated Units

ENVS 811.3 – Multiple Ways of Knowing in Environmental Decision-making: This course is set in the context of environmental decision-making, and involves critical examination of human-nature relations and multiple ways of knowing (epistemologies). Knowledge systems addressed include, but are not limited to, Aboriginal knowledge systems and intuitive ways of knowing. Applications to the legal "duty to consult" with Aboriginal peoples will be addressed, and students are asked to analyze their own decision-making beliefs and practices in the context of multiple understandings of the world.

ENVS 821.3 – Sustainable Water Resources: Will rigorously explore water resource sustainability in western Canada from physical, chemical, biological, socio-economic, and technological perspectives. Biophysical influences on water abundance and quality, current threats to water resources, and efforts to provide for sustainable management of water resources will be examined.

ENVS 822.3 – Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainability: A graduate level course designed to introduce students in an integrative manner to the field of biodiversity conservation and how to apply its principles to best promote sustainability. Understanding biodiversity and its management requires an interdisciplinary approach with particular reference to mechanisms of change and human impacts on the environment. This course will be interdisciplinary in its approach. The course will focus on: biodiversity (definition, types of biodiversity, distribution, economic and social value); threats to biodiversity (habitat loss, exotic species and their impacts, climate change); and conservation of biodiversity (species at risk, habitats, protected areas). This course will also review social, ethical and policy issues surrounding biodiversity conservation and management (international approaches and agreements, national strategy and regulations for Canada, Saskatchewan provincial regulations), including traditional knowledge.

ENVS 831.3 – Current Issues in Land Reclamation and Remediation: Current issues in land reclamation and remediation are examined. The impact of human activity in a variety of environments is examined and strategies for reclamation and remediation are investigated. Biophysical factors are the emphasis of the course, however the context of social and economic issues are incorporated.

ENVS 881.3 – Environmental Economics and Policy Making: This course will focus on developing an understanding of natural resource and environmental challenges using economic theory. A series of natural resource and environmental issues will be studied with existing and proposed policy measures analyzed using an economic framework.

ENVS 898.3 – Legal Issues and the Environment: This course examines the role of Canadian legal institutions in securing sustainability goals. It canvasses the constitutional jurisdiction of the four levels of government, and critically examines the jurisprudence and legislation directed at environmental protection and management in Canada. The role of the SENS graduate within this legal rubric will also be discussed. 

GEOG 885.3 – Advanced Applications of Environmental Management: Using a collaborative learning model, this course will analyze theoretical and practical problems associated with defining and evaluating resource and environmental management and its associated strategies. 

GEOG 886.3 – Advanced Environmental Impact Assessment: A project-based course focusing on emerging concepts and broader applications of environmental assessment principles and practices. Course topics varying from year to year following developments in the field, and may include such topics as cumulative effects assessment, strategic environmental assessment, project scooping, assessment methods and techniques, monitoring and follow-up.

ENVS 823.3 – Chemicals in the Environment: This course will provide an understanding of the processes that control the movement of chemical contaminants in the environment. Local and global methods for chemical regulation will be addressed in the context of society and economics. The use of modeling to predict the environmental fate/effects of contaminants will be presented. 

ENVS 898.3 – Introductory Numerical Modeling for Environmental Scientists: The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with a set of modeling skills to allow them to develop their own numerical models to solve problems of coupled flow and transport in porous media. The course requires a basic understanding of groundwater flow and transport processes. A particular set of numerical methods for solving sets of partial differential equations are introduced to the student. Models are written in MATLAB using ODE solvers. Specific applications include models for water supplies in aquifers, contamination in aquifers, and water and energy balances in soils. This will also provide the student with an in-depth understanding of widely used commercial and non-commercial software such as USGS MODFLOW. The models help the student to think through the physical processes and interpret field data.

ENVS 898.3 – Statistical Methods in Environmental Sciences: This course is designed for graduate students to improve their knowledge and understanding of the application of statistical methods in environmental sciences. Content will include introduction to basic statistical concepts including exploratory data analysis techniques, continuous and discrete distributions, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression analysis, analysis of variance, experimental designs, nonparametric statistics, trend testing, and introduction to generalized linear models and extreme value theory. The primary objective of the course is for students to learn a variety of techniques that are applicable across a range of problems, irrespective of a specific discipline, involving small and large datasets. At the end of the course, students should be able to apply the techniques to their own research projects. 

ENVS 898.3 - Environmental Economics: Description to follow.

ENVS 898.3 - River Science: This course will teach students the fundamentals of biophysical science as applied in riverine settings. It will begin by examining physical and biological processes that naturally occur in rivers, then layer on top of that understanding the influence of climatic variables (ice and evaporation) and human influences (river channel modifications and contaminant loading).

ENVS 898.3 - Water Resources Management in Cold Regions: This course will expose students to the management of water resources in cold regions. It will primarily focus on the components of river ice, snow and ground ice (permafrost). The students will receive a fundamental understanding of the physical processes of each component and an introduction to the management of each component. A human dimension will also be included to investigate the management implications on northern communities.

ENVS 898.3 - Risk Assessment and Negotiation of Environmental Issues: The objectives of this class are to help students develop a comprehensive understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues; provide students with an in-depth understanding of the concept of risk, explaining concepts such as relative risks and benefits of human activities; to elucidate the roles and perspectives of different stakeholders such as government, industry, academia, lawyers, lobbyists, etc. that are typically involved in the assessment and management of environmental issues; and to teach students the roles that science and  society have in the assessment and management of environmental issues.

ENVS 898.3 - Breakthroughs in Water Security Research: The purpose of this course is to expose students to the latest research in water security, to connect students to the top research in the field internationally, to help students understand what constitutes world class research and to further develop awareness and understanding of major concepts in water security. Each week will focus on a different sub-field of water security with an attempt o cover a co-equal blend of four thematic areas: hydrology, aquatic science, water policy and water resource engineering. The course structure centers around seminar attendance and then a weekly group discussion focused on key new papers in the field written by seminar speakers. Students will learn the art of journal article reading, how to critique scientific work and what makes for a good paper. The discussion sessions give the students the opportunity to critically evaluate a paper and discuss the topic with the guest speaker and course instructor. Written assignments given to the students by the course instructor will focus on how recent developments in the water security sub-fields can be applied to their own research or professional goals, and to follow up in greater detail on a topic of interest or relevance to them.

ANTH 806.3 – Anthropological Environments: This course is designed to teach history, theory, and central concerns of Environmental Anthropology at an advanced level. The course covers the breadth of historical development of the sub-discipline internationally, while examining selected topics in depth through a regional focus on northern North America. The course presupposes prior knowledge of social science methods and theories.

APMC 830.3 – Advanced Environmental Microbiology: Introduction to the diversity of microorganisms and the dynamics of microbial interactions. Microbial biogeochemistry of specific aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Selective microbial enrichment and isolation. In situ quantification of microbial activity.

BPBE 899.6 - Aboriginal Land Management Project: This field-based project course focuses on some of the major issues Aboriginal Peoples face in the 21st century. It provides in-depth, hands-on exposure to Aboriginal development issues, including: wildlife, sovereignty, economic development, constitutional reform, leadership, land and water rights, etc. In particular, the course emphasizes problem definition, client relationships, and designing and completing a community based research project related to an identified community need. The course is devoted primarily to preparation and presentation of a comprehensive paper based on a field investigation. Students, in teams of two, will work with Aboriginal communities to address critical issues as identified by the community.

CE 898.3 – Numerical Modeling for Environmental Engineers and Scientists: The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with a set of modeling skills to allow them to develop their own numerical models to solve problems of coupled flow and transport in porous media. The course requires a basic understanding of groundwater flow and transport processes. A particular set of numerical methods for solving sets of partial differential equations are introduced to the student. Models are written in MATLAB using ODE solvers. Specific applications include models for water supplies in aquifers, contamination in aquifers, and water and energy balances in soils. This will also provide the student with an in-depth understanding of widely used commercial and non-commercial software such as USGS MODFLOW. The models help the student to think through the physical processes and interpret field data.

CHE 882.3 – Design of Industrial Waste Treatment Systems: Designed to provide students with fundamental information regarding air and water pollution problems. Procedures for the design of air pollution control systems and wastewater treatment plants are covered. Regulation and legislation associated with air and water pollutions are discussed

  • Not offered in 2013/2014

GEOG 880.3 – Environmental Geographies: The focus of this course will be on sustainability assessment (SA) and appraisal, and why it is an emerging field in both environmental impact assessment and regional planning. International case examples (Canada and Western Australia) will be examined to understand the principles, frameworks, and tools used in a sustainability assessment, as well as how geographic location or ‘place’ influences the process and its outcomes. The intent is for students to explore how one can ‘operationalize’ sustainability and manage tradeoffs, in a way that is sensitive to a development context.  Prior instruction in environmental impact assessment is helpful, but not a prerequisite. 

  • Not offered in 2013/2014

GEOG 898.3 – Integrated Water Resource ManagementThe process and practice of planning and management for watersheds in a North American context. A focus on water and land use policy and watershed governance structures. Institutional arrangement affecting water management in Canada will be investigated. Topics will include integrated watershed management, watershed plan preparation, and barriers to source water protection.

HIST 884.3 - Writing History: This course examines the craft of writing history and other forms of non-fiction by using a workshop approach to improve and enhance student writing skills and provide them with a better understanding and appreciation of the writing craft. Students will develop the tools and skills to write better history by studying the examples of established writers, learning the fundamentals of writing through in-class assignments, and participating in discussions of one another’s work.

LAW 498.3 - The Fluid State of Water Law in Canada: This seminar will offer students an overview of the fundamentals of Canadian water law as well as a brief outline of the intersection of international and domestic legal water regimes. The first half of the course will explore freshwater quality and quantity problems in Canada and provide students with an understanding of the context and legal framework of Canadian water governance regimes that play out at municipal, provincial and federal levels, including Nunavut and the territories and on the international level. The second half of the seminar will be structured around student presentations of their research papers in progress. Students’ research topics will be selected based on individual student interests in consultation with the instructor. The instructor will provide background readings to the class to support the presentation section of the course. 
  • This class is scheduled for Term 1, Thursdays from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. There is a limit of 5 seats for SENS students in this class. The Course Registration Number is 90265

LAW 498.3 - Negotiations in a Complex Environment: This course will help students gain a deeper understanding of conflict and will develop conflict management strategies and negotiation skills in complex environments. Examples brought by the instructors and by the students themselves would focus on business and organizational settings, and the resolution of conflicting public policy goals, both domestically and internationally. Conflict in these settings is usually characterized by multi-layered issues, involving large numbers of participants with diverse interests and roles.

  • This class is scheduled for Term 2, Thursdays from 4 pm to 7 pm. There is a limit of 10 seats for SENS students in the class. The Course Registration Number is 30838.

PUBH 898.3 – Research Methods in Public Health: Research is a systematic undertaking to establish evidence. Although research is a fallible source of knowledge, it is the most sophisticated method of acquiring knowledge to advance the academic disciplines. This course provides fundamental health research skills necessary for the public health professional to work in both research and applied settings. This course will focus on the issues and skill required at each specific stage of the research process and will explore the practical and relevant issues involved in the design, and conduct of research activity. Students will have the opportunity to experience and apply their knowledge through the critical appraisal of published research and the development of a research proposal aimed at addressing a critical public health issue.

  • Not offered in 2013/2014

SLSC 819.3 - Remediation of Contaminated Sites: This course explains how one characterizes a contaminated terrestrial site, the risks associated with that site and identify remediation technologies that will mitigate the risks associated with the contaminated site. It will discuss how contamination interacts with industrial processes to created degraded landscapes and natural processes that help ameliorate this degradation of the ecosystem. Discussion of remediation will focus on the use of in situ and ex situ technologies for contaminated soil ecosystems and how these technologies reduce risk to not only soil, but also human and aquatic receptors.

TOX 821.3 - Human Health Chemical Risk Assessment: Human health risk assessment is now playing a major role in the environmental management of chemicals, from both operational and regulatory perspectives. The overall objective of this course is to provide the basic knowledge to conduct, evaluate and interpret risk assessment of chemicals present in the natural and built environments.

TOX 840.3 - Wildlife Toxicology: Intended to provide a broad exposure to general principles of terrestrial toxicology, with an emphasis on mammalian, avian and amphibian species. Topics to be covered include: effects of common environmental contaminants on wildlife populations, factors affecting soil toxicity, contaminant bioavailability and fate; common in vitro and in vivo methods to assess toxicity and sublethal exposure (biomarkers) and ecological risk assessment. 

  • Not offered in 2013/2014
Compressed Courses

Every year during the second term, a select number of courses are offered in a compressed, four-week format. This format enables our students to participate in other activities, such as student exchange programs with partner schools overseas with similar course formats. Compressed courses also allow for in-depth concentration and study on one topic at a time and more time for students to concentrate on proposal writing and field work. The courses offered in the compressed format are advertised to students each fall and may change year to year.

Please note that this initiative is subject to change, based on professor availability and student enrollment.

A list of courses offered in compressed format will be posted as they become available.