Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 24, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies at Laurier 

The curriculum for the Honours BA degree in Environmental Studies at Laurier is current, dynamic and ensures a foundation on which you can build your future. The program is flexible and can be structured to combine social science and humanities perspectives with a basis in natural science methods. A large selection of electives is available to ensure a program of study that is both comprehensive and individualized

Program highlights 

  • Field work is a feature of many geography and environmental studies courses. Some examples include: 
    • a faculty-led field course that requires small groups of students to tackle “real-life” problems faced by communities in Ontario
    • an optional field course on ecosystem-based management that takes place in the Yukon.
    • a fourth-year international field course (past locations include Peru, Morocco, Costa Rica and the Azores)
  • Facilities available in the department include:
    • a micro-computer lab for GIS and other graphics applications
    • cartographic software
    • labs for work in geology, geomorphology and sedimentology. 
  • Qualified senior environmental studies and geography students may apply for lab demonstratorships which not only provide financial assistance, but also offer the student a unique learning and teaching experience.

  • A “Greening the Campus” course allows students to assess the “state of the environment” on campus and propose improvements to infrastructure and operations

Courses offered 

First year 

  • Intro to Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Problems & Approaches
  • Intro to Physical Geography
  • Intro to Human Geography

Popular courses

  • Environmental Thought
  • Greening the Campus
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • World Water & Development Issues

Admission requirements 

4U Requirements  IB Requirements  Admission Range 
English at 60%  HL or SL English at 4 

Mid 70s

IB Minimum score: 28 


Environmental Studies students have found excellent positions in research, planning, transportation, public administration, education, surveying, cartography and many other areas.

Student experience 


"Laurier’s Environmental Studies program is so comprehensive because it covers many aspects of environmental studies: the science side, the social issues and the technological side,” says Saunders. “And most of the classes have labs where you can apply the skills you learn in lecture.” 

Saunders decided to also take the Management Option because he is interested in environmental business. He hopes to one day work for a company that is dedicated to selling green products or offering green renovations at the residential, industrial, or commercial level, where buildings are constructed in an environmentally sustainable way using energy efficient products. 

In the meantime, Saunders had the opportunity to help homeowners conserve water when he worked for the Region of Peel in the environmental sector, doing free lawn and garden consultations during the summer. 

Faculty experience 


Prior to joining Laurier in 2003, Armitage travelled, volunteered and worked as an environmental consultant in many countries. He cites his time in a remote part of Tanzania, where he spent a year working with a small group of hunter-gatherers to secure land rights and protect wildlife and natural resources, as one of his most remarkable experiences. 

At Laurier, Armitage specializes in two areas of research. The first involves determining innovative ways governments, communities and organizations can work together to manage natural resources. The second area of research involves examining how environmental change impacts small communities like those in the Arctic, and helping to identify strategies to address those impacts. 

With accomplishments such as a best paper award at an international conference, a variety of research grants and a recently published book, Armitage still finds teaching to be a very rewarding part of the job. “Interacting with amazing students and colleagues about fascinating and challenging current issues is my favourite part of being a professor,” he says. “How we approach these ideas and resolve these issues will have a profound effect on our lives in the coming decades.”  


Dr. Derek Armitage’s passion for environmental studies began when he was a child. Although he was born in Ontario, Armitage spent most of his childhood in Kenya, Malaysia and the United States, which instilled a “global outlook and desire to learn more about the world.” 


As the environmental movement continues worldwide, Adam Saunders believes there will be greater demand for green renovations and programs. For that reason, and because of his deep appreciation for the environment, he is enrolled in Environmental Studies at Laurier.