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Bachelor of Arts - Environmental Studies and Geography

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  • Objectives
    The Environmental Studies and Geography Department offers a wide variety of courses focusing mainly on the academic area of Environmental Studies. The intention is to provide students with the systematic elements essential for an understanding of environmental impacts, policy, history and thought. It is possible for students to develop their interests in three areas: the physical processes underlying environmental systems; the human impacts on these systems, including policy creation; or the history and philosophy of environmental issues, especially ethical perspectives. In order for a complete understanding of the impacts people are having on their environment, whether they be at a local, regional or global scale, we must understand the how and why the environment is changing. Global warming, acid precipitation, ozone depletion, waste management and water conservation are issues which require thorough examination in order that proper decision-making processes can be implemented by leaders in government, industry and nongovernmental organizations. We carefully and systematically examine all aspects of the environment so that our graduates can play an important role in the future of our environment.
  • Academic Title
    Bachelor of Arts - Environmental Studies and Geography
  • Course description
    Areas of Concentration

    Students must register in either the Environmental Studies Concentration or the Geography Concentration. The details of the concentrations are given below:

    A) Environmental Studies Concentration
    48 credit Major
    1. Core Required Courses        11 courses        33 credits
    Students must take all of the following courses, preferably in the annual sequence noted:
    Year 1:
    ESG 100        Introduction to Environmental Studies
    ESG 126        Introduction to Human Geography
    ESG 127        Introduction to Physical Geography
    MAT 190        Precalculus Mathematics
    ELA 116        Effective Writing or
                            a University-level English Literature
                            3-credit course
    Year 2:
    ESG 260        Research Methods
    ESG 262        Introduction to Geographic
                            Information Systems
    ESG 224        Human Impact on the Environment
    ESG 267        Global Environmental Change:
                            a physical perspective

    One of the following quantitative analysis courses:
    ESG 261, BMA140, EMA140, PMA160 or PHY 101
    Year 3:
    ESG 300        Environmental Studies Seminar
    2. Additional Required Courses        5 courses        15 credits
    Students must complete 5 courses from one of the three following lists (laboratory credits do not count toward the total credits required):

    a) Environmental Impact and Policy:
    ESG 175        Economic Geography
    ESG 212        Urban Geography
    ESG 227        Oceans II
    ESG 249        Resource Management
    ESG 264        Outdoor Recreation
    ESG 266        Environmental Policy
    ESG 339        The Canadian Arctic
    ESG 340        The Circumpolar North
    ESG 348        Urban Planning
    ESG 349        Watershed Management
    ESG 350        Environmental Justice
    ESG 354        Environmental Impact Assessment
    ESG 358        International Environmental Issues
    ESG 362        Advanced Geographic Information Systems
    ECO 103        Macroeconomics
    ECO 102        Microeconomics
    ECO 237        Economics of the Environment
    POL 101        Introduction to Modern Governments
    POL 214        Public Administration
    POL 334        Public Policy Analysis
    PBI 141          Evolutionary Psychology
    PSY 123         Multicultural Psychology
    SOC 322        Urban Sociology
    SOC 381        Media and the Environment

    b) Science and the Environment
    ESG 226        Oceans I
    ESG 227        Oceans II
    ESG 250        Geomorphology
    ESG 251        Soils and Vegetation
    ESG 265        The Atmosphere and Weather
    ESG 269        Earth’s Crust
    ESG 361        Glacial Environments
    ESG 362        Advanced Geographic Information Systems
    ESG 363        Natural Hazards
    ESG 364        Field Course in Geography
    ESG 365        Mid-latitude Weather Systems
    ESG 367        Climate Change
    BIO 115          General Zoology
    BIO 116          General Botany
    BIO 117          General Ecology
    BIO 191          Introductory Biology
    BIO 217          Advanced Ecology
    BIO 221          Biogeography
    MAT 191         Enriched Calculus I
    PHY 191        Introductory Physics I
    CHE 191        General Chemistry I
    CHE 133        Environmental Chemistry

    c) Environmental History and Thought
    ESG 162        Canada: A Nation of Regions
    ESG 163        Introduction to Landscape and Cultural Geography
    ESG 211        Historical Geography of the Eastern Townships
    ESG 268        Human Landscape and Environmental Change
    ESG 339        The Canadian Arctic
    ESG 340        The Circumpolar North
    ESG 353        Landscape
    ESG 366        Ethical Perspectives on Environmental Problems
    ENG 118        Literature of the Environment
    HIS 104         The Development of the West
    HIS 105         The 20th Century World
    HIS 211         Canada Since 1945
    PHI 140         Introduction to Ethics
    PHI 240         Topics in Business Ethics
    PHI 245         The Philosophy of Science
    PHI 246         Philosophy of Art
    REL 100        Introduction to Religion I
    REL 101        Introduction to Religion II
    REL 322        Phenomenology of Religion
    SSA 109        Introduction to Anthropology
    SSA 207        North American Natives

    3. Honours Requirements:
    90 credit program, 60 credit Honours
    Same Required courses as for the Major, plus:
    ESG 461a        Honours Research Proposal
    ESG 462b        Honours Thesis

    Six additional ESG credits, for a total of 60 ESG credits.
    A minimum of 70% overall average
    Note: Some of the required courses listed may have one or more prerequisites. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure these prerequisites are completed; these completed prerequisites may be counted as Electives.

    B) Geography Concentration

       1. For a Major, the student must take at least 45 credits in Environmental Studies and Geography. Honours and Majors students must complete ESG126a, 127b, 260a and 261b.
       2. Honours Requirements:
          Honours in the Geography Concentration requires at least 60 credits in Environmental Studies and Geography, including ESG 461a and ESG 462b. The Honours program requires a minimum 70% average and permission of the Department.
          Departmental regulations of particular note include: ESG 126 and ESG 127 are normally prerequisites for all upper year courses.

    Departmental Minors:

    Environmental Studies Minor

    The Environmental Studies Minor encompasses the study of several major natural systems including the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the lithosphere, as well as the effects of human activities on the three systems. The program is intended to provide students with an interdisciplinary approach to the natural environment, an approach that is embedded in the Liberal Arts and Science tradition of Bishop’s University. The objectives of the program are not only to equip students with the scientific knowledge of their environment, but also to enrich this knowledge with a study of the social, political and policy aspects necessary to effectively analyse complex environmental systems.

    The Environmental Studies Minor consists of the following four required courses:
    ESG 100        Introduction to Environmental Studies
    ESG 126        Introduction to Human Geography
    ESG 127        Introduction to Physical Geography
    ESG 224        Human Impact on the Environment

    In addition, students must take four more ESG courses for a total of 8 courses, 24 credits, from the Department of Environmental Studies and Geography.

    Geography Minor

    The Geography Minor consists of two required courses, ESG 126 and ESG 127 plus six additional ESG courses for a total of 24 credits from the Department of Environmental Studies and Geography.

    Note: In keeping with the new Departmental name, as of the 2001- 2002 academic year all Departmental course codes are changed from GEO to ESG. Since the course numbers, descriptions and content remain the same, GEO and ESG courses with the same course number are treated as the same course under all University Calendar rules and regulations.

    ESG 100     Introduction to Environmental Studies     3-3-0
    An introductory approach toward understanding the global environment and the human impact on this environment. Topics covered include processes operating in natural systems, the identification of problems caused by human interaction with these systems, solutions to these problems and the implementation of possible solutions.

    ESG 126     Introduction to Human Geography     3-3-0
    An introduction to the field of human geography; its scope and methods. The aim is to focus on the relationship between people and their environment, including population trends, resource use, political and economic forces and urban planning.

    ESG 127     Introduction to Physical Geography     3-3-0
    An introduction to the principles and methods of climatology and geomorphology. Topics discussed include Earth’s radiation balance, atmospheric wind systems, major climate types, and the work of geomorphic agents, such as water and wind, on the development of physical landscapes.

    ESG 162     Canada: A Nation of Regions     3-3-0
    This course examines Canada’s evolving regional geography through an exploration of the natural, social, political, cultural and economic forces involved in creating a distinctly Canadian landscape. The course divides Canada into various regions: The Atlantic Region, St. Lawrence-Great Lakes Lowlands, The Canadian Shield, The Western Interior, British Columbia and The North in an effort not only to understand the vast differences within Canada, but also to deepen our understanding of Canada as a whole.

    ESG 163     Introduction to Landscape and Cultural Geography     3-3-0
    Cultural geography is concerned with making sense of people and the places that they occupy, an aim that is achieved through analysis and understandings of cultural processes, cultural landscapes and cultural identities. This course explores contemporary cultural geography and landscape studies by applying and evaluating - at different scales - the concepts of cultural diffusion, cultural region, cultural ecology and cultural landscape. Particular attention will be placed on interpretations of how cultural spaces are constructed, contextualized and conserved.

    ESG 175     Economic Geography     3-0-0
    The production of, and trade in, goods and services vary by city, region, and country. In recent years, these spatial variations have widened in some cases, and narrowed in others. But common to all are the drivers-of-change. These include major geo-political events, the adoption of innovative cost-saving practices, and the creation and evolution of entrepreneurial networks and industrial clusters. This course will explore the key elements of these dynamics, and explore the ongoing debate about the appropriate role of government in an increasingly-globalized world.
    This course is cross-listed with ECO 175.

    ESG 211     Historical Geography of the Eastern Townships     3-3-0
    A retrospective approach to the Eastern Townships blending history and landscape. Various themes will be presented to examine the principle elements of landscape change during the 19th and 20th centuries in relation to the spread of the agricultural frontier, the changing cultural geography of the region, and the introduction of the area as a recreational retreat.

    ESG 224     Human Impact on the Environment     3-3-0
    Changing environmental relationships in the modern context of population growth and technological advance. The human impact on the world’s atmosphere and climate, water, land and soils, vegetation, and animal life.
    Prerequisite: ESG 100 and ESG 126

    ESG 226     Oceans I     3-3-0
    An introduction to physical, geological and chemical oceanography. Topics to be covered include: the history of oceanography, the origin of the ocean basins, marine sediments, seawater properties, ocean climates, waves, tides and other physical characteristics of the coastal margins.
    Prerequisite: ESG 127 or permission of the Instructor

    ESG 227     Oceans II     3-3-0
    An introduction to the interaction between the oceans and society at large. Topics will include: marine organisms of economic value, food and mineral production from the oceans, coastal development, marine pollution, ocean lifestyles and legal problems concerning the use of the oceans.
    Prerequisite: ESG 226a (Oceans I) or ESG 127

    ESG 249     Resource Management     3-3-0
    This course examines the interactions between natural and social processes in the development, use and conservation of natural resources. Theories and concepts explored are: integrated resource management, ecosystem management, adaptive management and the role of public participation. Case studies explore trends in forestry, fisheries, agriculture, mining, wildlife and water management.
    Prerequisites: ESG 100

    ESG 250     Geomorphology     3-3-0
    Selected topics in geomorphology with particular emphasis on fluvial processes and land forms of southern Quebec. Aspects of applied physical geography may be covered.
    Fieldwork is an integral part of this course.
    Prerequisite: ESG 127

    ESG 251     Soils and Vegetation     3-3-0
    The systematic examination of the development and distribution of the major soil and vegetation types of the world and of the ways in which these elements of the physical environment have become resources subject to varying utilization patterns.
    Prerequisite: ESG 127

    ESG 260     Research Methods     3-3-0
    An introduction to research methodology and its application to environmental studies and geography. Course modules include research design, hypothesis testing, sampling techniques, interview techniques, archival techniques and other approaches to primary and secondary data gathering.
    Prerequisite: ESG 126 and ESG 127

    ESG 261     Quantitative Methods     3-3-0
    Quantitative methods in environmental studies and geography; the nature of explanation; problems of observation and data collection; descriptive statistical analysis; inferential statistical analysis.
    Prerequisite: ESG 126 and ESG 127

    ESG 262     Introduction to Geographic Information Systems     3-3-0
    An introduction to geographic information systems including cartographic concepts, basic remote sensing (aerial photography and digital imagery), vector and raster digital spatial data models, data input and editing, database management, structured query language, and elementary spatial analysis.
    Prerequisites: ESG 126 and 127; Open only to ESG students in the Environmental Studies Concentration

    ESG 264     Outdoor Recreation     3-3-0
    This course examines: (i) theories and concepts concerning the recreational use of natural settings (the human dimensions), (ii) the nature, capabilities and limitations of natural settings (the natural dimensions) and, (iii) the institutional arrangements which exist to manage outdoor recreation settings (the management dimensions), including the role of national parks and protected areas.
    Prerequisite: ESG 100 or ESG 126

    ESG 265     The Atmosphere and Weather     3-3-0
    A comprehensive description of the principal characteristics of Earth’s atmosphere including air temperature, density, pressure and moisture; the development of clouds, wind and precipitation, and physical explanations of weather events such as mid-latitude cyclones, thunderstorms and hurricanes.
    Prerequisite: ESG 127 or permission of the Instructor

    ESG 266     Environmental Policy     3-3-0
    An introduction to the field of environmental policy, with an emphasis on the regulation of technological hazards. Consideration will also be given to different approaches to environmental policy, including “command-and-control” regulation and enforcement as well as the emergence of market incentives and voluntary initiatives. Topics will include: air quality, water quality, solid and hazardous waste, toxic substances, pollution- prevention and environmental assessment.
    Prerequisite: ESG 224a or permission of instructor

    ESG 267     Global Environmental Change: a physical perspective     3-3-0
    An examination of the general trends and concepts associated with global environmental change using a physical geographic approach. This includes analysis of the complex inter linkages of the atmosphere-ocean-terrestrial-biosphere systems, of environmental changes during the Quaternary Period, and of the environmental issues associated with these changes. The human response to global environmental change will be covered in less detail.
    Prerequisite: ESG 100 and ESG 127

    ESG 268     The Human Landscape and Environmental Change     3-3-0
    This course uses various aspects of environmental change to identify links between the sciences and the humanities. A convergence of these two conceptual approaches can provide amore holistic understanding of the long-term processes impacting both human and physical environments. How different cultures conceptualise their relationships with the physical environment is central to how environmental management decisions are made.
    Prerequisite: ESG 100, ESG 126, ESG 162 or ESG 163

    ESG 269     The Earth’s Crust     3-3-0
    The course is a general study of the materials and dynamics of Earth’s crust. Included are geologic and topographic maps, geological time scales; an examination of minerals and fossils, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks; discussion of processes such as: sedimentation, vulcanism, plutonism, deformation and seismology; and, an introduction to plate tectonics, orogenies
    Prerequisite: ESG 127

    ESG 300     Environmental Studies Seminar     3-3-0
    Selected topics in Environmental Studies will be examined. The course allows detailed study of particular areas of environmental research through student-led seminars and general class discussion.
    Prerequisites: ESG 224 and 267; open only to U3 ESG Honours and Majors in the Environmental Studies Concentration

    ESG 339     The Canadian Arctic     3-3-0
    The ecology of traditional Eskimo occupancy; socio-economic change through contact with explorers, whale men, traders, missionaries, and administrators. Demographic centralization; industrial development; nunamiut and kabloonamiut; frontier or homeland? The outlook for renewable resources. Problems of sovereignty over arctic space.
    Prerequisite: ESG 100, ESG 126, ESG 162 or ESG 163

    ESG 340     The Circumpolar North     3-0-0
    An introduction to the physical and cultural geography of the Circumpolar North. This course will focus upon the cultural and political ecology of the human population in this region. The emphasis will be upon the contexts of human life and human experience in the North. This course also includes discussions of the northern landscape: nunamiut and kabloonamiut; demographic centralization; challenges to sovereignty over arctic space. The emphasis will be on lectures and class participation. There will be time set aside to discuss lecture topics and to add concerns of interest to the students; class participation is highly encouraged.
    Prerequisite: ESG 100, ESG 126, ESG 162 or ESG 163

    ESG 346     Independent Study I     3-0-0
    Open to U3 majors and honours students at the discretion of the Department.

    ESG 347     Independent Study II     3-0-0
    Open to U3 majors and honours students at the discretion of the Department.

    ESG 348     Urban Planning     3-3-0
    Consideration of several aspects of the city planning process: the legal basis of planning, the official Plan, zoning, transportation, planning procedure and implementation, the goals of planning.
    Prerequisite: ESG 126 or permission of the instructor.

    ESG 349     Watershed Management     3-3-0
    This course examines integrated watershed management, including assessment of biophysical freshwater systems, implications of natural resource development and land use on water quality and quantity, as well as institutional arrangements and the role of stakeholder involvement in watershed-scale decision-making. Field studies in the St. Francis River Watershed.
    Prerequisite: ESG 249

    ESG 350     Environmental Justice     3-3-0
    An introduction to the field of environmental justice, with an emphasis on fairness and equity in environmental management. The course will examine the history of activism and the development of theoretical work and empirical evidence regarding the connections between race, class and the environment.
    Prerequisite: ESG 224a or permission of instructor

    ESG 353     Landscape     3-3-0
    This course explores landscapes as products of interacting physical and human processes, and examines how those processes can change landscapes over time. The course uses an integrated approach to examine and interpret contemporary landscapes and reconstruct landscapes of the past, and highlights the utility of landscape science for environmental management applications. The course will be conducted through lectures and student-led seminars.
    Prerequisite: ESG 126 and ESG 127

    ESG 354     Environmental Impact Assessment     3-3-0
    Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is intended to provide a basis for deciding whether and how to proceed with a proposed resource development project so as to prevent or minimize environmental degradation. This course will examine the theory, methods, regulatory frameworks and social implications of EIA with emphasis on recent Canadian case studies.
    Prerequisite: ESG 249

    ESG 358     International Environmental Issues     3-3-0
    Environmental factors and their impact on global agricultural production, population growth and distribution. Fresh water and its effect on socio-economic development and political stability. Issues in trans-boundary pollution are discussed. Case studies from developed and developing countries.
    Prerequisite: ESG 224a or permission of the instructor.

    ESG 361     Glacial Environments     3-3-0
    The study of processes in glaciated environments. Particular emphasis will be placed on the effects of past glaciations on the Canadian landscape and on the action of contemporary Canadian glaciers. Arctic and alpine environments provide many excellent examples of these processes.
    Prerequisite: ESG 250a or permission of instructor.

    ESG 362     Advanced Geographic Information Systems     3-3-0
    Project-based applications stress the utility of advanced GIS analysis in environmental studies and geography.
    Prerequisite: ESG 262

    ESG 363     Natural Hazards     3-3-0
    The course is an examination of the occurrence, nature and explanation of hazardous natural processes. Attention will be given to defining natural hazards, describing their physical characteristics and discussing, in less detail, the human response to these events. Geological hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and volcanoes, and climatological hazards, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards, will be studied.
    Prerequisite: ESG 250a, ESG 269 or ESG 265

    ESG 364     Field Course in Geography     3-0-0
    The course will introduce students to field techniques and data collection and analysis in human and physical Geography. Data collection will take place during a week-long field camp held the week prior to the beginning of Fall Semester classes. During the semester students will meet weekly with a faculty advisor to discuss the Field Course Report. Final submission and oral presentation of the Report will occur at the end of the semester. A field camp fee will be assessed.
    Prerequisite: Open to U3 majors and honours students at the discretion of the Department.

    ESG 365     Mid-Latitude Weather Systems     3-3-0
    Examination of several of the major factors in mid-latitude cyclones including: air masses, upper and middle atmospheric structure, baroclinic instability, vorticity, divergence and geostrophic flow. Discussion of normal and extreme weather events such as blizzards, thunderstorms, extra-tropical cyclones, tornadoes and Nor’easters. An introduction to weather forecasting and weather on the internet.
    Prerequisite: ESG 265

    ESG 366     Ethical Perspectives on Environmental Problems     3-3-0
    An introduction to the major philosophical traditions in the field of environmental ethics: natural law, utilitarianism, virtue theory and deontology. The use of case studies in environmental problems, e.g. ocean dumping, nuclear wastes, air pollution, greenhouse gases, etc., as a way of exploring several contemporary positions such as biocentrism, ecocentrism, the land ethic and deep ecology.
    Prerequisite: ESG 126 and ESG 127

    ESG 367     Climate Change     3-3-0
    The course examines the debate surrounding global climate change with climatic and paleo-climatic perspectives. The climate system’s natural variability, and predicted impacts and environmental implications are examined. The course will include a short review of the present climate system, and a section on the Holocene climate. We will also examine how predictive climate models are developed and tested against recent and Holocene paleo-climatic data.
    Prerequisite: ESG 267

    ESG 461a     Honours Research Proposal     3-0-0
    An introduction to the planning, execution and reporting of Environmental and Geographic research. The student is required to select an appropriate research project and, under the supervision of a faculty member, complete a formal research proposal. The proposal must include a detailed Introduction, including the purpose, objectives and research hypothesis, a detailed Conceptual Background, with associated Literature Review and Bibliography, and a description of the Research Methods and Data Collection Techniques to be used in the project. Preliminary data collection should also take place. The Proposal will be presented at a Departmental seminar to be scheduled during the last two weeks of classes.
    Prerequisite: Permission of Department

    ESG 462b     Honours Thesis     3-0-0
    The continuation of ESG 461. Information and data collected for the Honours Research Proposal, plus additional data collected will be analysed, discussed and presented in an Honours thesis. Research findings will be presented at a Departmental seminar to be scheduled during the last two weeks of classes; the final submission of the thesis must occur before the last day of the formal examination period. The completion of both ESG 461 and ESG 462 is necessary to satisfy the requirements for Honours in Environmental Studies and Geography.
    Prerequisite: ESG 461 and permission of the Department

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