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Environment & Society

Home to our Environment & Society programs, McMaster’s School of Earth, Environment & Society is an internationally recognized centre for research, education and training. 

The Environment & Society program gives students a critical for understanding of: environmental change, globalization, urbanization, transportation and health and social inequalities. During this program, students explore how to solve the human challenges related to these thematic areas.

This interdisciplinary program combines insights and skills from Human Geography, Environmental Studies, Geographic Information Science (GIS), and Urban Studies to deliver a flexible program of study that equips students with knowledge and skills essential to an expanding range of careers in environment management, sustainability, urban planning and GIS.

You can find a video about our programs here

Environment and Society Brochure

photo of Aysha Akhtar

Aysha Akhtar

Level 4

“I love my program because of the smaller class sizes. These gave me the opportunity to get to know my professors and build stronger relationships with my peers. McMaster may seem like a big school, but it doesn’t feel that way because you are a part of a community.”

What is Environment & Society?

This interdisciplinary program examines the spatial organization of people, their activities and the environments in which they occur. An undergraduate degree in Environment & Society equips students with an ability to:

  • appreciate the physical and cultural characteristics of places in an increasingly globalized world
  • understand the evolution of people, their ideas, activities, their places and their environments over time
  • understand the spatial distributions and complex connectivity of people and places

Focus of Study

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Urban Geography & Planning
  • Geographies of Health and Population Studies
  • Environmental Issues
  • Economic Geography and Transportation Studies

Environment & Society Degree Options

All Social Sciences students start off in Level I. At the end of first-year, students who meet the requirements outlined below can pursue one of the following degree options:

  • Honours B.A. Environment & Society
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in one of ENVSOCTY 1HA3 or 1HB3.
  • Combined Honours in Environment & Society & Another Subject
    Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in one of ENVSOCTY 1HA3 or 1HB3. Satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours program in the other B.A. subject.
  • B.A. in Environment & Society
    Grade Point Average of 3.5 including an average of at least 4.0 (C-) in one of ENVSOCTY 1HA3 or 1HB3.


The School of Earth, Environment & Society also offers the following Certificates that students can earn concurrently with their degree program:

  • Geographic Information Science
  • Urban Studies & Planning


The School of Earth, Environment & Society also offers the following Minors that can be taken alongside another degree program:

  • Minor in Environment & Society
  • Minor in Sustainability

Environment & Society Program Details

Build Your Skills

Experiential Opportunities

The inquiry components of courses complement lectures to provide students with a richer understanding of course material. These include small group tutorials, hands-on labs and problem-based assignments. Students can also take advantage of a variety of field courses and trips throughout their programs in Environment & Society.
Level I students have many opportunities to explore neighbourhoods, urban development projects and sites of interest across HamiltonBetween Levels II and III, students can choose from one of two field camp courses, one is focused on the changing urban geography of Toronto and the other is focused around understanding environmental issues in the local Dundas Valley
Students in Level IV can experience further opportunities, including travelling to various metropolitan areas to conduct supervised urban field research. These have focused on exploring the linkages between the city, population, economy, politics, culture, which has shaped the urban development. Locations of study have included, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Montreal.

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Sustainability Management

  • Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Environmental Analyst

  • GIS Analyst

  • Urban Planner

  • Tourism
  • Policy Analyst

  • Civil Servant
  • Community Developer

  • Education/ Teaching

  • Lawyer

  • Conservation Officer
  • Demographer
  • Humanitarian Organizations

  • Environmental Consultant 

  • Emergency Management 

  • Outdoor Recreation Management

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