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Environmental Science Learning Outcomes

The 3- and 4-year environmental science programs at Concordia are designed to give students a broad understanding of the foundational concepts in environmental science along with laboratory and field experience that supports and expands upon concepts discussed in lecture while allowing students to gain specific practical skills.  The emphasis stream in the 4-year program (Environmental Assessment and Remediation) gives students the opportunity to study a particular aspect of environmental science in depth within the context of a liberal arts education.

Graduates should have acquired knowledge and skills that will allow entry into laboratory or field jobs, or further study in areas such as Education.  Graduates of the 4-year program should be prepared for entry to graduate or professional school, a career, and eventual professional certification by, for example, the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (with the addition of a few courses not currently offered at Concordia).

Each course has specific learning outcomes, as described in the course syllabus, but the programs have general learning outcomes shared by many courses.  These are shown in the program curriculum maps, and include:

Literacy

  • Locate, evaluate and synthesize information from the scientific literature
  • Evaluate information from popular electronic and print media
  • Think analytically and independently
  • Engage in self-directed learning outside of the classroom or laboratory

Communication

  • Communicate science effectively, with appropriate use of scientific terminology, through written work (including research reports) and oral presentations to a variety of audiences
  • Be able to debate environmental science with use of appropriate scientific information
  • Be able to write a research report

Core environmental science concepts

  • Understand how interactions between organisms and their environments drive the dynamics of individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems
  • Recognize the ecological basis for regional and global environmental issues
  • Understand the processes and patterns of evolution, and the role of evolution as the central unifying concept in environmental science
  • Understand the historical and social context of environmental science thought and research, and the contributions of environmental science to the resolution of ethical, social, and environmental issues in human affairs
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the interdisciplinary relationship of cultural, ethical, and social aspects of local/global environmental issues
  • General skills
  • Demonstrate ethical conduct in all scientific activities
  • Understand legislation governing environmental research and the environment in Canada
  • Integrate facts, concepts, and methods from multiple disciplines and apply to environmental problems
  • Use quantitative reasoning, observation, technical and analytical skills for scientific problem-solving and interpretation of environmental data
  • Work well independently and in small groups;
    • Show self-direction and motivation, and contribute to group work;
    • Learn cooperatively and work in teams
  • Design and evaluate strategies, technologies, and methods for assessment and sustainable management of environmental systems and for the remediation or restoration of degraded environments
  • Characterize and analyze human impacts on the environment

Research skills

  • Maintain proper research records
  • Use current laboratory and field instrumentation, computer applications (including GIS) and statistical techniques in the collection, organization, analysis and interpretation of data
  • Design, conduct, report and defend a year-long independent laboratory or field-based research project
  • Laboratory skills
    • Use common chemical and biological techniques for the analysis of environmental samples

Field skills

  • Collect field samples
  • Describe and assess the status of terrestrial and aquatic sites