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Economics and the Earth's Environment

Economics and the Earth's Environment Domain (54 credits)


jeanne [dot] paquette [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Jeanne Paquette) , 514-398-4402
Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences

This Domain is open only to students in the BA Faculty Program in Environment.

How does economics influence the decisions we make as a society about resource extraction and waste management?

The resources necessary for human society are extracted from the Earth, used as raw materials in our factories and refineries, and then returned to the Earth as waste. Human society is dependent upon geological processes and the resources they produce. Our use of resources creates waste, and geologic processes determine the fate of wastes in the environment. Understanding Earth's geologic processes provides us with the knowledge to mitigate many of our society's environmental impacts due to resource extraction and waste disposal. This knowledge is not always enough because economics in society often plays a controlling role in how we use and abuse our environment. Economics frequently affects what energy sources power our society and how our wastes are treated. Economics also contributes to our understanding of how we value Earth's environment. Earth sciences and economics are essential for our understanding of the many mechanisms that affect Earth's environment.

This domain educates students in the fundamentals of each discipline. The student's education in economics provides the fundamentals of this discipline and their application to the resultant effects of economic choices on Earth's environment. Examples of these applications include the economic effects of public policy towards resource industries and methods of waste disposal, and the potential effects of global warming on the global economy. Students learn of minerals, rocks, soils and waters which define much of Earth's environment and how these materials interact with each other and with the atmosphere. Courses in specific subdisciplines of Earth Sciences combined with courses presenting a global vision of how the Earth and its environment operate provide the student with the necessary knowledge of geologic processes. Examples of this knowledge include the effects of mineral and energy extraction on the environment and how industrial waste interacts with solids and liquids in the environment. The Earth Science and economics pedagogic paths merge in the final year when the students apply what they have learned in the domain to current environmental issues. In addition, students are required to take an introductory-level Ecology course, and have options to take courses in Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, Biology, Engineering and Law that are relevant to the Domain.

Pre-requisite or Co-requisite Courses for Program

To graduate from the Faculty Program in Environment, students are required to complete two pre-/co-requisite courses. These courses should be completed by the end of your U1 year. These 100-level courses, if taken exclusively for the purpose of fulfilling this program pre-/co-requisite requirement, may be taken using the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Option. Contact Kathy Roulet, the MSE Program Adviser for more information.

Numeracy course:
One of the following calculus courses -
MATH 139 - Calculus 1 with Precalculus
MATH 140 - Calculus 1
or equivalent (e.g., CEGEP objective 00UN)

AND Science course:
One of the following science courses -
BIOL 111 - Principles:Organismal Biology
AEBI 120 - General Biology (M)
** CHEM 110 - General Chemistry 1
PHYS 101 - Intro Physics - Mechanics
or equivalent (e.g., CEGEP objectives Biology 00UK, Chemistry 00UL, Physics 00UR, or equivalent)
** CHEM 110 is recommended as it is the pre-req for one of the Domain required courses, EPSC 210

See also Student Resources for information concerning:

  • Majors and Domains
  • Suggested First Year courses
  • Taking courses Outside your Faculty or on the "Other" campus (Science students, in particular, need to be aware of the Restricted Courses list)
  • ENVR course sections - beware!
  • Numeracy requirement for B.A. Faculty Program Environment students
  • Statistics course(s) overlap
  • Your Faculty's Student Affairs Office

Program Requirements

NOTE: Students are required to take a maximum of 34 credits at the 200 level and a minimum of 12 credits at the 400 level or higher in this program. This includes Core and Required courses.

Core: Required Courses (18 credits)

ENVR 200 - The Global Environment
ENVR 201 - Society,Environ&Sustainability
ENVR 202 - The Evolving Earth
ENVR 203 - Knowledge, Ethics&Environment
ENVR 301 - Environmental Research Design
ENVR 400 - Environmental Thought

Core: Complementary Course — Senior Research Project
(3 credits*)

AEBI 427 - Barbados Interdisc Project (6 cr) (M) (in Barbados)
AGRI 519 - Sustainable Development Plans (6 cr) (M) (in Barbados)
ENVR 401 - Environmental Research (3 cr)
ENVR 451 - Research in Panama (6 cr) (in Panama)
* Only 3 credits will be applied to the program; extra credits will count as electives.

Domain: Required courses (15 credits)

ECON 230D1 - Microeconomic Theory
ECON 230D2 - Microeconomic Theory
ECON 405 - Natural Resource Economics
EPSC 210 - Introductory Mineralogy
EPSC 212 - Introductory Petrology

Domain: Complementary courses (18 credits)

3 credits of statistics:
AEMA 310 - Statistical Methods 1 (M)
GEOG 202 - Statistics & Spatial Analysis
MATH 203 - Principles of Statistics 1
or equivalent such as PSYC 204 - Intro to Psychological Stats
6 credits of economics:
AGEC 333 - Resource Economics (M)
ECON 326 - Ecological Economics
ECON 347 - Economics of Climate Change
ECON 416 - Topics in Econ Development 2
ECON 525 - Project Analysis

9 credits of advanced courses:
*Note: You can take BREE 217 or GEOG 322 but not both; you can take ENVB 305 or BIOL 308 but not both.
AEBI 423 - Sustainable Land Use (M) (in Barbados)
AGRI 435 - Soil & Water Quality Mgmt (M)
AGRI 452 - Water Resources in Barbados (M) (in Barbados)
AGRI 550 - Sustained Tropical Agriculture (M) (in Panama)
ANTH 339 - Ecological Anthropology
ANTH 451 - Res in Society & Dev in Africa (in Africa)
BIOL 305 - Animal Diversity
BIOL 308 - Ecological Dynamics
BIOL 451 - Res in Ecol&Develop in Africa (in Africa)
BREE 217 - Hydrology and Water Resources (M)
ECON 305 - Industrial Organization
ECON 313 - Economic Development 1
ECON 314 - Economic Development 2
ECON 408 - Public Sector Economics 1
ECON 409 - Public Sector Economics 2
ENVB 305 - Population & Community Ecology (M)
ENVB 437 - Assessing Environmental Impact (M)
ENVR 421 - Mtl:Envr Hist & Sustainability
ENVR 422 - Mtl Urban Sustainability Anal
EPSC 240 - Geology in the Field
EPSC 355 - Sedimentary Geology offered alternate years
EPSC 549 - Hydrogeology
GEOG 302 - Environmental Management 1
GEOG 322 - Environmental Hydrology
GEOG 404 - Environmental Management 2 (in Africa, Panama)
GEOG 451 - Res in Society & Dev in Africa (in Africa)
GEOG 498 - Humans in Tropical Envirnmnts (in Panama)
HIST 510 - Enviro. Hist. of L. Am (Field) (in Panama)
NRSC 451 - Res in Ecol&Develop in Africa (M) (in Africa)
SOIL 510 - Environmental Soil Chemistry (M)
URBP 507 - Planning and Infrastructure (M) (in Barbados)
URBP 520 - Globaliz: Planning & Change (M) (in Barbados)