Quick Links

Land Surface Process and Environmental Change

Land Surface Processes and Environmental Change Domain (63 credits including Core)

Mentor

ian [dot] strachan [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ian Strachan) , 514-398-7935
Department of Natural Resource Sciences

This Domain is open only to students in the BSc and BSc (Ag.Env.Sc.) Major in Environment Programs.

How do land surface processes and climate change interact?

The thin soil layer on the planet's land surfaces controls the vital inputs of water, nutrients and energy to terrestrial and freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Widespread occurrences around the globe of desertification, soil erosion, deforestation and land submergence over water reservoirs indicate that this dynamic system is under increasing pressure from population growth and changes in climate and land uses. Production of key green-house gases (water vapor, CO2 and methane) is controlled by complex processes operating at the land surface, involving climate change feedbacks that need to be fully understood, given current global warming trends. The program introduces students to the interacting physical and biogeochemical processes at the atmosphere-lithosphere interface, which fashion land surface habitats and determine their biological productivity and response to anthropogenic or natural environmental changes. Through an appropriate selection of courses, students can prepare for graduate training in emerging research areas such as earth system sciences, environmental hydrology and landscape ecology.

See also Student Resources for information for New Students, including:

  • Suggested First Year Courses
  • Taking courses on both campuses
  • ENVR course sections - beware!

Program Requirements (effective Fall 2009)

NOTE: Students are required to take a maximum of 30 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*)

AGRI 519 - Sustainable Development Plans (in Barbados)
ENVR 401 - Environmental Research
ENVR 451 - Research in Panama (in Panama)
* only 3 credits will be applied to the program; extra credits will count as electives

Domain Required Course (3 credits)

GEOG 203 - Environmental Systems

Domain Complementary Courses (39 credits)

3 credits of statistics chosen from:
AEMA 310 - Statistical Methods 1 (M)
GEOG 202 - Statistics & Spatial Analysis
MATH 203 - Principles of Statistics 1
or equivalent

3 credits of GIS and remote sensing techniques chosen from:
GEOG 201 - Intro Geo-Information Science
GEOG 308 - Principles of Remote Sensing
ENVB 430 - GIS for Natural Resource Mgmt (M)
3 credits of weather and climate chosen from:
ATOC 215 - Oceans, Weather and Climate
ENVB 301 - Meteorology (M)
9 credits of fundamental land surface processes chosen from:
GEOG 272 - Earth's Changing Surface
or SOIL 300 - Geosystems (M)

GEOG 305 - Soils and Environment
or SOIL 326 - Soils in a Changing Environ (M)

GEOG 321 - Climatic Environments

GEOG 322 - Environmental Hydrology
or BREE 217 - Hydrology and Water Resources (M)
3 credits of environment and resource management chosen from:
AGRI 435 - Soil & Water Quality Mgmt (M)
AGRI 452 - Water Resources in Barbados (in Barbados)
AGRI 550 - Sustained Tropical Agriculture (in Panama)

BIOL 308 - Ecological Dynamics
or ENVB 305 - Population & Community Ecology (M)

BIOL 465 - Conservation Biology
CHEE 230 - Envrnmntl Aspects of Technol
CIVE 225 - Environmental Engineering
ESYS 301 - Earth System Modelling
GEOG 302 - Environmental Management 1
GEOG 404 - Environmental Management 2 (in Panama or Africa)
ENVB 437 - Assessing Environmental Impact (M)
WILD 421 - Wildlife Conservation (M)
WOOD 420 - Environmental Issues:Forestry (M)
WOOD 441 - Integrated Forest Management (M)
3 credits of a field course chosen from:
BIOL 553 - Neotropical Environments (in Panama)
GEOG 495 - Field Studies-Physical Geog (at Mont St Hilaire)
GEOG 496 - Geographical Excursion (in Barbados)
GEOG 499 - Subarctic Field Studies (in Schefferville)
WILD 475 - Desert Ecology (in Arizona)
3 credits of social science issues chosen from:
ANTH 339 - Ecological Anthropology
ECON 225 - Economics of the Environment
ECON 326 - Ecological Economics
ECON 405 - Natural Resource Economics
AGEC 333 - Resource Economics (M)

GEOG 221 - Environment and Health
or NRSC 221 - Environment and Health (M)

GEOG 408 - Geography of Development
GEOG 498 - Humans in Tropical Envirnmnts (in Panama)
SOCI 565 - Social Change in Panama
*can be replaced by HIST 510 - Enviro. Hist. of L. Am (Field)
URBP 520 - Globaliz: Planning & Change (in Barbados)

12 credits total of advanced studies chosen from the following two lists:

3 credits minimum of advanced study of particular environments
BIOL 432 - Limnology
or ENVB 315 - Science of Inland Waters (M)

ENVB 410 - Ecosystem Ecology (M)
GEOG 350 - Ecological Biogeography
GEOG 372 - Running Water Environments
GEOG 470 - Wetlands
GEOG 536 - Geocryology
GEOG 550 - Historical Ecology Techniques
PLNT 358 - Flowering Plant Diversity (M)
PLNT 460 - Plant Ecology (M)
3 credits minimum of advanced study of surface processes
ATOC 315 - Thermodynamics and Convection
BREE 509 - Hydrologic Systems&Modelling (M)
EPSC 549 - Hydrogeology
EPSC 580 - Aqueous Geochemistry
GEOG 501 - Modellin Environmental Systems
GEOG 505 - Global Biogeochemistry
GEOG 537 - Advanced Fluvial Geomorphology
NRSC 333 - Pollution and Bioremediation (M)
SOIL 331 - Environmental Soil Physics (M)
SOIL 510 - Environmental Soil Chemistry (M)