Majors and Concentrations
If you have just completed your Freshman (U0) year or if you are entering your U1 year from CEGEP, then you need to choose a Major. Most of the Environment degree programs (except for the BA&Sc Interfaculty Program) require that you also choose an area of specialization called a Concentration. If you are uncertain of which Concentration to follow, you can add your Concentration later on. As well, you can change your Concentration later if you change your mind.
When planning your schedule and registering for courses, you need to verify where each course is offered because courses for this program are taught both at McGill's downtown campus and the Macdonald campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Courses offered at Macdonald are shown on the Bieler School of Environment website with an (M) beside them. Regardless of which campus most of your courses are on, if you wish to take several courses on the other campus, the program is flexible enough to allow this. The two campuses are about 35 km apart. It takes about 35 minutes by shuttle bus or car (closer to 50 minutes in rush hour), and about 90 minutes by city bus and metro or by train. Students can use the free Shuttle Bus service which runs every 45 minutes between campuses throughout the school year.
Suggested First Year Courses
As a first-year (U1) Bieler School of Environment student, you will take the four 200-level ENVR courses. In addition to the these core courses, you can take elective courses or complementary courses for your Environment program. The Concentration course lists do not represent sequences of courses; rather, they are lists of choices. For suggestions for courses to take in your first year (U1), consult the Student Handbook. Feel free to email or phone Kathy Roulet if you have questions. You can also make an online appointment with Kathy here: Online Appointment.
The core ENVR courses can be taken on either campus. Be careful which Section you register in for the ENVR courses! The courses will vary slightly depending on the section, and you will not be able to write your EXAM if you are in the wrong section! Section 001 is Downtown, section 051 is at Macdonald. This applies only to ENVR courses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Where can I access resources to support my academic success, and my physical and mental well-being?
The Student Wellness Hub is our students' place to go for their holistic health and wellness needs. It provides access to basic physical and mental health services, as well as health promotion and peer support programs, in convenient locations at both our Macdonald and downtown campuses. The Hub offers specialized programming related to stress, anxiety, depression, addictive behaviours, and sleep issues which can have a major impact on academic performance for broad segments of the student population. Our programming is geared towards helping students overcome these challenges and meet their academic objectives.
2. How do I know on which campus the courses I have registered for, are given?
Because ENVR courses are given on both campuses, each ENVR course is associated with a section number which corresponds to its location: Section 001 is downtown, section 051 is the Macdonald campus. Other courses have section numbers but only ENVR courses have section numbers that refer to campus location. Courses offered on Macdonald campus are shown on the Bieler School of Environment website with an (M) beside them.
3. When do I register for my Winter term courses?
You should register for your Winter term courses at the same time as you register for your Fall term courses. Otherwise, they may fill up. You can make changes in December and up until the add/drop deadline in January if needed or if you change your mind about your course selections.
4. How do I register for courses?
There is a detailed description of how to register for courses, including an excellent Tutorial Video on the McGill website.
5. I looked on Minerva for the ENVR courses, but it says none are available. What should I have done differently?
When you are looking up the schedule for a course using Minerva Class Schedule, or when you want to register, you are asked to select a Term. On the next page you are asked to choose a Subject (like ENVR for example). That is all the information you need to enter. Click on 'Get Course Sections' and you will find the information related to ENVR courses.
6. I tried to register for a course but received a registration error. What do I do about this? Where can I go for assistance?
There are a number of different error messages you could receive, if you have been unsuccessful registering for a course. These messages are listed and explained on the McGill Website. As well, you will find tips and suggestions for solving common registration issues.
7. What if the courses fill up? Is it possible to be added to a wait-list?
Enrollment in most courses at McGill is now limited or "capped". Students who are required to take a course will be able to register (if an ENVR course is full, contact Christina Zhu), but students looking for electives or complementary courses may have trouble if they try to register for very popular courses late in the registration period. If it is a non-ENVR course that you are trying to register in, and it is full, you will need to contact the Professor of the course or the Academic Adviser in that department, for assistance.
Many courses have wait-lists, including the ENVR courses. If you receive an error message saying the course is full, you will need to add yourself to the wait-list for that course. Full instructions of how to use Minerva wait-lists, including a Tutorial Video, can be found on the McGill Website.
8. Looking for suggestions for electives?
The Environment program is only part of your degree requirements. Electives are courses that count towards your overall degree requirements but are not needed for your Environment program. Here are some popular courses that you could consider taking:
AGRI 340 - Princ of Ecological Agricult
ANTH 206 - Environment and Culture
ANTH 212 - Anthropology of Development
GEOG 205 - Global Chg:Past, Pres & Future
GEOG 216 - Geography of the World Economy
RELG 270 - Religious Ethics & the Environ
9. I am a Faculty of Science student and there's a "restricted" course in my Concentration. Will I receive credit for it?
Faculty of Science students should be aware that they cannot take courses outside the Faculties of Arts or Science, unless they are Approved. Please refer to the List of Restricted Courses in the Undergraduate Handbook for students in the Faculty of Science. Minerva will not warn you if you have registered for a restricted course. Once completed, the course will be "E-flagged" (course is excluded from credits, and excluded from the GPA). You do not want this to happen, so please check the List of Restricted Courses and contact the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser if you have any doubts.
However, that being said -- courses that are on the List of Restricted Courses AND that are approved complementary courses in your Concentration -- ARE approved for you to take and to receive credit for.
10. I need to talk to an Adviser in another department. Where do I find their name and contact information?
11. What is the S/U option? And can I use it?
The Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option is explained in the e-Calendar. All Bieler School of Environment students may take advantage of the S/U option (according to the regulations), however students in the Faculty Program Environment (B.Arts degree), in particular, may wish to use this option to complete their program pre-/co-requisite science and numeracy requirements. If you have any questions about whether the S/U option makes sense for you to use, please contact the Program Adviser.
12. Why am I unable to register in BIOL 111 and/or MATH 139/140?
During several weeks in June, when new Science students are registering – the freshman courses (science and math) are closed to everyone else. They will reopen again to Arts students, for registration, on June 23 (freshman math courses) and July 7 (freshman science courses). This is further explained on the SOUSA website
Rest assured that registration has followed this model for the last couple of years, and it has not created a problem for incoming Faculty Program Environment students, even though their registration for BIOL 111 is delayed.
13. I am not sure which Concentration I want to follow, but I don't want to fall behind. What can I do?
You should start with the four 200-level core ENVR courses:
ENVR 200 - The Global Environment
ENVR 201 - Society,Environ&Sustainability
ENVR 202 - The Evolving Earth
ENVR 203 - Knowledge, Ethics&Environment
In addition, if you compare the Concentrations, you will notice courses that are common amongst them, for example:
ENVB 305 - Population & Community Ecology (at Macdonald Campus)
Statistics - GEOG 202 - Statistics & Spatial Analysis (Downtown Campus),
or MATH 203 - Principles of Statistics 1 (Downtown Campus),
or AEMA 310 - Statistical Methods 1 (Macdonald Campus);
(or equivalent statistics course)
Microeconomics - ECON 208 - Microeconomic Analysis&Applic (Downtown Campus),
or AGEC 200 - Principles of Microeconomics (Macdonald Campus)
Also, if you are in the Faculty Program Environment, you will need to complete the program pre-/co-requisites, regardless of which Concentration you choose to go into.
14. I am a new student, and many courses are already full. What can I do to get into the courses I need?
One factor behind the popularity of the courses in your program is the interdisciplinarity of the Environment programs. They comprise courses from units across different departments, and faculties, and both campuses of the university. This means that from time to time you will come across courses that have restricted registrations. Just as the Bieler School of Environment will restrict non-Environment students from taking our courses (when they start to reach capacity), other units will do likewise.
Rest assured that if you add yourself to the wait-list(s) for the courses as soon as you are able (wait-lists normally all open before the end of June), there is a very, very good chance that you will secure a spot in the course before September).
Note that returning students (i.e. non-CEGEP students who did their U0 year at McGill) are able to register before U1 students who are new to McGill. Next May, you will be considered a returning student and will be able to register ahead of the incoming class.
15. In the Faculty Program Environment (B. Arts degree), must I complete both the numeracy and science program co-requisite requirements before the end of my U1 year?
Ideally you will have completed both these requirements before you enter McGill, but if that is not your situation then the next best case would be for you to complete one or both in your U0 (freshman year). But still, if this is not possible, then you should try to complete both by the end of your U1 year. A common combination is BIOL 111 and MATH 139. Both courses are offered ONLY in the fall term. If this is your situation, it is acceptable to take one in the fall of U1 and the other in the fall of U2.
Did you know you are allowed to complete these requirement(s) using the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option? See the FAQ #11 above!
Taking Courses Outside your Faculty or on the "Other" Campus
There are some important rules regarding how many credits and which courses you can take outside the Faculty into which you are admitted. The rules for each Faculty are different - see below for the information that pertains to you.
Faculty of Arts
Faculty Program Environment students are restricted to a maximum of 30 credits outside the Faculties of Arts and Science. This includes courses counting towards your Environment program and any other program (e.g. Minor or Minor Concentration), as well as electives. It does not include ENVR courses, even if taken on the Macdonald campus. Normally, this restriction will not affect your course selections since the Faculty Program Environment Concentrations comprise mainly downtown course. You will receive no warning if you register for too many credits outside Arts and Science. The course(s) will be "E-flagged" (course is excluded from credits, and excluded from the GPA). You do not want this to happen, so please refer to the Programs, Courses, and University Regulations e-Calendar for more detail, or speak with the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser if you have questions.
Faculty of Science
There are science course offered on both campuses; however, B.Science students are in the Faculty of Science and must take most of their courses Downtown. Specifically, B.Sc. Major Environment students are restricted to a maximum of 18 credits outside the Faculties of Arts and Science. This does not include the ENVR courses, even if taken on the Macdonald campus. Any credits over 18 credits must be complementary or required courses for your Environment program.
Faculty of Science students should be aware that they cannot take courses outside the Faculties of Arts or Science, unless they are Approved. Please refer to the List of Restricted Courses. Minerva will not warn you if you have registered for a restricted course. Once completed, the course will be "E-flagged" (course is excluded from credits, and excluded from the GPA). You do not want this to happen, so please check the List of Restricted Courses and contact the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser if you have any doubts.
Bachelor of Arts & Science degree
BA&Sc students are restricted to a maximum of 30 credits outside Arts and Science (only 12 of which can be electives). This does not include ENVR courses, even if taken on the Macdonald campus. You will not receive a warning if you register for courses that cause you to exceed this limit. The course(s) will be "E-flagged" (course is excluded from credits and excluded from the GPA). For further information, please refer to the Programs, Courses, and University Regulations e-Calendar for more detail, or speak with the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser for clarification.
Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
There are science courses offered on both campuses, however, B.Sc.(Ag.Env.Sc.) students are in the Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and must take most of their courses on the Macdonald campus. Specifically, Mac students must take 2/3 of their McGill credits from courses offered by the Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. This does not include ENVR courses, even if taken on the Downtown campus. With careful planning, you can take the downtown courses you want and need, including the required and some complementary courses in your Concentration. Also, it does not preclude taking a Minor or Minor Concentration from one of the downtown Faculties. For more information, refer to the Programs, Courses, and University Regulations e-Calendar, or ask the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser.
Statistics Courses - Overlap
There are a number of statistics courses offered at McGill that are similar enough to each other that you will not receive credit for more than one of them, even if taken by mistake. These courses are shown in the Programs, Courses, and University Regulations e-Calendar. Therefore, if you have taken, or are considering taking a statistics course other than one listed in your program, please consult the e-Calendar or the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser to ensure there is no restriction. Minerva will not warn you if you register for an overlapping statistics course. Once completed, the course will be "E-flagged" (course is excluded from credits, and excluded from the GPA). You do not want this to happen, so please contact the Bieler School of Environment Program Adviser if you have any doubts.
Are you in the Faculty Program Environment? Do you need Calculus 1 to satisfy your program pre-/co-requisite? See the Math Department website for information about the differences between MATH 139 and MATH 140.
Student Affairs Offices
Your Student Affairs Office can provide general academic information and advice about issues such as faculty and degree requirements, registration issues, inter-faculty transfer, exchange and study away, academic standing, and graduation. In addition to advising students about such issues, either be appointment or on a daily drop-in basis, Faculty Advisers offer a variety of information sessions each term, for example: degree planning workshops, study away workshops, and freshman information sessions.
For more information, consult the Student Affairs Office website of your Faculty:
* Faculty of Arts Students - Office of Advising and Student Information Services (OASIS)
* BA&Sc Students - Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA)
* Faculty of Science Students - Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA)
* Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Science Students - Student Affairs Office