Tackle complex global sustainability questions through leading-edge research and on-the-ground practice. Build advanced skills in environmental management, communication and problem solving.
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September 05, 2023
You’re passionate about, and deeply involved in, practical environmental issues. Perhaps your interest ignited through an undergraduate degree in science, or environmental science. Or maybe you’ve already been working in the environmental field for a few years.
Now, you want to take your energy and commitment to the next level, building on your drive to make a difference — in your community, in your professional practice and through your work — to create a more sustainable world for all.
The Master of Arts in Environment and Management combines leading-edge research with on-the-ground practice and theory. You’ll enhance your existing skills, while increasing your knowledge about how to solve our world's complex environmental challenges.
You’ll examine many topics related to sustainability, from climate pollution and biodiversity loss, to reconciliation and social and community innovations. You’ll also focus on sustainability, accelerating the take-up of social and community innovations and the nature of change. You’ll learn about strategic decision making and teamwork. And you’ll learn how to address technical and policy questions using systems and sustainability perspectives.
By studying the inter-relationships between human, social and ecological systems, and learning about critical management concepts, you'll be ready to lead sustainability initiatives in multiple sectors, from government to industry and more.
The elective difference
The Master of Arts in Environment and Management shares some courses with the related Master of Science in Environment and Management. The difference is in the elective courses that you'll take.
Master of Arts in Environment and Management elective courses include:
- sustainable development, from theory to practice
- legal aspects of environmental management
- economics for decision making
- climate policy and governance
- worldviews, ethics and the environment
- learning theory and environmental program design
- the biosphere and sustainability
- academic writing and critical thinking across disciplines
If you identify a critical skill or knowledge gap in your learning agenda, you have the option of substituting a course elective from another university, upon approval of the program head and director of the school.
Once you have completed this program, you'll have a solid understanding of policy, practice and communication, as well as skills for working with stakeholders and communities to address global and local environmental and sustainability challenges. You'll be prepared to work in government, private and public sectors as well as non-governmental organizations.
You can choose to complete this program in one of two ways:
- through a blend of online courses and on-campus residencies
- on campus
Online courses consist of assigned readings, synchronous or asynchronous lectures, interactive discussions, and individual and team assignments.
You’re expected to meet deadlines and contribute meaningfully to your class. Your contributions are a big part of everyone’s learning.
You will typically take one online course at a time, for a period of approximately 10 weeks each, with a brief break in between. Each online course requires approximately 10 hours of work per week.
You'll start your program with a non-credit, but required, course about academic integrity.
The blended version of this program has two three-week residencies and one two-week residency.
Residencies are intensive and immersive. Many students say this time together is the highlight of their program.
During your residency, you can expect to:
- attend classes full time (e.g., Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- complete homework and individual and team assignments outside of class hours
- take part in extracurricular activities
You can also expect to:
- be intensively engaged in deep dialogue and inquiry
- engage in an innovative project, open space technology and fieldwork
- participate in an integrated social and natural science inquiry
This program can also be completed on campus.
On-campus learning is ideally suited to those who learn best when they can be face-to-face with other students and their instructors. The on-campus program features:
- A cohort-based learning environment that fosters and supports successful learning through social interactions
- Team-based learning, and coaching to improve team skills
- Participation in an integrated social and natural science inquiry
- Engagement in an innovative project, open space technology and fieldwork
The on-campus delivery option is ideal for international students. Note there are limited seats available for students to take this on-campus offering that provides a unique opportunity for students from outside of Canada to spend time on Royal Roads’ beautiful campus.
Whether you follow the on-campus or blended model, you'll complete your degree by writing a thesis or conducting a Major Research Project.
A thesis is a systematic study of a significant problem, issue or phenomenon. It demonstrates your ability to analyze research and data, and apply it to solve a problem, understand an issue, or explore an opportunity. The result is a synthesis of information and recommendations for further action.
In the Master of Arts in Environment and Management, your thesis will be related to social questions and public policy issues of interest to the social sciences, the humanities or the arts.
The thesis generally includes an evaluation of the ecological, social, political, economic or legal implications of particular sustainable development policies, regulations,and practices. Your thesis could also include a detailed case study and analysis of the ecological, social, political, economic, legal, scientific dimensions (or some combination of these) of a specific environmental issue or crisis.
Your MEM thesis also includes a conclusion or recommendation section that offers guidance to the public, policy makers and program managers on the relevance of the research, and how the research findings might affect policymaking or planning.
Major project option
A Major Research Project is an alternative to the more traditional thesis. It is a good option if you have a very specific challenge to address. To complete it, you may collaborate with an organization, community or association to conduct a participatory research project that leads toward positive ecological, social and structural change.
Work while you learn
Online courses, combined with residencies, allow you to learn without having to give up your current employment. While you'll want to check with your employer about your course schedule and any time off you might need, in many cases, employers can support, mentor or sponsor you in your studies.
- Four-year (or comparable) undergraduate degree in a related field, with a minimum GPA of 'B' (3.00/4.33), from a recognized post-secondary institution.
- At least two years of relevant work or volunteer experience.
- Applicants who meet the degree requirement, but not the GPA requirement, will normally be required to complete"Academic Writing and Critical Thinking" several weeks prior to starting the program and obtain a minimum final grade of B (73%).
Applicants who do not meet the Standard Admission requirements will be considered for flexible admission and assessed as follows:
- Normally, six years of relevant work experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
- All flexible admission applicants will normally be required to complete "Academic Writing and Critical Thinking" several weeks prior to starting the program and obtain a minimum final grade of B (73%).
English language proficiency
- If English is not your primary language, please review our English language requirements.
- Our program is designed to be of most benefit to environmental practitioners who have an interest in, or a responsibility for, leadership and sustainable decision-making. As such, work and volunteer experience are key requirements of admission to the program.
- Students intending to pursue the MSc stream must possess a science-focused undergraduate degree.
- Indication of potential thesis topic and thesis sponsor is beneficial to a candidate’s application.
All applications to this program require submission of the following information and supporting documents before your file can be assessed for admission:
In order to apply online, you will be required to create a log-in account using your email address. You will be required to list all credit courses and/or programs you have completed or are currently enrolled in. An application fee will be required. If your application fees are being paid by a third party, review sponsored student information. Once submitted, you may check the status of your application at any time.
Applicants are responsible for arranging for the submission of official transcripts from ALL post-secondary (higher education) institutions currently or previously attended, for all credit courses and/or programs. Transcripts are not required for non-credit programs or courses, though some programs may require proof of professional certifications or designations.
Transcripts are considered official only if submitted directly by the Registrar or other recognized authority of the providing institution in the institution's original, sealed envelope. If the envelope has been opened, the transcripts are no longer official and new (official) transcripts will be required to complete your application.
All international transcripts or credentials are subject to an international transcript and/or credential evaluation.
Your personal statement should be no less than a one-page letter indicating your motivation for seeking entrance to the program. Your statement should comment upon your personal and career goals, the expectations you have for the program in relation to the achievement of your goals, and the strengths you feel you can bring to the program. While it is not necessary, you can also include potential thesis interests and potential thesis sponsor.
Letters of reference
It is ideal if one reference letter is based on your work experience and the other based on either your academic performance or community service that you have undertaken. However, two work-related references are acceptable in certain cases. There is no set standard for letter of reference format. The length and level of detail in each letter may vary.
Content of the reference letters should illustrate and support your suitability for admission to the Master of Arts/Master of Science in Environment and Management program. Content may include how your referee feels you will succeed in the program (and why) and how the program will benefit you. Indication of demonstrated skills, competencies and aptitudes and other relevant information about which the referee can comment is beneficial. The context in which the referee has come to know you should also be mentioned.
Your resume should provide as much information as possible, with special attention given to the past ten years of your career. As a guideline, items in your resume should include:
- Education: List all post secondary education, degrees, diplomas, and certificates you have achieved.
- Training/professional development: List career related training and professional development programs completed within the past five years. Include the source of training, and the duration and year completed. List other training and personal development programs not already identified.
- Work experience: Please include name of organization, position, length of service and brief description of duties.
- Voluntary/unpaid work experience: List and describe any voluntary/unpaid post-secondary employment and/or community service experience. Please include the name of the organization, length of service, and a brief description of duties. List positions you have held in this service.
- Information technology training and experience: Briefly describe your level of training and experience in the use of information technology including computers, software and telecommunications networks as tools for business, education, teaching and personal use.
- Professional memberships/affiliations: List memberships and positions you hold/have held in professional associations, service clubs, community/volunteer sector.
- Other relevant information : Provide any other information which you believe is relevant to your application and will be of assistance to the review committee.
- Applicants declaring permanent resident or Convention Refugee status in Canada, must submit a copy of their Permanent Resident Card (PR card) along with their application.
- Transcript evaluation fee or credential evaluation report, if submitting international transcripts.
- An official English language proficiency score report or other evidence of proficiency if English is not your primary language.
- Other information or documents as may be requested to determine your eligibility.
For information on how and where to send your supporting documents, please refer to the document submission guidelines.
Financial aid and awards
RBC Community Integrated Learning Grants
Funding for students completing a required career learning and development (CLD) work term in the community of at least 420 hours with an organization that cannot provide wages or compensation.
Up to $8,500
ACT WEST Community Foundation Fund
The ACT WEST Community Foundation helps support single mothers build better lives for themselves and their children.
up to 4 years tuition
Admiral John Charles and Mary Charles Scholarship
Awarded annually to a second year School of Humanitarian Studies student who is currently serving or retired military.
Active students (In-course)
Allan Cahoon Global Advancement and Diversity Award
Assist students in underrepresented populations who wish to promote diversity.
Active students (In-course)
Allan Cahoon Scholarship
This scholarship aims to encourage academic excellence, supporting students who excel both academically and through their leadership.
Active students (In-course)
Andrea Fallan Memorial Bursary
Provides financial assistance to a second year BCom student for exceptional leadership, community involvement, and dedication to promote a cohesive team environment.
Active students (In-course)
Asper Foundation Communications Award
Awarded to students in communications-related degree working in, or seeking to work in the communications industry.
Active students (In-course)
Assistance Program for Students with Permanent Disabilities
This program helps students with permanent disabilities pay for exceptional education-related services and adaptive equipment.
Up to $12,144/year