You should accept our offer and start the Master’s of Science in Environmental Sustainability program: Here's why

Publié le mercredi 18 mars 2020

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Are you wondering if you should accept our offer and start the Master’s of Environmental Sustainability program next fall? We understand how big a decision this is. To help, we made this list of reasons why we think you should choose to study with us at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment.

Our three-day Orientation Program is fun, and will connect you with environmental professionals in Ottawa

Every year, we organize an action-packed Welcome Week that brings together our Master’s of Environmental Sustainability (MES) students, our professors and local environmental professionals. The program starts with an intense three-day orientation that lets our students learn more about the National Capital Region and discuss the meaning of sustainability with professors. It also allows them to meet members of their cohort from different disciplines. The goal is to foster a collaborative environment, connect students with environmental leaders, highlight different environmental opportunities and have fun!

We organize:

  • a Seminar on Environmental Sustainability where the professors from the four Foundation Courses (environmental science, economics, law, and policy) debate and discuss how sustainability is approached in their discipline
  • a number of panels with environmental professionals
    • a Career Opportunities in Environmental Sustainability panel with experts working in the field
    • a Roundtable Discussion Session with environmental-economy experts and researchers from the Smart Prosperity Institute
    • an Alumni Panel
  • a number of tours and events to expose you to what is happening in your new community
    • a hike in Gatineau Park and a session with Park conservationists
    • a tour of Zibi with Windmill Development staff 
    • a campus sustainability tour
    • team-building activities with staff and your new classmates

This Orientation Program is a great opportunity for you to get to know your classmates and to build a network of environmental professionals in Ottawa.

Our Master’s of Environmental Sustainability CO-OP program has great placements

You can extend your program by one year and apply for the Master’s of Environmental Sustainability CO-OP program in September. This program allows you to gain first-hand experience in environment-related fields. So far, everyone who applied and was eligible for the CO-OP program has been accepted.

Our CO-OP program has placements at organizations like:

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (various branches such as: Environmental Stewardship Branch, Legislative Governance, and Pollutant Inventories and Reporting Division)
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Species at Risk Program
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Natural Resources Canada, Energy sector
  • Sustainable Development Technology Canada
  • World Wildlife Fund Canada

"This past summer and fall, I was fortunate to complete my two consecutive CO-OP work terms with SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd. (SLR) . I was their first CO-OP student because the Ottawa office was created only 2.5 years ago! SLR is a global environmental and advisory consulting firm involved in various sectors. I was hired as the Staff Scientist for the Land & Water Quality Team. It was a very interdisciplinary and collaborative atmosphere as I got to work with various professionals and clients throughout Canada. We had many ongoing projects, so each day provided its own unique challenges! Some projects I worked on include:

-Executing a groundwater monitoring program in Thunder Bay, ON;

-Analysing data for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) from two remote sites in Nunavut; and

-Contributing to environmental investigations at Former Camp Ipperwash, a Department of National Defence (DND)site, as SLR was contracted by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to aid in the efforts to return the land to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.

The courses from the MES program provided me with ability to tackle these projects pragmatically, by developing my communication, researching, and technical writing skills. My CO-OP experiences have refined these skills further.

Solving complex environmental problems requires an interdisciplinary approach. At SLR, I collaborated in small teams and worked with clients from throughout the country! My CO-OP was a fulfilling experience and environmental consulting is now a career that I want to pursue. I had no idea about where my CO-OP would take me, but I have embraced this experience fully. It would not have been possible without the skills and network provided by the MES program. Take advantage of these opportunities because they’re a priceless aspect of the MES program!"

- Joshua Nguyen, MES Student at the IE

Our newsletter is tailored to you and your interests

Our bi-monthly newsletter will help you stay up to date on:

  • important program deadlines updates
  • interesting environmental events on campus and in the community
  • amazing career, volunteering and funding opportunities

Together, we identify opportunities that will help you get the most out of your graduate program experience, and give you the competitive edge you need for the job market.

Environmental job market trends in Canada are promising

Environmental jobs continue to rise:
  • ECO Canada’s Mid-2018 Environmental Job Market Trends report suggests that while employment growth has adjusted to “a more moderate and sustainable pace, which was somewhat expected due to the strong job growth in the latter half of 2017,”[1] environmental job postings in mid-2018 were trending 3% higher from the previous year[2].
  • According to (2018), “the green economy is the only other area or sector seeing job growth as strong as the booming tech sector.”[3]

We designed the Master’s of Environmental Sustainability program to give you the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for this growing market.

Environmental jobs are interdisciplinary:
  • The “interdisciplinary” nature of environmental jobs is becoming more evident. According to ECO Canada, 91% of environmental employees in Canada are considered “multidisciplinary,” and “most employers (82.4%) report that their environmental employees perform in multiple sub-sectors, demonstrating the interdisciplinary nature of environmental work.”[4]

Our program aims to provide you with an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental challenges and opportunities. This is why you will learn the foundations of environmental science, economics, law, and policy in your first session. Once you have gained this knowledge, you will learn the skills and attitudes required to put this knowledge into practice in the winter session through a number of applied courses.

Environmental jobs required well-educated employees:

The 2013 Environmental Careers Organization Canada Labour Market Research Survey says that:

  • nearly one-fifth (19%) of the environmental workforce is expected to retire over the next 10 years, creating openings for primarily intermediate and senior-level roles
  • that employees are well educated with more than one third (37.1%) of environmental employees in managerial roles.[5] 

You can get the education you need to fill these managerial positions by completing our Master’s of Environmental Sustainability program.

Our alumni are getting great jobs in the environmental sector

Careers in Environmental Sustainability are increasingly in demand with the various environmental challenges our society faces. Our interdisciplinary Master’s program is designed to fill the growing need for sustainability professionals who can influence decision-making through a deep understanding of the environmental challenges and the interconnected processes through which they persist. Our program’s focus on interdisciplinary problem-solving prepares students for careers in many different areas and disciplines. Once graduating from our program, you can become a policy advisor to a minister, sustainability manager, senior policy analyst, researcher, energy officer, and the leader of a community initiative.

“Other than developing a strong network with your fellow students, the program is also helpful in getting your foot in the door with your first post-graduation employer. I took advantage of the CO-OP option and worked for two semesters at two very different organizations. This allowed me to test the waters and decide for myself which organization fit best with my interests. CO-OP employers are also often looking for potential full-time employees and may offer you the opportunity to stay with them once you have graduated.

After graduating, I stayed with my CO-OP employer and I continue to work at the International Joint Commission (IJC) as a policy analyst. The IJC is a binational (US-Canada) organization that prevents and resolves disputes on boundary freshwaters between the two countries. I also volunteer with the Canadian Water Network Student and Young Professional Committee.I love the work that I do, and feel that I owe it to the program for getting me where I am today.”

Christina Chiasson
Master’s in Environmental Sustainability Alumna
Junior Policy & Communications Analyst
International Joint Commission

You can contact us easily. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Email or call our Academic Coordinator
[email protected]
613-562-5895 ext. 5895

Authored by Kaitlyn Innes, Assistant Director (Graduate Programs) at the Institute of the Environment. Updated by Penelope Grimard, Junior Communications Officer on March 19, 2020.

Related Blog Posts

Environmental Job Trends in Canada

[1] Environmental Job Market Trends Mid-2018. ECO Canda. (December 2018) Retrieved February 2019, from

[2] Environmental Job Market Trends Mid-2018. ECO Canda. (December 2018) Retrieved February 2019, from

[3] Environmental Job Market Trends Mid-2018. ECO Canda. (December 2018) Retrieved February 2019, from

[4] Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment: Labour Market Research Study 2013. (2013). Retrieved February 2019, from

[5] Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment: Labour Market Research Study 2013. (2013). Retrieved February 2019, from

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