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Bioenvironmental Monitoring & Assessment

Students inspecting stream in wetgear

Bioenvironmental Monitoring & Assessment

Programs At a Glance

The Thesis-based M.Sc. Program (M.Sc. in BEMA)

Year 1:

The online core course, Sampling Design for Environmental Research (BEMA 5008H), will be taken in Fall of Year 1, along with the Thesis course. As part of the funding package, students will also receive their Graduate Teaching Assistant assignments for the Fall and Winter terms, equivalent to 120 hrs per term. The 120-hour or 4-month Placement course may also be completed during the Summer term of Year 1, depending on partnership.

Year 2:

If the placement has not yet been completed, it must be completed by the end of Year 2. Students will also be enrolled in the ongoing Thesis course and complete Graduate Teaching Assistantships in the Fall and Winter. The MSc degree will be granted following a successful defense and submission of the thesis.


The Course-based One-Year Masters Program (M.BEMA)
 

 Fall Term
(Sept to Dec)

 BEMA 5000H - Principles of Environmental Monitoring & Assessment I
 BEMA 5008H - Sampling Design for Environmental Research
 BEMA 5003H - Data Analysis for Environmental Professionals
​ Elective

 Winter Term
 (Jan to May)

 BEMA 5002H - Principles of Environmental Monitoring & Assessment II
 BEMA 5001H - Current Topics in Environmental Monitoring & Assessment
 BEMA 5004H - Communicating Science for Environmental Professionals
​ Elective

 Spring Term
 (May to Sep)

 BEMA 5013H - BEMA Placement (April 29-August 16)
 BEMA 5014H - BEMA Capstone (August 18-23)


The 8-Month Graduate Diploma Program (G.Dip)
 

 Fall Term
​ (Sept to Dec)
 BEMA 5000H - Principles of Environmental Monitoring & Assessment I
 BEMA 5008H - Sampling Design for Environmental Research
​ Elective
 Winter Term
​ (Jan to May)
 BEMA 5002H - Principles of Environmental Monitoring & Assessment II
 BEMA 5004H - Communicating Science for Environmental Professionals
​ Elective

Part-time options are available for both the M.BEMA and G.Dip programs - students wishing to take 2 courses per term would finish the M.BEMA in 2 years, with the Placement completed in Year 2.

 

Core Courses:

BEMA 5000H: Principals of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment I

This core course will introduce students to the basic principles of biological and environmental monitoring and assessment. Students will survey contemporary theory in environmental science, focusing on fundamental scientific principles, societal constraints on environmental values, and monitoring techniques used for biotic and abiotic parameters.

BEMA 5008H: Sampling Design for Environmental Research

This core course will introduce students to a variety of quantitative techniques used to make predictions and assessments regarding environmental health and viability. Students will learn what constitutes a sound study design and will use this information to write research proposal or a terms of reference for an environmental impact assessment.

BEMA 5003H: Data Analysis for Environmental Professionals

This core course will introduce students to analytical tools and approaches relevant to uncontrolled environmental research, including how to draw inference from previous research results and how to include expert opinion in statistical analysis. Students will learn to draw statistical inference from messy data and develop skills in translating statistical results to environmental inference. Students will develop familiarity with the open-access R statistical software platform.

BEMA 5001H: Current Topics in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (View sample lecture here)

This core course will introduce students to current environmental monitoring and assessment issues and challenges faced by environmental professionals in the field.

BEMA 5002H: Principals of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment II

Whereas the first course focused on monitoring techniques, this core course will focus on environmental assessment, modelling, and production of environmental action plans. Case studies will be used to illustrate different environmental scenarios and management outcomes.

BEMA 5004H: Communicating Science for Environmental Professionals (View sample lecture here)

This core course will introduce students to effective writing and presentation of scientific information for both scientific and non-scientific audiences. Students will learn strategies and styles for effective writing and presenting, as well as how to effectively interpret scientific information for non-scientific audiences.

BEMA 5013H: BEMA Placement (M.BEMA Students only)

This core course will provide students with the opportunity to spend up to 15 weeks gaining professional experience in the environmental sector, followed by a 1-week face-to-face Capstone course at the Peterborough campus. Placements will be arranged in consultation with the Placement Coordinator and will be within government, conservation authority, environmental consultant, ENGO or industry agencies. Students will work with placement partners to decide on the scope of work and appropriate deliverables such as technical reports and presentations.

BEMA 5014H: BEMA Capstone (M.BEMA Students only)

Students must attend the Capstone week in the 3rd week of August, where they will consolidate placement experiences, present to their peers, and participate in professional workshops.

Elective Courses:

Please note some electives may not be offered in all years.

BEMA 5005H: Geomatics I (Fall) (View sample lecture here)

This course will provide students with an introductory overview of remote sensing, geographical information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), spatial modelling, and terrain analysis. Students will be introduced to vector, raster and integrated environmental datasets, with practical exercises and group project activities related to current environmental monitoring and assessment issues.

BEMA 5007H: Geomatics II (TBA) - Not available in 2019/20

This course will provide students with a comprehensive study in applied problem-solving in the science of geomatics and the creation of a unique geomatics application (geo-app). The course includes lab and field data acquisition and analysis, and mastery of an industry-standard programming language to support geo-app development in environments such as SAGA (System for Automated Geoscientific Analysis), Open Source Software (OSS), PCI Geomatica or ArcGIS DIY mobile geo-apps. A student-led and designed project will lead to a geo-app for applied environmental research, and monitoring and assessment outputs for mapping and analysis.

BEMA 5009H: Environmental Policy (Winter)

This course will provide a review of environmental legislation in Canada and abroad, and how it relates to the support, management, and exploitation of ecosystems. Students will prepare environmental policy statements, briefing notes, and a mock COSEWIC report on a given species as part of a group project.

BEMA 5010H: Landscape Ecology (Winter) - Available in 2020

This course will introduce students to new approaches to resource management and conservation that consider ecosystem processes in large spatial and temporal scales. Important concepts central to landscape ecology such as dispersal, connectivity, and habitat fragmentation will be examined in detail, as well as current methods used in landscape ecology research design and analysis.

BEMA 5006H: Genome-based Environmental Monitoring (Fall) (View sample lecture here)

This course will provide students with insight into how DNA is being used to trace contaminated food, track the source of disease outbreaks, enforce wildlife protection statutes, enforce environmental protection laws, enhance invasive species detection, identify bioterrorism agents and their source, and a variety of other applications.

BEMA 5012H: Landscape Genetic Data Analysis with R (TBA) - Not available 2019/20

This course complements the online Landscape Genetics course currently run in even years (Jan-May) through University of Toronto-Mississauga. Students will learn through weekly computer lab assignments to analyze landscape genetic data with R programming software and interpret the results of their analyses. This course is offered in the Winter term of even years only.

BEMA 5011H: Population Viability Analysis (TBA) - Not available in 2019/20

This course will introduce students to quantitative and contemporary methods in population viability analysis. Students will develop practical skills for robust analysis of a range of plant and animal data to determine rates of change and its variation, extinction time and probability, and population sensitivity to various forms of intervention.