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Trent University Receives Over $500,000 to Develop First Online Graduate Program of its Kind in Canada

April 25, 2017

Masters in Environmental Monitoring & Assessment to launch in fall 2018 at Trent University

A recent $542,500 funding infusion from eCampusOntario will see the development of a new online professional Masters program in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, to be developed at Trent University. This program, the first of its kind in Canada, is distinct by combining entirely online courses and practical internships to prepare both recent graduates and returning professionals for the environmental jobs of the future.  

The $542,500 grant will support development of new online courses in a variety of areas, including air, water and soil, indigenous knowledge, environmental policy, and geomatics. The flagship internship program will provide students with face-to-face training with a variety of government and industry partners. Recent success of a pilot internship program, including graduate student placements with partners such as Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Rio Tinto-Alcan, and Kawartha Land Trust, serve as proof-of-concept for the new program. With an anticipated start date of September 2018, the program also will include two previously-funded online courses in principles of environmental monitoring and assessment, and sampling design in environmental research.

“This award is an important recognition of Trent’s past and current success in graduate teaching and training in the environment,” explained Dr. Craig Brunetti, dean of Graduate Studies at Trent. “Indeed, Trent’s longstanding reputation as leader in the field of environmental research and teaching provides the necessary backdrop and resources for the successful establishment of the new online program.”

“Online learning is now widely recognized as being effective for a range of undergraduate students, so for Trent to be at the forefront of this unique and innovative graduate programming is particularly exciting,” said Dr. Cathy Bruce, director of Trent Online.

The new program, to be led by Dr. Dennis Murray, professor of Biology at Trent and Canada research chair in integrative wildlife conservation, is intended to support 30 masters students per year who will enroll in classes and internships specifically designed to provide the skills needed to successfully fill the environmental jobs of the future. The combination of courses, internships, and one-year intensive graduation timeline will train students comprehensively and efficiently with an eye for employment as environmental professionals.

This program also will complement the development of a new thesis-based graduate program in the field of biological monitoring and assessment, which is being supported by a $1.65 million Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), awarded in 2015.

About Trent University

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham – Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

For more information contact:

Kate Weersink, media relations & strategic communications officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or

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