Master of Environmental Science / Master of Environmental Studies

MESc MES brochure coverMaster of Environmental Science and Master of Environmental Studies in our School of Graduate Studies

Nipissing’s Master of Environmental Science (MESc)/Master of Environmental Studies (MES) programs take a unique interdisciplinary approach by integrating ideas and methodologies from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to explore and address environmental issues. The programs consist of course work plus a Major Research Paper (one-year program) or coursework plus a Thesis (two-year program). The Thesis based programs are also offered on a flex-time basis (four-year program). Click here to learn more about the research being done by our current and past students!​​​​

Program of Study

All students require 24 credits to complete the Master of Environmental Science or Master of Environmental Studies degree; however, they can choose the program structure that works best for them, depending on their career goals:

Thesis Route (four three-credit courses + thesis)

The thesis route provides students with the opportunity to pursue original research questions by conceiving, designing and executing a study in their area of interest. Course work provides exposure to interdisciplinary thinking and development of technical expertise in a specific area of interest.

  • Four, three-credit courses
  • Thesis (12 credits)
  • Two years to complete (for full-time students) or four years to complete (for flex-time students)
  • This offers appropriate preparation for further graduate studies at the doctoral level or for a career in research, consulting, or government

Major Research Paper Route (six three-credit courses + MRP)

The Major Research Paper (MRP) route offers students a less extensive research experience that involves analysis and interpretation of ideas and information, while emphasizing a broad exposure to environmental systems and problem solving through additional graduate-level course work.

  • Six, three-credit courses
  • Major Research Paper (six credits)
  • One year to complete
  • This route is appropriate for providing additional training for working professionals or recent graduates who wish to expand upon their disciplinary training while further developing their research skills.

Prior to submitting application

Students are highly encouraged to contact faculty to discuss potential supervision/research interests prior to submitting their applications to the program.



Dates and Deadlines

Tuition and Fees

Funding and Financial Aid - Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

​Funding is available to graduate students from both internal and external sources. Internal funding includes teaching/research assistantships, faculty research grants, and Nipissing Graduate Scholarships. The value of these scholarships varies. Students are also encouraged to compete for scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), the Canada Graduate Scholarship, and the Mackenzie King Memorial Scholarship.

It is also possible for students to be funded by external research grants to faculty. This is not guaranteed, but it is possible. PLease contact potential supervisor to explore additional funding opportunities.

a fish eye view of the greenhouse

Nipissing University offers physical spaces and research equipment that facilitate productive research. Faculty research spaces are dedicated to a variety of approaches and methods of environmental inquiry, and include groups focused on aquatic behavioural ecology, forest resources, environmental history, near earth observation, environmental chemistry, water resource management and watershed hydrology.

Our graduate students study and teach in well-equipped classrooms, seminar rooms, and research labs. Our graduate student lounge and interdisciplinary office provide dedicated space where students can meet and collaborate. Graduate students also have access to specialized research facilities at Nipissing, including the central analytical facility (CAF) which includes a Transmission Electron Microscope, the plant growth facility and greenhouse complex, the Integrative Watershed Research Centre, the herbarium, and the Nipissing University-Alcan Environmental Research Preserve, a field station on the shores of Lake Talon.

The Harris Learning Library was completed in 2011 and provides 56,000 square feet of study space with natural light and modern design. The new library features outstanding access to electronic journal resources, federal and provincial maps, government documents and databases, expanded print collections, a learning commons, an adaptive technology area, and collaborative work spaces.

Nipissing University Greenhouse Complex

The Nipissing Greenhouse Complex is a state-of-the-art greenhouse that features three large growth zones containing multiple moveable benches. Each zone features independent computer controlled temperature, humidity and lighting that can be custom programmed for each plant and growing condition. The state of the art Argus System uses dedicated control hardware and software for maximum safety and reliability. Click here for more information about our Greenhouse Complex.

Plant Growth Facility

The Plant Growth Facility is located on the roof of Nipissing University's H-Wing. This facility houses two Conviron PGR14 computer controlled growth chambers. These chambers are capable of being programmed to regulate humidity, temperature and light over a 24-hour period. Click here for more information about our Plant Growth Facility.

Animal Research Facility

Nipissing University has a state-of-the-art high security Animal Research Facility where animals can be humanely studied by means of research projects that have been scrutinized and approved by the Animal Care Committee. This group is, in turn, overseen by the Canadian Council on Animal Care.

Central Analytical Facility

The Central Analytical Facility was created through a Canadian Foundation for Innovation initiative which brought together various stakeholders including Nipissing University, the Governments of Canada and Ontario, Varian Canada, Perkin Elmer and Fisher Scientific. Click here for more information about our Central Analytical Facility.

Forest Resources Laboratory

Research in the Forest Resources Laboratory (FRL) at Nipissing University focuses on aspects of biology at the community, ecosystem and landscape levels of organization. Using the forests of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence and Northeastern Boreal regions of Ontario as our natural laboratory, we explore patterns in the distribution, composition and productivity of plant communities, and the ecological drivers that produce these patterns. Click here for more information about our Forest Resources Laboratory..

Environment Monitoring Network

Nipissing University's Department of Geography, in partnership with the Northeastern Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (NEOSCIA), has set up three weather stations in north eastern Ontario to monitor weather conditions for local farmers and students. The weather stations are currently located in Verner, Temiskaming Shores (New Liskeard), and Sturgeon Falls. Click here for more information about our Environment Monitoring Network.

Alcan Field Station

The Nipissing University-Alcan Environmental Research Preserve (NUAERP) consists of over 3 km2 of wilderness land located approximately 45 km east of North Bay. The property was donated to Nipissing University by Alcan Canada in 1999 with the condition that the land remain in a pristine state and that it be used for environmental research. Click here to learn more about our Alcan Field Station.

North Bay Rotary Club Wet Lab

This lab is equipped with two large fume hoods, two convection ovens, a pH station, an oscillating shaker, a centrifuge, and three weighing stations, including top-loading pan balances and precision balances. Workstations include, sinks, electrical and gas outlets, soil sample storage space, and appropriate glassware and smaller equipment for conducting a number of basic soil analyses. A microvideo system with polarizing and binocular microscopes allows for close-up work with soil minerals and soil biology in soil science, and with rocks and minerals in geology. The wet lab also doubles as a geology lab and contains built-in cabinets for storing display samples and class-sets of rock, mineral and fossil samples appropriate for introductory geology. Click here to learn more about the North Bay Rotary Club Wet Lab.

Earth Observation Laboratory

This laboratory is used primarily for the analysis of digital remotely sensed imagery acquired from various satellite platforms including Landsat, SPOT, Radarsat-1 & 2, RapidEye, ENVISAT ASAR, ALOS PALSAR/AVNIR-2, Quickbird WorldView-2 and IKONOS. There are two main PCs which support the most updated versions of PCI Geomatica, ENVI, SAR Polarimetry Workstation and Definiens Developer. An ASD FieldSpec HandHeld Portable Spectroradiometer is available for field data collection. Click here to learn more about our Earth Observation Laboratory.

Watershed Hydrology Laboratory

This laboratory supports catchment hydrology, lake and weather monitoring, and computer modelling. Field equipment supports the study of hydrologic processes (e.g. streamflow generation) under varying environmental conditions and includes meteorological stations, streamflow monitoring station packages (Isco auto-sampler, raingage, pressure transducer, YSI EC/Temperature probes), groundwater recording (water level meters, capacitance rods) and sampling instrumentation (peristaltic pump, drive-point piezometers), soil moisture monitoring probes and lysimeters, basic hydrometric equipment (pygmy meter outfit with Aquacalc 5000, constant head permeameter, soil auger kit) and a field truck. Field and lab equipment supports use of a range of environmental tracers of water movement and sources within the landscape (temperature, EC, stable isotopes of 18O/16O, and D/H). Click here to learn more about our Watershed Hydrology Laboratory.

Water Policy Analysis Lab

In the Water Policy Lab at Nipissing University we focus on comparing the principles of integrated watershed management and good governance with water resources decision processes in the province. Current research efforts focus on First Nations drinking water and wastewater issues. Why do many First Nation communities face greater water related risk than most non-aboriginal communities? The lab is equipped with several computers and software for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Click here to learn more about our Water Policy Analysis Lab.

Geomatics Laboratory

Nipissing University’s Geomatics Lab is equipped with 32 workstations. We support up-to-date industry leading software, e.g. ArcGIS, PCI Geomatica, and PASW. Students working in the Geomatics Lab have the opportunity to gain hands on experience with cutting-edge geomatics technologies and skills necessary in today’s world to work on various types of digital spatial datasets, satellite image, and radar images. Click here to learn more about our Geomatics Laboratory.

Campus Trail System​

Come visit our 20 km trail network conveniently located behind Nipissing University and Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario. Each of the 16 trails is unique for its beautiful scenes, trees, wildlife, and flora. Enjoy Lake Nipissing’s remarkable beauty on top of the look out tower, or walk beside the soothing Duchesnay falls. There are different difficulty levels for each trail to suit every enthusiastic outdoors person. Trails are suited for kids to seniors and skiers to hikers. Click here to learn more about our Campus Trail System.

Graduate Student Centre - R229

Nipissing University graduate students have access to an interdisciplinary office facility designed to be a central place for graduate students to study and interact with each other. The Graduate Student Centre totals 833 square feet and is able to accommodate more than 60 students. In addition, the Graduate Student Centre is equipped with a telephone, wireless and hardwired internet, and access to shared printing.

All graduate students are eligible for access to the Graduate Student Centre. Keys are assigned by the Vice-President Operations office, B215. Students are required to pay a $25.00 deposit for a key in the Finance office prior to receiving their key.

There are 30 individual study carrels along the perimeter of the room that are assigned to individual students, or two who request to share. Assignments of designated spaces will be on a first come first serve basis.

Graduate Program Coordinator

Graduate Program Faculty

Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Robert Montgomerie
Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Queen's University

Dr. Andrew Paterson, Inland Lakes Scientist
Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Dorset Environmental Science Centre

Dr. Jim Rusak, Water Chemistry Scientist
Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Dorset Environmental Science Centre

Dr. Huaxia Yao, Hydrologist and Meteorology Scientist
Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Dorset Environmental Science Centre

Post-Graduation Opportunities and Careers

Graduates of the program may go on to doctoral programs, or enter careers in government and industry. As professionals they may work in areas such as environmental policy, planning, impact assessment, natural resource management, scientific research and education.