Environmental Studies (ENVS) 200

Introduction to Environmental Studies (Revision 4)

ENVS 200

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with eText

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: ENVS 252 (ENVS 200 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for ENVS 252.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Environmental Studies home page

ENVS 200 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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ENVS 200 introduces students to the field of environmental studies and provides them with basic information about a variety of environmental issues, concepts, debates, events, and actors or thinkers. This survey course presents an overview of key concepts related to environmental analysis, such as resilience, carrying capacity, and environmental justice, as well as a range of topics related to contemporary environmental issues such as water, biodiversity, and ecological design. In particular, the course explores the principles of sustainable development and sustainability. Students are introduced to some of the complexity and debate regarding these concepts and are required to critically engage in applying the concepts. In this course, students are also introduced to critical interdisciplinary analysis and social innovation, and provided opportunities to develop and refine their skills in these areas.


  • Unit 1: Critically Examining Change
  • Unit 2: The Ecosphere
  • Unit 3: Managing and Protecting Natural Resources and Biodiversity
  • Unit 4: The Land, Water, and Forests
  • Unit 5: The Atmosphere, Climate Change, and Energy
  • Unit 6: Impacts and Risks of Pollution and Waste
  • Unit 7: Future Developments

Course Objectives

  1. Provide a broad overview of the current state of the planet.
  2. Describe and utilize the key concepts/scientific principles related to environmental studies.
  3. Undertake a basic level of social/political/cultural/economic/philosophical analysis to highlight some of the many dimensions of environmental issues.
  4. Articulate and demonstrate how to undertake critical interdisciplinary analysis of environmental issues.
  5. Identify and explore your own and other people’s environmental understandings and behaviours.
  6. Articulate some of the challenges to living sustainably and possibilities for social innovation on environmental issues.


To receive credit for ENVS 200, you must write the final examination and achieve a course composite grade of at least a D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Personal Reflection on Nature and Humanity 15%
Assignment 2: Summary and Analysis of an Environmental Issue 10%
Assignment 3: Decoding Visual Media—Representations of Nature in Popular Culture 15%
Assignment 4: Profiling a Social Innovation (Part A: Framing the Issue) 15%
Assignment 4: Profiling a Social Innovation (Part B: Detailing the Innovation) 15%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Draper, D., & Zimmerman, A. (2017). Our environment: A Canadian perspective (5th ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ENVS 200 challenge registration, you must achieve an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Assignment 60%
Exam 40%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, April 26, 2019.

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