Environmental Studies (ENVS) 305

Environmental Impact Assessment (Revision 2)

ENVS 305 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Environmental Studies 305: Environmental Impact Assessment, a three-credit, senior-level course, is designed to introduce you to a systematic process for predicting and evaluating the significant environmental consequences of a proposed action or undertaking. This process—environmental impact assessment—has been applied primarily to new infrastructure projects, such as power plants, highways, pipelines, dams, mines, airports, incinerators, and landfills. Assessment processes have also been used to consider the implications of new technologies, plans, and policies that may result in significant social and biophysical effects. This course focuses on environmental assessment processes—what they are meant to accomplish, and how they are designed or should be designed to be effective, efficient, and fair.


  • Unit 1: History and Key Features of Environmental Assessment
  • Unit 2: Setting a Standard for Environmental Assessment in Canada—the Berger Inquiry on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
  • Unit 3: Setting a Standard for Environmental Assessment in Canada—the Ecosystem Approach
  • Unit 4: Legislated Environmental Assessment at the Federal Level in Canada
  • Unit 5: Legislated Environmental Assessment at the Provincial Level in Canada
  • Unit 6: Indigenous Issues and Environmental Assessment in Canada
  • Unit 7: The Role of the Public in Environmental Assessment
  • Unit 8: Biophysical Impact Assessment and Cumulative Environmental Effects
  • Unit 9: Social Impact Assessment
  • Unit 10: Case Study—Environmental Assessment of the Red Hill Valley Parkway
  • Unit 11: The Prospects for Advancement of Environmental Assessment


To receive credit for ENVS 305, you must complete all assignments and achieve a minimum grade of at least 60 percent on the final examination and a composite course grade of at least C- (60 percent). The weighting of the course grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Preliminary Submission for the Major Assignment 5%
Assignment 2: Short Essay 20%
Assignment 3: Major Assignment 35%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Richardson, M., Sherman, J., & Gismondi, M. (1993). Winning back the words: Confronting experts in an environmental public hearing. Toronto: Garamond.

Other Materials

All other course materials can be found online.

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 2, June 28, 2018.

View previous syllabus