“The one-year MSEM program was very appealing, as I wanted to return to the work force as soon as possible. Many comparable programs are very regionally-focused. I found that SENS offered learning that could be applied broadly and would not limit my mobility. I found faculty at SENS whose interests aligned directly with my own. Plus, I liked the idea of living in the beautiful city of Saskatoon.”
Liam Mulhall, MSEM '13, BComm, Director of Finance and Asset Management, Royal Canadian Securities & member, Save our Seine River Board of Directors and Lake Winnipeg Foundation Board of Directors, Winnipeg, MB
The Master of Sustainable Environmental Management (MSEM) program is for the new and early-mid career professional that wants to sharpen his or her skills assessing environmental and sustainability issues and return to the workforce quickly. Students take the core courses listed here.
The main features of the program include:
• Transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning
• Team teaching by leading scholars in many fields
• Integrated classroom learning and applied experience
• Professional, technical and employability skills development
• Project with public, private or not-for-profit sectors
The program begins with an intensive field experience at Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve (ENVS 806). This course provides hands-on training in a variety of practical skills and techniques in ecological and social science related to rural communities and agro-ecosystems. Read about the field school experience from our students' perspective.
Students may enter the graduate programs from a variety of backgrounds, including the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, business, law, education or arts and humanities.
MSEM students must complete a research project as part of their degree requirements to foster project management and critical thinking skills. The project provides an opportunity for students to investigate applied topics in environment and sustainability. They are interdisciplinary in scope and may include scientific, technical, social, economic, cultural, institutional or other appropriate attributes of environment and sustainability challenges.
The project engages students in real-world, hands-on, applications-based experience while working with partner organizations. These partners include non-profit and charitable organizations, different levels of government and crown corporations. If students already have a partner organization and wish to gain practical experience by partnering with them, this option may also be available. Students work with the partner organization for a 250-hour project placement from May through July.
- Integrating remote camera and telemetry collar data to better understand polar bear-human interactions and polar bear ecology by Megan Bjordal, 2017
- Assessing and quantifying food waste on the University of Saskatchewan campus: developing a comprehensive food-waste reduction plan by Petergaye Gilliard, 2017
- In-house composting systems for commercial and institutional use by Pamela Groat, 2016
- Mistawasis Nêhiyawak source water protection plan by Michael Dawe, 2016
- Here comes the sun: social impacts of solar electricity in Saskatchewan by Cara Baldwin, 2015
- Evaluation of grassland management by grazing and burning in the Northeast Swale, Saskatoon by Rong Shen, 2014
- A District Environmental Management Plan for the Community of Lakeland, Saskatchewan, 2015 - 2019 by Kyle Young, 2013
- Assessing the Status of Sensitive Plant Species Prairie Crocus (Pulsatilla Patens L.) in Response to Fragmentation in the Northeast Swale, Saskatoon by Nicholas Howitt, 2013
- Sustainable Housing: Opportunities for Improved Energy Efficient Home Construction by Habitat for Humanity in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan by Kurtis Trefry, 2013
Below are the list of completed MSEM project titles and topics:
Tuition and Scholarships
Tuition rates for the 2019-2020 MSEM program are listed here, under the heading "Graduate studies: special tuition programs".
In addition, students are required to pay these applicable student fees. Students who do not complete the MSEM program in a 12-month period will continue to pay tuition at the regular rate until the degree is complete.
Additional Fees: ENVS 806 (Field Skills in Environment and Sustainability) has an additional fee of $400 CDN plus GST to cover the field component of the class. This fee is subject to change by year. Payable when tuition is due.
Applicants who receive admission to the MSEM program are required to submit a deposit to hold their spot in the limited capacity program. Successful applicants will receive a notice of acceptance and must mail the completed notice with their deposit. The notice of acceptance and the deposit must be received by SENS by the deadline specified in the letter or this offer will automatically lapse. The deposit will be applied as partial payment of tuition fees at the time of registration and is non-refundable if a student subsequently decides not to enter the MSEM program.
There are minimal scholarships available for professional program students. Applicants will be assessed for scholarship funding based on merit.
Visit grad.usask.ca for more information.
"I credit the MSEM program in providing an excellent base from which to build a meaningful career in the environmental management field. It provided me with the management skills I needed to succeed and a deeper understanding of sustainability as a whole."
Jesse Woodward, MSEM '12, Markets Director, West Kootenay EcoSociety, Nelson, BC
ENVS 806 Field School at Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve
Redberry Lake sits in central Saskatchewan near the town of Hafford. This salt-water lake nestled within rolling prairies is the nesting grounds for over 180 species of birds – many endangered or threatened – and is a popular summer tourist destination. For the past 15 years, Redberry Lake has been designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve where maintaining the health of the natural environment is practiced alongside a focus on meeting the needs of the local, mainly agriculture-based, community.
In September, SENS students worked with local farmers to help them assess the sustainability of their farm operations as part of a five-day field course primarily for students in the school’s Master of Sustainable Environmental Management (MSEM) program.
“Exploring Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve was a wonderful opportunity, and I learnt so much during the field course,” said Alexandra Gresiuk, MSEM student. “I’m from Saskatchewan, so I know how important agriculture is. I also care about the environment, but until this course I didn’t realise that sustainability and farming could coexist.”
Groups of three to four students were paired with a local cattle or crop farm and spent five days taking soil, water and vegetation samples, and interviewing farmers to evaluate the sustainability of their operations. Students considered environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability. In late October the teams met with the farmers to present their reports and talk about their findings at a community event held in Hafford.
Alex and classmates Ashley Shaw and Muzeyi Bagonluri were paired with Nick Partyka, a farmer with a 3,000 acre cropland operation about 20 kilometers west of Hafford. The Partyka family has been farming in the area since 1914.
“Nick is doing a really good job. He includes wetland buffers and uses a targeted instead of blanket approach when it comes to fertilizers,” said Alexandra. “Our report focused on some of the potential consequences we could see coming up in the future like eutrophic wetlands, degraded soils and flooding.”
To help prevent this from becoming a reality, the students suggested the farm increase existing buffer areas around wetlands, to help the natural plant life filter the pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides used on crops. They also stressed the need for cover crops to limit soil erosion and add additional nutrients.
“We were looking at not only the impact the Partyka farm would have on its own lands, but also the impact on the larger biosphere reserve and ecosystem,” said Alex.
Nick was appreciative of the hard work done by the students and is looking forward to going through the recommendations in the report.
“There are a lot of good points in the report. We are doing quite a bit of it already and planning to do more, especially to control encroaching and noxious weeds, basically those invasive species,” he said. “Otherwise these weeds take over the land and need more particular herbicides.”
“I liked working with the students – they are a very diverse group and I found learning about their local farm practices informative, like Alex’s experience in BC and Muzeyi’s in Ghana,” added Nick.
For the students’ part, working with the farmers was a rewarding experience as well.
“Having a client was really nice. You typically don’t have that experience of doing real work for a client while in school. I really liked getting the feedback from Nick. It makes me a better scientist,” said Alex.
Muzeyi, an MSEM student from Ghana, enjoyed the field trip and his first time visiting rural Canada.
“I had a very good experience,” he said. “In Africa, we don’t have these same systems of crops. So during the assessment, I came to realise the importance of the Canadian and Prairie farming systems.”
SENS has been doing research at Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve for five years now and has close ties to the community and the nearby town of Hafford.
“We wanted to give back to the community in some way and this opportunity to work directly with the farmers seemed a great fit. We hope they can use the results to inform their operations,” said Maureen Reed, SENS professor and course instructor. “Spending five days in the field means relying heavily on the community and we couldn’t have done this course without their support.
“We are really hopeful that this is the start of an ongoing relationship with farmers in the area.”