Media Releases

New PhD program in Environmental Science at UTSC creates pillar of advanced research

June 14, 2010

TORONTO, ON — The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough (UTSC) is respond­ing to the world’s press­ing need for more qual­i­fied sci­en­tists trained in Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence. A new PhD pro­gram in Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence will launch in fall 2010 and aims to pre­pare stu­dents at the advanced grad­u­ate lev­el to inves­ti­gate the crit­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges fac­ing our plan­et.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for UTSC,” says Pro­fes­sor Fran­co Vac­cari­no, Prin­ci­pal of UTSC. “With the launch of the first-ever PhD pro­gram to be admin­is­tered out­side of the down­town cam­pus, we’re affirm­ing the expan­sion of our grad­u­ate stud­ies and research plat­form as strate­gic pri­or­i­ties. This impor­tant new PhD pro­gram speaks to our con­tin­ued focus on devel­op­ing dis­tinc­tive aca­d­e­m­ic offer­ings and attract­ing world-class schol­ars in order to fur­ther estab­lish our cam­pus as a vital hub for learn­ing and dis­cov­ery.”

The new PhD in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence at UTSC aims to pre­pare the next gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists to help close the gap in the knowl­edge the world needs to tack­le emerg­ing envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges. The pro­gram will appeal to stu­dents inter­est­ed in research at a fun­da­men­tal sci­en­tif­ic lev­el, yet is unique­ly designed to sup­port an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to research. Stu­dents will gain a broad knowl­edge of cur­rent envi­ron­men­tal issues, espe­cial­ly those emerg­ing at the inter­face between tra­di­tion­al dis­ci­plines, and will receive train­ing in advanced research method­olo­gies.

“This PhD responds to a crit­i­cal need to pre­pare more sci­en­tists for advanced envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence research,” says William Gough, Vice-Dean Grad­u­ate Edu­ca­tion and Pro­gram Devel­op­ment. “Our PhD takes a unique inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach and is based on our dis­tinc­tive research strengths. We expect this to be the first of many advanced research pro­grams that lever­age the best of UTSC.”

The PhD pro­gram draws on UTSC’s depth of exper­tise in the full spec­trum of envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence: phys­i­cal, chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal and earth sci­ence. The pro­gram will be taught by fac­ul­ty researchers inter­na­tion­al­ly known for their exper­tise in areas such as aquat­ic bio­geo­chem­i­cal mod­el­ing, glob­al migra­tion of trace envi­ron­men­tal con­t­a­m­i­nants, cli­mate change, and soil and water degra­da­tion, to name only a few. Experts from indus­try, gov­ern­ment and affil­i­ate uni­ver­si­ties will col­lab­o­rate as super­vi­sors, adding alter­na­tive per­spec­tives to research ini­tia­tives. Stu­dents will also be sup­port­ed by nation­al­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized research facil­i­ties, which fea­ture state-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy such as nuclear mag­net­ic res­o­nance (NMR) and an ultra-clean room for the analy­sis of trace envi­ron­ment con­t­a­m­i­nants.

Core areas of the PhD include:
• Con­t­a­m­i­nant flux through sur­face and sub­sur­face envi­ron­ments and bio­geo­chem­i­cal cycles
• Urban geo­sciences
• Remediation/restoration of degrad­ed envi­ron­men­tal sys­tems
• The Great Lakes ecosys­tem
• Cli­mate change and the envi­ron­ment
• Envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence and tran­si­tion­al economies

Stu­dents of the PhD in Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence will be well pre­pared for careers in teach­ing and research with­in uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, and also in gov­ern­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries or pri­vate orga­ni­za­tions where fun­da­men­tal research on the envi­ron­ment is car­ried out. Grad­u­ates will find them­selves in high demand and able to con­tribute direct­ly to one of the world’s fastest-grow­ing indus­tries — which, in Cana­da, is fac­ing a severe skills short­age.

For more than two decades, UTSC has been at the fore­front of prepar­ing stu­dents to work in the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary con­text of envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence. A research and teach­ing capac­i­ty began with the for­ma­tion of an under­grad­u­ate envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree pro­gram launched in the ear­ly 1990s. A pro­fes­sion­al Mas­ter’s Degree, launched in 2006, attracts stu­dents from around the world who are inter­est­ed in the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gain aca­d­e­m­ic train­ing along with intern­ships or research expe­ri­ence.


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:
Eleni Kanavas
Media Coor­di­na­tor
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough