Graduate Courses



Current Graduate Course Offerings

Current graduate course offerings are updated regularly throughout the year. New special topics courses may be added in the month prior to the start of the semester, so please check back regularly to ensure you are aware of all courses that are on offer. 

Course offerings for the current and next semester are listed through WebAdvisor.  Students must register for courses through WebAdvisor (see Tutorial).  You may also search for course availability by semester through WebAdvisor.  If scheduling information is not provided in WebAdvisor, please contact the instructor for scheduling information.

NOTE: Students may need to fill out a course waiver/request form with instructor consent to register in some of our courses.  For Special Topics courses (section 01) where the graduate coordinator is listed as Instructor: please be advised that students will need to identify a faculty advisor who will work with them on a one-on-one basis to complete the course BEFORE the form is signed by the graduate coordinator. When submitting the form for signature, please state the name of faculty advisor you have identified.  All forms need to be complete, filled out in full and in one .pdf file to be accepted. This includes collecting the signature from instructors that are not the Graduate Coordinator.  Students should send completed forms to the Graduate Program Assistant <>;  they will ensure that the forms are signed and returned to students in a timely manner.


General Information about SES Graduate Courses

Students can choose from 29 discipline-specific seminar-based courses (9 of which are alternate-year offerings and 7 of which are cross-listed with fourth-year undergraduate courses), 5 special topics courses, and 6 experiential courses. Note that 9 of the seminar based courses are offered in alternate years and sometimes, courses will not be offered if the faculty is on sabbatical. 

Seminar-based courses
Seminar based courses are most often focused on a specific topic that fits into one of the following three areas: earth and atmospheric science, ecosystem science and biodiversity, and plant and environmental health. The course format usually involves weekly seminars where students and the faculty discuss key readings about a specific topic.
Special topics courses (section 01)
Special Topics Courses are often designed to be directed studies with a particular faculty and within the research strengths of the school, namely soil science, environmental earth science, atmospheric science, ecosystem science and biodiversity, and plant and environmental health. To do a directed studies, you will contact a faculty member in advance to create an individual project of interest as these will require instructor approval (i.e. the faculty advisor you wish to work with). These directed study courses are listed as section 01 when you go to register for the course. If you decide to do a directed studies, you will also need to fill out a Learning Contract that sets out the learning objectives, method of evaluation and presentation. This Learning Contract should be submitted to and grdchair@uoguelph by the third week of class. If you are an MES student, please also forward to the MES Program Advisor, 
Special topics courses (section 02, 03..) 
Special Topics courses are also sometimes used to offer a seminar course on a trial basis or to provide seminar style courses in lieu of a seminar course that is not on offer that year due to sabbatical leave.   These seminar-based topics courses are listed as separate sections (e.g. section 02, 03 etc) and with a specific title when you go to register for these courses.  Examples of these seminar style special topics courses include: Conservation Biology, Environmental Toxicology, Risk Assessment and Risk Communication, Hydrology of Impacted Landscapes, and Pesticide Toxicology and Policy.  These seminar based topics courses will be widely advertised in advance, watch this site for updates.
Experiential courses
These experiential courses are designed to have significant hands-on learning with in-lab skills development and/or field-technique training. These courses include Soil Survey and Interpretation, Biogeochemistry of Wetlands, Forest Ecosystem Patterns and Processes, multiple stressors in the Great Lakes, and a course in meteorological instrumentation.

You can also choose courses offered by other departments or Schools on campus.  Here is a list of courses offered outside of SES that may be of interest to Environmental Science graduate students

Please see this link to the Graduate Calendar for a list of all graduate courses:

Other Course Forms

For all other forms related to graduate courses, please select Graduate Records Forms on the Graduate studies Forms and Document webpage


Contact Information

For more information or to discuss what courses might best suit your career goals, please consult with the MES program advisor (for all students in the courses only MES program) or your faculty advisor (for all MSc and PhD students and all students in the courses + research project MES program). 


SES MES program advisor

Dr. Kim Bolton
Room 260, Alexander Hall
University of Guelph
519-824-4120, ext. 54266