The Hub AU increasing opportunities for Earth-system science education

AU increasing opportunities for Earth-system science education

Many learners are looking to bridge into careers that will make a difference for our planet, and Athabasca University’s (AU) Faculty of Science (FST) is helping to make that happen.

A proposed new Master of Science in Earth System Sciences (MScESS) will offer an interdisciplinary program that trains learners to look at Earth as a system, using a holistic view of interactions between ecological systems, such as air, water and earth in order to discover about the past, present and future conditions of this planet.

If approved by Alberta Advanced Education, the program could open in 2021.

The vision of the MScESS is to recognize current trends that bring together many different scientific disciplines. Learners will be trained to use data analysis, information handling, and effective communication to find solutions to ecological problems.

In essence, the program would provide students a unique opportunity to work with faculty and researchers to find contemporary ways of doing science, offering them skills that apply integrated technology-based solutions to solve complex global issues. Anticipated graduates in Earth System Science will find employment in many areas including environmental science, microbiology, atmospheric science, government, agriculture, non-governmental organizations, climate policy, medical foundations, education, and many other sectors.

The MScESS will have two streams of study: a course-based and a thesis-based route. MScESS would be the first graduate program of its kind in Canada, and also unique in that it would largely be offered online, there will be an opportunity to complete a research project component using field and wet lab work.

“From surveys of our alumni and current students as well as from periodic requests that we receive from potential students, we are aware that there are many students who are interested is pursuing graduate studies in the physical and natural sciences with AU,” said Dr. Ken Munyikwa, associate dean at FST. “The ability to study at a distance would allow them to continue with their careers and live in their communities while pursuing their learning goals. Students find such flexibility very appealing.”

For additional information on the proposed program, please contact