Program description

The Master of Environment and Management (MEM) at Royal Roads is designed for working professionals, like yourself, who are deeply interested and involved in practical environmental issues. The program is designed to enhance strategic decision making in the environmental field. It emphasizes teamwork and focuses on technical and policy questions using systems and sustainability perspectives.

In the MEM program, you’ll expand your knowledge in theory and practice of systems, sustainability and the understanding of the inter-relationships between human, social and ecological systems as well as critical management concepts. You’ll take a deep dive into reconciliation and accelerating the take-up of social and community innovations. Frameworks from a wide diversity of research will be applied to this critical problem solving grounded in the international sustainable goals for the globe. 

The program is designed to prepare you for a leadership role in your environmental career.

Who it’s for

The program is designed for those pursuing a career path that involves practical environmental and sustainability issues, natural resource challenges, and concerns. This includes people from government, business, industry, consulting and non-governmental organizations who want to gain skills and credentials as leaders and managers capable of working both independently and in large teams to contribute to life-long change in their career paths.

Typically, you're a professional with an undergraduate degree (or a science degree for the MSC degree) and at least two years' experience working or with significant interest in environmental and sustainability challenges in society and in your career.

If you bring a wealth of work and life experience but may lack the traditional academic background, you can apply based on a combination of your education, informal learning, and real-world experiences, following Royal Roads Flexible Admission Policy. Learn more about the admission requirements.

How it’s designed and delivered?

The Master in Environment and Management program is delivered in two streams. You’ll choose to take the Master of Arts or the Master of Sciences based on what you wish to study and research, your personal goals and your previous experience. The elective options you choose to complete as part of your program will determine which degree you receive. This is one of the program’s strengths as you learn through the emphasis on integrative sciences, that both natural and social sciences knowledge and methods must be implicated to move to real-world solutions that are actionable and achievable now.

The program is delivered on campus, as well as in a blended format, combining online courses with short on-campus residencies. Whichever delivery model you choose, you’ll join a cohort of learners from various backgrounds. The cohort model allows you to develop your professional networks and exposure, gain a broader understanding of key issues and see new opportunities that will expand your personal and professional horizons. You’ll work with students from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives that contribute to a rich and co-mutual learning environment within your cohort and with your professors. Working together ensures that everyone contributes to and benefits from the program and the connections you create through our cohort environment form a powerful network of support you can turn to during your program and after graduation.

Major Research Project or Thesis option

As part of your program, you’ll undertake a capstone project consisting of either a thesis or a major research project.

A thesis is a systematic study of a significant problem, issue, or phenomenon. The thesis demonstrates your ability to analyze existing research, collate or collect data and apply it in the context of an existing problem, issue, or opportunity. The result is a synthesis of theoretical and empirical information and/or recommendations for further action. For the Master of Science stream, you’ll study topics in the natural sciences or physical sciences in pursuit of testing a hypothesis relating to the physical and/or the natural world; or a scientifically based case study and analysis. Explore the theses produced by our MEM graduates:

A Major Research Project is an alternative completion option to the more traditional thesis. It is an option for someone who has a very applied question. You may choose to work in collaboration with a group of people within an organization, community or association on an active, participatory research project that leads towards positive ecological, social and/or structural change.


Depending on your choice of Thesis or Major Project you will have the opportunity to take two or three electives during your MEM program. The Thesis allows you to meet personal, research or career goals, plug gaps in your current knowledge and skill base, or simply take a course in a subject that you find fascinating. 

Elective courses available for the Master of Arts stream of the MEM program include:

  • Sustainable Development from theory to practice;
  • Legal aspects of environmental management;
  • Economics for decision making;
  • Climate policy and governance;
  • Worldviews, ethics and the environment;
  • Learning theory and environmental program design;
  • The biosphere and sustainability, and
  • Academic writing and critical thinking across disciplines.

Elective courses available for the Master of Science stream of the MEM program include:

  • Environmental analysis and remedial technologies;
  • Science and impacts of climate change;
  • Toxicology and risk assessment;
  • Ecosystem science and management, and
  • Global environmental systems and processes.

Also, if you identify a critical skill or knowledge gap in your learning agenda, you have the option of substituting a course elective from another university, upon approval of the program head and Director of the school. 

View the courses of the Master of Arts in Environment and Management program.

Learning and Professional Outcomes

As an integrative program both Master of Arts and Master of Science students will be taught together for the most part. You’ll develop trans-disciplinary skills working across disciplinary boundaries in challenge focused teams.

As an MA student, your focus through your capstone research and elective choices will be on policy, practice, and communication, integrating skills for working with stakeholders and communities. As an MSc student, your focus will be on the scientific understanding of natural systems, environmental management and the use of basic science and technical skills to address global and local environmental and sustainability challenges.

As a MEM graduate, you’ll have integrated your existing experience, expanded your skills, enhanced and deepened your knowledge on the critical challenges facing modern society. You’ll have gained a fine-grained critical appreciation for diverse perspective-taking, leading-edge theories, and applied research through systems thinking. You’ll have gained the experience and skills of working in diverse, interdisciplinary teams, understanding of community and multi-stakeholder processes, interdisciplinary research, and communicating complex concepts to the wider public including the use of social media and research curation. You’ll be equipped to lead change in multi-sector organizations and implement new governance models. Learn more about careers.

Learn more about the admission requirements. For more information about the MEM program or how to apply, connect with an Advisor by email, or call 250.391.2528 or 1.877.778.6227 (toll-free).

Curious to know more about Royal Roads' School of Environment & Sustainability? Visit our blog to read all about our exciting projects, faculty research, reflection on current events, and more.