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WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY:

 I applied and got accepted. I didn’t know at the time, but I was making one of the best decisions I would ever make. Durham College was remarka [...]

Philip Gleeson
Environmental Technology
Graduate
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WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY:

I loved every minute of my program and Durham College. Enjoying working in my field!! :) Success really does matter ;)

Amy Lynn
Environmental Technology
2011
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WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY:

Durham College is in a great location and the campus was beautiful. Everyone I visited was really friendly and helpful. Also the Campus Recreation [...]

Melanie Brooks
Environmental Technology
graduate
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WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY:

The instructors in the Environmental Technology program are what make it such a success. They have diverse backgrounds in consulting, industry and [...]

Amanda Huxter
Environmental Technology (compressed fast-track)
graduate
Environmental-Technology-Program-04

Environmental Technology

Environmental Technology

Environmental Technology

Environmental Technology

Ready for a challenge?

Global warming, renewable energy, carbon footprints – there is a growing awareness of the disconnection between humans and the environment. But it is well-trained environmental technologists at the forefront of the issue, looking for solutions as pressures from population, industry and society continue to stress our ecosystem. Equipped with knowledge of dangers linked to pollution, technologists provide innovative ways to keep the earth green and clean. By reducing human impact on the environment and working toward a more sustainable means of living, technologists help make our world a better place.

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Program Description

This dynamic program focuses on the chemical and biological sciences as they relate to environmental pollution. An emphasis is placed on ground and surface water quality, soil and waste management and recycling in urban and industrial settings. You will also examine environmental regulations and review their social and economic impacts on communities.

Training and experience in the handling, analysis and monitoring of a wide variety of biological and chemical parameters linked to pollution are at the heart of this program. First-hand field and laboratory experience is emphasized in areas such as:

  • Analytical chemistry
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Instrumental analysis
  • Microbiology
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Admission Requirements

and

  • Grade 12 English (C, M or U)*
  • Grade 12 Mathematics (C, M or U)*

*General Educational Development or Academic and Career Entrance courses may be considered in some programs.

Please note: Applicants who do not have the admissions criteria for the Environmental Technology program may want to consider applying to Durham College’s General Arts and Science one-year certificate program to better prepare themselves and possibly obtain a transferable/elective credit from the School of Science & Engineering Technology. For more information, please contact admissions@durhamcollege.ca or 905.721.3000.

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Career Options

Graduate employment may be found in:

  • Conservation authorities
  • Energy generation and distribution
  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Environmental testing laboratories
  • Municipalities
  • Water treatment plants

Past Durham College graduates have found employment with the following job titles:

  • Environmental and Compliance Technologist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Technician /  Technologist
  • Hazardous Waste Technician
  • Junior Environmental Officer
  • Lab Technician
  • Occupational Hygienist
  • Research & Development Officer
  • Wastewater Operator
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Course List & Descriptions

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4

Semester 5

Semester 6

This one-semester course is designed to teach the student fundamental analytical techniques, which are required for satisfactory performance in any laboratory-related work.  Techniques taught include proper use of the analytical balance, proper pipetting techniques, use of the buret, transferring solutions, use of the pH meter and the spectrophotometer.  The course consists of 1 lecture hour and 2 lab hours.

This one-semester course consists of three lecture hours per week and 12 lab hours throughout the term.  This course is designed to introduce students to basic biological concepts and their significance in helping to solve issues that affect modern society, and provides a foundation for senior courses in the sciences programs.  This course focuses on the processes involved in biological systems. Students learn concepts and theories in the areas of cellular biology, genetics, and animal anatomy and physiology.  In addition, this course reinforces and emphasizes the underlying relationship between structure and function present in all biological systems.

This one semester introductory chemistry course includes weekly three hour lectures and three hour laboratory sessions.  The lectures deal with the theoretical aspects of chemical principles, whereas the laboratory relates to the practical applications of chemistry and the development of the necessary ‘hands on’ basic techniques and skills. Topics discussed in the lectures include matter, atomic structure, chemical bonding, nomenclature, chemical formulae, the mole, stoichiometry and chemical reactions.  An emphasis is placed on developing problem solving skills, which relies, to an extent, on an appropriate mathematical background.  The laboratory sessions include a topic on lab safety and safe procedures and practices are continually stressed throughout the semester.  The experiments involve sample preparation, use of the analytical balance, solution preparation and standardization, analysis of samples by various procedures, the use of glassware and the use of simple instrumentation (Spec.20, pH meters).

Today’s employers give preference to job candidates who are team players with strong verbal communication skills. This course will help students find their voice and develop their ability to work in teams, giving them the competitive advantage they need in today’s job market. It will also strengthen reading comprehension, writing ability, presentation skills and computer application proficiency, all of which are skills fundamental to success in college and in the workplace.

This one semester course (two hours lecture, two house lab) introduces the fundamental principles of ecology and environmental science. It emphasizes an ecosystem approach to studying the environment. The interactions between abiotic and biotic are examined to gain an understanding of how a dynamic balance is achieved in natural ecosystems. This course also examines the effect of human intervention on ecosystems and biomes through an investigation of the five categories of pollution as well as the major trends in resource consumption and use. This is done to gain a better understanding of how the environment is altered by human action and why these actions may have significant effects on an ecosystem and its sustainability.

The laboratory exercises are an integral part of this course. They are designed to both reinforce concepts developed during lectures as well as introduce new concepts. An emphasis is placed on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems both through field and in class lab work.

Students refresh and develop their skills in fundamental mathematics including algebra, graphing, unit conversions, ratios, proportions, geometry and problem solving. As well, students practise and strengthen their reasoning abilities by restating problems so they can be solved mathematically. This course covers the component skills required in Math 2132.

This course is a continuation of Chemistry I (CHEM 1131), and consists of two hours of lecture and a three hour lab session per week.  The lectures deal with the theoretical aspects of chemical principles; whereas the lab relates to the practical applications of the science of chemistry and the development of the necessary basic skills required.  Labs are designed around analysis of samples, with emphasis placed on accuracy. Topics discussed in the lectures include: periodic properties of elements, chemical bonding, intermolecular forces, properties of solutions, equibria and acid base chemistry.  Emphasis is placed on problem solving skills development, especially with respect to solution chemistry.  The laboratory sessions include a topic on lab safety and experiments involving sample preparation, use of the analytical balance, solution preparation and standardization, analysis of samples by various procedures (volumetric, gravimetric, etc.), the use of glassware, the use of simple instrumentation (spec 20, pH meters, etc.) 

This one semester course (two hours lecture, two hours lab) builds on the principles of ecology that were introduced in the Environmental Science course.  This course will focus on all of the aspects that influence ecosystems.  To best demonstrate these influences, students will spend a great deal of their lab time focusing on one particular site and will work towards creating a comprehensive bioinventory of the site.  The bioinventory will allow the students to work on their ability to identify trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, birds, soils, etc. and understand how they all work together to create a very dynamic site.

Elective general education courses appear in your program of study as GNED 0000. This is called a “placeholder.” This placeholder is replaced by an actual course that you will select from a list of available "elective" general education courses when you register in the relevant semester.

Please note that the type and number of elective courses available will vary from semester to semester and from year to year.

Please visit the General Education website for more information.

This course is a continuation of Mathematics I (MATH 1132). Students develop their mathematical skills through topics such as exponential and logarithmic functions, radicals and exponents and systems of equations. Using mathematical procedures and applying mathematical concepts to solve problems are stressed.

This is a one semester course designed to introduce the student to the basic concepts of organic chemistry.  This course is designed to familiarize the student with organic chemical structures, functional groups, nomenclature and basic physical properties and reactions of organic compounds.

Technical Communication is the “art and science of making complex technical information accessible, usable and relevant to most people in most settings.”  This course reinforces and expands on technical communication skills introduced in first semester, which students will require in the workplace. Students will learn to select and use appropriate research, language, and layout for different technical documents, while further developing their written and verbal communication skills and their ability to work in a team.

The course serves as an introduction to analytical methods and their applications.  Sample preparation, method selection, techniques, calculations and data handling are addressed as they apply to different types of chemical analysis.  This course introduces the chemical principles behind gravimetric and volumetric methods of analysis.  Problem-solving is strongly emphasized.  The laboratory portion of this course emphasizes good laboratory technique and practices.  Accuracy and precision of analytical results as well as documentation and presentation of laboratory results are evaluated.

The goal of this course is two-fold.  Primarily it assists students in developing a well planned and organized job search plan. In order to accomplish this, students develop professional cover letters, resumes, portfolios and career action plans. The second goal of this course is to introduce students to subject matter which will assist them to meet today’s workforce challenges. An introduction of Organizational Behaviour is explored including; Understanding and working with management to attain company and career goals, working and communicating in a team environment, functioning and managing stress in today’s workplace and understanding why organizational change and development take place.

This course examines the diverse needs and activities of Canadian communities and their impact on the environment. Students examine the structure of communities and the socio-economic factors that influence people’s mindsets with respect to environmental issues.  Thus environmental issues—such as solid waste, air quality, water quality, and energy use—are studied with reference to attitudes and lifestyle expectations.

This combined lecture and lab course provides instruction about environmental sampling, analyses, and associated quality assurance and quality control practices.  Students practice sampling techniques in a range of field situations and develop an understanding of sample program design, sample management and QA/QC practices.

This course is currently under development.

This course introduces applied aspects of microbiology.  It includes a practical and theoretical introduction to microbial cell morphology and the structure and function of prokaryotes and eukaryotes.  The diversity of the microbial world is examined by comparing bacterial, fungal, protozoan and viral organisms. The growth, reproduction and enumeration of micro-organisms are studied as well as the effects of physical and chemical agents on microbial growth.  The laboratory component provides hands-on experience in the isolation, cultivation and enumeration of micro-organisms as well as in the preparation of microbiological media and maintenance of microbial cultures. 

This is a continuation of Analytical Chemistry I.  Various volumetric methods are studied (acid/base, redox, complexation).  More advanced concepts and theory are examined as they deal with each type of analysis.  This course also serves as an introduction to instrumental analysis, addressing both electrochemical and spectroscopic methods from an analytical perspective.  Problem solving is strongly emphasized.  The laboratory portion of this course emphasizes good laboratory technique and practices.  Accuracy and precision of analytical results as well as documentation and presentation of laboratory results are evaluated.

This is a one-semester theory course (two hours/week) designed to extend students’ knowledge into methods of instrumental analysis. Students are introduced to basic spectrographic and chromatographic instrumental concepts and applications, including interpretation of analytical results. This theory course is followed by a lab practical course in the following semester.

This course introduces students to the theory and application of environmental microbiology. In lectures and labs, students learn about aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric ecosystems at the microbial level. Through practical applications, they learn to apply this information to water and wastewater treatment and testing. Other topics include biogeochemical cycles and energy flow within ecosystems, bioremediation, and biotechnology and its uses in the assessment and cleanup of environmental problems. Lab exercises reinforce the theoretical principles and introduce students to environmental laboratory methods that comply with current standards and practices.

This lab and lecture-based course focuses on the chemical aspects of environmental problems that have been created by humans. Chemical and physical properties of various organic and inorganic compounds (i.e. VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, mercury, arsenic, lead etc.) are reviewed in order to obtain a thorough understanding of how each of these compounds interacts within various media (i.e. soil, water and air) and measures that can be used to remediate their impacts.

This course provides a thorough review of environmental protection legislation and regulations at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. It also covers public attitudes and a brief history of key environmental issues and incidents that helped shape current environmental legislation. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, the Nutrient Management Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Environmental Bill of Rights, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Green Energy Act and the Water Opportunities Act, among others, are introduced along with some of the key regulations.  The important regulations are examined in greater depth in subsequent courses.

Elective general education courses appear in your program of study as GNED 0000. This is called a “placeholder.” This placeholder is replaced by an actual course that you will select from a list of available "elective" general education courses when you register in the relevant semester.

Please note that the type and number of elective courses available will vary from semester to semester and from year to year.

Please visit the General Education website for more information.

In this course, the basic principles of chromatographic instruments and methods will be presented.  The types of chromatographic separations and the associated terminology will be examined.  The applications of thin layer chromatography will be addressed, along with the basic applications and types of column chromatography.  The information present in a typical chromatogram will be described and some fundamental calculations performed. 

After looking at basic concepts, a brief overview of two of the most commonly used instruments, HPLC and GC will be presented.  The basic components of both will be described.  The use of chromatography as both a qualitative and quantitative instrument will be addressed.  Chromatographic methods and method validation will be described.  This course serves as a prerequisite to Chromatography II, in which more detail and supplemental information will necessarily be presented regarding the instrumentation and applications of chromatographic methods. 

The laboratory component of this course allows the student to receive practical hands-on training on the HPLC, IC and GC and to apply the theory presented in lecture.

Students study, in detail, environmental enforcement in Ontario.  Abatement procedures, abatement tools and management strategies, including ISO 14000, are examined.  Spill cleanup regulations and legal defences against enforcement actions are studied from an industrial perspective.  Also, common law and its expanding role in environmental protection and actions are studied.  Trends in environmental policy are examined so that students can be more aware of probable developments in future environmental enforcement activities.

Placement is considered an important part as a technologist’s education, and student are required to obtain a minimum of 80 hours on the job placement in their chosen field and 5 hours of required workshops. There is no formal set of topics of instruction for placement but it must provide the student with practical experience in their chosen field. Each placement will be different as there will be a variety of organizations participating.

Students may achieve their placement requirement in various ways by completing one of the following:

  1. A summer position after second year related to their field of study.
  2. Working one day a week during the fall or winter academic school year.
  3. Working during a block period of time such as the Christmas break, Reading week or in May after all courses work is completed.
  4. Completing an internship for 4,8,12 or 16 months.
  5. Applying for a prior work experience with proper approval and documentation.

Placement is approached as an actual job, with students attending interviews and being selected for positions by the employer. Students are to perform as technologists in training. A satisfactory completion is mandatory in order to graduate from Durham College.

Students study the key aspects of industrial waste management and pollution prevention programs. Topics include the definition of industrial waste; the sources and types and classification of industrial waste (Reg 347); the regulatory requirements for industrial and hazardous treatment and handling; waste minimization practices and a comprehensive coverage of the primary waste treatment and emission control technologies.  Applicable regulations relating to waste management are studied along with the introduction of the Waste Diversion Act.

This course focuses on the use of spectroscopic instruments in both qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis.  The emphasis in this course is on the use of spectroscopic instruments (AAS, FES, GFAA, ICP, UV/VIS, fluorometry, IR, NMR, MS, XRF, etc.) in the quantitative analysis of bio-molecules, organic compounds and inorganic chemicals.  These instruments will be addressed with regards to instrumentation, methods, sample preparation, applications and calculations.  The application of these instruments to common analytical procedures will be stressed.  Spectroscopy I consists of both a lecture and laboratory component.  In the lab, the students will be given extensive hands-on experience with a variety of spectroscopic instruments (AAS, FES, UV/VIS, fluorometry, IR, NIR).

This combined theory and lab course provides instruction on the three stages of environmental site assessments, environmental audits, geographic information systems and assessing air quality.  This course provides a solid background and thorough understanding of the regulatory processes involved with environmental site assessments, brownfield redevelopment and record of site conditions associated with property transactions.

To be developed.

This course necessarily continues and expands upon the concepts presented in Chromatography I.  A more detailed examination of the instrumentation and components used in HPLC, GC and IC is presented.  Key aspects involved in sample selection and preparation are examined along with the methods and applications of each instrument in order to qualitate and quantitate analytes.  Appropriate calculations are examined. Troubleshooting strategies are presented and discussed for both HPLC and GC systems and chromatograms.  Other chromatographic systems (GC-MS, HPLC-MS, CE, SFC) will also be addressed.  Validation of chromatographic instruments and methods is presented. 

The laboratory component of this course allows the students to receive practical hands-on training on the HPLC, IC and GC and to apply the theory presented in lecture.

This lab will and lecture-based course expands students' knowledge of the processes, practices and equipment for dealing with environmental engineering problems. Students also learn about the challenges of water sewage treatment, hydrology, storm water management and noise pollution.

This course introduces students to the principles of environmental toxicology. Topics include an overview of the effects of toxic compounds on the human body, as well as living organisms in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Epidemiological studies and environmental risk assessments as they relate to environmental toxicology will also be examined.  

Placement is considered an important part as a technologist’s education, and student are required to obtain a minimum of 80 hours on the job placement in their chosen field and 5 hours of required workshops. There is no formal set of topics of instruction for placement but it must provide the student with practical experience in their chosen field. Each placement will be different as there will be a variety of organizations participating.

Students may achieve their placement requirement in various ways by completing one of the following:

  1. A summer position after second year related to their field of study.
  2. Working one day a week during the fall or winter academic school year.
  3. Working during a block period of time such as the Christmas break, Reading week or in May after all courses work is completed.
  4. Completing an internship for 4,8,12 or 16 months.
  5. Applying for a prior work experience with proper approval and documentation.

Placement is approached as an actual job, with students attending interviews and being selected for positions by the employer. Students are to perform as technologists in training. A satisfactory completion is mandatory in order to graduate from Durham College.

Elective general education courses appear in your program of study as GNED 0000. This is called a “placeholder.” This placeholder is replaced by an actual course that you will select from a list of available "elective" general education courses when you register in the relevant semester.

Please note that the type and number of elective courses available will vary from semester to semester and from year to year.

Please visit the General Education website for more information.

This course addresses spectroscopic methods of analysis.  In particular, the application of these methods to the identification and structural analyses of organic compounds will be emphasized.  Infrared, ultraviolet, visible, nuclear magnetic resonance, and mass spectroscopy will be looked at in terms of basic theory, sampling, data collection, spectral evaluation and interpretation.  Correlation tables will be used to predict and identify the structure of a variety of organic compounds using spectra alone and in combination.  The laboratory component of this course provides hands-on experience using infrared, ultraviolet/visible, and atomic absorption, emission and fluorometry spectroscopies in addition to a number of other instrumental methods.

This course focuses on the finite assimilative and regenerative capacity of ecosystems, as they relate to urban environmental planning. Topics include watershed development, site-specific environmental impact assessment, environmental protection, environmental stability, and planning policy.

Courses and course descriptions are for the next academic year and are subject to change.

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Program Costs

 DomesticInternational
Tuition Fees$2,609$11,820
Compulsory Ancillary Fees$1,024$1,584
Incidental Fees$120$120
Total Fees:$3,753$13,524

Please note: fees are based on the 2013-2014 academic year and do not include textbooks. For more information please see Other fees to consider.

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Internships & Placements

A work placement in third year enables you to work in the environmental industry and utilize your newly acquired skills, gaining valuable knowledge and industry related experience.

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Opportunities For Degree Completion Or Additional Credentials

Qualified graduates may be eligible to apply their academic credits toward further study through Durham College’s partnerships with many Canadian and international colleges and universities. 

Trent University (Trent) Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environment and Resource Science 

Qualified graduates of this program with a minimum 75 per cent average can apply to Trent’s Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environment and Resource Science program. You can apply to this program through the Ontario Universities Application Centre website (www.ouac.on.ca) using the program code RBX (Trent in Oshawa) or RSV (Peterborough campus).

In addition, qualified graduates may also be eligible to apply their academic credits toward further study through Durham College’s partnerships with many Canadian and international colleges and universities.

If you are a domestic or internationally educated student with a Bachelor of Science degree, you may be eligible for the fast-track delivery.

Please visit the Transfer Guide for more information.

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Disability Considerations

Students with disabilities who wish to discuss accommodation plans are encouraged to contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities.

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