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School of Applied Sciences and Technology

Biological Sciences Technology Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

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Delivery Options

The flexible schedule options for this course including time of day and full/part-time.

  • Day - Courses taking place between Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • Evening/Weekend - Courses taking place on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online - Sometimes called "Home Study" or "Computer-Based Learning"
  • Distance - Traditional correspondence format. These courses work best if you can't get to a campus or if your schedule can't accommodate fixed class times


The average or expected time it will take to complete your program.

Open Studies

Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program.
It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in.

International Students

Program availability may be limited for international applicants. Contact your student advisor for more information.

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced Credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section and on the Transfer Credit Request Form (PDF), your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 7 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of C in the course(s) or program

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR)

If you do not qualify for transfer credit or credential recognition, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) may be an option.

Contact the program for additional information about Advanced Credit.

Find a career in the great outdoors

Eager to get outside and engage with the world around you?

In the Biological Sciences - Environmental Sciences program, you'll study the impact of human activities on air, water, soil and vegetation, and gain a solid foundation in environmental sampling, assessment and laboratory skills.

Employment rates reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and do not guarantee future employment opportunities.

Salaries reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and are not a guarantee of future alumni income.

Hands-on, industry-relevant skills

During the first semester, you'll acquire skills and knowledge in the general sciences of biology and chemistry, communications, ethics, botany, zoology, genetics, and lab techniques and calculations.

You'll then be trained in the following areas:

Field Skills

  • Perform field analysis of soil, vegetation and water quality
  • Monitor air pollutants
  • Collect environmental samples from air, water, soil, plants and waste for futher lab analysis
  • Conduct environmental site assessments – ESA (Phase I - III)
  • Maintain and calibrate field equipment for environmental sampling

Additional Skills

  • Design and manage group-based projects
  • Measure effects of pollutants on the environment by studying toxicology
  • Use current solid and hazardous waste treatment technologies and monitoring systems
  • Use legislation and standards related to environmental issues
  • Employ pollution prevention and pollution control technologies
  • Use quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) principles to obtain accurate data
  • Generate and keep detailed log books
  • Compile and manage data using MS Office
  • Write reports, perform literature reviews, and prepare and give presentations

Labs and classrooms

You can expect to spend, on average:

  • 30 hours per week attending classes over the course of a semester
  • 15 to 20 hours per week studying and completing class assignments outside of scheduled class time

We maintain 6 dedicated instructional laboratories for the delivery of program curriculum, supported by a technical support team of 5 skilled and dedicated individuals. These labs contain an extensive inventory of scientific equipment for investigative and instructional purposes.

Laboratory Skills

  • Perform wet chemical and instrumental analyses of water, wastewater, soil, waste and air samples for biological, physical and chemical parameters
  • Prepare reagents and primary calibration standards

Enter the workforce with confidence

Graduates work with consulting companies, regulatory agencies and analytical laboratories, or are involved in environmental monitoring for industry.

Typical employers include:

  • environmental laboratories and services companies
  • engineering and oil & gas companies
  • municipalities
  • post-secondary institutions

Have questions? We've got answers 

General program information

Program Chair


Student Service Centre

  • Email: askNAIT@nait.ca
  • Phone: 780.471.NAIT (6248)
  • Toll free: 1.877.333.NAIT (6248)



View courses for this program

Tuition & Fees

Get an estimate on cost to attend

How to Apply

Information on admissions process

Scholarships & Awards

Funding for students in this program

Level 1 Term 1

BIOL1145Laboratory Techniques and Calculations
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Conservation Biology, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, or Laboratory Research and Biotechnology.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the principles and basic procedures used in the laboratory, and laboratory math. Topics include laboratory safety, WHMIS, laboratory calculations, water quality and reagent preparation, operation and maintenance of microscopes, balances, pH meters, spectrophotometers and other related laboratory equipment. Emphasis will be placed on accurate and complete documentation methods.

CHEM1104Inorganic Chemistry for Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: CHEM1104, CHS104
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The theory begins with a survey of basic concepts in inorganic chemistry which includes atomic structure, bonding and the periodic table, followed by writing and balancing chemical equations. Calculations involving the mole, composition and stoichiometry are presented. Hydrogen ion concentration (pH) and the theory of buffer solutions are discussed. Laboratory exercises include gravimetric analysis as well as acid-base, precipitation, complexation, and redox-titrations.

COMM1220Communications in the Biological Sciences
  • Course Equivalencies: COMM1105
  • Open Studies: Available

Students will develop their written and oral communication skills by writing, editing, reviewing, and presenting various forms of technical communications including workplace correspondence, short technical reports, and formal technical reports. Students will use MS Office applications to create and import graphs and tables into a document, as well as apply standard formatting conventions, desktop publishing and mail merge functions. Students will also learn to create and use appropriate and effective audio/visual aids to deliver oral presentations during classes.

ECOL1335Introduction to Ecology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences program with a plan of Renewable Resources or Environmental Sciences.
  • Course Equivalencies: ECOL1235
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The course will provide an overview of the principles, composition, structure, and function of populations, communities and ecosystems with a focus on western Canada. A fundamental treatment of ecological principles emphasizing the ecosystem concept, natural selection and speciation, nutrient cycles relating to environmental sampling, energy relationships, limiting factors, population dynamics, and community ecology will be examined. The laboratory component includes practical studies of local ecosystems and population dynamics. The lab will also introduce small mammal handling, sampling location descriptions and the students will practice classifying various Alberta Ecosites.

MICB1560Introduction to Microbiology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL1165
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the tools and methods used to study the microbial world. An overview of the vast diversity of microorganisms is provided as well as a comparison of the distinguishing characteristics of bacteria, archaea, fungi, prions and viruses. Other topics include techniques for cultivating microorganisms, handling and disposing of biohazardous materials, and controlling microbial growth. This course introduces classic strategies used in applied microbiology and environmental microbiology to identify, characterize and quantify microbes.

ZOGY1450Introduction to Vertebrate and Invertebrate Zoology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences program with a plan of Environmental Sciences.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course examines the diversity of Alberta invertebrate and vertebrate taxa including methods for collection and classification of these organisms. Students will have the opportunity to conduct biodiversity surveys of aquatic and soil invertebrates and learn to recognize communities of species as indicators of ecosystem health and biological integrity. Students will compare key features of these organisms including structure and function of parts as it relates to their ecological role and how they respond to environmental impacts. Strategies for mitigation will be discussed.

Level 1 Term 2

BISC1225Workplace Skills Development
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology Environmental Sciences plan. Pre-Requisite: COMM1220.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Interpersonal and teamwork skills required in the workplace will be developed through various activities; peer evaluation will be implemented to assess these skills. Safe work practices and professional behaviour related to the environmental field will be discussed and demonstrated within the classroom setting. Students will investigate organizations and publications relevant to environmental monitoring and assessment, and will apply professional codes of ethics in the environmental field. Organisational behaviour, time management, prioritization, budgeting, and other aspects of today’s workplace will be explored.

BOTA1522Applied Plant Morphology and Identification
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment or Conservation Biology. Prerequisite: ECOL1335.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is an introduction to the classification, identification, ecological adaptation and distribution of the native plants of Alberta. The focus is the use of botanical dichotomous keys, identifying characteristics, morphology, and terminology in the Flora of Alberta. Concepts of botanical nomenclature, species epithet, and author are taught, in addition to collection principles and the creation of permanent herbarium records. For higher taxa, the plant phylogeny, life cycles and characteristics are discussed. While the focus is on vascular plants, a brief survey of a number of common mosses and Sphagnum is included.

CHEM1680Organic Chemistry in Environmental Assessment & Monitoring
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Environmental Sciences. Prerequisite: CHEM1104.
  • Course Equivalencies: CHEM1256
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the nomenclature, structure and the physical and chemical properties of biological and environmentally important organic compounds, including hydrocarbons, alcohols, ethers, aldehydes, ketones, amines, carboxylic acids and their derivatives. Elements of petroleum processing will also be presented. Laboratory work includes basic techniques for measurement, separation, identification, and synthesis of compounds of biological interest.

ENSC1570Collection and Analysis of Spatial Data
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Science program with a plan of Conservation Biology or Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Prerequisite: ECOL1335.
  • Course Equivalencies: SURV2375
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The purpose of the course is to give students an introduction to how positional information is collected and used. Students learn different techniques for data capture and become familiar with how to put data to use through a geographic information system.

SOIL1334Introduction to Soil Sciences
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment or Conservation Biology. Prerequisites: ECOL1335 and (CHEM1104 or CHEM1632).
  • Course Equivalencies: ENSC1265
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The course provides an introduction to soil genesis, nomenclature, classification, and the use of the Canadian System of Soil Classification. Focus is on the physical, biological and chemical properties of soils and includes the application and understanding of field sampling and lab analysis. The course includes an introduction to wetland function and classification. There is one mandatory fieldtrip to the monolith collection at the University of Alberta.

  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: BSC1245, BSC245
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This introductory course focuses upon organizing data and selecting appropriate statistical tests for biological data. Descriptive statistics from samples and populations are used to organize raw data from databases into summaries, tables and charts. Confidence intervals for means, proportions and regression lines are calculated and interpreted. Normal, Binomial, Poisson, and Chi Distributions are studied. Fundamental principles of experimental design are explained and applied. Hypothesis tests are conducted on biological data sets with particular focus on career relevant scenarios (traditional non parametric and parametric testing Z test, t-tests, correlations, regressions, one-way and two-way ANOVA, Chi2, post hoc contrasts, etc.,). Analyses are performed manually or using commonly available software with various demo software introduced for awareness.

Level 1 Term 3

ENSC1305Environmental Field Studies
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences program with a plan of Environmental Sciences.
  • Course Equivalencies: ENSC2300
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Delivered during a one-week period in the field, students will gain experience with various soil and water sampling techniques and vegetation surveys, and apply protocols for storing soil, water, and invertebrate samples. Students will learn to assess potential hazards and risks at typical work sites and complete the appropriate paperwork. Students will also learn to maintain accurate records using field journals, data sheets, and chain of custody forms. Additionally, students will tour industrial sites relevant to the Environmental Sciences specialization, including reclaimed and/or remediated sites.

Level 2 Term 1

CHEM2368Instrumental Analysis
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: CHEM1104, CHEM1256.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

A lecture/laboratory course dealing with the theory and fundamental laws related to the instrumental analytical areas of spectroscopy, and chromatography. Spectroscopy topics include ultraviolet, visible, and atomic spectroscopic methods (including flame and flameless AA and plasma emission). Chromatography topics include gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, and the combined technique of gas chromatography – mass spectroscopy.

ENSC2301Environmental Law and Management Systems
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: BIOL1145, COMM1210, ENSC1265, ECOL1235.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

In this course students discuss environmental management systems and environmental laws, acts, regulations, and guidelines at federal and provincial levels. Further, emphasis is placed on the application of Alberta environmental guidelines and code of practices. The environmental management portion deals with the requirements for a quality assurance program (including quality control) in environmental sampling/analysis/report writing, statistical quality control and environmental management systems (ISO 14001 in particular).

ENSC2303Environmental Site Assessment
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC1265, COMM1210.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This introductory course will focus upon the procedures for conducting Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments (ESAs) in accordance with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Z768-01 and CSA Z769-01) guidelines. Typical principles of contaminant transport and effects on receptors will be presented. Delineation and remediation principles will be introduced in general terms. Case studies of contaminated site assessments in Alberta will be presented. Students will conduct exercises on different components of Phase I ESAs on urban sites as well as oil and gas sites. Students will also conduct a simulated Phase I site assessment of a property.

ENSC2306Air Quality Fundamentals
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: BIOL1145, CHEM1104, ECOL1235, CHEM1256.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Priority air pollutants are examined in relation to their sources, factors affecting their formation and degradation in the environment, and reasons for concern (including physiological effects and risks). Laboratory exercises emphasize standard methods of analysis for each air pollutant.

ENSC2312Water Quality Monitoring and Analysis
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: BIOL1145, CHEM1104, ECOL1235.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

A comprehensive study of the physical, chemical, and biological components of concern in water quality studies as it applies to streams and lakes. Emphasis is on the source of contaminants and their direct/indirect impact on the quality of water. Sampling equipment, techniques, handling, and methods of analysis are performed and discussed. Laboratory exercises involve analysis of a variety of water quality parameters while emphasizing techniques and accuracy.

SOIL2309Soil Sciences: Upland and Wetland Reclamation
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisite: ENSC1265.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The course investigates soil reclamation prescriptions specific to Alberta and includes reclamation of industrial, municipal, and natural sites. It includes discussion and/or application of erosion prevention and control techniques; land capability classifications; wetland mapping, classification, and delineation; wetland and riparian reclamation; and shoreline stabilization. Physical characteristics of soils and soil stability are addressed (e.g., slope, concept of shear strength, behaviour of clays). Plant species requirements for reclamation and weed control are identified. Alberta legislation and criteria directing reclamation and requirements to obtain a reclamation certificate are discussed. Where appropriate federal legislation is discussed. This course includes several fieldtrips to upland and wetland reclamation sites.

Level 2 Term 2

ENSC2208Environmental Sciences Project
  • Requisites: This course is available tor students in the Environmental Monitoring & Assessment plan. Pre-Requisites: Completion of Term 1 and 2.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is designed to give students experience in researching and presenting scientific literature, designing and creating a research proposal, and implementing a research project. Students conduct their research and write a technical paper summarizing their results as part of a team. Details of the research project are also delivered in a final group oral presentation.

ENSC2415Air Quality Monitoring and Improvement
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC2306, CHEM2368
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Air Pollution control equipment and pollution prevention techniques for the control of point source gas/vapor and particulate emissions – including their effectiveness and operational limitations - are examined. Air dispersion modeling, point source, fugitive emissions and ambient air monitoring methods are also discussed. Because many of the methods used to monitor ambient air quality are similar to those used to assess indoor air quality, a portion of the course is devoted to techniques used to monitor indoor (e.g. workplace/residential) air quality as well. Laboratory exercises introduce point source manual monitoring, fugitive emissions monitoring, air emission assessments, operation and calibration of continuous analyzers and indoor air sampling techniques.

  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC1265, CHEM2368, ENSC2312.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course will examine the interactions of geologic materials with water, and how such interactions affect groundwater movement, pumping rates of groundwater for domestic and industrial uses, and movement of pollutants through the subsurface environment. Topics will include groundwater terminology, aquifer properties and pumping tests, groundwater flow mapping, sampling techniques, groundwater chemistry and quality, sources of groundwater contamination, instrumentation and an introduction to software used in groundwater studies.

ENSC2421Remediation Technology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC1265, CHEM1104, CHEM1256, ENSC2303, SOIL2309.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the remediation of contaminated and disturbed sites in industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential and natural areas. Remediation includes physical, chemical, and biological methods. The course also covers Alberta Tier 1 & 2 soil and groundwater guidelines, and CCME guidelines.

ENSC2424Industrial Waste and Water Management
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC2312, CHEM1256, ENSC2301.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Waste Management techniques from identification, collection, source-separation, treatment, and disposal are reviewed. Solid and Hazardous Waste/Recyclables are discussed – including regulatory approaches (classification and transportation) to Hazardous Waste Management for general industry and the upstream oil and gas industry. The shift to pollution prevention versus traditional waste management is reinforced. The students will also explore the characteristics and management of wastewaters produced in the major industrial sectors in Alberta: energy extraction and refining, mining, agriculture, and pulp/paper.


Cost Per Credit: $180
Tuition Cap: $1,940

Tuition for International Students

Cost Per Credit: $567
Tuition Cap: $6,111

Mandatory Fees

NAITSA: $129
U-Pass: $175
Health & Dental: $128
Rec. & Athletics: $70

Pay Your Tuition & Fees
How much will first year cost?

Books, Supplies & Program Fees (est.)

Level 1 Term 1: $925
Level 1 Term 2: $1,025
Level 2 Term 1: $825
Level 2 Term 2: $675

Dates & Deadlines

We recommend submitting your program application at least 90 days before the application deadline.

Application Deadline: Sep 03, 2019

Term Start Date: Sep 03, 2019

Program Availability Status:  

Domestic Applicants: WL
International Applicants: WL

Entrance Requirements

  • Grade 12 English
  • Math 30-1 or 30-2 or Pure Math 30 or Applied Math 30 or Physics 30
  • Chemistry 30
  • Biology 30
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency

Additional Requirements and Considerations

Immunization Requirements: Students are required to have their immunization for Tetanus and Diptheria. A form will be provided that must be filled out by a healthcare professional (a Doctor or a Public Health Nurse).

Laptop Requirements:

Students are required to provide their own laptops for the duration of their studies at NAIT. Extensive use of computers in industry has changed how technologists work and additional knowledge and skill are expected from our grads. The NAIT campus provides a wireless environment for students to use. NAIT will also provide a virtual environment (VDI) for the students to access course related software. The VDI model will allow students to access software and work on projects both on and off campus.

Recommended Laptop Requirements

  • Minimum of 12 inch display (minimum 24-bit colour depth)
  • Intel quad-core i5 - 2.2 GHz minimum
  • 8 GB RAM; 500 GB hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows
  • 2.5" USB 3.0 portable hard drive (for backups)
  • 8 GB USB 3.0 flash drive (16GB or larger recommended)
  • Wireless mouse (Bluetooth preferred)
  • Video/Graphics adaptor 256MB RAM (NVIDIA, ATI, and Intel chipsets supported) may be required.

Notes: Apple laptops are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. Often there are NO MAC VERSIONS of the required software. Previous semesters have shown that Apple laptops are often incompatible with some of the software we use. Microsoft Office 365 will be provided to students for free. Students are responsible for the service and repair of their own computers. NAIT Tech Support will be available to assist with software licensing and installation issues as much as possible. If you have any questions please contact either the School of Applied Sciences and Technology or our program by email.

Additional Requirements:

  • Power extension cord (minimum 3 meter length)
  • A method for Backup Storage of Files such as online "Cloud" storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or a larger USB external hard drive is recommended
  • Up-to-date Virus protection for your computer.

Apply to Program

Apply to the program with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application process. Please note, processing time may vary for applicants, so we recommend starting early.

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Open Studies

A great option to get started or take a few courses without committing to a full program. Learn more

International Students

This program is open to international applicants. For more detailed information about applying, visit our admissions page. Learn more


Term Definition
Open Program still has seats available.
Waitlisting Program is full and qualified applicants are being placed on a waitlist. For information about waitlists, please visit the Waitlist FAQs.

If you’re on a non-competitive waitlist, you should consider NAIT’s Academic Upgrading program or NAIT Equivalency Tests to become a more competitive applicant.

There is no guarantee that waitlisted applicants will be offered a seat, however it is common for seats to become available until the start of class. As seats become available, they are filled from the waitlist.
Closed Program is no longer accepting applications.
N/A Not available for this term.

*Program availabilty is subject to change without notice.

Scholarships & Awards

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Students of this program are eligible for student membership in the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).


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