Environmental and ecological problems are of increasing concern to Canadians. In northern British Columbia, the concerns are especially acute in resource based economies.

As one of the four Environmental degrees at UNBC, Environmental Science seeks to train scientists who will understand how the environment functions, and how to mitigate effects on the environment when functions and processes are disrupted.

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The degree has bee​n designed in part to address educational components of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Environmental Employment set out by Environmental Careers Organization (ECO Canada). The NOS forms the basis of the Canadian Certified Environmental Practitioner (CCEP) accreditation process of the Canadian Environmental Certification Approvals Board (CECAB).