Reading Week Course

Advanced Topics in Environment and Health | ENVS4800A
Instructor: Martin Bunch
Dates: February 16-24, 2019

The ‘ecohealth approach’ or ‘ecosystem approach to health and well-being’ is an applied approach based on principles of systems thinking, transdisciplinarity, participation, gender and social equity, knowledge-to-action, and sustainability. In this course, participants will move from understanding environment and health relationships to apply these principles in the design of collaborative interventions that produce “co-benefits” – simultaneously improving human health/well-being and ecosystem health.

This is a useful course for students who are interested ecosystem/environmental management, international development practice, conservation, global health, environment and health, applied systems thinking, food sovereignty and security, participatory methods, social innovation, environmental problem solving, and more.

This Ecohealth course will focus on the case study of “linking heath, environment and community in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor”, with multiple field visits in the region. However, the projects that course participants will develop can be associated with any environment and health situation in any location.

The course fee is CAN$1,200. This fee includes all in-country transportation, room and board, and park entrance fees that are part of course programs. Students are responsible for paying their own flight fare and travel insurance, as well as any personal expenses. Course costs are not the same as tuition costs. Students must be registered in the 2019 Winter term in order to register for this course.

Here is a draft copy of the syllabus

Important Dates & Registration Instructions:

Step 1: Check your eligibility and attend the next information session:

  • We need to check your eligibility before you can register for this course. Fill out the eligibility form and we will notify you by email. A copy of the last session's presentation is available here

Step 2: Enroll in the course:

  • December 10, 2018: Save your spot by paying the non-refundable deposit of CAN$100. Spots are considered on a first come first serve basis. Note that you won't be able to pay the deposit unless we have checked your eligibility. Deposits will be accepted in cash before the deadline by appointment at lasnubes@yorku.ca, or on the deadline date at HNES 286 or HNES 139F.
  • December 10, 2018 - January 15, 2019: Enroll in the course through the REM system. Enrollment in this course is restricted. We need to check you eligibility and you need to pay your deposit before you can register on the course.

Step 3: Forms, Payment and Mandatory Sessions:


Please note the following:

  • This course is open to upper-year undergraduates and graduates, including non-FES students and has no prerequisites.
  • NOTE: If you came to an information session and have not received a follow up email by now is because the email you provided does not work, please fill out the eligibility form here
  • LA&PS students have the possibility to apply for funding. Check the requirements for the International Study Abroad Award for LA&PS.
  • Visa information: Refer to the Embassy of Costa Rica in Canada's website.
  • Non-York Students must follow the Admission and Application Procedures for Visiting Students

Semester Abroad Courses listed under each Area of Concentration (For FES Students):

Environmental Politics, Justice and Arts

  • ENVS 4800A 3.00 - Advanced Topics in Environment and Health (Ecosystem Approaches in the Field)
  • ENVS 4810A 3.00 - Conservation and Development for Social-Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing in Costa Rica
  • ENVS 4810B 3.00 - Environmental Arts and Food Sovereignty in Costa Rica
  • ENVS 4120 3.00 - Natural History: Political Ecology Encounters Environmental Education in Costa Rica
  • ENVS 4215 3.00 - Globalization and Indigenous Peoples

Urban and Regional Environments

  • ENVS 4800A 3.00 - Advanced Topics in Environment and Health (Ecosystem Approaches in the Field)

Students in the UREN AoC may be able to use other semester abroad courses offered in their AoC. However, to do so, students must:
a) direct a paper/project in a course towards an urban/regional topic suitable to the UREN AoC; and, b) submit petition to the UPD providing a rationale as to why the course should be applied to the UREN AoC

Environmental Management: Policy, Resources and Conservation

  • ENVS 4800A 3.00 - Advanced Topics in Environment and Health (Ecosystem Approaches in the Field)
  • ENVS 4446 3.00 - Protected Area Management in Costa Rica
  • ENVS 4120 3.00- - Natural History: Political Ecology Encounters Environmental Education in Costa Rica
  • ENVS 4810A 3.00 - Conservation and Development for Social-Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing: Case Studies in Costa Rica