This is truly where land and food systems all come together. In UBC’s Sustainable Agriculture and Environment program, you’ll be learning how to produce food in a way that protects our soils, water and air, how to manage biodiversity and habitat for the organisms we rely on to help us grow our food, and how to grow food in urban environments. All of which primes you for a professional career in shaping a more sustainable, food-secure future.
It’s challenging, it’s hands-on, and it’s practical expertise for a world that needs to figure out food solutions. In Sustainable Agriculture and Environment (SAGE), you’ll apply your thinking to a range of environmental challenges, including sustainable crop production, food security, biodiversity, soil and water resources management, and climate change. You can tailor your SAGE studies to focus on your particular interests, too, whether they’re in agricultural production, integrated agro-ecosystem management, plant science or soil science.
You’ll be working toward a professional designation in pursuing this major, and as such, you are eligible to enrol as a student member of the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists. Depending on your electives, professional designations include:
Professional Agrologist with BC Institute of Agrologists (BCIA)
Registered Professional Biologist (with the College of Applied Biology)
Applied Biology Technician (with the College of Applied Biology)
In Sustainable Agriculture and Environment (SAGE), you’ll study the application of soil, plant and agro-ecological sciences in enhancing sustainable food production, while protecting and strengthening the land. Talk about a hero’s work! The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm is where you’ll integrate real-world experience with your classroom learning, as well as in our rooftop garden and in community gardens across the city.
SAGE combines your core academic courses with electives that allow you to focus on your individual interests. Uncork the science behind a good bottle of wine, learn how to grow food without soil, and explore the possibilities of insects as an increasingly important source of healthy, sustainable human sustenance. You’ll have opportunities to develop your research skills and build out your competencies through research experience, internships and practicums, co-ops and job placements. Upon graduation you’ll be prepared for professional employment or for further academic study.
In completing your Sustainable Agriculture and Environment degree, you will take a combination of degree requirements (required of all students) and restricted electives (courses selected from a curated list of approved electives). You’ll be able to round it all out with some unrestricted electives (courses you get to pick yourself).
You will need a strong science foundation as a Sustainable Agriculture and Environment student, so you’ll take first-year chemistry, math and biology before moving on to the subject-specific courses. There are too many exciting courses to list here, but some of the learning you can look forward to in this program includes:
APBI 210: Vascular Plants
APBI 260 & 360: Agroecology I and II
APBI 327: Introduction to Entomology
APBI 402: Sustainable Soil Management
To see the complete list of required courses for this program, please consult the UBC Academic Calendar. Current students, please use the ‘Degree Navigator’ tool in your Student Service Centre (SSC) to track your progress.
If you’re a high achiever, or have a deep and abiding interest in contributing to research, then the Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Honours program just might be the perfect fit. Admission to the Honours program is competitive. To learn more about this option, please consult the UBC Academic Calendar.
You may choose to supplement your Sustainable Agriculture and Environment major with a minor program, which involves taking courses in a subject area outside of your specialization. As an APBI student, you’re eligible to apply for a Minor in Arts, Commerce, Fermentations, Sustainable Food Systems, or Science. Learn more about minors, including application timelines, here.
Dual Degree with Master of Management
If you are interested in complementing your LFS degree with a strong foundation in management, consider applying for the Bachelor of Science (Applied Biology) – Master of Management Dual Degree. Please note: admission to this program is primarily available to students coming directly out of high school. Depending on enrolment, the UBC Sauder School of Business may release a limited number of spaces on a competitive basis to students who are going into their third year at UBC (or those who are transferring to UBC for their third year). For more details about this dual-degree program option and for information about how to apply, please see the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration section of the UBC Academic Calendar.
If you are a current APBI student interested in the Sustainable Agriculture and Environment major, you will be prompted to select your specialization through your Student Service Centre (SSC) when registering for second year. This major is not competitive.
If you are a high school, college or university student and you want to major in Sustainable Agriculture and Environment at UBC, you should apply for the Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology. You can learn more here.
Where Can a Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Degree Take You?
LFS graduates in the area of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment can pursue myriad careers. Here are just a few:
natural resource planner
seed production agronomist
land management specialist
land remediation specialist
organic farming specialist
farm weather consultant
crop protection technician
ecosystem restoration consultant
soil fertility consultant
irrigation and drainage consultant
Get a head start on your career-related work experience while you’re at UBC. Check out What You Can Do With a Sustainable Agriculture and Environment major here, and scroll through our job board for postings that
relate to your field of study!
If you are a prospective or current student with questions about planning for or choosing this major, or if you’ve got questions about how your transfer credits apply, please get in touch. One of our academic advisors in LFS Student Services will be glad to help you.
If you’re already in the major, and have specific questions about restricted electives and directed studies, please contact your program advisor, Dan Naidu.
My primary research objective is to apply the knowledge of soil science for the purpose of suggesting sustainable management of ecosystems: increasing the resistance and resilience of soil-plant systems while decreasing human-induced pressures on the environment.
Assistant Professor, Plant Physiology, Applied Biology
My research involves investigating how plants can thrive in water-stressed environments. I explore plant physiology, evaluate how plants react in response to water stress by drought and waterlogging, and identify crop genotype-specific thresholds for improved water management in agriculture.
Marley Blok is an alumna of the Applied Biology program and currently volunteers with Veterinarians Without Borders in their Volunteers Engaged in Gender-Responsive Technical Solutions Program, or VETS for short. Working with local Ghanaian organizations, Blok's goal is to create sustainable socioeconomic change in rural communities through improving health in animal production systems.
Meet Jennifer Appiah, our student spotlight! Jennifer is a 2022 recipient of the Freybe Award in Nutrition and Dietetics and is currently completing her first year as part of UBC’s Master of Nutrition and Dietetics’ first ever cohort.