MEd in Educational Studies

Education for Sustainability

This innovative MEd cohort program explores Education for Sustainability (EfS) by engaging you in real-world individual and group projects that address sustainability issues in the city of Vancouver.

The pedagogy features an Adaptive Education model, which promotes experiential and place-based learning, art-based environmental education and active citizenship through tactical urbanism. Through collaborative projects you will consult on, experiment with, and co-create solutions that address problems which come to light in the course of working with the City of Vancouver on sustainability priorities.

The unique structure of this program includes a body of advisers and experts that support classroom-based research projects and instructors who act as research designers to facilitate group projects with real-world outcomes.

For more information on the MEd in EFS (including project details) and Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe, please visit


Join an innovative program that contributes to the sustainability movement!

This cohort program supports the need to experiment broadly in transdisciplinary projects that approach sustainability from multiple, innovative perspectives. Creative effort, constant reform and critical examinations of our major social institutions, like education, is especially needed now.

In this program you will:

  • Take action on a real-world issue of concern within their local sustainability movement.
  • Collaborate with other members of the cohort, course facilitators, City of Vancouver staff and community organizations to co-design a meaningful EfS program.
  • Build capacity in multiple EfS areas, including: community building, political engagement, civic innovation, social movement participation, real-world research, design, dialogue, and creative action.

You will experience an immersive and energetic environment that we have come to see in City of Vancouver staff and across our various collaborators and partners. Rather than seeing unsustainability as too complex and intractable, the experience will foster hope and stimulation, bordering on fun.

  • Greening schools or other infrastructure
  • Designing sustainability curricula
  • Reclaiming brownfield sites
  • Piloting renewable energy or green transportation, waste and water projects
  • Building, retrofitting and re-purposing
  • Growing, cooking and eating in community
  • Protecting nature, parks and trails
  • Combating complex problems like climate change and biodiversity loss

You should apply if you want to help achieve sustainability by:

  • Building dialogue, presentation, and research skills for shaping local political processes.
  • Experimenting with systemic interventions in everyday social practices to influence public policy for sustainability.
  • Promoting significant educative experiences in diverse settings.
  • Conceiving and consulting with others on original ideas.
  • Maintaining a personal portfolio that combines achievements and reflective learning.
  • Mobilizing a social movement using technology, art, and/or craft in innovative ways.

Robert VanWynsberghe PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Education, UBC

As the EfS Program Lead and co-Advisor, Rob works to ensure that the entire EFS experience reflects a co-design process whenever possible. He liaises with the City of Vancouver, CityStudio Vancouver, and other emerging partners. Rob values how each EFS group works together to experiment with and refine the co-creation of socially conscious classrooms that contribute to the sustainability movement.

Brad Badelt
Assistant Director, Sustainability
Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability department
City of Vancouver

Brad provides a direct linkage with the City of Vancouver’s Sustainability office and helps guide the students’ projects to ensure they have local impact. He also enjoys connecting with students to learn more about their sustainability priorities and interests.

Lindsay Cole
City of Vancouver, Solutions Lab Manager

Lindsay is relentlessly curious about the intersections of social innovation, design, public policy and transformative learning, and how these practices might result in thriving relationships with lands, waters, and each other.

Dr. Allison Earl  BArch, MEd, PhD
Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Fellow
Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Education, UBC

Allison Earl completed her PhD at the University of Sydney examining the languages of architecture and sustainability. A lifelong learner, her research explores the nexus of architecture, sustainability, activism, and education through meaningful learning experiences.

Bruce Ford BEd, MEd
Sustainability Education Coordinator,
School & Youth Leadership Programs, Metro Vancouver

Through place-based and experiential education and robust collaboration in Metro Vancouver and beyond, Bruce supports leadership for sustainability in, for and about place, purpose, planet and people.

Sharon Hu
Learning Design Strategist
Educational Technology Support
Faculty of Education, UBC

Sharon introduced how to use UBC Blogs to connect with the community and how to use 360-degree photospheres to create a memorable narrative.

Marga Pacis BSc, MEd
City of Vancouver
Planning Assistant (Community Planning)

Marga's passions exist where urbanism meets environmentalism; she aims to make sustainable concepts more visible in the public realm through experiential education, intentional engagement, and policy. Marga is interested in learning how the built environment can adapt to work in tandem with the natural world here in Vancouver.

Pierre Walter PhD
Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Education, UBC

Pierre teaches a variety of graduate courses related to Adult Learning and Education. His research projects include informal adult learning and education in community-based ecotourism in Southeast Asia, learning in environmental movements, culinary tourism, and arts-based environmental adult education.

View photos from the first Education for Sustainability cohort (EFS1)!

Education for Sustainability


The UBC MEd with a focus on Education for Sustainability consists of 30 credits of course work, typically completed in two years.  Courses are woven together throughout the program to focus on addressing issues that arise during the development of the two-year sustainability project.  Courses will be delivered in Vancouver, at a central location.

*Courses and schedule are subject to change.


 1  Aug. 2019 Research Methodology in Education EDUC 500 3
 1  Aug. 2019 Adult Education and Community EDST 516 3
1 Aug. 2019 Environmental Philosophy and Education EDST 588 3
 2 Sept. 2019 Adult Education Program Planning Theory EDST 514 3
 3  Jan. 2020 Topics in Philosophy Education EDST 592A 3
 4  May 2020 Elective 3
 4  May 2020 Practicum EDST 561a 3
 5  Sept. 2020 Practicum EDST 561b 3
 6   Jan. 2021 Special Course in Subject Matter Field EDST 565 3
7 May 2021 Capstone EDST 585 3


 1  Aug. 2016 Research Methodology in Education EDST 500 3
 1  Aug. 2016 Adult Education and Community EDST 516 3
1 Aug. 2016 Capstone Research EDCP 590 3
 1 Sept. 2016 Adult Education Program Planning Theory EDST 514 3
 2  Jan. 2017 Understanding Research: Sustainability Projects as Educational Practice EDST 553 3
 2  May 2017 Practicum: Initiating Sustainability Projects EDST 561 6
 2 May 2017 Elective 3
 2   Jan. 2018 Special Course in Subject Matter Field: Reflective Learning Synthesis EDST 565 6

All students must meet the admission and application requirements of both the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the program, which include:

  • A minimum of two-years of engagement within schools, communities, business, government, non-governmental organizations, or other education-oriented environments.
  • A completed four-year undergraduate degree and at least a 76% average on all senior-level credits.
  • Three letters of recommendation from educators, colleagues, or clients that speak to your abilities to complete a graduate degree and interest in sustainability and education.
  • Resumé and a 600-word statement of intent of your education for sustainability experience, professional goals, and the anticipated benefit of involvement in the program.

Application Status: Closed
Application Deadline: Application for 2019 is now closed


Refer to the UBC Calendar "Master of Education (program off-campus)" for confirmed and up-to-date fees.

Tuition fees are in Canadian dollars, are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors, and are subject to change (typically 2% in May of each year).

Information sessions with Linda Haftner and Rob VanWynsberghe

Meet the Program Advisor and Senior Program Assistant, and learn more about applying to become a UBC graduate student.

There are currently no info sessions scheduled for this program.


If you'd like to notified of any future information sessions for this program, subscribe via the "Subscribe" tab above and we'll keep you informed by email.

View the recorded online info session from January 23, 2019:


Download the December 2018 presentation notes:

EFS2 Info Session Presentation Notes, PPT

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in partnership with:         CityStudio_logo_2015

EDST This program is offered by the Department of Educational Studies. Learn more about EDST programs.