Specialist High Skills Major program

Each SHSM consists of five required components:

  1. Bundled credits
    A defined bundle of credits consisting of eight to ten Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits, including cooperative education credits
  2. Certification and training
    Sector-recognized certifications and training courses and programs
  3. Experiential learning and career exploration activities
    Experiential learning and career exploration activities within the sector
  4. Reach ahead experiences
    Learning experiences connected with the student's postsecondary plans
  5. Essential Skills and work habits
    Development of Essential Skills and work habits required in the sector.

For more information about the SHSM Environment program, please visit:


1. Bundled Credits

These credits make up the bundle:

  • four environment major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. (This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);
  • three other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in each of which some expectations must be met through a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the environment sector. The three credits include:
    • two in English; (one credit must be in grade 12) and
    • one in mathematics;
  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practise sector-specific knowledge and skills

SHSM Course Pathways Chart (pdf)


2. Certification and Training

This SHSM sector requires students to complete a specified number of compulsory and elective sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs.

Check out this video from our ICE Training session!

3. Experiential Learning

Experiential learning and career exploration opportunities relevant to the sector might include the following:

  • one-on-one observation of a cooperative education student at a placement in the environmental sector (an example of job twinning)
  • a day-long observation of an environmental sector employer or employee (an example of job shadowing)
  • a one- or two-week work experience with a member of an environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) or an employee in the environmental sector