How to apply

 -All post-secondary transcripts, -3 references, -Supplementary information form, -Resume, -English language proficiency* *as applicable

Application deadlines 

Application forms and supporting documents are due by the deadlines outlined in the table below. 

Starting Term Application Deadline
Fall (September) February 1
Winter (January) June 1st (previous year)
Spring (May) October 1st (previous year)

Students who meet these deadlines and are eligible, will be considered for any major awards and scholarships (OGS, Tri-Agency Scholarships and internal UW awards) to which they have applied. 

Domestic students (Canadians and Permanent Residents) applications will be considered after these deadlines, although this may impact your eligibility for major awards and scholarships in your first year.

Admission requirements 

General application information can be found on the Academic Calendar; specific admissions requirements can be found under each program description within the Academic Calendar's Earth and Environmental Sciences section. 

Admission is based on certain eligibility guidelines and varies depending upon the program you intend to enter. Below are the guidelines which determine a candidate's admissibility for the various programs offered. Each case is examined individually and offers of admission depending on other factors, including the availability of an appropriate research advisor.

In general, students looking to apply to the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences will need to have the following: 

Requirement Additional information

An appropriate degree with a 75% overall standing

Master’s program: A minimum standing of 75% in the last two years of an Honours Bachelor of Science degree, or the equivalent, from an accredited University.

PhD program: A Master of Science degree with a minimum standing of 75%, or equivalent from an accredited University, and suitable references from the institution at which the M.Sc. degree was awarded.

Please note that if the Bachelor's 4-year honours degree equivalent is not in Earth & Environmental Sciences, sufficient upper level Earth Sciences course content would be required to ensure that there is an appropriate background to handle Earth Sciences courses at the Graduate level.


Apply online through the graduate application system. Be sure to declare ALL post-secondary institutions attended (past and current; this includes incomplete studies and transfer courses).There will be a place to indicate up to 3 areas of study, and a place to list potential supervisors. You are strongly encouraged to indicate potential supervisors even if you haven't contacted them yet. View the graduate online application system for additional details.

Supplementary Information Form (SIF) 

The SIF is used to learn about your preference of research area, scholarly contributions, scholarships and statement of interest. For tips on filling out the SIF, please visit the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs site.

Academic Transcripts 

Once you have submitted your application, you will be required to upload your academic transcripts/degrees from each post-secondary institution attended showing all courses and marks along with a transcript legend/key/grading scale. For more information on which transcripts you are required to upload, what information must be included on the transcript, and what to do in the case of an international education, please visit the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs page on academic transcripts.

Three references 

Master’s program: 2 of the 3 references should be from academic sources.

PhD program: All 3 references should be from academic sources.

For more tips on selecting a reference, please visit the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs page on references. 

Before applying to the program, students are strongly advised to establish contact with potential supervisors. It is a good strategy to identify whether the potential supervisors that students would like to undertake research with have available positions and funding.

In some cases where the minimum academic requirement is met, but previous course work was obtained a number of years ago or an applicant's academic background is lacking upper level science courses in the areas that the applicant is interested in pursuing; the department may recommend the completion of preliminary courses. 

If you have any questions, the Admissions Coordinator can be reached at the Please ensure you provide your full name and UWaterloo student number in the subject line of the e-mail. The volume of correspondence is very high, so please be patient.

Information for International Students

The department strongly recommends that international students apply at least nine months prior to the start of the term, to allow sufficient time to arrange for a study permit.

In addition to the above admission requirements, international students may need:

Requirement Additional information
English Language Proficiency (ELP) Certification If English is not your first language, your BSc or MSc was completed in English more than two years ago or your previous education was not completed in English, you must submit proof of an English Language Proficiency (ELP). For more information on requirements and exemptions, please view the UW ELP requirements.

The GRE and the GRE subject area test in Earth Sciences are not required.