Admission to the master's program in School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Admission Requirements

Application process

Degree Requirements

School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS) offers two options for the Master of Environmental Studies degree: the Thesis Option and the Major Research Paper (MRP) Option.   

Application requirements are the same for both options.

The degree requirements for each of these options are outlined in the table below.

Degree Option

MES Thesis Option

MES Major Research Paper (MRP) Option

Required Courses

Total 3 required courses.

ERS 669 : Research and Design Methods (Winter)

ERS 680: Sustainability Foundations (Fall)

ERS 681: Sustainability Applications (Winter)

Total 3 required courses.

ERS 669: Research and Design Methods (Fall)

ERS 680: Sustainability Foundations (Fall)

ERS 681: Sustainability Applications (Winter)

Elective Courses

Total 1 elective course.

(Must be a graduate course)

Total 3 elective courses.

At least two of the electives must be an ERS course.

Other Required Elements

Milestone

Research Skills Seminar (November)

Milestone

Research Skills Seminar (November)

Defence

Completion and successful defence of a Master’s Thesis.

Completion and acceptance of a Major Research Paper by advisory committee.

Time for Completion

Normally: 5-6 terms full-time

Most full-time students complete their course requirements within their first two terms and are prepared for thesis research in their third term.

Normally: 3-4 terms full-time

Most students complete their course requirements within their first two terms and are prepared to write the research paper in their third term.

Admission requirements

Applicants must possess an honours bachelors degree or its equivalent in some environmentally-related field (broadly defined), with at least a 75% average in the last two years.

Acceptance into the program will depend on academic standing, letters of reference (2), the student's subject area of interest in relation to expertise which can be offered through the Master of Social Ecological Sustainability (MES) program, and the availability of financial assistance if such is needed.  The deadline for submission of an application is normally February 1st of the same year for Fall admission. However, the 2017 application deadline has been extended to March 1st, 2017.  Later applications may be considered if openings remain.                   

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Application process

Before you apply online through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC), please ensure you are eligible by reviewing our admission requirements and deadlines.

If you were educated outside of Canada, please see our international admission guide.

Read our frequently asked questions thoroughly before applying.

Once your application has been forwarded to the University of Waterloo's Graduate Studies Office, you will receive an email explaining how to access Applicant Quest for uploading the remainder of your application.

Applying to a graduate program at Waterloo is a two step process:

  1. Apply online and pay the application fee of $100.00 per program.

  2. Submit your application materials (see the instructions outlining our required documents):

    • Transcripts: from each post secondary institution that you have attended.

    • Supplementary Information Form: complete on Quest outlining:

      • main areas of academic and other expertise, experience and curiosity; and

      • the main area(s) of research that you hope to emphasize in course and thesis work

  • References: two academic references are required, the university will contact them directly by email based on information provided in your application.
  • Resume/curriculum vitæ (CV)

  • English Language Test Scores, if applicable(see Frequently Asked Questions)

  • Permanent Resident/Landed Immigrant card or form (if applicable)

  • Sponsorship letter (if applicable)

Scholarship information can be found at Graduate Studies Office's Online Scholarship Database Search Engine.                         

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Degree requirements

MES Thesis Option:

The program degree requirements for the Thesis option are as follows:

  • Completion of 3 required core courses (ERS 669: Research and Design Methods, ERS 680:Sustainability Foundations;and ERS 681: Sustainability Applications)
  • Completion of one elective course;
  • Maintenance of an academic average of at least 75%;
  • Completion of the Research Skills Seminar Milestone; and
  • Completion and successful defence of a masters thesis.

The minimum period of full-time enrolment in the thesis option is three terms (one year) or its equivalent. Normally degree requirements are to be completed within a maximum of six terms (two years) for full-time study or within 15 terms (five years) for part-time study. Most full-time students complete their course requirements within their first two terms and are prepared for thesis research in their third term. Continuous enrolment is required.

MES Major Research Paper (MRP) Option:

The program degree requirements for the Major Research Paper Option are as follows:

  • Completion of 3 required core courses; (ERS 669: Research and Design Methods, ERS 680: Sustainability Foundations, and ERS 681: Sustainability Applications)
  • Completion of 3 elective courses, at least two of which must be in ERS;
  • Maintenance of an academic average of at least 75%;
  • Completion of the Research Skills Seminar milestone;
  • Acceptance of a major research paper to be evaluated by the student’s advisor and one committee member.

The minimum period of full-time enrolment is three terms (one year) or its equivalent. Normally degree requirements are to be completed within a maximum of four terms. Most full-time students complete their course requirements within their first two terms and are prepared to begin Major Research Paper research in their third term. Continuous enrolment is required.

Questions about the Master's and PhD programs can be directed to Amanda Taves.

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