Courses for your Earth Sciences degree

First-year courses and beyond* (Geology specialization)

Programs/majors in the Faculty of Science start right in first year. To select your program with confidence, here’s some handy info to get you started.

If you're considering the Geophysics or Hydrogeology specialization, we'll send you details when you select your first-year courses as the courses are slightly different for each specialization. 

September to December

January to April

After first year

Most of the classes you’ll take will be Earth Sciences courses. You must specialize in one of the program's three specializations: Geology, Geophysics, or Hydrogeology.

View a list of all the courses required for your degree.

Sample upper-year courses

EARTH 270 – Disasters and Natural Hazards
EARTH 281 – Geological Impacts on Human Health
EARTH 331 – Volcanology and Igneous Petrology
EARTH 438 – Engineering Geology


Types of courses you'll take

61% Earth, 6% chemistry, 6% math, 6% physics, 6% program electives, 12% free electives, 3% communication

This is a general guideline. The ratio of courses may change slightly from year to year.

Skills you'll develop with this major

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Fieldwork capabilities, including rock sampling and geological mapping

This isn't an exhaustive list – rather a glimpse into the skills an Earth Sciences major can provide.

Your experience will be unique, and the skills you develop will depend on your goals; which courses you take; and your involvement with any clubs, jobs, or research projects.

*This is a sample schedule. Courses may be subject to change depending on availability each term.

Advisors are here to help

With so much flexibility, you might have a lot of questions. We're here to help! If you're applying for admission, contact our Faculty of Science recruitment co-ordinator.

Once you're a Waterloo student, you'll have access to academic advisors who can help you

  • choose your courses,
  • select minors and specializations,
  • ensure that you're meeting the requirements for your degree, and more.

Next steps