Launch a career that rocks

Earth Science student hugging a rock.

Learn about the fascinating and complex world under your feet by exploring topics such as geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and hydrogeology.

In its four billion year old history, the Earth has changed – sometimes slowly (such as mountain building) and sometimes with violent and sudden transformations that can be devastating (such as a meteorite impact). In Earth Sciences you'll learn about the make up of our planet, from rocks and soil to water and the effects of climate change. We depend upon resources that come from the Earth, such as minerals, oil, organic materials, gases, and the water we drink. Who finds these hidden and valuable resources? A geoscientist!

Dig deep with your choice of specialization: Geology, Geophysics, or Hydrogeology. And if you're up for it, apply your knowledge through the paid work experiences co-op offers.

When you graduate, you’ll be eligible for a Professional Geoscientist designation — and be ready to develop meaningful environmental protection plans, predict natural disasters, advance health standards for water, and more.

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

P.GeoMeet the requirements for the Professional Geoscientist designation

book iconAvailable as a major and minor


Admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • English (ENG4U) (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Advanced Functions (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Calculus and Vectors (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
  • Two of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Mathematics of Data Management, or Physics (Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and/or Physics are recommended)

Admission averages: Low 80s

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


How to apply

Apply to Physical Sciences and select Earth Sciences as your major.

Close up of a Earth Sciences student using a geology hammer on a rock

In addition to interesting labs and field work, you can also benefit from 20 months of paid co-op work experience and graduate ready for a career as an exploration geologist, groundwater specialist, environmental geochemist, consultant, teacher, and more.

What will you learn?

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.

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.

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.


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Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.

Questions? Ask a student!

Contact a Science student ambassador to learn about their experience.

Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.


megaphone icon"It's a tight-knit program taught by professors who are knowledgeable – and labs and field courses give you hands-on experience. It's the only program where you'll get to know your profs around a campfire on a field course!"Rebecca, Earth Sciences student (specialization in Hydrogeology)

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Earth Sciences

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

ClickApply to Physical Sciences and select Earth Sciences as your major



Ready to learn more?

Get career-relevant skills

Right from your first term, you’ll gain practical experience in our advanced lab facilities. Or take part in research: our professors run projects in 15 countries on five continents.

Meet other geo-geeks

Build bonds outside the lab and lecture hall. The Earth and Environmental Science club (WATROX) regularly organizes field trips, social activities, and other events.