Launch a career that rocks

A student in the Earth Sciences degree program hugs a big rock while wearing an orange coat.

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.

Program highlights

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.


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?

First-year courses

In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes. After first year, most of your classes will be Earth Sciences courses.

Learn more about courses you'll take for your Earth Sciences degree.

Customize your Earth Sciences degree

With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo. You can also add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one of the minors available to all Waterloo students.


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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.


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

Sample co-op job titles

  • Geophysical data processor
  • Geological research assistant
  • Land resource specialist
  • Earth science museum tour guide
  • Groundwater technician
  • Environmental geoscientist
  • Waste water project assistant

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Study Co-op
Fourth Study Co-op Co-op
Fifth Study Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January to April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →


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)

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

Admission averages: Low 80s

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

How to apply

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

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Alisia, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Alisia Mar


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