Launch a career that rocks.
With earthquakes, tsunamis, and climate change dominating headlines, demand for graduates who understand the Earth and its resources continues to rise.
Learn all about soil, minerals, water, natural resources, and the atmosphere in Earth Sciences at Waterloo, ranked third in Ontario for Earth and Marine Sciences by QS World University Rankings in 2019.
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.
Earth Sciences 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.
First-year Earth Sciences courses (Geology specialization)
September to December
January to April
- EARTH 122/122L - Introductory Environmental Sciences/Laboratory
- CHEM 123/123L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Laboratory
- MATH 128 - Calculus 2 for the Sciences
- ENGL 193/SPCOM 193 - Communication in the Sciences
- Choose one of:
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
Apply to Physical Sciences, select Earth Sciences as your major
Earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Earth Sciences
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
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
Sample co-op employers
- Trelawney Mining and Exploration
- Environment & Climate Change Canada
- Vale Inco
- Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
- City of Toronto
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Available as a major and minor
Offered through the Faculty of Science
Meet the requirements for the Professional Geoscientist designation
Customize your Bachelor of Science in Honours 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 or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.
What can you do with a degree in Earth Sciences?
Many Earth Science graduates find careers in energy and natural resources, field research, environmental consulting, and more. Graduates can apply to become a certified Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) through the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario.
- Airborne Geophysicist, Firefly Aviation Ltd.
- Groundwater Specialist, BGC Engineering Inc.
- Partner/Hydrogeologist, Palmer Environmental Consulting Group Inc.
- Solutions Advisor, Geosoft Inc.
- Environment Supervisor, Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
- Geologist, Lake Shore Gold
- Hydrogeologist, Morrison Environmental Limited
For more information on potential careers, check out our page on careers in science.
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.
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Department of Earth Sciences website
- Email our Science recruitment team, who can answer any questions about the program
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students
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