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Earth Sciences

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 by Maclean's for top environmental science programs in Canada in 2017.

Dig deep with your choice of specialization: Geology, Geophysics, or Hydrogeology.

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.

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 5 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.

 

Student outside using tool to study rocks

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.

About the Earth Sciences program

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

ClickApply to Physical Sciences,
select Earth Sciences as your major

CapEarn a Bachelor of Science in Honours Earth Sciences

TrophyWaterloo ranks in the top 10 for Environmental Science in Canada

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

P.GeoMeet the requirements for the Professional Geoscientist designation
 

Earth Sciences admission requirements

Careers in Earth Sciences

Many Earth Science graduate find careers including 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.

Recent graduates

  • 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

First-year Earth Science courses

September to December

EARTH 121/121L - Introductory Earth Sciences/Laboratory
CHEM 120/120L - Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter/Laboratory
MATH 127 - Calculus 1 for the Sciences
EARTH 123 - Introductory Hydrology
Choose 1 of:
 • PHYS 111/111L - Physics 1/Laboratory or
 • PHYS 121/121L - Mechanics/Laboratory

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
Choose 1 of:
 • PHYS 112/112L Physics 2/Laboratory
 • PHYS 122/122L - Waves, Electricity and Magnetism/Laboratory
Choose 1 of:
 • MATH 106 - Applied Linear Algebra 1
 • MATH 114 - Linear Algebra for Science 

 


*Note: Students considering the Geophysics Specialization must select PHYS 121/121L in the fall and PHYS 122/122L in the winter term.


After first year

Most of the classes you’ll take will be Earth Science courses. You must specialize in one of the program's 3 specializations: Geophysics, Geology, or Hydrogeology.

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

Sample upper-year Earth Sciences courses

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







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 interest and expertise by including a minor/minors as part of your degree.

 

Gain relevant work experience through co-op

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
  • Research Assistant
  • Geologist
  • Student Groundwater Technician
  • Geological Engineering / Geology Co-op Student
  • Environmental Engineering/Geoscientist
  • Environmental Technician

Sample co-op employers

  • University of Waterloo
  • Trelawney Mining and Exploration
  • Environment Canada
  • Vale Inco
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
 

Helpful links