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


*Note: Students considering the Geophysics or Hydrogeology specializations should reference the Undergraduate Calendar as the first-year courses are slightly different.

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


Close up of a Earth Science 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.

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

ClickApply to Physical Sciences, select Earth Sciences as your major

CapEarn 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

book iconAvailable as a major and minor

BeakerOffered through the Faculty of Science

P.GeoMeet 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.

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

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?