Launch a career that rocks
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.
- 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.
- Available as a regular and co-op program
- Available as a major and minor
- Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences
- Offered through the Faculty of Science
What will you learn?
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!
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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
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
What can you do with an earth sciences degree?
Many 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. Learn how to become a geologist or geoscientist.
Read about Carson's experience in Earth Sciences and what he plans to do after graduation.
- 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
Learn about the future of careers in science.
What is the difference between Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences?
Earth Sciences looks at the whole Earth, from the stratosphere down to the deep substrata in the lithosphere. Although you’ll learn about living creatures from mammals to tiny organisms and their relationship to the earth, the focus of Earth Sciences is the abiotic: minerals, rocks, water, and air. An Environmental Sciences degree focuses on the interrelationships between the biotic and abiotic aspects within ecosystems, including human impacts.
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.