Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Conserve and protect

A student in the Environment, Resources and Sustainability program and the University of Waterloo.

Use insights from the natural and social sciences to help solve some of the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges — from water scarcity to pollution to loss of biodiversity.

Learn about conserving and restoring ecosystems, and explore issues in environmental governance. And thanks to our small classes, you’ll develop a real sense of community right from first year.

When you graduate, you can apply your knowledge in a growing number of fields, from green technology to ecological consulting to environmental law. And if you want an early start, you can also apply that knowledge to paid co-op work terms.

Program highlights

Get career-relevant skills. Whether you choose the regular or co-op stream, you’ll get plenty of hands-on experience through case studies, field trips, and community projects.

30+ possible minors. In one of the most flexible programs at Waterloo, you can add one of more than 30 minors to your degree. Or do a double major. Or add an option. So go ahead: customize your degree to your interests!


Tackling climate change on an individual level can feel daunting. Where do you start? What could you even do to make a difference? Ashoke, an Environment, Resources, and Sustainability student, is looking to make the fight against climate change feel more attainable by spreading the message that any positive action we each take – big or small – can create change.

What will you learn? 

First-year courses

During your first year, you'll take a mix of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability (ERS) and Environmental Studies courses.

In your upper years, about half of the classes you'll take will be in ERS.

Learn more about the courses you'll take for your ERS degree.

Customize your degree

You can add additional expertise to your degree by choosing one of the minors available to all Waterloo students.

Popular choices include Geography and Environmental Management and Biology. You can also pursue a double major to really focus on two subjects.


Get tips from Waterloo students

Join our monthly newsletter for tips such as choosing a university program, life at Waterloo, and finances.

Contact a student ambassador

Ask a Faculty of Environment student about their program, classes, getting involved on campus, and more!


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

  • Shorebird and waterbird field technician
  • Ecological assistant
  • Food loss & waste data collection
  • Species at risk research student assistant
  • Landfill operations
  • Sport fish technician
  • Research assistant
  • Program coordinator

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"ERS has always felt extremely broad and never focused on one aspect. This has kept me really engaged as I learn something different and unique each day. Professors are always happy to help so make sure to reach out when you need a hand!"Nickie, second-year Environment, Resources and Sustainability student

Admission requirements

Ontario students

  • Six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including any Grade 12 U English (a final grade of 70% is required)

Admission average: Low 80s

Not an Ontario high school student? Search our admission requirements. 

How to apply?

Apply directly to this program on your application.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact our Faculty of Environment recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.


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