Environmental degree programs

Student holding notebook looking into camera while on field trip to Antarctica

Photo courtesy of Jeff Topham, One Ocean Expeditions

Become a leader in the global movement advocating for a greener, more sustainable world.

With one of Canada's first faculties dedicated specifically to the environment, Waterloo has been a leader in sustainability for decades. More than a dozen programs and an equal number of student groups provide a great education and the opportunity to make a hands-on difference.

Programs

Waterloo offers 13 programs relating to the environment. With so many choices, how do you decide?

The first step is to think what you're passionate about. Are you interested in math and science? Perhaps an engineering or Bachelor of Science program is for you. Looking for flexibility and programs that allow you to branch off into several areas of study? Our Bachelor of Environmental Studies degrees may be perfect for you.


Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering) programs

Chemical Engineering

In Chemical Engineering, you'll gain expertise in chemical and biological transformation of matter to create materials and processes for a circular economy, develop zero-emissions technologies, generate green energy, treat wastewater, manufacture sustainable products, contribute to environmental remediation, and more.

Environmental Engineering

Gain the skills needed to design smarter water treatment and distribution, clean contaminated soil, or even prevent E. coli outbreaks in Waterloo's Environmental Engineering degree.

 

Geological Engineering

In Geological Engineering, you'll merge geoscience with innovative design to engineer smart and sustainable solutions for natural hazards, infrastructure design, and natural resource development.

Nanotechnology Engineering

In Nanotechnology Engineering, you'll learn how to increase food production yield, remove pollutants in the environment and waterways, improve sustainability by developing novel recycling techniques, and you'll learn how to create new green energy production and storage devices.

 

Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) programs

Environment and Business

With an Environment and Business degree, you’ll stand out to future employers with your business acumen and understanding of environmental issues.

Environment, Resources and Sustainability

In Environment, Resources and Sustainability, you'll use natural and social sciences to address challenges from food security to ecosystem conservation and restoration.

 

Geography and Aviation

In Geography and Aviation, you'll earn your degree while completing the flight training needed to acquire your commercial pilot licence, including multi-engine and instrument ratings.

Geography and Environmental Management

With a degree in Geography and Environmental Management, you'll learn the advanced technical skills required to help solve many of the most pressing issues of our time, such as the impact of environment on health, water and land resource management, and urban development.

 

Geomatics

In Geomatics, you'll combine computer science with geographic data analysis to devise data-driven solutions to complex problems, like mapping the response time of fire services and fire stations.

International Development

In our International Development program, assist communities by tackling economic inequality, social injustice, and environmental change. In fourth year, work overseas during an eight-month placement.

 

Planning

In our Planning degree, you'll tackle social, environmental, and economic challenges facing cities and rural areas. Manage the sustainable growth of communities, guide residential development, and design efficient transit networks.

 

Bachelor of Science (BSc) programs

Climate and Environmental Change

With our new Climate and Environmental Change degree, you’ll gain deep knowledge of the climate system, the water cycle, ecosystems, and you'll learn what we as individuals can do to respond to the climate crisis.

Earth Sciences

In Earth Sciences, you'll learn about the fascinating world under your feet. Explore geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and hydrogeology through courses, field trips, and labs.

 

Environmental Science

In our Environmental Science degree, you'll explore ecology, biology, chemistry, and geoscience to understand the impact of human and non-human influences on ecosystems, natural resources, and water.

Student with net standing in stream
 

Bachelor of Sustainability and Financial Management

Redefine the bottom line. In our new Sustainability and Financial Management program, you'll learn to incorporate people, profits, and the planet into the bottom line. Use environmental, social, and corporate governance to lead organizations toward a greener world.


Choose from500+ coursesrelating to the environment and sustainability
Make a difference and get experience throughnearly 20 student groups focused on the environment and sustainability

Beyond the classroom

Meet others who share your passion

Become part of a community that's engaged in creating a more sustainable environment. More than a dozen student-run clubs including

  • Alternative Fuels Team
  • Climate Students
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • WUSA Sustainability Project

Experience before you graduate

Gain paid co-op work experience in the environmental field as part of your degree. Co-op students have worked in positions such as

  • Environmental geoscientist
  • Industrial wastewater engineer
  • Species-at-risk research student assistant
 

Research

Waterloo researchers and students are working hard to enhance both the natural and urban environments. Attend events, learn from leading researchers, or even pursue further education with centres such as the

Sustainability at Waterloo

The Sustainability Office works to minimize our environmental footprint, focusing on education, innovative research, community engagement, and a sustainability strategy that aims to imbed sustainable practices into campus culture.

 

Earn your degree from one of Canada's leading universities

3rdin Canada for water resources researchAcademic World Rankings of Universities 2021
Top 5in Canada for geographyQS World University Rankings by Subject 2022
Top 5in Canada for environmental sciencesQS World University Rankings by Subject 2022

Did you know?

Quick facts about Waterloo's environmental initiatives.

  • Home to Canada’s largest Faculty of Environment.
  • Committed to becoming a zero-waste campus by 2035 and carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Designated as a Fair Trade Campus.
  • Waterloo declared a climate emergency in June 2021, recognizing that the impact of climate change pose acute and lasting risks for communities, business, and natural ecosystems.
  • Hosts an annual Eco Summit for the campus community to reflect on sustainability opportunities.
  • Waterloo is the founding institution for Sustainable Development Solutions Canada, part of a global network of universities, colleges, and research centres that promote practical solutions for sustainable development.
  • Nearly 500 professors conduct research that advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 85% of all janitorial cleaning supplies are eco-friendly.
  • 31% of all the food and drinks purchased are local, produced on-site, or third-party certified for sustainability.
  • In June 2021, Waterloo committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our pension and endowment investment portfolios by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving full carbon neutrality by 2040.

Learn more about Waterloo's commitment to creating a better environment on our sustainability website.

The Davis Centre building in the evening with the sun going down.