Environmental Science

Get a science degree. Save the planet.

Get a solid grounding in science and math and still have lots of room to explore environment-related courses in geography, ecology, microbiology, hydrogeology, and more.

Specialize in Ecology and study the relationship between plants, animals, and their environment. Go the Geoscience route and probe the environmental impact of cities, agriculture, industry, and mining. Or specialize in Water Science and be a part of the global solution to planet-wide water issues.

Either way, you’ll be part of one of the top environmental science programs in Canada (QS rankings 2018) — and graduate with the scientific knowledge, creativity, and expertise you need to create a more sustainable world.

Green your campus

Don’t wait until you graduate to make a difference. Help create a greener environment through activities like the Sustainable Campus Initiative Project.

25+ field courses

Hone your hands-on skills. We offer a ton of upper-year field courses, from hydrogeology on our north campus to marine biology in New Brunswick.


    University of Waterloo Environmental Science students in stream doing water testing.

    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 Environmental Science program

    Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

    ClickApply directly to this program on your application

    CapEarn a Bachelor of Science in Honours Environmental Science

    blue 3 iconSpecializations available in Ecology, Geoscience, and Water Science
    BeakerOffered by the Faculty of Science
    TrophyWaterloo ranks 5th in Canada for environmental science

    Environmental Science admission requirements

    • Ontario students: 6 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, Physics
      • Recommended courses: Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Physics
    • Admission averages: Low 80s

    • An Admission Information Form is recommended.

    • Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.

    Careers in environmental science

    Graduates of the program often pursue careers in environmental conservation, consulting, and geoscience research in the private sector or with government agencies such as Environment Canada.

    Sample careers

    • Environmental Assessment Coordinator, Environment Canada
    • Environmental Scientist, Summit Environmental Consultant Inc
    • Geochemical Analyst, Activation Laboratories Ltd.
    • Project Manager, Peritus Environmental Consultants Inc.
    • Scientific Support Technologist, Environment Canada

    Sample first-year courses (Geoscience specialization)

    September to December

    BIOL 150 - Organismal and Evolutionary Ecology
    EARTH 121/121L - Introductory Earth Sciences/Laboratory
    CHEM 120/120L - Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter/Laboratory
    PHYS 111 - Physics 1
    1 elective

    January to April

    BIOL 165  - Diversity of Life
    EARTH 122/122L - Introductory Environmental Sciences/Laboratory
    CHEM 123/123L - Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics/Laboratory
    MATH 127 - Calculus 1 for the Sciences
    ENGL 193/SPCOM 193 - Communication in the Sciences


    After first year

    You must choose one of three specializations.

    View the courses required for your degree.

    Sample upper-year courses

    EARTH 342 – Geomorphology and GIS Applications
    EARTH 354 – Environmental Toxicology
    BIOL 447 – Environmental Microbiology
    EARTH 458 – Hydrogeology


    Customize your Bachelor of Science in Honours Environmental Science degree

    For any of the specializations, 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

    • Regulatory affairs coordinator
    • Water treatment project assistant
    • Research and development technician
    • Laboratory technician
    • Environmental services and approvals assistant
    • Undergraduate research assistant
    • Science peer tutor

    Sample co-op employers

    • Public Works and Government Services Canada
    • Yale University
    • Hydro One Inc.
    • Environment & Climate Change Canada
    • City of Toronto
    • Toronto District School Board
    • Natural Resources Canada

    Learn more about Environmental Science