Get a science degree. Save the planet.
Get a solid grounding in chemistry and biology and still have lots of room to explore environment-related courses in ecology, aquatic ecosystems, geology, hydrology, and more. You’ll learn about climate change, groundwater flow and contamination, environmental impacts of pollution, responsible extraction of Earth resources, waste disposal, and human engineering of Earth processes.
Specialize in Ecology to address ecological sustainability and biodiversity while learning about the fundamental science of life on Earth. Go the Geoscience route and focus on the interactions among the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere as well as the human activities that encompass the complex and dynamic Earth System.
Or choose the Water Science specialization and investigate the unique properties of water; the distribution and movement of fresh and salt water above, on, and within the Earth; and the quality and quantity of water that humans depend upon to survive and thrive on this planet.
Any route you choose, whether you want to gain paid work experience through co-op or not, you’ll be part of one of the top four environmental science programs in Canada (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021) — 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 clubs offered by the WUSA Sustainability 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.
What will you learn?
In your first year, you'll take a mixture of Biology, Earth Sciences, Chemistry, and Mathematics courses to give you the foundations for your upper-year classes.
Learn more about courses you'll take for your Environmental Science degree.
Customize your Environmental Science degree
You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one of the minors or diplomas available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus for Environmental Science students include Biology; Chemistry; and Environment, Resources, and Sustainability.
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Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.
Questions? Ask a student!
Contact a Science student ambassador to learn about their experience.
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
- 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
What can you do with an Environmental Science degree?
Your career path will really depend on your interest. If you're very interested in a specific topic, you might continue on a specialized Master's degree. You can also go directly into your career in fields such as environmental or ecological consulting, industry (such as engineering firms), government research, and not-for-profits. Management of resources, particularly water; policy and legislation; environmental conservation and remediation; and environmental monitoring are some potential career areas.
- 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
Learn about the future of careers in science.
How is Environmental Science different from programs in the Faculty of Environment?
Environmental Science takes an analytical (and science-based) approach to understanding systems and interactions in the environment. Programs in the Faculty of Environment generally focus more on social science and impacts to people and communities. Faculty of Environment programs are ideally suited to policy, decision making, and government whereas Environmental Science often focuses on environmental processes and the impact of human-related activities on the natural environment.
Not sure which is for you? Learn more about each of Waterloo's environmental programs.
Environmental Science 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, Physics
Admission averages: Low 80s
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
How to apply?
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Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?
Please contact Katelyn, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.