Environmental Science

Get a science degree. Save the planet.

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

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 environmental science programs in Canada (QS World Rankings 2019) — 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.


A student in the environmental science degree program wears chest waders while taking water samples in a pond.

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.

TrophyWaterloo ranks third in Ontario for environmental sciences

Breifcase Available as a co-op and regular program

CapGraduate with a Bachelor of Science degree


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
  • Recommended courses: Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Physics

Admission averages: Low 80s

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


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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
  • One elective

January to April


After first year

You must choose one of three specializations.

  1. Water Science: most classes you'll take will be Biology and Earth Science courses.
  2. Geoscience: most classes you’ll take will be Earth Science with some Biology and Chemistry courses
  3. Ecology: most classes you’ll take will be Biology with some Earth Science courses.

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


blue 3 iconSpecializations available in Ecology, Geoscience, and Water Science

BeakerOffered by the Faculty of Science

ClickApply directly to this program on your application


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

Customize your Environmental Science major

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 expertise to your degree by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus for Environmental Science students include Biology; Earth Sciences; Chemistry; and Environment, Resources, and Sustainability.

You can earn a Diploma in Environmental Assessment and gain knowledge in the environmental assessment process in Canada. This is useful when preparing for a career in consulting or government.

What can you do with an Environmental Science degree?

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.

Recent graduates

  • 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.

Ready to learn more?