Environmental Sciences

Get a science degree. Save the planet.

An Environmental Science student at the University of Waterloo.

Benefit from 20 months of paid co-op work experience and graduate ready for a career as an exploration geoscientist, groundwater specialist, ecologist, consultant, teacher, and more.

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 graduate with the scientific knowledge, creativity, and expertise you need to create a more sustainable world.

Program highlights

Learn from a global leader. Waterloo is ranked #1 in Canada for environmental science and engineering. (Shanghai Ranking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2023)

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?

First-year courses

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 Sciences degree.

Customize your 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 Sciences students include Biology; 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.


Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future.

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.


megaphone icon"I continue to love this program thanks to the variety of hands-on experiences examining specimens in the lab"Evan, Environmental Sciences (co-op) student

Environmental Sciences 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?

Apply to this program directly on your application.

Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact Alisia, our Science recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.

Alisia Mar


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