Think big. Make the world your classroom.
Explore how people shape the planet we live on. Delve into the dynamics of the Earth’s physical systems. Help solve many of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, water scarcity, resource management, global population growth, natural resource sustainability, and more.
Waterloo's Geography and Environmental Management department is one of Canada's largest and is ranked 39 in the world for research and reputation (QS Subject Rankings 2019, Shanghai World Rankings 2020). Choose from more than 70 geography courses, including lots of field studies, and maybe even take the opportunity to gain paid work experience through co-op.
Geography offers the flexibility to focus your degree with a variety of specializations and options or even add another major.
You’ll quickly connect with other students in the Faculty of Environment’s welcoming and close-knit community. And when you graduate, your degree can take you literally anywhere around the globe.
Top 5 in Canada for Geography (2019 QS World University Rankings)
Earn a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
Admission averages: Low 80s
Complete the Admission Information Form once you've applied.
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
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Questions? Ask a student!
Contact an Environment 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.
First-year courses and beyond
September to December
January to April
After first year
About half of the classes you’ll take will be Geography courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.
You'll also have the opportunity to take classes with integrated field course components. Read about Cassandra's Arctic adventure and how she experienced climate change fist hand on our Beyond Ideas website.
View a list of all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
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
- Aquatic research technician
- Forester/forest technician
- Agroclimate analyst
- GIS technician
- Habitat data officer
- Lakewide management support
- Sustainability projects coordinator
Sample co-op employers
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Norfolk County
- The Weather Network
- Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Ontario Power Generation Inc.
Customize your degree
You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one or more of the areas of focus in Geography and Environmental Management.
- Climate Change and Environment
- Earth Systems Science
- Economy and Society
You can also choose one of the minors available to all Waterloo students, such as Tourism.
What can you do with a geography degree?
Graduates often work in conservancy, education, government, business, non-profits, and consulting.
- Conservation Technician – Nature Conservancy of Canada
- Planner, Parks & Recreation – Monteith Brown Planning Consultant
- Geographic Information System Technician – Algonquin Power & Utilities
- Aquatic Specialist – Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions
- Research Associate – Environics Analytics Group
- Junior Environmental Scientist – BluMetric Environmental
- Environmental Planner – Ministry of Transportation, Ontario
Learn about the future of careers in environment, sustainability, and geography
Apply directly to this program on your application
Offered by the Faculty of Environment
Available as a major and a minor
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Department of Geography and Environmental Management website
- Download our program brochure
- Email Graham Barnes, our Environment recruitment coordinator, who can answer any questions about the program
- Related programs
Study in Asia or the U.K.
Gain international experience with environmental issues through field studies in the Arctic or in countries such as Nepal, Indonesia, and the U.K.
Hone your technical skills
Learn remote sensing techniques, produce professional-quality maps, and get your hands dirty during field trips.