Geography and Environmental Management

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 program is one of Canada's largest and is ranked among the world's best geography undergraduate programs (QS Rankings 2018). Choose from more than 70 geography courses, including lots of field studies.

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.

Study in Asia or the U.K.

Gain international experience with environmental issues through field studies 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.


A degree in geography offered Aaron exactly what he was looking for in his studies, from hands-on opportunities to working with GIS and remote sensing tools.

About the Geography and Environmental Management program

BreifCase Available as a regular or co-op program

TrophyWaterloo ranks in the top 10 geography programs in Canada

Graduation Cap Earn a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree


ClickApply directly to this program on your application

EnvironmentOffered by the Faculty of Environment

bookAvailable and a major and a minor


Admission requirements

  • Ontario students: 6 Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
    • Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
    • Recommended courses
      • one or more Grade 12 U or M Geography courses
      • any Grade 12 U Mathematics, Earth and Space Science
  • Admission averages: Low 80s
  • An Admission Information Form is recommended
  • Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements

What can you do with a degree in Geography and Environmental Management?

Waterloo Geography and Environmental Management graduates often work in conservancy and consulting. They typically work for consulting companies, government ministries, and conservation organizations.

  • 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

First-year Geography and Environmental Management courses

September to December

GEOG 100 - On Becoming a Geographer
GEOG 101 - Human Geographies: People, Space and Change
GEOG 181 - Designing Effective Maps
ENVS 178 - Environmental Applications of Data Management and Statistics
1 elective

January to April

GEOG 102 - Global Environmental Systems: Processes and Change
ENVS 278 - Applied Statistics for Environmental Research 
One of:
•  ENGL 109 - Introduction to Academic Writing
•  ENGL 129R - Written Academic English
2 electives


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.

View a list of all the courses required for your degree.

Sample upper-year courses

  • GEOG 207 – Climate Change Fundamentals
  • GEOG 303 – Physical Hydrology
  • GEOG 306 – Human Dimensions of Natural Hazards
  • GEOG 361 – Food Systems and Sustainability

Customize your geography degree

Within the Geography and Environmental Management program, you can specialize in

  • Climate Change and Environment
  • Earth Systems Science
  • Economy and Society
  • Geomatics

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor or option 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

    • 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
    • BlackBerry
    • Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • Ontario Power Generation Inc.
    • CLEAResult

    Learn more about Geography and Environmental Management