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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.


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

RibbonField studies available in Nepal, China, Indonesia, and more


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 geography degree?

Graduates have found a wide variety of careers in GIS, conservation, consulting, government, environmental monitoring, research and education, environmental science, and much more.

  • Conservation Program Supervisor, Brantford Power
  • Planner, GIS Specialist, MMM Group
  • Project Manager, Waste and Wastewater Systems, Regional Municipality of Halton
  • Environmental Assessment Officer, Natural Resources Canada
  • Senior Consultant, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
  • Associate, Climate Change & Sustainability Service, Ernst & Young, LLP
  • Geography Teacher, Thames Valley District School Board
  • Senior Research Analyst, CB Richard Ellis Ltd. 

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

    • Student Analyst-Geographic Information Systems
    • Policy Research Assistant
    • Heritage Programs Assistant
    • Environmental Scientist
    • Cartographic Technologist Assistant
    • Aquatic Research Technician
    • Forester/Forest Technician

    Sample co-op employers

    • City of Toronto
    • Environment Canada
    • Ontario Ministry of Culture
    • MMM Group 
    • Ontario Ministry of Transportation
    • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    • Norfolk County

    Helpful links