Geography and Environmental Management

Join the movement, meet the moment.

A student in Waterloo's geography degree program sits in a boat in the Arctic while wearing a bright red coat.

Geography and Environmental Management allowed Cassandra to embark on an Arctic adventure. She participated in a comprehensive study of the north, exploring interconnections between the human and physical environment while analyzing the impacts of climate change. Photo credit: Jeff Topham, One Ocean Expeditions

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.

Ranked 4th in Canada for research and reputation (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023), Waterloo's Geography and Environmental Management department is one of Canada's largest. Follow us on Instagram to learn about our 70+ geography courses, including lots of field studies, as well as gaining paid work experience through co-op.

Use the program's flexibility to focus your degree with 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.

Program highlights

Study in Asia or the Canadian Arctic. Gain experience with environmental issues around the world through field studies in the Arctic or in countries such as Nepal or Indonesia.

30+ possible minors. Include additional interests and skills by adding one of more than 30 minors to your degree. Or do a double major. Or add an option. So go ahead: customize your degree to your interests!


What will you learn?

First-year courses

During your first year, you'll take a combination of geography and environmental studies courses.

In your upper years, about half of the classes you'll take will be in geography.

Learn more about the courses you'll take for your Geography and Environmental Management degree.

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one or more of the areas of focus within the program.

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

You can also choose one of the minors available to all Waterloo students.


Get tips from Waterloo students

Join our monthly newsletter for tips such as choosing a university program, life at Waterloo, and finances.

Contact a student ambassador

Ask a Faculty of Environment student about their program, classes, getting involved on campus, and more!


Become a global student

Geography and Environmental Management was the perfect option for Sam to explore her interests in travel, culture, and global issues.

A student wearing a maroon sweater reads a travel guide at a table outside


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Waterloo's co-op program, the largest in North America, is an amazing way to explore potential careers, learn to interview for jobs, graduate with up to two years of valuable experience – and make money!

Sample co-op job titles

  • Aquatic research technician
  • Forester/forest technician
  • Agroclimate analyst
  • GIS technician
  • Habitat data officer
  • Lakewide management support
  • Sustainability projects coordinator

Co-op work-study sequence

Starting in second year, you'll normally alternate between school and work every four months, integrating your classroom learning with real-world experience. You can return to the same employer for a couple of work terms to gain greater knowledge and responsibility or work for different employers to get a broad range of experience.

Year September to December (Fall) January to April (Winter) May to August (Spring)
First Study Study Off
Second Study Co-op Study
Third Co-op Study Co-op
Fourth Study Co-op Study
Fifth Co-op Study -

Your first work term will be halfway through second year (January to April 2026).

Learn more about co-op →


megaphone icon"I really like the small class sizes – and the flexibility to customize your degree with specializations, minors, or another major. Plus the field opportunities in Canada and internationally teach you many different things about geography in real life."Lawrence, fourth-year Geography and Environmental Management student
megaphone icon"I really like the degree of customization available. I was given foundational skills, but also freedom to follow my interests. Through courses, co-op, and clubs, I found connections between ideas that I wouldn't have seen otherwise."Devon, fourth-year Geography and Environmental Management co-op student
megaphone icon"Geography and Environmental Management is great for anyone passionate about earth sciences and world issues. By incorporating a variety of specializations, you can focus on a specific area of geography or combine interests to form a unique degree."Farah, second-year Geography and Environmental Management student
megaphone icon"My geography classes are about the same size as in high school, making them feel tight-knit and easing the transition into university. I made friends through my classes and found an instantaneous support network I've carried with me in my studies."Simon, third-year Geography and Environmental Management student

Admission requirements

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

How to apply

Apply directly to this program on your application.

Not studying in Ontario?

Search our admission requirements.


Connect with us

Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?

Please contact our Faculty of Environment recruitment coordinator who can answer any questions you have.


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