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 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.

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.

A student in the geography degree program reads a travel guide at a table outside

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

TrophyTop 5 in Canada for Geography (2019 QS World University Rankings)

BreifCaseAvailable as a regular or co-op program

Graduation CapEarn a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree


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

Complete the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


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First-year 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
  • One elective

January to April

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

ClickApply directly to this program on your application

EnvironmentOffered by the Faculty of Environment

bookAvailable as a major and a minor


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

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
  • Geomatics

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.

Ready to learn more?