Want a career that makes an impact? We’ve got the plan.

Go beyond urban planning and learn to tackle the environmental and social challenges facing the world's urban, rural, and natural areas. Learn how to manage the growth of cities, design efficient transportation systems, protect parks and other natural areas, preserve heritage, and more.

This multidisciplinary program covers everything from economic and legal issues to design skills, land development, and GIS technology. Whether you choose to put your degree to work for government, academia, or the private sector, you'll be ready to create a sustainable future through smart planning. 

Because this is a co-op program, you’ll graduate with 20 months of paid real-world experience. Use your five co-op work terms to explore the many areas within planning so that when you graduate, you have a network of potential employers and you know which career areas you'd like to pursue.

See planning in action

Field trips let you see good — and bad — planning across Southern Ontario. You’ll even have the option of taking a three-week field course at Oxford Brookes University, one of the U.K.'s most highly regarded urban planning schools.

Jump start your career

And because it’s accredited by the Canadian Institute of Planners, you’ll already meet many of the requirements to become a Registered Professional Planner.


Planning at Waterloo

Erin loves Planning at Waterloo. She feels like she’s at home because she’s surrounded by people who share her interests in sustainability and the environment.

#1In Canada for integrating sustainability issues in a planning degree program

BriefcaseGain 20 months of paid work experience through co-op

Graduation CapEarn a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Planning


Planning admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 75% is required)

Admission averages: Low 80s

We recommend completing 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

  • PLAN 100 - The Evolution of Planning
  • PLAN 102 - Professional Communication
  • PLAN 104 - Perspectives on Planning
  • PLAN 105 - Introduction to Planning Analysis
  • ENVS 195 - Introduction to Environmental Studies

January to April

  • PLAN 103 - Planning, Administration, and Finance
  • PLAN 110 - Visual Approaches to Design and Communication
  • ENVS 178 - Environmental Applications of Data Management and Statistics
  • Two electives

After first year

Most of the classes you’ll take will be Planning 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 

PLAN 203 – Transportation Planning and Analysis
PLAN 210 – Urban Planning Design and the Environment
PLAN 320 – Economic Analyses for Regional Planning
PLAN 432 – Health, Environment, and Planning


1 of 2Programs in Ontario recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners

ClickApply directly to the Planning program on your application

EnvironmentOffered by the Faculty of Environment


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

Get relevant experience in urban planning and build a career network before you graduate. 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

  • Planning policy assistant
  • Student planner
  • Planning assistant
  • Junior project manager
  • Coordinator land development
  • Safety research assistant
  • Rail operations co-op student
  • Innovation operations and outreach assistant

Sample co-op employers

  • City of Windsor
  • Town of Kingsville
  • WSP Canada Inc.
  • Regional Municipality of Peel
  • Mattamy Homes
  • Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs
  • City of Kitchener
  • EcoVue Consulting Services Inc.

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the areas of focus in Planning.

  • Decision Support and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Environmental Planning and Management
  • Land Development Planning
  • Urban Design

You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo student, such as Geography and Environmental Management, a popular choice among Planning students.

What can you do with a degree in planning?

Waterloo Planning graduates have been very successful pursuing careers as planners in transportation and transit, land development, and policy for municipalities, conservation groups, as well as in the private sector as consultants, developers, project managers, and more.

Recent graduates

  • Development Planner – Town of Whitby
  • Land Use Planner – Aird & Berlis
  • Senior Urban Designer – FoTenn Consultants 
  • Transportation Planner – Metrolinx
  • Senior Project Planner – WSP
  • Landscape Designer – Fossil Landscapes
  • Community Planner – County of Frontenac

Learn about the future of careers in environment, sustainability, and climate change.

Further education

While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, these are common areas where graduates pursued a master's, PhD, or other professional program.

  • Urban and regional planning
  • Environmental planning
  • Geographic information systems
  • Local economic development
  • Urban design
  • Business (MBA)
  • Architecture
  • Law

Possible professional designation

Ready to learn more?