Research and Education at the Boundaries

For more than 50 years, UW has been home to one of the top ranked geography departments in Canada. Geography at Waterloo engages in scholarly research and education through the study of physical and human environments from local to global scales. Whether it is finding solutions to the climate emergency, understanding the relationship between economy and society, analyzing change in our physical environment, or developing novel technologies to better map our world, Geography bridges the social sciences (human geography), environmental information technologies (geomatics), and the natural sciences (physical geography) to find sustainable solutions to the problems that face our planet.

We also offer the only Geography and Aviation Bachelors degree in the world that provides professional flight training and develops student understanding of sustainable aviation.

If you are interested in a deep-rooted discipline that offers hands-on training, quantitative and qualitative skills development, and an integrative perspective needed to tackle the toughest contemporary environmental and sustainability challenges, you have come to the right place. The Department of Geography and Environmental Management (GEM) offers undergraduate degrees in:

  • Geography and Environmental Management (B.E.S.)
  • Geomatics (B.E.S.)
  • Climate and Environmental Change (B.Sc.)
  • Geography and Aviation (B.E.S.)

and graduate degrees/diplomas in:

  • Masters of Climate Change degree (M.C.C.)
  • Graduate Diploma in CLimate Risk Management (G.Dip)
  • Masters research degrees (M.E.S., M.A., M.Sc.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

GEM's Research Reputation

THES WRU2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. #6 in Canada for Geography.
QS WUR2021 QS World Rankings. #5 in Canada for Geography.
AWRU2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Top 75 in the World for Geography.

Climate and Env. Change

City CECStarting in Fall 2022

Geography and Env. Mgmt.

Geography and Aviation


  1. Mar. 29, 2023Celebrating outstanding supervisors
    Jonathan Li smiling

    Professors from three faculties honoured for their support and guidance of graduate students

    Dr. Jonathan Li, Dr. John Long and Dr. David McKinnon are the 2022-2023 recipients of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision, an annual distinction bestowed by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association.

  2. Feb. 2, 2023Documentary about snow leopard conservation wins second place in 2023 GRADflix competition

    Taking us on her experience trekking through Western Nepal, Caitlin Laidlaw, a masters’ student in Geography & Environmental Management, answers the question: how do locals who live with snow leopards feel about conservation? Her short documentary is this year’s second place GRADflix competition winner.

  3. Jan. 31, 2023Hands on learning in the Waterloo community
    Photo of GEOG 460 class outside in a sharing circle with tour leaders

    Today's students learn best through experiential learning. Fieldtrips give them the opportunity to touch, feel, and hear what they're learning about in the classroom as well as experience new cultures and practices outside of their own world. Upper-year undergraduate students taking GEOG 460 visited four local community projects to learn about food sustainability in Waterloo Region.

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