Environment co-op programs

Waterloo co-op students at work


Environment and Business

As the links between environment and business grow, there is a demand for individuals with a strong foundation in interdisciplinary environment studies complemented by expertise in core business subjects.

Waterloo’s Environment and Business program is a distinctive interdisciplinary plan that equips graduates with a unique blend of knowledge in environment and business areas, together with a set of flexible problem-solving and decision-making skills.

This program is designed to provide opportunities for students to explore ways in which environment and business could, and should, be integrated. At the end of the program, graduates are well-placed to be at the cutting edge of the development of new ideas in this growing field.

Students gain all the foundations of a business degree – economics, finance, accounting, management and marketing. They also are provided with an environmental education including field ecology, human geography and environmental research techniques.

Students enter Waterloo’s Environment and Business program because they have a strong interest in this area. They are bright, flexible and highly motivated. valuable skills and attributes include:

  • environmental management systems
  • life-cycle assessment
  • design for the environment
  • operation of emissions trading systems
  • understanding of balance sheets and income statements
  • communication skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • time-management skills
  • environmental law
  • environmental auditing
  • marketing

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Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Waterloo’s Environment, Resources and Sustainability program is oriented towards the study of the many complex relationships between humans and the environment. Through a wide array of courses, students learn how to use techniques and ideas from multiple disciplines to solve environmental and resource challenges. Courses include proper waste management strategies, sustainable development, pollution control, environmental protection and global awareness, among many other options.

Although technical skills are taught within specific courses, the program focuses on broad learning to build the adaptability that is critical within this fast-moving field. The program also emphasizes management skills to meet  the need for analysis and communication skills.

The program is designed to provide students with a broad skill-set and the adaptability to solve environmental and resource problems using techniques and ideas from many disciplines: ecology, environmental governance, energy, water, waste management, media and environmental assessment.

The learning environment is student-centred with small classes and one-on-one learning with professors via projects and a thesis – with topics chosen on the basis of student interests and the demands of society.

Students in Waterloo’s Environment, Resources and Sustainability program bring problem-solving skills from different disciplines to meet the way the real world operates. They understand the best strategies to use from both government and private efforts to make society more sustainable.

Valuable skills and attributes include:

  • highly adaptable
  • team player
  • lab and field sampling experience
  • information research abilities
  • critical reading, writing and communication skills
  • analysis and critical thinking skills
  • computer software aptitude and competence
  • mathematics and statistics capabilities
  • time-management skills

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Geography and Environmental Management

Waterloo’s Geography and Environmental Management program emphasizes a multidisciplinary and highly integrated approach to the study of the environment  from a local, regional and global perspective. Students combine natural science, social studies and information technologies to understand the complex interaction of natural and human forces that define landscapes, regions and communities.

The program is wide-ranging and includes the practical application of geographical studies, the role of field work and computer techniques such as model building, geographical information systems and digital remote sensing.

It provides students with considerable freedom to choose supporting electives from many departments  in the university.

The program combines a series of integrated courses concerning the human and natural environment with an emphasis on the development of theory and methodology and on the practical application of geographical concepts.

Courses are offered under the following themes: urbaneconomic and community development, environment resources and economy, information technologies, biophysical systems and local, regional and international systems.

Three specializations are available:

  • Biophysical systems (physical geography): climate,  hydrology, wetlands.
  • Geomatics: geographic information systems, remote sensing, statistics, global positioning systems.
  • Society, Environment and Economy: tourism, resource management, recreation geography, Canada, Japan, Russia, developing nations, sustainable development.

Students have a broad range of intellectual, practical and social abilities, characterized by a variety of transferable skills and attributes including:

  • knowledge of geographic information systems
  • knowledge of remote sensing
  • numeracy and literacy
  • problem-solving skills
  • spatial awareness
  • analytical skills
  • social and environmental awareness
  • teamwork and leadership
  • computer literacy
  • well-developed communication skills

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Geomatics is the fusion of geography and information technology for gathering, analyzing, interpreting, distributing and using geographic information. It is one of Waterloo’s newest programs. Students combine studies in geographic and environmental analysis with computer science courses, which provide the essential tools to develop the more applied aspects of geomatics.

Students in the program gain a wide exposure to essential computer science knowledge and to the applications of GIS, remote sensing and survey and mapping (including GPS). They become stronger practitioners of geomatics, able to go beyond the competent use of existing geomatics tools to develop applications including spatial database, development and management, data dissemination, spatial analysis, decision support and spatial modelling.

Geomatics consists of a number of disciplines, including:

  • geographic information systems (GIS)
  • remote sensing
  • surveying and mapping
  • global positioning systems (GPS)

Students choose from a wide variety of courses. They take 18 geography/geomatics courses and eight computer science courses, together with electives that are chosen from across the university.

Students in Waterloo’s Geomatics program bring a unique combination of strengths in both geography and information technology. They are adaptable and know how to apply knowledge to fast-changing issues and needs.

Other valuable skills and attributes include:

  • project-management skills
  • knowledge of geographic information systems
  • knowledge of remote sensing
  • knowledge of global positioning
  • spatial statistics
  • strong computer skills
  • team player
  • bright and highly motivated

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Waterloo’s School of Planning is located in the Faculty of Environment, which uses an interdisciplinary approach to address a wide range of environmental issues. The ability to draw upon multiple disciplines will be crucial in the forthcoming decades in planning for more sustainable development.

The school enjoys tremendous respect in the profession and is the only school in Canada to offer Planning degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and PhD levels.

The program is designed to produce a complete planner with the knowledge, skills and attitudes for professional practice in a wide variety of private and public sector areas or for further post-graduate study.

Students are trained to anticipate and understand change and to manage the process to ensure a smooth transition. Since change is never-ending, students are taught the importance of adopting a strategy of lifelong learning to maintain a current knowledge base and technical expertise.

Students in Waterloo’s Planning program bring a broad knowledge base across the planning spectrum. They are also adaptable and know how to apply this knowledge to rapidly evolving issues and needs.

Other valuable skills and attributes include:

  • research skills
  • decision-making skills
  • understanding of the Ontario Planning Act
  • computer skills: MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, GIS
  • writing and communication skills
  • able to work independently with minimal supervision
  • knowledge of mapping/cartographic terminology and tools
  • ability to analyze and assess data from various sources
  • ability to organize, plan and prioritize
  • familiar with provincial planning legislation, planning
  • policies and provincial initiatives in land use planning

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