Admission Requirements

Applicants for the masters programs should hold an undergraduate honours degree or equivalent, with at least a full B standing. Normally, the undergraduate degree will be in geography, but applicants are welcome from superior students regardless of background. However, applicants must demonstrate that they have the necessary background to pursue graduate work in their field of specialization. We offer four fields of specialization:

  • Environmental and Resource Management,
  • Environmental Science,
  • Geomatics, and
  • Human Geography.

For international students, additional requirements are detailed on the graduate studies website of the student's home university:

Degrees and types of programs

The joint program offers the following degree programs:

  • Master of Arts (MA) — Thesis stream or Research Paper stream; full-time or part-time
  • Master of Environmental Studies (MES) — Thesis stream or Research Paper stream; full-time or part-time
  • Master of Science (MSc) — Thesis stream, normally full-time only

Thesis stream requirements

  • GEOG 700
  • 1 of GEOG 600 / 620/ 640 / 660
  • 2 elective courses
  • Thesis proposal
  • Thesis

Normally, students are required to complete the degree requirements in 6 terms (2 years).

The thesis committee, which must be approved by the graduate officer of the department in which the student is enrolled, consists of a supervisor plus one additional member (or 2 co-supervisors). When the student has completed the thesis, the graduate officer in consultation with the supervisor will approve 2 additional "readers" to participate in the thesis defense. For detailed information on thesis requirements and procedures, please refer to the information provided by your respective university:

For a research thesis, students have two options: a normal, traditional thesis or a manuscript option. Students are advised to consider the normal thesis route. In exceptional circumstances, a student may decide to take the manuscript option. In this case, the student should carefully discuss this option with their supervisor or the graduate officer.

Research Paper Stream Requirements

  • GEOG 700
  • 1 of GEOG 600 / 620/ 640 / 660
  • 2 elective courses
  • Masters Research Paper (MRP)

Normally, students are required to complete the degree requirements in 3 terms (1 year).

Each research-paper student works one-one-one with an approved supervisor. When the student has completed the research paper, the graduate officer in consultation with the supervisor will approve 1 additional "reader" to participate in the paper defense.

A few other considerations

  1. Graduate students are expected to maintain continuous enrolment, and pay fees, throughout their degree programs.
  2. If a student wishes to switch streams, the change normally must receive approval by the Joint Program Committee by the end of the first term after initial registration.
  3. Normally graduate students take most of their courses from those offered of the Waterloo-Laurier Graduate Program in Geography. However, graduate students do have the option of taking, for credit, graduate-level courses in other departments at their home institution. Occasionally, where deemed essential for the student's program of study, a student may receive permission to take, for credit, a graduate course at another institution.
  4. The number of GEOG 675 (selected readings) courses that may be taken for credit is limited: 1 for thesis-stream students and to 2 for research-paper students.

Master of Arts (MA)

  • For those students interested in Human Geography or Environmental and Resource Management or societal applications of Geomatics.
  • Choose research seminar(s) from GEOG 600, 620 and 660.
  • Choose any graduate-level courses that are appropriate for the student's background and focus.

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)

  • For those students interested in Environmental and Resource Management or some aspects of Human Geography or environmental applications of Geomatics.
  • Thesis students choose a research seminar from 600, 640 and 660; research paper streams choose two seminars from 600, 620, 640, 660.
  • Choose graduate-level courses that are appropriate for the student's background and focus. For thesis-stream students, at least 2 electives must be marked with an asterisk (*). For research-paper students, at least 3 electives must be marked with an asterisk (*).

Master of Science (MSc)

  • For those students interested in the science sub-disciplines of geography including Environmental Science (earth surface processes) and the technical and scientific aspects of the field of Geomatics.
  • Successful applicants normally have a BSc degree, and must demonstrate that they have the necessary science background to pursue graduate work in their field of specialization.
  • For students specializing in Environmental Science, choose GEOG 640 for the research seminar; one other Environmental Science course offered by the program; and two other graduate-level courses from among the Environmental Science, Geomatics and other science courses relevant to their programs of study.
  • For students specializing in Geomatics, choose GEOG 600 for the research seminar; one other Geomatics course offered by the program; and two other graduate-level courses from among the Environmental Science, Geomatics and other science courses relevant to their programs of study.