Human life and society depend critically on environmental resources we all too often take for granted: air, water, soil and the mineral and organic resources of the earth. With the recent attention to global warming and climate change, there has been a dramatic increase in scientific research and employment opportunities in this area. McMaster’s Faculty of Science is a scholarly community that is dedicated to integrating education and research, and to enhancing learning through hands-on experience. Environmental & Earth Sciences programs offer problem-based and inquiry learning experiences that will challenge you to think independently and to apply the knowledge you gain. You will graduate with a broad understanding of scientific methods, a solid grounding in environmental and earth sciences, and general intellectual skills relevant to careers in science and elsewhere.
Two particular strengths in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences are the development of interdisciplinary research programs that integrate the earth and environmental sciences with human geography and the use of spatial analysis to investigate the geographical relationships between the environment and society.
Other distinguishing features of the undergraduate experience within this program are:
- Small class size
- Award winning faculty
- Innovative teaching methodology
- Engaging students through hands-on learning
- Many opportunities for field-based learning
- Active undergraduate student society
The school of Geography and Earth Sciences offers courses which allow students to fulfill the academic requirements to become a Professional Geoscientist through the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO).
The Minor in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) program fulfills the academic requirements to become a certified GIS Professional (GISP) through the GIS Certification Institute.
OUAC Application Code: MEE
Target Enrollment: 50 students
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Please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar for the most up-to-date information about recommended first year courses for Environmental and Earth Sciences I.
Before selecting Level I courses, it is very important that students carefully review the admission requirements for each of the Level II programs they are considering. At the end of first year, students apply to a maximum of four Level II Honours programs, and are offered admission to the highest ranked program for which they qualify.
Beyond First Year
Students from any Level I Science program can (through careful Level I course selection) pursue any Level II program in:
- Environmental and Earth Sciences (see below)
- Life Sciences
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Physical Sciences
Students who complete Environmental and Earth Sciences I often pursue the following programs:
Honours Bachelor of Science (Hons. B. Sc.) Programs
- Honours Earth and Environmental Sciences*
- Honours Environmental Sciences*
- Honours Geography and Environmental Sciences*
*Co-op programs are available, beginning in Level III
Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) Programs
- Environmental Sciences
- Minor in Earth Sciences
- Minor in Environmental Sciences
- Minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Minor in Geography
- Minor in Geography and Earth Sciences
For additional information about these programs please visit the Undergraduate Calendar.
For information about the types of careers graduates from McMaster Science can pursue, assistance with cover letter and resume writing, mock interviews and much more, please visit the Science Career and Cooperative Education Office website.
Cooperative education extends the undergraduate program to five years, and is a great way to gain practical experience and develop a professional network. In addition, during the four, 4-month work terms, students will further enhance technical and non-technical workplace skills, such as teamwork, effective communication and time management. Students apply to co-op programs in Level II and, if admitted, enter the co-op program in Level III. Admission is based on academic achievement and an interview. Students in co-op programs typically work in government, academic, hospital and industry settings.
For further information about Cooperative Education see HERE or visit by the Science Career and Cooperative Education office in BSB 127.
Experiential Education (EE) provides opportunities for students to gain academically relevant experience in a community, research or professional setting. This combination of academic and real world learning helps students to further develop the necessary qualities and skills that will be transferrable to future career paths. EE courses could be either an Applied Placement Course (SCIENCE 3EP3) or a Research Practicum Course (SCIENCE 3RP3).
Students are able to combine employment placements in the environmental industry (e.g. environmental sampling and monitoring, pollution prevention, environmental consulting, etc.) or field/lab work with university researchers, to an academic component.
The School also offers field courses which give students the opportunity to combine classroom knowledge and hands-on experience. These courses are conducted locally (e.g. Niagara, Sudbury) or abroad (e.g. Bahamas, Iceland).
For more information about Experiential Education – please visit the Science Career & Cooperative Education office FAQ page HERE.
The School of Geography & Earth Sciences is amongst the most advanced in Canada in terms of its experience in training candidates for advanced degrees.
The facilities include; analytic and experimental laboratories for climatology, and geomorphology; a geographic information system laboratory; and a comprehensive map collection.
The School of Geography & Earth Sciences is well equipped with analytical facilities including mass spectrometers, X-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption, spectrometers, and gamma ray spectrometer. Transmission and scanning electron microscopes with elemental analysis facilities are available and commonly used.
School facilities for Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) have been used in the study of archaeological sites, earthquake recurrence rates, coastal sediments and hominid evolution. There are laboratories for the study of aqueous geochemistry, experimental sedimentology, x-ray diffraction and fluorescence, rock/mineral analysis, radiochemistry, mass spectrometry and fossils.
The School maintains a suite of geophysical equipment for the acquisition of magnetic, gravity and IP/Resistivity data. In addition, an industry standard computing system is used for the imaging of geophysical and remote sensing information and interpretive modeling of potential field data.
The Geographic Information Systems Laboratory consists of two labs, each lab consists of 25 Windows 7 x64 clients with 8GB of RAM and upgraded video cards for 3D Visualization. All systems are connected to Windows 2003 R2 Server. Storage space is available on this server for students and researchers using the facility on a cost- recovery basis. The lab also contains 12 digitizing tablets, a digitizing table, 24 eTrex Legend GPS Units, 12 SXPad Mobile devices with ArcPAD 10 installed and 4 SXBLUE GNSS units for submeter accuracy, 5 Thales MobileMapper CE units, and there is access to an HP DesignJet plotter.