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. Like all of our programs, 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 & 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: 100 students
Join the Conversation on Twitter:
Total: 30 units
- Two of: Environmental Science 1C03, 1G03
- One of: Math 1A03, 1LS3
- Five courses (15 units) from:
Biology 1A03, 1M03;
Chemistry 1A03, 1AA3;
Environmental Science 1C03, 1G03;
Geography 1HA3, 1HB3;
Math 1A03, 1AA3, 1B03, 1LS3, 1LT3;
Medical Physics 1E03;
Physics 1A03, 1AA3, 1C03, 1CC3, 1L03;
Psychology 1F03, 1X03, 1XX3
Electives: 6 units
Note: The unit value of a particular course is indicated by the last digit of the course code (e.g. 1A03 = 3 units).
Students are also responsible to ensure that the necessary prerequisites needed to proceed to Level II are completed in a timely manner.
Students from any Level I Science program can, through careful Level I course selection, pursue any Level II program in:
- Environmental and Earth Science (see below),
- Life Sciences,
- Mathematics & Statistics or
- Physical Sciences.
Honours Bachelor of Science (Hons. B. Sc.) – Four (4) Year Programs
- Honours Biology & Environmental Sciences
- Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences
- Honours Environmental Sciences
- Honours Geography & Environmental Sciences
Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) – Three (3) Year Programs
Earth & Environmental Sciences at McMaster University encompasses five major themes:
1. Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry:
Study of Earth processes and chemical interactions between the solid Earth, living organisms, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere.
2. Earth Sciences:
Study of solid earth, its rocks, land forms, minerals and resources.
3. Environmental Hydrology and Climate:
Study of the Earth’s water supply, movement, balance, quality and interaction with climate processes.
4. Environmental Policy:
Study of how human activities can be managed to prevent, reduce or mitigate harmful environmental impacts.
5. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Analysis:
Statistical study of human activities and their impacts, which relies on geographical information science.
It should be noted that each thematic area has its own sequence of courses and prerequisites. Students may elect to take some or all of the upper level courses from different areas. In addition, there is a set of courses encompassing research design, field work, internships, and the senior thesis or review paper.
Earth and Environmental Sciences is a multi-disciplinary degree that leads to careers in these and many other related fields:
Air and Water Contamination
Natural Disaster Prediction
Water Resource Management
Oil and Mineral Exploration
Environment and Health
Coastal Zone Manager
Geographic Information Specialist
Hazardous Waste Specialist
Pollution Remediation Specialist
Water Resource Specialist
Students in Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences may choose a suite of courses that fulfills the academic requirements for the professional recognition from the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario
The School of Geography & Earth Sciences offers a cooperative education option for Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences, Honours Environmental Sciences and Honours Geography & Environmental Sciences programs. 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, you will further enhance your technical and non-echnical workplace skills, such as teamwork, effective communication and time management.
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. The Rockies, New England, New York, San Francisco, Kentucky, Arizona, Oman, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Mexico, Iceland and more).
- 2 Canada Research Chairs (Centre for Spatial Analysis, Environmental Organic Chemistry)
- 4 Institutes and Centres that include: Centre for Spatial Analysis, McMaster Centre for Climate Change, McMaster Institute of Environmental & Health, McMaster Institute for Transportation & Logistics
- 29 full-time faculty (15 award winning)
- 30:1 ratio (students to instructor) for lab classes
- 9 Research Labs, including: AGE Laboratory, H20 Water Group, Hydrometeorology and Climate Research Lab, McMaster Ecohydrology Research Group, McMaster Research Group for Stable Isotopologues, Subsurface Contaminan Hydrology Research Group, Water Resource and Hydrologic Modeling Lab, Watershed Hydrology Group.
- State-of-the-art undergraduate teaching lab for rock and mineral analysis, soil texture analysis and water analysis
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab
- Lloyd Reed’s Map Collection housed in Mills Library with over 140,000 map sheets
- Stable and radiogenic isotope labs
- Centre For Climate Change
- Facilities off-campus for studying the natural environment includes the Niagara Escarpment, Royal Botanical Gardens and the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority (all within 10 minutes of campus)
- Transmission and scanning electron microscopes with elemental analysis facilities are available and commonly used. School facilites for Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) and thermoluminescence (TL) age-dating techniques have been used in the study of archaeological sites, earthquake recurrence rates, coastal sediments and hominid evolution.
Beyond the facilities highlighted above, the School of Geography & Earth Sciences is well equipped with analytical facilities including mass spectronmeters, X-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption, spectrometers, and gama ray spectrometer.
There are special laboratories for the study of aqueous geochemistry, experimental sedimentology, x-ray diffraction and fluorescence, rock/mineral analysis, radiochemistry, mass spectrometry and fossils.
The School operates a microcomputer laboratory comprising a suite of PC’s with associated printers, plotters and flat-bed scanners. At the undergraduate level specific courses have been developed around the application of software packages to geological problems.
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.