Environmental & Earth Science

Environmental & Earth Sci OverviewWhy Enviro & Earth Sci at McMasterEnviro & Earth Sci Admission DetailsEnviro & Earth Sci First Year CoursesEnviro & Earth Sci Options Beyond First YearTypical Environmental & Earth Sci TimetableEnviro & Earth Sci Internships & Co-OpsCareers Beyond the Enviro & Earth Sci ProgramEnviro & Earth Sci Program StatisticsEnviro & Earth Sci FacilitiesEnviro & Earth Sci Web Links

  • Overview

    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.

    Why Environmental & Earth Science at McMaster?

    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.

  • Admission Details

    OUAC Application Code: MEE

    Target Enrollment: 100 students

    Admission Average & Requirements


    Web Links


    Homepage: www.science.mcmaster.ca

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  • Careers / Options Beyond This Program

    Earth and Environmental Sciences is a multi-disciplinary degree that leads to careers in these and many other related fields:

    Climate Change
    Air and Water Contamination
    Natural Disaster Prediction
    Environmental Assessment
    Water Resource Management
    Oil and Mineral Exploration
    Environment and Health
    Geochemical Analysis

    Possible roles:

    Agricultural Economist
    Coastal Zone Manager
    Environmental Consultant
    Forestry Technician
    Geographic Information Specialist
    Geospatial Analyst
    GIS Technician
    Hazardous Waste Specialist
    Petroleum Geologist
    Pollution Remediation Specialist
    Technical Editor
    Water Resource Specialist
    Weather Forecaster

    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

  • Co-op / Internship

    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).

    Profiles & Alumni

    Program Statistics

    • 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.

Typical Timetable

Typical Timetable