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The Undergraduate Calendar

Department of Geography & Environmental Management

Bachelor of Environmental Studies

Geography & Environmental Management Four-Year Honours (Regular and Co-op)
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‡ ENGL 109 or ENGL 129R must be completed with a grade of 65% or higher. Please see the English Language Proficiency Requirement section for the Faculty of Environment if you fail to meet this requirement.

* Theme courses can be counted towards a specialization.

Year One

GEOG 100 On Becoming a Geographer
GEOG 101 Geography and Human Habitat
GEOG 102 Geography and Our Planetary Environment
GEOG 181 Principles of GIScience
ENVS 178
Introduction to Environmental Research Methods
ENVS 278 Advanced Environmental Research Methods 

One of:
ENGL 109 Introduction to Academic Writing
ENGL 129R Written Academic English

Three Electives (1.5 units)

Year Two

One of:
GEOG 293 Professional and Scholarly Practice in Geography
GEOG 294 Approaches to Research in Physical Geography (Co-op students may take in either 2B or 3A term)

Earth Systems Science* theme, one of:
GEOG 201 Fluvial Geomorphology
GEOG 209 Hydroclimatology

Geomatics* theme, one of:
GEOG 271 Earth from Space Using Remote Sensing
GEOG 281 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Development and Environment* theme, one of:
GEOG 202 Geography of the Global Economy 
GEOG 203 Environment and Development in a Global Perspective

Six Electives (3.0 units)

Year Three

Climate Change* theme, one of:
GEOG 306 Human Dimensions of Natural Hazards
GEOG 309 Physical Climatology
GEOG 356 Resources Management

GEOG 391 Field Research (not required for Co-op)
Eight Electives (4.0 units) or Nine Electives (4.5 units) for Co-op

Students should take courses in one of Earth Systems Science, Geomatics, Development and Environment, or Climate Change specializations.

Year Four

One of:
GEOG 490A/GEOG 490B Honours Thesis (1.5 units) and two other GEOG 400-level courses (1.0 unit)
GEOG 400-level courses (2.5 units)

Five Electives (2.5 units) to fulfill degree requirements (see note 1 below)

Note: Co-op students, see Note 7 below 


  1. Minimum Required Units
    Total: 20.0 units. Geography: 10.0 units. All courses for which 1.0 unit is awarded will count as the equivalent of two courses. Only 2.0 units designated Environmental Studies (ENVS) may be counted as Geography units but all units designated ENVS are included in the cumulative major average (see note 3).
  2. Course Load
    No more than 2.5 units may be taken in a term without the approval of the Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies). Normally, approval for a sixth 0.5 unit will be considered only if the cumulative Geography and Environmental Management average is 78% or higher.
  3. Average Requirements
    Students in the Honours Academic Plans must maintain an overall cumulative average of 65% and a Major cumulative average of 70%. All required courses must be passed.
  4. Materials and Costs
    For some courses, extra fees may be required to cover field expenses/travel costs. Statements on extra costs, where required, will be found with the course descriptions.
  5. Independent Study
    Up to three independent study GEOG 475 courses may be taken.
  6. Honours Co-operative Academic Plan
    Co-op plan requirement details are stated in the Faculty of Environment, Academic Plans, Overview of Co-op Plans section of this Calendar.
    Students are expected to follow the academic/work sequence noted in the Co-operative Education and Career Action section of this calendar.
  7. Enrolment in Honours Geography and Environmental Management Co-op
    Students are admitted to the Co-op Academic Plan in first year based on secondary school grades. Interested students enrolled in first year Regular Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo may be considered for admission to any remaining co-op positions at the end of first year based on university academic performance, an interview, and work experience related to Geography.
    The Honours Geography and Environmental Management Co-op Plan has the same academic requirements as the Honours Regular Plan with the exception that GEOG 391 need not be taken by co-op students.
  8. Transfer Courses
    Transfer students enrolled will be required to complete a minimum of 50% of their course work and half their geography units in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.
  9. Restriction on number of First-Year Courses
    For a Four-Year Honours degree a student must have at least 13.5 units at or above the 200-level.
  10. Double Counting
    A course can be used to satisfy requirements for a maximum of two credentials. Double counting of courses applies as follows: once for the plan and once for a joint honours or concurrent degree, option, minor, diploma, or specialization. There is no limit on the number of courses that may be double counted unless otherwise stated.
  11. Fourth Year Geography Course Restrictions
    Fourth year courses are normally restricted to third and fourth year honours students.   


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