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The Undergraduate Calendar

Faculty of Environment

Academic Plans

Overview of Plans, Sub-Plans, Course Enrolment, and Grading
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Degree Requirements Common to all Faculty of Environment Academic Plans


1 Cumulative major average requirement for all co-op plans except for the School of Planning
2 Cumulative major average requirement for the School of Planning co-op plan




Honours Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI) 

Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES)

Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES), Co-op

General (3 year) Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES)

Minimum Academic Units  20.5 20.0 20.0 15.0
Minimum Work Terms
 0 0 4
Minimum Professional Development (PD) Courses  0 0 4 0
Minimum Work-term Reports  0  0  4  0
Minimum Cumulative
Overall Average
 65% 65% 65% 60%
Minimum Cumulative Major Average  75% 70%


English Skills All Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Knowledge Integration candidates must satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement as determined for their program before the end of Year 2.

A maximum of 6.5 first-year units (100-level courses) will be counted towards a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) and Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI), except for Planning which only allows a maximum of 5.0 first-year units. Normally, a lecture course has a unit weight of 0.5. Determination of level and term of study will follow the progression as set out by the University. 

An Undergraduate Officer may approve a maximum of 3.25 academic units per academic term if exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. Students wishing to take 3.5 or more units in a term must file a Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations. Refer to your academic plan section in this Calendar for more information on course load restrictions. 

For other requirements, see the Overview of Co-op Plans or your Department/School section of this Calendar.

International Joint Education Programs

The Faculty of Environment has negotiated agreements with several key universities in China to implement joint education programs at the undergraduate level. These programs involve a 2+2 model whereby students spend their first two years at the Chinese university and the final two years at the University of Waterloo. Degrees are awarded by both Waterloo and the partner Chinese university. Current programs include the Bachelor of Envrionmental Studies (BES) in Geomatics or Geography and Environmental Management with Nanjing University, and the BES in Environment and Business with Nanjing University of Finance and Economics. These programs currently are only available to international students at the specified Chinese universities.

Exchange Agreements

Student exchange agreements between the Faculty of Environment and several institutions worldwide have been approved. These include, but are not limited to, institutions in Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, Scandinavia, Europe, and Asia. Under these arrangements, students can take courses which would be credited towards their degree at Waterloo, and vice versa. For additional information and criteria for eligibility, contact the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, or visit the International Exchanges section of the Faculty website.

Access to Plans and Courses

Practical circumstances, such as significant budget shortfalls or the unavailability of qualified personnel, may result in restrictions in the choices available to students. The University reserves the right to limit access to courses or plans and, at its discretion, to withdraw particular plans, sub-plans, options, minors, or courses altogether. In the event that existing resources make it necessary to limit admission to a plan, sub-plan, option, or minor, the admission process will be based on competition for the spaces available.

Information Pertaining to Courses, Enrolment, and Grades

The Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines section is updated each academic year and provides important academic dates specific to each term. It is important that students refer to this section and speak with their advisor when considering course changes.
  1. Dates are assigned each term that allow students to add and/or drop courses. Typically students have until the tenth day of lectures to add courses and the fifteenth day of lectures to drop courses. If a course is dropped within this time frame, the course will be completely removed from the student's record with a 100% tuition refund.
  2. Courses dropped during the Drop, Penalty 1 period are automatically assigned the grade WD (Withdrew after the drop deadline, no credit granted). No numerical grade is associated with a WD.
  3. Courses dropped during the Drop, Penalty 2 period are automatically assigned the grade WF (Withdrew/Failure, no credit granted). The grade WF is equivalent to 32% and will be calculated into term and cumulative averages.
  4. Students may petition, because of special circumstances, for relief from the consequences of a late drop or withdrawal (see Exams, Petitions and Grievances, and Academic Standing).
The University Grading System is used in the Faculty of Environment.
  1. An instructor-student agreement must be in place before an Incomplete (INC) grade can be assigned. 
  2. An Aegrotat (AEG) grade, credit granted due to illness or extenuating circumstances, may be awarded in extraordinary circumstances or when a prolonged recovery from illness is expected. Students must submit a petition accompanied by official documentation to be considered for an AEG grade. Students are normally required to have successfully completed half the course requirement and demonstrated understanding of the course content to the extent that the instructor is satisfied that the student should receive credit for the course, even though a numerical grade could not be set. 
  3. The grade of In Progress (IP) may be assigned to the first half of what is essentially a year course which is listed as two courses (e.g., GEOG 490A and GEOG 490B). The grade indicates that the course is in progress and that when completed, a final grade will be assigned to both the A and B halves of the course (usually the same grade). When the second or B half of such a course is dropped as the result of a change or withdrawal, a Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations must be filed to have the first or A half dropped. Students have one year to complete a course in which an IP grade has been granted. After one year, the grade will be converted to Failed to Complete (FTC), which equates to a grade of 32%.
  4. Students may request to register for Audit status (AUD) in a course taught on campus if the Faculty of the course allows Audits. No credit is granted for a course in which an AUD grade is awarded. Students interested in an Audit must consult with the course instructor at the beginning of the course to ascertain what conditions are attached to the granting of an AUD by the course instructor. Audits must be approved by the course instructor and the student's academic plan advisor during the two week add period. Failure to satisfy the conditions of an Audit will result in the course receiving a grade of WD.
Additional course information.
  1. On-campus students may take online courses through the Centre for Extended Learning.
  2. Some courses which are listed under separate labels or numbers have overlapping content. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit. These are designated with notes after the course description which would indicate one of the following:
    o the courses are cross-listed;
    o the courses are listed as antirequisite;
    o credit will be granted only for one of a pair of courses; or
    o a course was formerly designated with a different number and/or label.
    Students should consult their academic plan advisor if unsure about eligibility to take a course.
  3. Graduate courses may be counted towards an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Environment. Students must speak with their academic plan advisor to approve enrolment in a graduate course. Normally, graduate courses counted towards an undergraduate degree cannot be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements.

Plan Modifications

Students who intend to add a minor, option, or second major (Joint Honours or Concurrent Degree) to their academic studies must receive approval from the appropriate person in the department of the second major, minor, and/or option, as well as the academic plan advisor for their major plan of study. A Plan Modification or Internal/Faculty Transfer must be completed, signed, and submitted to the home department/school prior to the start of Year Three.

Concurrent Degrees

University of Waterloo students pursuing programs in Faculties other than Environment (ENV) may wish to work concurrently toward a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) or a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI). Following consultation with the Environment academic plan advisor and the academic plan advisor of the home Faculty, the student must successfully complete the following to be awarded the BES or BKI:

  1. All Program-level requirements as approved by the Environment Academic Plan Advisor.
  2. At least 7.5 academic course units (for the Three-Year General degree) or ten academic course units (for the Honours degree) over and above the minimum number of courses required for the first degree in the home Faculty.

In some instances, a Joint Honours program or a minor in an Environment discipline, where possible, may be preferable, in which case the BES would not be granted. Concurrent degrees with Environment and Business, International Development Practice Specialization, or Planning will not be approved.

Students from the Faculty of Environment who wish to pursue the BKI and a BES degree concurrently must meet the requirements as specified in points 1 and 2 above.

Joint Honours Plans

Many Honours plans may be combined within and between Faculties. However, before embarking on a Joint Honours plan, it is highly recommended that students consult with the academic plan advisor of both programs. Students must meet the requirements of both plans as stated in the Calendar, and they should be aware that combining some Honours plans may require more than the normal number of academic terms to complete. Admission to a Joint Honours plan will not be approved prior to Year Two of studies.


Students within the Faculty of Environment may concentrate study in an associated field to the extent that it becomes a Minor (typically 4.0 to 5.0 units). The Faculty of Environment offers several minors, and students may also find minors of interest elsewhere on campus (consult the minor requirements for the applicable plan).


The Faculty of Environment offers a number of options for our students or students can elect to take a recognized University option outside the Faculty of Environment with appropriate Department and Faculty approval.

Counting Courses

There will be no triple counting of any course for any academic credit in the Faculty of Environment. 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.


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