Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences examines the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shape the Earth and its companions in the solar system. Programs in earth sciences provide students with a solid foundation in mathematics and science, along with specialized courses on the physics and chemistry of rocks and minerals, the internal and external processes that have moulded the surface of the planet, and the role of living organisms in geological processes. Note that all ES specialist programs are structured in such a way that they provide the knowledge requirements for professional registration with APGO.


Admission Information

  • Apply to the Physical & Mathematical Sciences admission category on the St. George campus for all programs except Environmental Geosciences, which is under the Life Sciences admission category
  • Six Grade 12 U or M courses, including English and Calculus and Vectors are required
  • For Geology: A senior high school credit in Chemistry is required and Biology and Physics are recommended
  • For Geophysics: Senior high school credits in Chemistry and Physics are required
  • For Geoscience, Environmental Geosciences and Earth and Environmental Systems: Senior high school credits in Chemistry and Physics are required and Biology is recommended
  • Students outside of Ontario should have the equivalent senior high school credits


Honours Bachelor of Science Programs

  • Geology (specialist)
  • Geophysics (specialist)
  • Geoscience (major and minor options)
  • Environmental Geosciences (specialist)
  • Earth and Environmental Systems (major)


First-Year Courses

  • JEG 100H1 - Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences


Advice for First Year

Students who are interested in geology should take JEG 100H1 - Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences, which is a foundation course providing a general overview of the important concepts in geology. In addition, all geology programs require basic sciences, and these can be taken as various combinations of first-year courses in chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics.



Students are encouraged to seek summer employment with geological field parties to supplement field experience gained in course work.

Most provinces, including Ontario, have registration requirements that geologists must fulfill in order to practise as an independent professional. These include several years of work experience under the direction of a registered geologist.

Most professional geologists have further educational qualifications and our programs provide an excellent foundation for entry into advanced degree work.  The professional geologist usually has an advanced degree – MSc or PhD. A high B average is usually a minimum requirement for admission to a graduate program.

An MSc or PhD geologist might find employment in research organizations in industry, government or the academic sector, mineral and petroleum exploration and exploitation, water resources and conservation, or industrial and urban waste disposal. Practical field experience is an asset when applying for industrial jobs.

A geoscience major degree can readily be combined with other fields of study. We encourage our students to think about joint major programs; logical complements are other sciences (chemistry, biology, computer science), and commerce, archaeology, or architecture given the importance of Earth materials and processes in these fields.

Graduates have built a business career by combining their undergraduate geological knowledge of natural resources with graduate degrees in commerce, management or finance (MBA) or in law, and have been sought after by banks and financial companies.

Our alumni most frequently apply their problem
solving and communication skills in these

    •  Research
    • Education
    • Media and Communication
    • Consulting
    • Operations
    • Program and Project Management
    • Engineering and Environmental Consulting
    • Healthcare Services
    • Information Technology
    • Mining
    • Petroleum exploration
    • Finance


    Learn more about the Faculty of Arts & Science by reading our Viewbook


    First Year