Earth and Environmental Systems Major (Science Program) - ASMAJ2745

In the Earth and Environmental Systems Major, students use multidisciplinary approaches to studying the large-scale interactions between the Earth and planetary systems over a broad spectrum of time-scales, addressing deep timescales of millions to billions of years as well as processes taking place in today’s and in future worlds. Courses take an integrative approach to understanding interactions between the solid Earth, the biosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere, addressing how these interactions have developed over geological, historical, and recent time periods. Themes of the program include biogeochemistry, paleoclimatology (e.g., drivers of Earth’s natural climate variability), global environmental change, Quaternary science (e.g., understanding the ice ages) and Earth surface processes (e.g., evolution of landforms and sedimentary basins). This program provides broad context over time and space to better understand and provide solutions for the current issues of climate change, resource consumption and global pollution weighing heavily on people and societies. Students are advised to check course prerequisites, to review the clusters of courses listed, and to consult the Earth Sciences Undergraduate Handbook for logical course progressions. For further questions, please contact the Student Affairs Coordinator (Scott Moore, Department of Earth Sciences, 22 Ursula Franklin St. Earth Sciences Center, Room 1062 email:

Keywords: Geoscience, Environment, Geology, Earth Sciences, Earth History, Evolution, Chemistry, Physics, Biology

This is an open enrolment program. A student who has completed 4.0 credits may enrol in the program.

(8.0 credits including at least 2.0 credits at 300+ level with at least 0.5 credit at 400-level.)

1. 2.0 credits of foundation science courses selected from JEG100H1/​ESS102H, BIO120H1/​ BIO130H1, CHM135H1/​CHM139H, CHM136H1/​CHM138H, PHY131H1, PHY132H1, MAT135H1, ENV237H1/​ ENV238H1

2. 3.0 credits of ESS core courses:

  • 1.0 credit at 200 level chosen from the following courses: ESS262H1 (Earth System Processes), ESS224H1 (Intro to Mineralogy and Petrology), ESS241H1 (Geologic Structures and Maps)
  • 1.0 credit at 300 level:
  • 0.5 credit of field courses: ESS410H1 (Field Techniques in Hydrogeochemistry)/ ESS450H1 (Geophysical Field Techniques)/ GGR390H1 (Field Methods)
  • 0.5 credit of capstone courses: ESS461H1 (Paleoenvironmental Studies)/ ESS462H1 (Global Biogeochemical Cycles)/ ESS464H1 (Biological Perspectives on Earth Systems Evolution)

3. 3.0 credits of elective courses:

In addition to the above core courses, you need to take 3.0 credits of electives. This requirement can be satisfied by any of the Earth Sciences Courses listed in categories A to F below. The following clusters of courses are neither mutually exclusive nor meant to limit choice but intended to show logical course complements. These are not POSt requirements; rather the clusters are presented to aid students in course selection according to their interests.

a) Earth Surface Processes

ESS224H1, ESS241H1, ESS245H1/​ ESS345H1, JGA305H1, ESS311H1, ESS331H1, ESS445H1, GGR201H1, GGR205H1, GGR272H1

b) Paleoclimate

ESS245H1/​ ESS345H1, ESS261H1, ESS331H1, ESS361H1, ESS362H1, ESS461H1, ESS464H1, ENV234H1, GGR305H1

c) Biogeochemistry

ESS223H1/​ENV233H, ESS245H1/​ ESS345H1, ESS311H1, ESS312H1, ESS362H1, ESS410H1, ESS462H1

d) Global Environmental Change

ESS245H1/​ ESS345H1, JGA305H1, ESS362H1, ESS462H1, ESS463H1, GGR203H1, GGR314H1, PHY392H1

e) Quaternary Science

ESS224H1, ESS245H1/​ ESS345H1, JGA305H1, ANT314H1, ANT315H1, ANT409H1, ANT419H1, ESS461H1

f) Other Relevant Courses

ESS261H1, ESS321H1, ESS322H1, ESS323H1, ESS450H1, GGR337H1/​ GGR315H1, ENV337H1, JSC301H1, ESS381H1, ESS399Y0, ESS481H1, ESS490H1, ESS491H1/​ ESS492Y1