Environmental Physics Specialist (HBSc)

Admissions Category: Physical & Environmental Sciences

people on the field using special machine

Program Overview

Environmental Physics is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates the study of physics, geology, geophysics, environmental science, biology, and chemistry to better understand the connections between Earth processes and our environment.
The program provides students with an introduction to the physical sciences, focussing on linking the subject to the evolution of our planet Earth over time. As a result, the program provides an education in a number of Earth Science fields such as geology and geophysics. The Environmental Physics Specialist Program will provide you with hands-on science education and training of a broad range of skills that will prepare you to solve physical, environmental, and geological problems in a wide range of fields.
Additionally, the Environmental Physics Specialist CO-OP option provides students with opportunities to gain real work experience and professional skills in industry, government or in an academic environment. For more information visit the CO-OP website.
The Specialist Program in Environmental Physics has been designed to meet the expectations of the association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (PGO) - the licensing and regulatory body responsible for ensuring that geoscientists have the appropriate qualifications to practice. Students are encouraged to make careful choice of optional/elective courses to meet PGO requirements.
Please visit the PGO Student website for further information on requirements to become a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo) in Ontario.

Complementary Programs:

Specialist in Environmental Geoscience

Check out future career opportunities and skills acquired from completing this program:

Competencies & Skills

  • Apply physical principles to problems and formulate solutions
  • Interpret physical, geologic and environmental data
  • Use observations, samples, and specimens to explore theoretical concepts and conduct research
  • Design, implementation and reporting of research lab and field work
  • Mathematical and computational modelling
  • Critical thinking
  • Statistical reasoning and methods

Careers for Graduates

  • Environmental Geoscientist (PGeo)
  • Environmental Consultant (PGeo)
  • Environmental Planner
  • Hydrologist (PGeo)
  • Groundwater Geologist (PGeo)
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Researcher in Academia or Industry
  • Data Science
  • Policy and Data Analyst in Government

Further Education

  • Geophysics
  • Geology - Earth Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Environmental Technology
  • Environmental Regulations
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Civil Engineering

Program Pathway

Year 1 | Year 2 | Year 3 | Year 4

Year 1
Choose Your Courses Wisely

Complete 4.0 credits from the following:

  • CHMA10H3 and CHMA11H3
  • EESA06H3 
  • MATA23H3 and MATA30H3 
  • MATA36H3 
  • PHYA10H3 and PHYA21H3
  • Explore different kinds of courses; this will also help with fulfilling breadth requirements and electives.
  • Use Degree Explorer and the UTSC Calendar to plan your courses and program.

Develop Your Academic & Research Skills
Apply Theory to Practice
Become an Engaged Citizen (Locally & Globally)
Plan for Your Future Career

Year 2
Choose Your Courses Wisely

Complete 4.5 credits from the following: 

  • EESB15H3 and EESB19H3
  • MATB41H3 and MATB42H3
  • MATB44H3, 
  • PHYB10H3, and PHYB21H3 
  • PHYB54H3 

and 0.5 credit from the following

  • EESB02H3 or EESB03H3
  • EESB04H3 or EESB05H3
  • EESB22H3
  • Use Degree Explorer and meet with your Program Advisor to ensure you are on track with your degree.

Develop Your Academic & Research Skills
Apply Theory to Practice
Become an Engaged Citizen (Locally & Globally)
Plan for Your Future Career
  • Gain experience by applying for a summer, part-time or Work Study position via CLNx (>Jobs & Recruitment).
  • Considering grad school?  Speak to professors and advisors early so you choose the right courses.
  • Explore careers through the AA&CC’s Job Shadowing and In The Field programs.

Year 3
Choose Your Courses Wisely

Complete 4.0 credits from the following: 

Mandatory courses 2.0 credits:

EESB20H3 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
MATC46H3 Differential Equations II
PHYB57H3 Introduction to Scientific Computing
STAB22H3 Statistics I

and 1.5 credits from the following: 

EESB26H3 Introduction to Global Geophysics
EESC22H3 Exploration Geophysics
EESC26H3 Seismology and Seismic Methods
PHYB52H3 Thermal Physics
PHYC11H3 Intermediate Physics Laboratory II
PHYC50H3 Electromagnetic Theory
PHYC54H3 Classical Mechanics

 and 0.5 credit from the following: 

CHMB55H3 Environmental Chemistry
EESC07H3 Groundwater
EESC18H3 Limnology
EESC19H3 Oceanography
EESC20H3 Geochemistry
EESC31H3 Glacial Geology

Develop Your Academic & Research Skills
  • Enter to win the UTSC Library Undergraduate Research Prize or Poster Forum. Enroll in EESC24: Directed Readings in Environmental Science.

Apply Theory to Practice
  • Build on your skills and knowledge through relevant events offered through your department, student groups, DSL and the AA&CC.

Become an Engaged Citizen (Locally & Globally)
  • Consider running for an elected position in EPSA or another campus club.

Plan for Your Future Career

Year 4
Choose Your Courses Wisely

Complete a total of 3.5 credits from the following:

EESC36H3 Petrology
EESC37H3 Structural Geology
EESD21H3 Geophysical and Climate Data Analysis
PHYD37H3 Introduction to Fluid Mechanics
and 1.5 credits from the following:
ASTC25H3 Astrophysics of Planetary Systems
EESC03H3 Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing
EESD02H3 Contaminant Hydrogeology
*EESD09H3 Research Project in Environmental Science
*EESD10Y3 Research Project in Environmental Science
EESD13H3 Environmental Law, Policy and Ethics
EESD33H3 Field Techniques
PHYC14H3 Introduction to Atmospheric Physics
PHYC50H3 Electromagnetic Theory
PHYC54H3 Classical Mechanics
*PHYD01H3 Research Project in Physics and Astrophysics]
*PHYD02Y3 Extended Research Project in Physics and Astrophysics
PHYD26H3 Planetary Geophysics
PHYD38H3 Nonlinear Systems and Chaos
*PHYD72H3 Supervised Reading in Physics and Astrophysics

*no more than 1.0 credit from EESD09H3, EESD10Y3, PHYD01H3, PHYD02Y3 and PHYD72H3 may be counted as fulfilling the program requirements.

Develop Your Academic & Research Skills
  • Apply for the Academic Travel Fund through DSL to conduct research, present at a conference, or engage with the academic community internationally.
  • Enroll in EESD09/EESD10: Research Project in Environmental Science.

Apply Theory to Practice
  • Attend the Summer & Full-time Job Fair in January to meet with potential employers looking to hire students for summer and full-time positions relevant to your field.

Become an Engaged Citizen (Locally & Globally)
  • Participate in the AA&CC’s Partners in Leadership program to learn and network with an alumni mentor about transitioning into the work field or further education.

Plan for Your Future Career
  • Attend the AA&CC’s Get Hired job search conference in April/May.
  • Attend a Jobs for Grads orientation for a job search “crash course” and for access to full-time job listings.
  • Discuss grad school plans early with staff at the AA&CC and your professors; get your Personal Statement reviewed in the AA&CC.


  • AACC - Academic Advising and Career Centre (www.utsc.utoronto.ca/aacc)
  • CCR - Co-Curricular Record (https://clnx.utoronto.ca/ccr/overview.htm)
  • CLNx - Career Co-Curricular Learning Network (https://clnx.utoronto.ca/home.htm)
  • CTL - Centre for Teaching and Learning (https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/ctl)
  • DSL - Department of Student Life (https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/studentlife)
  • EPSA - Environmental and Physical Sciences Students Association (https://www.myepsa.ca)
  • SCSU - Scarborough Campus Students Union (https://www.scsu.ca)


Departmental Contact

Dr. Philip Heron

E-mail: philip.heron@utoronto.ca
Location: EV


Environmental Science Librarian

Sarah Guay

E-mail: sarah.guay@utoronto.ca
Phone: 416-287-7497


Academic Advising & Career Centre

E-mail: aacc.utsc@utoronto.ca
Location: AC213
Phone: 416-287-7561


Department of Student Life

E-mail: studentlife.utsc@utoronto.ca
Location: SL157


Environmental & Physical Sciences Students’ Association (EPSA)

E-mail: president@myepsa.ca
Location: EV264


Environmental Science offers three combined Master’s degree programs: https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/physsci/master-environmental-science-overview