Earth System Science


Earth System Science (ESYS) concentrates on the links between the Earth's biological, chemical, physical and human subsystems. It examines the cycling of energy and matter through the biosphere, the atmosphere, the cryosphere, the hydrosphere and the solid Earth.

This integrated and holistic approach is needed to tackle the complex and challenging global problems facing the Earth. It draws upon expertise from disciplines like ecology, environment, geography, geology, meteorology and oceanography.

McGill's ESYS program will equip you with the skills and knowledge to address six "Grand Challenges" fundamental to our understanding of how the Earth operates. These are:

  • Global biogeochemical cycles
  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Land use and land cover change
  • Energy and resources
  • Earth hazards, such as volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes
  • Earth-atmosphere observation, analysis and prediction.

Visit the Earth System Science website for more info, or contact the Program advisor:

Dr. William Minarik
Email: william.minarik [at]


With their solid training in quantitative methods and basic and natural sciences, our students often go on to graduate studies (M.Sc. or Ph.D.) in a variety of disciplines including Earth System Science, Geography, Atmospheric Sciences, Geology, and Oceanography.

However, the systems approach is applicable to a wide range of careers options, and recent graduates of the Earth System Science program have been finding many diverse employment opportunities right after their B.Sc. degree.

Private sector careers include environmental consulting firms that assess environmental impacts and design remediation strategies, re-insurance research groups that assess and manage risk, and product life-Cycle management that seeks to minimize resource use and environmental costs. Some graduates have worked in software development with the aim of fusing science, policy, and economic algorithms to advise farmers on crop choices, or businesses on product inventory and more.

Our graduates also work in government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These organizations serve the public in environmental assessment, climate change mitigation and adaptation, evaluation of natural hazards, assessment and management of natural and energy resources using remote sensing and data analytics.

Ready to apply?

For this program, you'll need to apply to the Faculty of Science in the Physical, Earth, Math & Computer Sciences group.

See the full eligibility information for more information about deadlines and required documents for your application.

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