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McGill University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 May 
International :15 Jan 

BSc Earth System Science

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

35482.8 CAD
7227.6 CAD

Application fee

International 104.67 CAD
National 104.67 CAD
Faculty of Science
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)6.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)90
TOEFL-PBT (min)577
SAT (avg)1215
ACT (avg)33

World University Ranking

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About this course

Earth System Science (ESS) concentrates on the linkages between the biological, chemical, physical and human subsystems of the Earth. It focuses on the cycling of energy and matter through the biosphere, the atmosphere, the cryosphere, the hydrosphere and the solid earth, at time scales from days to billions of years. This new, integrated and holistic approach is needed to tackle the complex and challenging global problems facing the Earth today. It draws upon the expertise developed within disciplines such as Ecology, Environment, Geography, Geology, Meteorology and Oceanography.

The McGill program in ESS is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge to address six "Grand Challenges" that are fundamental to our understanding of the way in which the Earth operates. These are: (1)Global biogeochemical cycles; (2) Climate Variability and Change; (3) Land use and land cover change; (4)Energy and resources; (5) Earth hazards, such as volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes; (6) Earth-atmosphere observation, analysis and prediction.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Program requirement:

The Major in Earth System Science (ESYS) is offered jointly by the following departments:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC)
Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPSC)
Geography (GEOG)

Earth System Science (ESYS) views Earth as a single integrated system that provides a unifying context to examine the interrelationships between all components of the Earth system. The approach concentrates on the nature of linkages among the biological, chemical, human, and physical subsystems of the Earth. Earth System Science primarily involves studying the cycling of matter and energy through the atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, exosphere, and hydrosphere. It examines the dynamics and interrelationships among these processes at time scales that range from billions of years to days, and seeks to understand how these interrelationships have changed over time.

Acceptable means to demonstrate English proficiency:

Institutional versions of the tests below are not acceptable. It is your responsibility to ensure official test results are sent to McGill.

When Test of English proficiency is required, results must come directly from the institution/examination board to McGill, and applicants should not attempt to upload the results. 

McGill’s strong preference is to receive results electronically, directly from the issuing organization, when possible.

McGill Certificate of Proficiency in English – Language and Cultureor English for Professional Communication
Certificate awarded.

Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)
Overall band score of 70% or better; individual component scores of 60% or better.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
Certificate of Proficiency awarded with a C or better.

Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
Certificate awarded with a B or better.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) – Academic version
The regular Academic test and the test for UKVI are both accepted.
A band score of 6.5 or better; individual component scores of 6.0 or better.

We will accept paper score reports mailed directly by IELTS, ONLY if the test centre is unable to provide results electronically. 

MELAB (University of Michigan English Language Test)
A minimum mark of 85%.

Pearson Test of English – Academic
Overall score of 65 or better; individual component scores of 60 or better

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

UG program-Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (including Dietetics and Human Nutrition), Architecture, Arts, B.A. & Sc., Education, Engineering, Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Religious Studies, Science, Social Work

Paper-based score (PBT)  -  577

Internet-based composite score (iBT)*  -  90*

(* minimum component score of 21 in each of reading, writing, listening, and speaking)

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Required courses (24 credits)

  • COMP 202 Foundations of Programming 3 Credits 
  • ENVR 201 Society,Environ&Sustainability 3 Credits 
  • ESYS 200 Earth System Processes 3 Credits 
  • ESYS 300 Investigating the Earth System 3 Credits 
  • ESYS 301 Earth System Modelling 3 Credits 
  • ESYS 500 Earth System Applications 3 Credits 
  • MATH 203 Principles of Statistics 1 3 Credits 
  • MATH 222 Calculus 3 3 Credits

Complementary courses (33 credits)

One of the following two courses:

  • ATOC 214 Intro:Physics of the Atmosph 3 Credits
  • ATOC 219 Intro to Atmospheric Chemistry 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years

 One of the following two courses:

  • EPSC 210 Introductory Mineralogy 3 Credits
  • EPSC 220 Principles of Geochemistry 3 Credits

 One of the following two courses:

  • GEOG 306 Raster Geo-Information Science 3 Credits
  • GEOG 308 Principles of Remote Sensing 3 Credits

 One of the following two courses:

  • ENVR 200 The Global Environment 3 Credits
  • GEOG 203 Environmental Systems 3 Credits

 One of the following two courses:

  • BIOL 215 Intro to Ecology and Evolution 3 Credits
  • ENVR 202 The Evolving Earth 3 Credits

 One of the following courses:

  • ANTH 339 Ecological Anthropology 3 Credits
  • GEOG 217 Cities in the Modern World 3 Credits
  • GEOG 221 Environment and Health 3 Credits
  • GEOG 300 Human Ecology in Geography 3 Credits
  • GEOG 310 Development and Livelihoods 3 Credits
  • GEOG 382 Principles Earth Citizenship 3 Credits
  • GEOG 406 Human Dimensions Clim. Change 3 Credits

 15 credits from the following course list, with at least 3 credits from each of subject codes ATOC, EPSC, and GEOG. At least 9 of the 15 credits must be at the 400 level or higher.

Note: Courses at the 300 level or higher in other departments in the Faculties of Science and Engineering may also be used as complementary credits, with the permission of an academic adviser. Please see the list posted on the Departmental web page.

  • ATOC 215 Oceans, Weather and Climate 3 Credits
  • ATOC 309 Weather Radars and Satellites 3 Credits
  • ATOC 315 Thermodynamics and Convection 3 Credits
  • ATOC 512 Atmospheric & Oceanic Dynamics 3 Credits
  • ATOC 513 Waves & Stability 3 Credits
  • ATOC 515 Turbulence in Atmosph&Oceans 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
  • ATOC 519 Advances in Chem of Atmosphere 3 Credits
  • ATOC 521 Cloud Physics 3 Credits
  • ATOC 525 Atmospheric Radiation 3 Credits
  • ATOC 530 Paleoclimate Dynamics 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
  • ATOC 531 Dynamics of Current Climates 3 Credits
  • ATOC 540 Synoptic Meteorology 1 3 Credits
  • ATOC 541 Synoptic Meteorology 2 3 Credits
  • BIOL 308 Ecological Dynamics 3 Credits
  • BIOL 309 Mathematical Models in Biology 3 Credits
  • BIOL 310 Biodiversity and Ecosystems 3 Credits
  • BIOL 432 Limnology 3 Credits
  • BIOL 434 Theoretical Ecology 3 Credits
  • BIOL 441 Biological Oceanography 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
  • BIOL 465 Conservation Biology 3 Credits
  • BIOL 540 Ecology of Species Invasions 3 Credits
  • BIOL 573 Vertebrate Palaeo Field Course 3 Credits
  • BREE 217 Hydrology and Water Resources 3 Credits
  • BREE 319 Engineering Mathematics 3 Credits
  • BREE 509 Hydrologic Systems&Modelling 3 Credits
  • BREE 510 Watershed Systems Management 3 Credits
  • BREE 515 Soil Hydrologic Modelling 3 Credits
  • BREE 533 Water Quality Management 3 Credits
  • ECON 347 Economics of Climate Change 3 Credits
  • ECON 405 Natural Resource Economics 3 Credits
  • EPSC 212 Introductory Petrology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 320 Elementary Earth Physics 3 Credits
  • EPSC 330 Earthquakes & Earth Structure 3 Credits
  • EPSC 331 Field School 2 3 Credits
  • EPSC 334 Invertebrate Paleontology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 340 Earth and Planetary Inference 3 Credits
  • EPSC 341 Field School 3 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
  • EPSC 350 Tectonics 3 Credits
  • EPSC 355 Sedimentary Geology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 423 Igneous Petrology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 425 Sediments to Sequences 3 Credits
  • EPSC 445 Metamorphic Petrology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 452 Mineral Deposits 3 Credits
  • EPSC 519 Isotope Geology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 530 Volcanology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 542 Chemical Oceanography 3 Credits
  • EPSC 549 Hydrogeology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 561 Ore-forming Processes 3 Credits
  • EPSC 567 Advanced Volcanology 3 Credits
  • EPSC 580 Aqueous Geochemistry 3 Credits
  • EPSC 590 Applied Geochemistry Seminar 3 Credits
  • GEOG 272 Earth's Changing Surface 3 Credits
  • GEOG 305 Soils and Environment 3 Credits
  • GEOG 307 Socioecon Applications of GIS 3 Credits
  • GEOG 321 Climatic Environments 3 Credits
  • GEOG 322 Environmental Hydrology 3 Credits
  • GEOG 350 Ecological Biogeography 3 Credits
  • GEOG 351 Quantitative Methods 3 Credits
  • GEOG 372 Running Water Environments 3 Credits
  • GEOG 470 Wetlands 3 Credits
  • GEOG 495 Field Studies-Physical Geog 3 Credits
  • GEOG 499 Subarctic Field Studies 3 Credits
  • GEOG 501 Modellin Environmental Systems 3 Credits
  • GEOG 505 Global Biogeochemistry 3 Credits
  • GEOG 506 Adv Geographic Information Sci 3 Credits
  • GEOG 523 Global Ecosystems and Climate 3 Credits
  • GEOG 530 Global Land & Water Resources 3 Credits
  • GEOG 535 Remote Sensing&Interpretation 3 Credits
  • GEOG 536 Geocryology 3 Credits
  • GEOG 537 Advanced Fluvial Geomorphology 3 Credits
  • GEOG 550 Historical Ecology Techniques 3 Credits
  • MATH 314 Advanced Calculus 3 Credits
  • MATH 315 Ordinary Differential Eqns 3 Credits*
  • MATH 317 Numerical Analysis 3 Credits
  • MATH 319 Intro to Partial Diff Equas 3 Credits
  • MATH 323 Probability 3 Credits
  • MATH 326 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos 3 Credits
  • MATH 423 Regression&Anal of Variance 3 Credits
  • MATH 437 Mathematical Meth in Biology 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
  • MATH 447 Intro. to Stochastic Processes 3 Credits
  • MATH 525 Sampling Theory & Applications 4 Credits
  • NRSC 540 Socio-Cultural Issues in Water 3 CreditsTaught only in alternate years
  • PHYS 331 Topics in Classical Mechanics 3 Credits
  • PHYS 340 Majors Electricity & Magnetism 3 Credits
  • PHYS 342 Majors Electromagnetic Waves 3 Credits
  • PHYS 432 Physics of Fluids 3 Credits

* MATH 315 is a required course for the B.Sc. Honours Earth System Science.


Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Logging in 

Step 2: Completing your application 

Step-by-step guide

Applying Tips
1.Keep track of your Login ID and PIN

  • At the beginning of the application, you will be asked to select a Login ID and PIN.  Keep a record of your ID and PIN as you will need them if you would like to save your application and finish it later.  You can log in and out of your application as many times as you need to before you submit it.  However, once it has been submitted, you will no longer be able to login to make changes.  

2.Provide a valid and reliable email address

  • McGill communicates with applicants by email, so it is very important that you provide a reliable email that you check regularly.

3.Use both your program choices

  • It does not matter what order you use for your program choices (we will review you for both of your choices and you will get a decision for both), but make use of these two choices if you are interested in multiple programs.  If you want to apply to more than two programs, you will need to submit – and pay for – another application.

4.Tell us who can obtain application information on your behalf

  • If you would like a parent, guardian, family member or friend to be able to contact McGill on your behalf and obtain information about your application, you must include their name in the “Disclosure information” section of the application form.  Otherwise, privacy laws prevent us from sharing your application information with anyone other than you and staff from your school.

Step 1-Logging in
The steps below provide information on how to access and log into the online application system.

1.  New student or current student?
2.  Create or enter your login ID

Step 2-Completing your application
This section provides instructions and tips for entering information into the main screens in the application.

  • Enter your biographical information
  • Apply for admission
  • Mature status
  • Program selection
  • Address information
  • Personal information
  • Employment and non-academic activities
  • Disclosure Information
  • Additional Information
  • High school history
  • Quebec college history
  • Education information
  • IB Programs
  • Course history
  • Tests taken
  • Music information form/Music audition form
  • Confirmation
  • Submitting your application
  • Extenuating circumstances
  • Confirmation e-mail
  • Mistakes on your application
  • Credit card not accepted?

Check further details on University website

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