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Course Offerings

Water science today is highly integrative, encompassing the disciplines of atmospheric science, chemistry, physics, biology, physical geography, mathematics, and the social sciences. To tackle the significant challenges associated with escalating demand on water resources due to both rapidly increasing human population and changing climate, it is imperative that the university system offer programs that provide students with a thorough, broad-based understanding of the processes important in interpreting cause and effect.

During the four or five (co-op) academic years at Laurier, students enrolled in Applied Water Science take courses especially designed to provide an integrated overview of specific water-related issues. These courses are taught by a team of professors with expertise in biology, physical geography, chemistry and water policy-related matters.


As an interdisciplinary program, in addition to electives from a variety of departments, students are expected to take many courses from Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Geography and Environmental Studies. See those pages for their current course offerings. Be sure to also check the Applied Water Science program requirements for a recommended schedule.

The following course information is provided for your convenience. Schedules are subject to change and should be checked on LORIS, where location information can also be found (search for "Water Science"). Full, official academic information, including prerequisites and exclusions, can be found on the academic calendars. Students are responsible for checking the appropriate academic calendar.

Applied Water Science classes are held only on the Waterloo campus.

If no faculty member is named, the instructor is to be announced.

WASC101: Global Issues in Water and Environmental Health

This course will introduce students to the water cycle and current water issues. Discussion of issues is global in context and diverse in perspectives touching on both surface and ground waters in relation to human and environmental health and sustainability. Topics covered include water availability, management and control; contamination, sanitation, remediation, droughts and floods; as well as human rights, social development and sustainable resource exploitation. Tutorials will explore these topics in greater depth.

WASC201: Wetland Science

An introduction to swamps, fens, bogs, marshes and wetlands in the context of both natural systems and managed sites.  The understanding of fundamental characteristics, hydrology, ecology, conservation, restoration, and management of systems will be addressed.  Students taking this course will gain an appreciation of the complex nature of these systems which are at the interface of terrestrial and aquatic systems.

WASC301: Water Policy and Legislation

This course focuses on the governance of water resources.  The understanding of how the water sector manages and uses will be developed at local, regional, and national scales using case studies and examples from different jurisdictions. The role of the public and private sectors and the influence of social, political, and economic forces in shaping water resources management will be emphasized.

WASC302: Limnology

An introduction to the study of fresh waters that takes a holistic perspective by integrating biological, chemical, physical, hydrological, and ecology perspectives.  Topics covered include fundamental water chemistry and nutrient dynamics, bathymetry and hydrology as well as biological communities and habitat.  Emphasis will be on these topics in the context of water quality, ecosystem processes and management.

WASC303: Field Methods in Applied Water Science

A methods course to complement WASC302 and designed to provide an introduction to sampling and measurement techniques used in natural aquatic environments.  Theoretical principles underlying sampling and measurement are emphasized.  Topics covered include field safety, standard methods for hydrological and chemical characterization and sampling of aquatic biota.

WASC401: Source Water Protection and Aquatic Risk Assessment

A course focusing on methods for evaluating exposure and assessing impacts to aquatic resources and their application in ensuring source water protection.  Derivation of criteria and tools for setting discharge objectives and remediation targets are discussed in relation to sustainability.  Case studies are used to highlight the role of monitoring programs and the application of science in aquatic protection initiatives.

WASC402: Critical Analysis of Applied Water Science and Environmental Health

A course requiring independent investigation directed at developing and understanding issues and solutions to the health of aquatic systems across the globe.  Activities focus on developing critical analyses to evaluate information across multiple disciplines and applying an integrated ecosystem approach.  The format includes written reports, case-studies, presentations, peer review and discussion/debate.

WASC403: Lab Techniques in Water Science

A laboratory methods course designed to provide practical skills in water and waste water characterization.  Theoretical principles underlying measurement techniques are emphasized.  Both chemical and biological (whole organisms and tissue sample) characterization methods are addressed.