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Accelerated Masters - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Am I eligible?
  • What degree will I graduate with?
  • Course work and progression
  • Financial support and tuition
  • How do I apply?
  • What are your English Language Proficiency requirements?
  • What supporting documentation do you require?

Am I eligible?

Applicants are required to be in their final year or have completed an Honours degree in any discipline (B.A., B.Sc, B.E.Sc., B.E.S., B.M.Sc for example), from an accredited university and achieved a minimum 78% average in the last two years of study. Consideration will be given to applicants additional qualifications and/or exceptional circumstances with averages below the required 78% (but with at least a 70% average). The average is calculated using all course results from the last two full years of study, equating to 10 full courses or 20 half course credits. Applicants in their final year of undergraduate studies may apply with an incomplete transcript. Offers of admission based on incomplete transcripts will be contingent upon the delivery and satisfactory assessment of the final transcript.

What degree will I graduate with?

Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Geology or Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Geophysics.

Course work and progression

The Accelerated Masters in Geology and the Accelerated Masters in Geophysics are one-year degree programs, each of which is to be completed in three terms. The degree is offered on a full-time basis only. Full-time studies commence in September and finish at the end of August of each year. Students in either of the accelerated streams will take seven half-courses over two terms (eight months), followed by an intensive 4-month research project (GL/GP 9590). The selection of courses for each student will be individualized based on interests and career objectives, in consultation with a faculty advisor. Each stream is designed to be completed in one year, minimizing time away from other commitments. Students must successfully complete their research project before their degree is earned.

Courses for the Accelerated Masters include the Graduate Seminar (GL/GP 9580) and the Combined Field Course, generally offered in May of each year, plus five electives chosen by the student in consultation with the department. 

Financial Support and Tuition

Tuition is due at the beginning of each of three terms. Tuition amounts are accessible through the Office of the Registrar. Tuition rates are subject to change each year. Students enrolled in the Accelerated Masters streams are not eligible for financial support through Teaching Assistantships (TA). However, there is financial assistance available for qualified domestic and international students. Please contact the Department directly for information on funding opportunities.

How do I apply?

Graduate school applications must be completed on-line. Access to the on-line application from this site or the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies site will coincide with the commencement of the application period.

In addition to the on-line application, candidates are required to provide supporting documentation. All supporting documentation must be provided before an application is considered complete. Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language by a satisfactory* achievement within the last two years in one of the following:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score is 92, with no individual score below 20 for the internet based version and a minimum of 23 in the speaking component; 213 for the standard electronic version; or 550 for the paper and pencil version, although some programs require a higher minimum score. [Western's TOEFL ID is 0984].
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) of the British Council. The minimum acceptable score is 6.0 out of 9. The IELTS is offered in 6 test centres in the US and 3 in Canada.
  • The Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) of the University of Michigan. Students must have at least 80 on each of the sections and an overall score of at least 85. Arrangements to write MELAB may be made online.
  • The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL Assessment). The minimum acceptable score is 60. The CAEL Assessment is offered in several countries throughout the world as well as Canada.

Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB or CAEL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by the testing agency.

Students whose first language is not English, but have successfully completed at least one full year of study in an English-language university may be exempted. Please contact the department for more information.

Western does not offer conditional admission to students with scores below the published minimum, nor do we offer any English as a Second Language study programs. Any student with scores below the above minimums will not be offered admission under any circumstances.

Supporting Documentation

One official transcript copy from each post-secondary institution attended prior to application. Transcripts from accredited universities within the province of Ontario can be ordered on-line as part of completing the application. All other official transcript copies must be ordered separately by the applicant and mailed directly to the university:

The University of Western Ontario
Department of Earth Sciences
B&G Building, Room 1036
London, ON Canada N6A 5B7
Tel 519 661-3187 (for courier use)

For applicants who have earned their degree(s) from universities outside of Canada, one photocopy of the degree certificate is also required. Please mail to the address given above.

This paragraph applies to those who have attended an institution outside of the province of Ontario, only. Applicants who have attended university in Ontario can order transcripts as part of the on-line application process. In order to be considered official, transcripts must be received by Western in the original sealed university envelope that bears the stamp, seal or signature of the university official issuing the transcript, on the flap of the envelope. Unsealed, resealed and opened transcripts are no longer valid for purposes of application and will not be accepted. Electronic copies, photocopies or facsimiles (faxed copies) of official transcripts are not considered official copies and will not be accepted. Official transcripts should be delivered directly to Western from the university of origin. We strongly recommend that applicants begin the process of procuring official transcripts as early as possible to avoid long delays in the delivery of necessary papers.

If the transcript and degree certificate are not in English, a certified translation (signed and stamped/sealed) must also be included with the original language documents. Please mail to the Department of Earth Sciences at the address given above.

Reference Letters

Three Letters of Reference are required with a minimum of two from academic referees, using the provided Referee Form. (Only one reference is acceptable from work sources.) Referees may opt to provide a letter (on official letterhead) in addition to a completed Referee Form. Referee Forms are automatically provided to referees identified on the on-line application, provided that valid contact information for each referee is included with the application. Completed Referee Forms will be returned by the referee directly to Western. Applicants will be alerted by E-mail if a referee has not provided a response within a designated period of time.

References should be provided by faculty members encountered in classroom settings during the last two years of undergraduate degree studies (or graduate studies if the applicant has earned an advanced degree). We do not recommend procurement of references from Postdoctoral Fellows, Teaching Assistants, or Ph.D students. Applicants returning to studies after a significant period of time may provide employer/supervisor references, in lieu of academic references.

Reference letters returned by post (instead of electronically) must arrive in sealed condition with the signature of the referee over the seal. Unsealed or opened letters will not be accepted. Reference Letters that are not returned by Email shall be addressed to the Department of Earth Sciences at the address given above.

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