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Master's Program

The primary function of our M.Sc. program is to prepare young scientists for independent research, through the formulation of a research problem, the collection of data, development of analytical methods, review of literature, to writing of the final thesis. This process is the principal means by which our students learn the process of research. Learning through independent investigation is supplemented by instruction in a variety of graduate courses that may include both formal lectures and laboratories, and various projects, research papers and seminars. Current graduate degrees include:

  • M.Sc. in Geology
  • M.Sc. in Geology (Planetary Science)
  • M.Sc. in Geology (Environment and Sustainability)
  • M.Sc in Geophysics
  • M.Sc in Geophysics (Planetary Science)
  • M.Sc in Geophysics (Environment and Sustainability)

Graduate students are encouraged to develop a passing knowledge of fields peripheral to their thesis topics by regular attendance at the weekly departmental colloquia, M.Sc. and Ph.D. defence lectures of fellow students, and through participation in the graduate seminar course and informal brownbag seminars.

Program Requirements

Minimum Course Requirements

In addition to completing their research thesis, students in Geology and Geophysics are required to take a minimum number of graduate courses, as follows:

  • Incoming M.Sc. student: Two full-course equivalents (including GL/GP9580)
  • Western M.Sc. upgrading to Ph.D.: Two and a half full-course equivalents (including GL/GP9580 or 9680)
  • Accelerated M.Sc.: Seven half-courses (including GL/GP9580 and the combined field course)

Note: A full course occupies two terms; a half-course usually occupies one term. Most courses offered are half-courses. No student may take both the 9580 and 9680 courses, which are seminar courses.

All students must complete a minimum of 50% of their coursework in their primary discipline, but may supplement their knowledge by taking graduate courses in other areas related to their research to complete their requirements (e.g. Geophysics students can count Physics courses towards their degree with the permission of their supervisor).

The foregoing course requirements are designed to supplement and broaden the student's knowledge base. Nevertheless, a thesis, based on original research, forms the most important part of both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs.

Detailed Course Requirements

  • Students enrolled in the Geology & Environment and Sustainability MSc program are required to take three half-courses in Geology or Geophysics (excluding GE9580), plus Environment and Sustainability 9693 Research Seminar, and Environment and Sustainability 9694 Interdisciplinary Topics course.
  • Students enrolled in the Geophysics and Environment and Sustainability MSc program are required to take three half-courses in Geophysics or Geology (excluding GP9580), plus Environment and Sustainability 9693 Research Seminar and Environment and Sustainability 9694 Interdiscipilinary Topics.
  • Students enrolled in the Planetary Science program are required to take the Planetary Science Seminar course at either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. level (depending on their level of registration) plus one other Planetary Science course, in addition to the base program requirements.

Residence Requirements

M.Sc. students are required to be resident in the Department for one full year.

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