Department of Earth and Environmental Science: Graduate Program


The Department of Earth and Environmental Science offers instruction and research training leading to the M.Sc. degree with two options. One option involves five courses and a thesis. The other option is offered in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Community College - Centre of Geographic Sciences Campus (CoGS), Lawrencetown, N.S., and involves completion of a Diploma in Remote Sensing or a Diploma in Geographic Information Systems, followed by three 3 h courses at Acadia and a thesis. Courses and research supervision in both options are offered in the general areas of igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology, regional tectonics, applied geochemistry, economic geology, sedimentology, Precambrian environmental evolution, Quaternary geology, and environmental Earth science. Candidates normally require at least two full academic years (September to April) plus the intervening summer to complete the M.Sc. requirements. Candidates in the joint M.Sc. program with CoGS will spend the first nine months at the College of Geographic Sciences and are likely to require a subsequent 16 months to complete the M.Sc. requirements.

The M.Sc. (Applied Geomatics) program is also available in Earth Science. See the Graduate Studies website for details. M.Sc. Applied Geomatics

Admission requirements, application procedures, and deadlines

Honours degree or equivalent in Geology. Initial inquiries should be addressed to the Graduate Coordinator, Department of Earth & Environmental Science. Application forms are available from
Research & Graduate Studies, Application form . Completed applications should be sent to Research & Graduate Studies, Acadia University. Applications are reviewed upon receipt. Applications for consideration for possible funding must be received by 1st February.

Applications to the joint M.Sc. program with CoGS must first apply to the diploma program at CoGS: application to Acadia will normally be done during the nine months of study at CoGS.

Further information is available in the Graduate Studies - Home Page

Financial support

Graduate fellowships are currently $9000 for the first eight-month academic year, $8000 for the second year, and summer stipends may also be available from supervisor's research funds. The Earth and Environmental Science department is committed to augmenting all full-time graduate students stipends where possible in their first two years to a level of $1350 a month.

Program requirements

The M.Sc. (Geology) program requires the student to complete 5 (three-hour) courses at an advanced level and a thesis. A typical course involves formal instruction 3 hours per week for one term (13 weeks) plus laboratory exercises. Some courses may be taught in tutorial sessions, or be seminar and/or research oriented. At least two courses must be at the 5000-level, and it is strongly recommended that at least 2 of the additional courses be at the 5000-level or at an enriched 3000 or 4000-level. GEOL 5903, Graduate Seminar, is strongly recommended. Candidates should consult the Undergraduate Calendar for descriptions of advanced undergraduate courses. A thesis proposal must be completed during the student's first year of study, and before the initiation of field work.

The M.Sc. program in conjunction with CoGS involves satisfactory completion of the Diploma in Remote Sensing or the Diploma in Geographic Information Systems at CoGS, followed by 3 advanced level courses and a thesis. At least 2 courses must be at the 5000-level.  GEOL 5903, Graduate Seminar, is strongly recommended. A proposal for a thesis involving applications of remote sensing or GIS to Geology must be completed during the course work period. 

A M.Sc. (Applied Geomatics) program is also available. M.Sc. Applied Geomatics

Research facilities

The Department of Earth and Environmental Science has laboratory facilities and equipment for most of the major fields of these disciplines, including research microscopes, photomicrographic equipment, facilities for sedimentological studies, a computer-based image-analysis laboratory including cathodoluminescence microscopy, and an in-house thin section and polished section preparation centre. A scanning electron microscope with EDS and cathodoluminescence capability and an X-ray diffractometer are available in the Acadia Centre for Microstructural Analysis. Additional equipment including facilities for TOC/TIC analysis, a mercury speciation laboratory, HPLC-ICP-MS for trace metal speciation, CHONS analyzer, UV-VIS and scanning fluorescence spectroscopy, and a nutrient analyzer (total P and N) are available in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre. Other major research facilities, including electron microprobe, X-ray fluorescence, neutron activation, and isotopic analysis equipment are available through cooperation with other universities in the region. Numerous computer systems and software applicable to the remote sensing and GIS programs are available through collaboration with CoGS. 

Contact Information

Department of Earth and Environmental Science,
Huggins Science Hall, 12 University Ave.,
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 2R6, Canada

Telephone +1 902-585-1208
Fax: +1 902-585-1816

Email (department):
Email (graduate coordinator):


List of courses

GEOL 5013 Appalachian Geology

An overview of the geology and tectonic evolution of the Appalachian mountain belt. Emphasis is on Atlantic Canada; however, the entire orogen is covered, and comparison is made with correlative mountain systems in Europe and elsewhere.

GEOL 5303 Advanced Topics in Sedimentology

Advanced studies in sedimentology. Topics may include; carbonate sedimentology and diagenesis, phosphogenesis and phosphorite accumulation, iron formation sedimentology and petrography, sediment lithogeochemistry, and Precambrian oceanography.

GEOL 5433/5443 Advanced Igneous Petrology

Modern approaches to theoretical and practical study of selected igneous rock groups - petrography, geochemistry, magma genesis in relation to tectonic environment, relations to metallogenesis.

GEOL 5533 Advanced Metamorphic Geology

Studies in metamorphic geology, including some of structural-metamorphic geology, chemography, phase relationships of metamorphic rocks, tectonics and metamorphism.

GEOL 5633 Applied Structural Geology

Structural methods used in the analysis of deformed rocks, statistical treatment of data, sections, polydeformation, low to high metamorphic grade terrains, migmatites and gneisses, granite tectonics and fabrics, mylonites.

GEOL 5703 Quaternary Paleoecology

Principles of Quaternary paleoecology and the application of these to actual field problems with special emphasis on Holocene climate change.

GEOL 5713 Quaternary Environments

An advanced treatment of specific topics in Quaternary geoscience with particular emphasis on methods of investigating environmental change.  Topics covered will include methods of paleoclimate reconstruction, advanced dating techniques, records of Holocene climate change, exploration in glaciated terrain.

GEOL 5823 Geochemical Material Transfer

Introduction to the theory of material transfer and its use in interpreting geochemical and mineralogical controls on rock composition, including water-rock and melt-crystal reactions and physical grain fractionation.  Interpretation of results using petrologic hypothesis tests and error propagation.

GEOL 5833 Advanced Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry

Geochemical principles and techniques applied to mineral exploration and environmental geochemistry. Includes theory of dispersion, natural precipitation barriers, solubility, sorption and practical experience in the design and execution of geochemical surveys, analysis of samples and interpretation of results, including statistical evaluation methodologies.

GEOL 5873 Advanced Economic Geology

Studies in economic geology which may include occurrence, nature, geochemistry and genesis of one or more types of mineral deposit, opaque mineral petrography and interpretations of ore mineral textures.

GEOL 5903 Graduate Seminar

Review of current research topics and problems in the Geological Sciences. Instruction on presenting seminars, writing papers and preparing abstracts may be included. Weekly seminars throughout the year.

GEOL 5913/5923/5933 Special Topics in Geology

Review and analysis of selected topics and problems in Geology, utilizing library, field and laboratory methods as required and involving preparation and presentation of formal papers. Specific topics, format, and content of the course will be established for each student by the department.

GEOL 5960 Graduate Thesis

For information on entry into the graduate program please contact the Graduate Advisor by e-mail or at the address below.

Graduate Advisor,
Department of Earth and Environmental Science,
Acadia University,
Wolfville, Canada.
B4P 2R6