Department of Earth and Environmental Science

The department offers MSc Programs in three areas:

Click on the links above to go to the relevant program.


MSc in Geology


The Department of Earth and Environmental Science offers instruction and research training leading to the M.Sc. degree in Geology, Environmental Science and Applied Geomatics. Normally, the degree requires five courses and a thesis. Students enrolled in the Diploma in Remote Sensing or a Diploma in Geographic Information Systems program at the Nova Scotia Community College - Centre of Geographic Sciences Campus (CoGS), Lawrencetown, N.S., may be eligible to enroll at Acadia with reduced requirements. Courses and research supervision are offered in the general areas of igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology, regional tectonics, applied geochemistry, economic geology, sedimentology, 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 who have completed the Diploma in Remote Sensing or a Diploma in Geographic Information Systems program at CoGS are likely to require 16 months to complete the M.Sc. requirements after receiving the diploma.

Graduate Program in Geology: 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, or to a potential supervisor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. Contact with, and agreement from, a potential supervisor are required prior to submission of your application. Application can be done through Research & Graduate Studies, Application. Completed applications should be sent to Research & Graduate Studies, Acadia University. Applications are reviewed upon receipt of the fully completed form. Applications for consideration for possible funding must be received by 1st February.

Further information is available in the Graduate Studies - Home Page

Financial support

Full graduate fellowships are currently $9000 for the first eight-month academic year, and $9000 for the second eight-month year. Additional support and summer stipends may also be available from a supervisor's research funds. The Earth and Environmental Science department is committed to augmenting all full-time graduate student stipends where possible in their first two years to a level of $1400 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 (12 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 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, normally followed by 3 advanced level courses and a thesis at Acadia. 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.

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, and an in-house thin section and polished section preparation centre. The CFI-funded Paleoenvironmental Research Lab is focused on paleolimnological and limnological research and provides the capability to obtain and analyze soft sediments obtained by gravity, percussion and vibration coring techniques. Limnological equipment includes advanced sounding and sonar technology as well as portable water quality analyses capability. The lab houses energy dispersive and wave dispersive XRF spectrometers, colorimeters, centrifuges and a variety of microscopy equipment. The Center for Analytical Research on the Environment (CARE) in the research wing of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre is aligned with the Department of Earth and Environmental Science and contains laboratory equipment for the analysis of environmental contamination. Equipment includes HPLC-ICP-MS for cation analyses, ETV attachment, ion chromatograph for anion analyses, Shimazdu TOC/TIC carbon analyzer, mercury speciation analysis equipment (Tekran, Brooks Rand, Nippon), Milli-Q Element ultra-pure water system, and a wide range of radiometry, spectrographic, and water quality instruments. It also houses sample processing facilities (ovens, furnaces, autoclaves, balances) and cold/freezer storage. A scanning electron microscope with EDS is available in the Acadia Centre for Microstructural Analysis. Other major research facilities, including electron microprobe and isotopic analysis equipment, are accessible through cooperation with other universities in the region. Computer systems and software applicable to the remote sensing and GIS programs may be 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

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 5900/5903 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 will be held throughout the year. It may be co-taught with GEOM 5900.
GEOL 5900 is prerequisite to GEOL 5903.

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
Acadia University
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
Box 116
Wolfville NS Canada B4P 2R6