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Graduate Studies Calendar 2022-2023 Program Descriptions Geoscience GEOS
Geoscience - GEOS
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Location: Science A Building, Room 229
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1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MSc), thesis-based or course-based

Students in the course-based MSc program are registered during the Fall and Winter terms (September to April) with a regularly scheduled break from May to August.

MSc and PhD programs may be taken on a part-time basis with consent of the Department.

Within the course-based Master of Science degree, an Interdisciplinary Specialization in Reservoir Characterization is offered. See Interdisciplinary Specializations.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Science requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Science

a) Normally, a four-year Bachelor of Science degree or equivalent. An Honours degree in geology or geophysics, or a field related to geophysics, such as physics or mathematics, is preferred.

b) A concise statement outlining the applicant’s research interests and reasons for wishing to attend the University of Calgary.

c) For those students required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 97 (Internet-based test), an IELTS score of 7.0, or a PTE score of 68.

d) Two reference letters.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Normally, a Master of Science degree or equivalent in geoscience or a field related to geoscience, such as physics or mathematics.

b) A concise statement outlining the applicant’s research interests and reasons for wishing to attend the University of Calgary.

c) For those students required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 97 (Internet-based test), an IELTS score of 7.0, or a PTE score of 68.

d) Two reference letters.

3. Application Deadline

Deadlines for submission of complete applications are available on the Future Students website:

Master of Science (course-based):

Master of Science (thesis-based):

Doctor of Philosophy:

4. Advanced Credit

Application for credit should be made to the graduate program at the time of admission, so that the previous work can be taken into account when specifying a student’s program.

The total of advanced credit and transfer credit in course-based Master's programs will generally not exceed either one-third of the program or 12 units, whichever is less.

Advanced credit is not guaranteed and will be determined by the Graduate Program Director or Department Head with consideration of the recommendation of the Interim Supervisor.

Courses for which advanced credit is being sought must be from a recognized institution and not have been used for any degree or diploma accreditation. They must be graded, graduate-level courses, and the graded level of performance must be equivalent to a “B” grade or higher standing at the University of Calgary. Advanced credit is not normally given for courses taken more than five years before admission to the current graduate degree program or for courses taken for the purposes of qualifying for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Science requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Science (course-based)

Completion of a minimum of 27 units of coursework, which must include:

a) Geology 701 or Geophysics 701 (Research Project); and

b) 24 units of elective Geoscience courses (GLGY or GOPH):

  • At least 12 of 24 units must be from 600- or 700-level courses.
  • Up to 12 units of appropriate courses from another department may be substituted for Geoscience electives, subject to program approval.

Master of Science (thesis-based)

Completion of a minimum of 12 units.

Doctor of Philosophy

Completion of a minimum of 12 units in the first year of the program.

Subject to supervisor and Graduate Program Director approval, this requirement may be waived fully or partially, or course exemptions may be granted on the basis of comparable courses taken during a master's program.

Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade)

Students admitted to the Department of Geoscience will not be allowed to request the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for any course that is applicable to their degree; or apply any course awarded a grade of CG towards their graduation requirements.

Students may not choose the CG grade for a course taken extra to load.

The use of the CG grade will not affect students' eligibility for internal awards.

6. Additional Requirements

Master of Science (course-based)
Full-time students are normally expected to provide their own financial support and pay tuition and fees as outlined in the graduate student calendar since the department does not normally offer financial support to course-based Master of Science students.

Part-time students may be working in the field of Geology and/or Geophysics. An industrial supervisor can agree to work with the academic supervisor in the Department to supervise and evaluate the student’s research project.

7. Time Limit

Expected completion time is two years for students in thesis-based master’s degree programs, two years for full-time students in a course-based master’s program, and three or four years for doctoral students. Maximum completion time is four years for students in a thesis-based master’s program, and six years for students in a course-based master’s program and doctoral students.

8. Supervisory Assignments

Upon admission into a thesis-based program, a student is assigned an interim supervisor by the Graduate Program Director, either based on prior communication between the student and a prospective supervisor, or chosen from the research field the student has specified. A permanent supervisor (usually the interim supervisor) is normally appointed within two months. Supervisory committees for doctoral students are selected by consultation between the permanent supervisor and the student.

9. Required Examinations


Doctoral students have a two-hour Field of Study (FOS) oral candidacy examination that must be completed by the twenty-eighth month of the program. The FOS oral examination cannot be attempted until the written thesis research proposal has been passed by the Supervisory Committee.

Questions on the research proposal may be included in the FOS oral candidacy examination. Details of the Department of Geoscience's Doctoral Candidacy Requirements can be found at

Thesis Examination

Master of Science thesis-based and doctoral students have final thesis oral examinations that are open to the public, with a public presentation on the same day.

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Thesis Examinations, the Department requires:

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student's research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

10. Research Proposal Requirements

Master of Science thesis-based students must file a thesis proposal by March 1 of the second session of study for September registrants and July 1 for January registrants. The thesis proposal must not be more than five pages of text long and include an abstract and a list of references cited in the text. The supervisor will assess the proposal in detail.

PhD students will submit a more substantial thesis research proposal within 18 months of registration. The thesis proposal will be judged a pass or fail by the Supervisory Committee. The thesis research proposal must be passed before the FOS oral examination can be scheduled. Details about the thesis research proposal and the Department of Geoscience's Doctoral Candidacy Requirements can be found at

11. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this calendar.

Students applying for scholarships must have complete applications submitted to the Department by January 15.

No financial support will be given to students enrolled in the course-based master’s program.