Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)

Overview

The Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC, one of the largest geoscience groups in Canada is composed of over 40 full-time faculty, a staff complement of 30, a total of 40 research associates and postdoctoral fellows. Students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program normally possess a master's degree in an area of science or applied science, with clear evidence of research ability or potential. Courses in geology and related fields will be selected in consultation with the student's supervisory committee. All doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination. The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research dissertation meeting the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements.

What makes the program unique?

UBC and the Province of British Columbia offer exceptional opportunity for combined field and laboratory research. The Canadian Cordillera offers research opportunities in:

  • petrology of intrusive and volcanic rocks of many kinds, and of metamorphic rocks of all grades
  • structural studies of complex metamorphic terrains exposed in three dimensions
  • metalliferous deposits of varied genetic types
  • mineral exploration methods; mineralogy associated with many different environments
  • complexly folded and faulted successions of bedded rocks in the mountain belts and plateaus, and in virtually undisturbed coal- and gas-bearing strata of the north-eastern province
  • numerous problems of engineering, environmental geology-related to water, slope stability, natural geological hazards, and hydrogeology (lakes, fjords, deltas, tidal flats, continental shelf, and oceanic depths provide a wide range of aquatic environments for students interested in sedimentology, geochemistry, biostratigraphy, and geological oceanography)

Numerous research units in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences maintain excellent provisions for research and study in a wide range of geological sciences.

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Science
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Geological Sciences
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Science

Program Enquiries

If you have reviewed the information on this program page and understand the requirements for this program, you may send an enquiry

Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. 

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

100
22
22
22
23
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
7.0

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Research Information

Research Facilities

In 2012 the new Earth Sciences Building was completed. The $75 million facility was designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines.

Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.

Career Outcomes

35 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 2 graduates are seeking employment; for 4 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 29 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
Western Michigan University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
University of British Columbia
Monash University
Hawaii Pacific University
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Carleton University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Dauber Creek Contracting Ltd.
Government of Yukon
Empresa Minera Los Quenuales, a subsidiary of Glencore International AG
Joggins Fossil Institute
SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute
Atlius Minerals Corp.
Mineral Services
Dr. von Moos AG Geotechnical Office
Barrick Gold Exploration
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Geologist (2)
Research Scientist
Senior Project Geologist
Senior Staff Geologist
Internal Controls Administrator
Volcanologist
Gemmologist
Technical Advisor in Geology
Senior Geochemist North America
Senior Geoscientist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20182017201620152014
Applications917131823
Offers35227
New registrations34226
Total enrolment2832303131

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 72.22% based on 18 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 10 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 6.20 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 March 2019]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Tuesday, 4 February 2020 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Guillaume Lesage
Distribution of District-Scale Hydrothermal Alteration, Vein Orientations and White Mica Compositions in the Highland Valley Copper District, British Columbia, Canada: Implications for the Evolution of Porphyry Cu-Mo Systems

Thursday, 27 February 2020 - 4:00pm - Room 200

Rhylan Sean McMillan
Micro-Analytical Geochemical and Spectroscopic Investigations of the Original Context and Condition of Archaeological Biominerals and Mineraloids

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Ameli, Ali (Groundwater Ecohydrology, Hydro-geological Engineering, Watershed Management, Applied Hydro-geochemistry, Environmental Tracer, Groundwater-Surfacewater & land Interaction, Green Infrastructure)
  • Beckie, Roger ( Ground hydrology, geotechnical engineering)
  • Bustin, Robert Marc (Unconventional Petroleum Reservoirs)
  • Crowe, Sean (Geobiology, biogeochemistry, microbial evolution)
  • Dipple, Gregory (carbon sequestration, geologic fluid flow, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions )
  • Eberhardt, Erik (landslides, rockslides, tunnelling, mining, rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, Rock Mechanics & Rock Engineering)
  • Groat, Lee (geology, mineralogy, minerals, crystallography, gems, pegmatite, rare elements, rare earth elements, carbonatites, Mineralogy, crystal chemistry and mineral physics, granitic pegmatites, environmental mineralogy, and the mineralogy of gemstones)
  • Hart, Craig (mineral exploration, gold deposits, copper, exploration methods, global resources, Yukon, China, Mongolia, Alaska, Ring of Fire, tectonics, magma, mineral deposits, ore, assay, , Economic Geology, Exploration Targeting and Regional Metallogeny)
  • Hickey, Kenneth (understand the processes involved in the genesis of mineral deposits from a multidisciplinary perspective; Post-mineralization weathering, denudation and subsequent burial of Carlin-type Au-mineralization at the Cortez Hills deposit: Implications for finding Au-deposits in bedrock under cover.)
  • Jellinek, Mark (Volcanology, Geodynamics, Planetary Science, Geological Fluid Mechanics)
  • Johnson, Mark (Ecohydrology, Carbon cycle, Land use, Water and Sustainability, Biogeochemistry, Data Science)
  • Kennedy, Lori (Geological science, structural geology, development of large-scale fault systems and shear zones, displacements, fluid-rock interactions, strain localization, confining pressure)
  • Kopylova, Maya (diamond ore deposits, Diamond exploration, petrology and volcanology)
  • Mayer, Ulrich (hydrogeology, low-temperature geochemistry, groundwater contamination, groundwater remediation, mine waste management)
  • Peacock, Simon (understanding the thermal, petrologic, and seismological structure of subduction zones )
  • Russell, Kelly (volcanology, rheology, geochemical thermodynamics)
  • Scoates, James Stewart (Origin and evolution of silicate magmas and mineralization potential; Applications of geochemistry and isotopic geochemistry to problems in petrology and mineral deposit geology; Physical volcanology and geochemical evolution of Large Igneous Provinces; Origin of igneous layering and the development of layered igneous intrusions; Petrologic, geochemical, isotopic, and geochronological aspects of Proterozoic anorthosite plutonic suites; Origin of magmatic Fe-Ti oxide, Cr, Ni, and PGE deposits)
  • Smit, Matthijs (1) timing and duration of)
  • Weis, Dominique (Earth Sciences, Geochemistry, Oceanic islands and mantle plumes, Environmental geochemistry, High-precision/sensitivity geochemical analyses, Indigenous Studies)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Emily Don Scribner
    "Dr. Scribner demonstrated the effect of contamination on the mineralogy of the Rau pegmatite group. Her research provides strong evidence that contamination has a more prominent influence on the chemical signature of pegmatites than previously recognized. She also developed a validated assessment to measure learning gains in mineralogy courses." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Kohen Witt Bauer
    "Dr. Bauer studied the geochemistry of chromium and iron in modern and ancient rock and sediments. He created new knowledge about the implementation of these two transition metals as paleoredox proxies that will allow for more nuanced reconstructions of the complex history of oxygen in Earth's surface environments." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Silja Verena Hund
    "Dr. Hund investigated the impacts of climate change and population growth on water supplies in the seasonally-dry tropics. She monitored streams and groundwater, modelled future climate scenarios, and worked with communities to develop novel tools to support adaptation to drought." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Philippe Maxime Belley
    "Dr. Belley studied how the gemstones sapphire, spinel, and lapis lazuli formed on Baffin Island. He identified key metamorphic and geochemical factors that lead to gemstone genesis, and their relation to large-scale geologic processes. His findings contribute to our understanding of gem deposits and informs exploration strategies." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Jamie Alistair Cutts
    "Dr. Cutts used novel radiometric dating methods to study the dynamics of Himalayan-style mountain building and the role of the mantle in preserving Earth's oldest crust. His results provide key insight and predictions into the uniformity of continental collision through time and on the feedbacks and interactions between the crust and mantle and the other Earth systems." (May 2019)

Sample Thesis Submissions

 
 
 

Supervisor Search

 

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