Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
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.
In 2012 the new Earth Sciences Building was completed. The $75 million facility was designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date01 October 2019
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.
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 EducationWestern Michigan University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
University of British Columbia
Hawaii Pacific University
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationDauber 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.
Dr. von Moos AG Geotechnical Office
Barrick Gold Exploration
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationGeologist (2)
Senior Project Geologist
Senior Staff Geologist
Internal Controls Administrator
Technical Advisor in Geology
Senior Geochemist North America
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,665.26||$2,925.58|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$930.14 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)|
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.
Completion Rates & Times
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 (Numerical Analysis, Climate Changes and Impacts, Hydrological Cycle and Reservoirs, Ground Water and Water Tables, 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 (Hydrological Cycle and Reservoirs, Land and Soil, Climate Changes and Impacts, Agriculture, Ecology and Quality of the Environment, Running Water Hydrosystem, Fresh Water, Ground Water and Water Tables, 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 (Geological and Geomorphological Processes, 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 Structure and Composition, Geodynamics, Chemical Pollutants, Earth Sciences, Geochemistry, Oceanic islands and mantle plumes, Environmental geochemistry, High-precision/sensitivity geochemical analyses, Indigenous Studies)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- 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)
- Dr. Fabien Rabayrol
"Dr. Rabayrol studied the formation of gold deposits in Anatolia in Turkey. He showed the genetic relationship between the Arabian continental collision, mantle flow, magmatism and gold mineralization. His research provides the mining industry with a new exploration model in Anatolia, and insights into metallogeny in collisional tectonic domains." (November 2018)
- Dr. Anais Renée Fourny
"Dr. Fourny studied layered intrusions, which are fossil magma chambers that represent natural laboratories, to examine how magma solidifies. She analyzed the chemistry of samples from the Kiglapait layered intrusion of coastal Labrador in northern Canada to reconstruct its entire crystallization history. These results can be used as a template for examining other geologically more complex intrusions worldwide." (November 2018)