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
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||$1,632.61||$2,868.22|
|Tuition per year||$4,897.83||$8,604.66|
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$923.38 (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. 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.
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 Structure and Composition, GeodynamicsEarth Sciences, Geochemistry, Oceanic islands and mantle plumes, Environmental geochemistry, High-precision/sensitivity geochemical analyses)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Lauren Nicole Harrison
"Dr. Harrison studied the elemental and isotopic composition of volcanoes along the 2300 km Northwest Hawaiian Ridge. She integrated those results with the entire 5800 km-long chain, and showed the chemistry varies temporally. This implies that the deep mantle contains distinct reservoirs sampled episodically by the moving Hawaiian plume." (November 2017)
- Dr. Corey James Wall
"Dr. Wall examined rates of magmatic processes in the Earth's crust using precise radiometric dating of some of the world's largest plutonic bodies. He developed a technique to extract mineral chronometers from rocks that had previously been considered undateable. His results provide key insights into the timescales of magmatism in the Earth's history." (November 2016)
- Dr. Tyler Ruks
"Dr. Ruks demonstrated that vast tracts of Vancouver Island are the remnants of a previously unrecognized chain of volcanoes, three hundred million years old, that originated far off the coast of North America. The geology of these ancient volcanoes suggests that they are likely to contain significant deposits of both base and precious metals." (November 2015)
- Dr. Jack Edward Milton
"Dr. Milton studied the geology of the copper deposits of the Mackenzie Mountains, in the Northwest Territories. He discovered that the copper was concentrated by the convection of hot, salty fluids, long after the sedimentary host-rocks were formed. His research will aid explorers and prospectors in their search for Earth's copper resources." (November 2015)
- Dr. Sharon Blackmore
"Dr. Blackmore studied the flow of water through waste rock that mining companies pile up following excavation. She developed methods to analyze and understand flow rates, and the chemical make-up of the water that seeps from stockpiled waste. These methods can help industry develop ways to manage the potential effects of contaminated water." (November 2015)