Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Formed in 1963, the Department of Geoscience - Canada's largest - is a vibrant cornerstone of the University of Calgary. The program is a wellspring of Canada's geoscience research and industry professionals, with close ties to the resource industry that has established Alberta's reputation as a global energy leader. Many students participate in field schools during their program, and benefit from working on the doorstep of a fantastic geological laboratory: the Rocky Mountains. Our vision is an improved understanding of Earth systems through innovative and impactful geoscience research, interdisciplinary learning and discovery, empowered and inspired teaching, and effective communication that not only raises our profile as a geoscience centre of excellence, but also creates a brighter future for our world.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Geology and Geophysics of Western Canada and either an Advanced Independent Study course or Readings in Geology or Geophysics.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.
  • Field Schools: Many students participate in field schools for 12-16 days in late summer or early spring. Activities include orienteering, mapping surficial deposts, measuring sections in sedimentary rocks, and mapping geologic structures in places like the Canadian Shield, Alberta prairies, Rocky Mountains and deserts of southwest USA.


Post-Secondary Teaching and Research, Oil and gas, Resource exploration, Resource Management, Environmental Consulting, Geo Hazards, Renewable Energy, Policy and Regulation.

A PhD in geoscience is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Four courses; some courses may be waived for students with MSc degrees

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Three years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required; potential supervisors must be listed when applying to the program.

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Edwin Cey

    Edwin Cey

    Accepting Inquiries
    Hydrogeology, Vadose Zone Hydrology and Preferential Flow, Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction, Numerical Simulation, Subsurface Microbial Transport, Expert Review and Regulatory Input
  2. Jan Dettmer

    Jan Dettmer

  3. David Eaton

    David Eaton

    Accepting Inquiries
    Seismology, Induced Seismicity, Passive Seismic Monitoring, Distributed Acoustic Sensing, Physics-Informed Machine Learning
  4. Eva Enkelmann

    Eva Enkelmann

    Accepting Inquiries
    Tectonics, Thermochronology, Geochronology, Basin Evolution
  5. Placeholder Profile Image

    Rob Ferguson

    Seeking Students
  6. Charles Henderson

    Charles Henderson

    Accepting Inquiries
    Upper Paleozoic and Triassic Sequence Biostratigraphy and Conodont Paleontology
  7. Steve teaching in the field.

    Stephen Hubbard

    Accepting Inquiries
    Sedimentary Systems, Clastic Sedimentology, Basin Analysis
  8. Placeholder Profile Image

    Steve Larter

    Accepting Inquiries
    Energy transition and technology
  9. Placeholder Profile Image

    Bernhard Mayer

    Accepting Inquiries
  10. Image of Professor Mercader 2022

    Julio Mercader Florin

    Accepting Inquiries
    Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, Bioarchaeology, Chemical and Materials Science approaches to the Past

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

MSc or equivalent in geology or geophysics, or a related field such as physics or mathematics from a recognized institution.

Work samples



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

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Jan. 15 application deadline
  • International students: Jan. 15 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Geoscience

Earth Sciences Building Room 118
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website


Faculty of Science

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit their website


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