Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Degree PlansCourses of InstructionCourse Lists

D.A.Archibald, A.Braun, R.W.Dalrymple, M.S.Diederichs, J.M.Dixon, G. Fotopoulos, L.Godin, J.A.Hanes, R.Harrap, D.J.Hutchinson, N.P.James, H.E.Jamieson, T.K.Kyser, D.Layton-Matthews, S.McBride, G.M.Narbonne, G.R.Olivo, R.C.Peterson, V.H.Remenda.

Departmental Notes
Subject Code    GEOL
World Wide Web Address
Head of Department    D.J.Hutchinson
Departmental Office    Bruce Wing, Room 240
Departmental Telephone    613-533-2597
E-Mail Address
Associate Head   V.H.Remenda
Chair of Undergraduate Studies Geological Sciences    R.C.Peterson
Chair of Undergraduate Studies Geological Engineering   M.S.Diederichs
Coordinator of Graduate Studies    H.E.Jamieson

Geoscientists are the interpreters of our natural world. They bring methods such as geophysics, geochemistry, geobiology and field geology together to understand the modern and ancient Earth.  Clues concealed in rocks and fossils, minerals and fluids, mountains and sediments, glaciers and volcanoes are marshaled to understand and explain the Earth system at all scales.  Managing water, mineral and energy resources, developing sustainable strategies for industrial growth and coping with natural and anthropogenic hazards facing increasing global populations, including climate change, all depend on a deep understanding of natural processes.  Our graduates study the Earth in this context, with careers in diverse fields including, but not limited to, research, mineral and oil exploration, policy analysis, environmental science and resource management.  The programs offered by this Department focus on the whole planet and global processes as a dynamic and integrated system.

Departmental Policies

Field Trips
Field trips are a necessary part of geological training and are offered in each year of study because the Department wishes to provide the best education possible.  Part of the cost of transportation will be borne by the student through the payment of a one-time Field Transportation Levy, which is normally collected on admission to second year.  In 2014-2015 this Levy is $325 in Plans containing GEOL 300/3.0 and $225 in all other Plans.

For students who are not registered in a Plan offered by the Department or who do not pay the Field Transportation Levy, there will be a charge per field trip.  In 2014-2015 this will be $20 per half day or $35 for a full-day trip.  Students are required to possess basic safety equipment such as a hard hat, safety glasses and appropriate footwear, and to have reviewed and signed the Departmental Field Safety Form and the OCASP form developed for each field trip or course.

The cost of accommodation and food, while on field trips or at field schools, will be borne by the student.  The cost of accommodation will be approximately $50 per night; specific details will be provided at the start of each field course.  Subsidies will be provided by the Department when funding permits.  

Advice to Students
Students should seek academic advice from one of the program consultants listed below

Environmental Geology H.E.Jamieson
Structural Geology/Tectonics/Economic

Geology Plans are offered as components of a degree Program within both the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.  Students applying to first year, with an interest in geology, should consult both Calendars.  Within Arts and Science, a great deal of flexibility exists in the choice of Plans.

Students wishing to complete a Plan designed to train specialists in the Geological Sciences are encouraged to select one of the Geology Specialization or Major Plans.  The Geology Specialization Plan provides the opportunity for intensive study of Geology and the supporting sciences.  It is intended to fulfill the ‘Knowledge Requirements’ for registration as a Professional Geoscientist.  The Geology Major Plan is ideal for students who are interested in a career-oriented program in the geosciences that also allows a wider choice of supporting and elective courses. Another alternative route, for students who are particularly interested in the solid-earth aspects of environmental science, is the Environmental Geology Plan (see the EGEO Degree Plan in the Environmental Studies section of this Calendar).

Students wishing to study geology and another subject should consider geology as one component of a Major-Minor degree combination.  The Minor (Science) may be combined with a Major in virtually any other subject, and provides a solid introduction to the Geological Sciences. As the General (Science), this same Plan when taken alone leads to a 3-year BSc degree in Geology.  Students who want to explore the field of Geological Sciences but with greater flexibility in choice of courses should consider combining the Geology Minor (Arts) Plan in a Major-Minor degree combination.  The General (Arts) in Geology, leading to a 3-year B.A. degree, is also available using the same suite of courses as the Minor (Arts).

If you have questions about the differences between the various programs, or on particular course selections, consult with the Chair of Undergraduate Studies before registration.  Additional information about the various degree programs can be found by consulting the Geoscience Program webpage. (

Special Study Opportunities
Specialized graduate courses in some areas of Geology are available to qualified students in their final year.  For details, consult the Chair of Undergraduate Studies.