School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Head
Hutchinson, D.J.

Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Jamieson, H.

Professor
Dalrymple, R.W., Diederichs, M.S., Dixon, J.M., Hutchinson, D.J, James, N.P., Jamieson, H.E., Kyser, T.K., Lee, J.K.W., Narbonne, G.M., Olivo, G.R., Peterson, R.C.

Associate Professor
Braun, A., Godin, L., Hanes, J.A., Layton-Matthews, D., Remenda. V.H.

Professor Emeritus
Carmichael, D.M., Clark, A.H., Farrar, E., Helmstaedt, H., Hodgson, C.J., Mackenzie, B.W., Mason, R., Nichol, I., Price, R.A., Roeder, P.L.

Cross-Appointed Faculty
Bevan, G., McKinnon, S., Vlachopoulos, N.

Continuing Adjunct
Harrap, R.

Adjunct (Group 1) Professor
Franklin, J.M., Martindale, W., Parsons, M., Pratt, R.G., Schulze, D.

Adjunct (Group 1) Associate Professor
Doggett, M.D., Gehling, J.G.

Adjunct (Group 1) Assistant Professor
Archibald, D.A., Bone, Y., Camacho, A., Hiatt, E.E., Kellett, D., McClenaghan, M.B., Peter, J., Pratt, A., Pufahl, P., Snyder, D.


Departmental Facilities

The department is located in stately Miller Hall and its modern Bruce Wing. There are excellent study collections, including more than 70,000 volumes and 20,000 maps housed in the university's Douglas Library. We are also proud of our superb mineralogical, petrological, sedimentological and paleontological collections.

In addition to the standard tools related to the Earth Sciences, the department is home to numerous high-end laboratory and computational facilities. Among these facilities are the following:

  • A new electron microprobe and scanning electronic microscope with mineral analyser facilities for the determination of the chemical composition of micron-scale areas on mineral samples. Training courses are regularly provided for interested graduate students.
  • X-ray diffraction facilities that include a new Xpert Pro Philips powder diffractometer with an X'celerator area detector and 15-sample chamber magazine. The diffractometer is equiped with an environmental chamber which allows diffraction experiments under a wide range of pressures and temperatures.
  • Fluid inclusion facilities including two new Linkham cooling-heating stages and digital imaging, allowing for investigation of fluid inclusion at temperatures between 180°C and 1500°C.
  • The Queen's University 40Ar/39Ar geochronology laboratory contains an 8 W Ar-ion laser and Modifications Inc. resistance furnace coupled to an MAP 216 mass spectrometer, yielding 40Ar/39Ar ages with typical precisions of ± 0.5%. The laser can be used in both spot-dating and step-heating modes to maximise the isotopic age information from the samples.
  • The department is home to the Queen's Facility for Isotope Research (www.geol.queensu.ca/isotope_lab), an ultra-modern and diverse geochemical laboratory capable of analysing the isotopic composition of a wide range of elements in almost any material. The equipment includes a MAT 252 Delta XP and a new MAT 253 isotope ratio mass spectrometers plus a full suite of peripheral tools such as gas chromotographs, elemental analyzers and a gas bench. There are also two complementary Inductive Coupled Plasma Spectrometer (ICPMS) systems, complete with two inniegan Elements, ICPOES, a Thermo X and a Finnegan Neptune multicollector.All can be interfaced with our 193, 213 or femtosecond laser systems for ablation to analyze trace element compositions on a scale of 10 micrometers. 
  • The Rose Geocomputation Laboratory in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering provides computational resources. The lab is equipped with 6 PC workstations with GIS, CAD, programming, and geological modeling software. Network file servers allow data and project work to be shared and seamlessly moved between work locations. Funded by a generous donation from Mike and Sue Rose, alumni of the Department, the Lab has continuing funding to remain state-of-the-art for future generations of students.
  • A 20,000g centrifuge is available for experimental tectonic modelling. This facility is unique in Canada, and, to the best of our knowledge, is one of only three in the world that are used for scaled modelling of tectonic processes.
  • There is a state of the art Geomechanics Computation Laboratory with research and design analysis software including comprehensive packages from RocScience, Mine Modelling, Itasca and others. This suite of analysis tools is used for engineering design analysis and can also be applied to geomechanical analysis of earth processes. There is also a new and complementary laboratory-scale multi-channel full-waveform acoustic emission system from ESG Inc., intended for use with conventional rock-testing apparatus. (http://geol.queensu.ca/people/mdiederi/
  • The Earth Systems Information Laboratory is the teaching computing lab for the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering. With 50+ computers, screen projection for presentations or software demonstrations, access to network file servers, and scanning and printing facilities, the Lab can handle full lab classes as needed. Geophysical, geological, GIS and CAD software are available for student use on all computers.
  •  Microstructural Laboratory: The microstructural laboratory consists of two high-end petrographic microscopes (Leica M420 macroscope with high-quality 6:1 Apozoom objective, and a Nikon E600 polarizing microscope up to 100x), both linked to a QIcam 12bit monochrom high resolution digital camera operated by a Compix Image processing and Analysis (IPA) software.  This software can isolate mineral populations, and perform several quantitative measurement tasks on captured images.  The laboratory also has a standard Leitz petrographic microscope equipped with a 5-axis Leitz Universal stage for crystallographic preferred orientation measurements.

Financial Assistance

The Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering guarantees minimum stipends for its funding-eligible students. The minimum for students completing a master’s two year research program is $21,000 per annum. For Ph.D. students the minimum is $23,000. Both minimum stipends are effective as long as the student is within terms of support. Actual financial support may be higher in many cases, depending on external awards student may have received. The one-year master's students receive no financial assistance.

Fields of Graduate Study and Research

Research in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering is offered in five fields of study. 

  • Field I - Economic Geology and Mineral Exploration
  • Field II - Petrology and Structural Geology
  • Field III - Sedimentology, Sedimentary Geochemistry and Paleobiology
  • Field IV - Geophysics and Geochronology
  • Field V - Applied Geoenvironmental Sciences and Geotechnique 

The Department provides opportunities for a broad range of major subfields in the earth sciences, including mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleontology, geochemistry, geophysics, environmental and economic geology. In geological engineering there are particular strengths covering hydrogeology, environmental geochemistry, geomechanics, hazard mitigation and earth-structure interaction.

Members of the department's staff often collaborate, giving graduate students exciting opportunities for multidisciplinary research under co-supervision.

Among the broad areas in which recent graduate research projects have been concentrated are: integrated geochronological and metallogenic studies of parts of the Canadian Shield and the Cordillera of North and South America, genesis of mineral deposits in all geological settings and their application to exploration models, tectonics of the Canadian Cordillera and the Canadian Shield, environmental studies in the Canadian arctic as well as other parts of North America, integrated sedimentological/geochemical/paleobiological studies of modern and ancient carbonate and siliciclastic depositional systems, the early evolution of animals and their ecosystems, exploration geochemistry, and theoretical to observational studies in both exploration and earthquake seismology. Geological Engineering projects have focussed on fundamental properties of hydrostratigraphic units, analysis and design protocols for tunnelling near surface and at great depth, stability of large natural and cut slopes, and geomechanical risk assessment for mining.

The Master of Science in Applied Geology (Non-Research Pattern II and III)

The Master of Science in Applied Geology is a one-year program leading to enhanced knowledge in Mineral Exploration/Resource Geology or Geological Engineering.

Students interested in engineering geology may also wish to investigate the GeoEngineering Centre (www.geoeng.ca), a collaboration with the Queen's Civil and Mining Engineering departments and with the Royal Military College.

Programs of Study

Master of Science (M.Sc): Regular two-year research program and one-year non-research program in Applied Geology.

Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.): Master's program in applied sciences (engineering).

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): Geological science and applied science programs available.

Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership (MEERL): A professional Master’s degree, 20 months in duration, 20% residential and 80% online, intended to be completed while students remain employed.

All applicants are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

Master of Science

The general requirements for the Master's degrees are as noted below.

Pattern I

The candidate must complete two session-length or four term-length graduate courses. Selection of courses is subject to departmental approval. The student must obtain satisfactory standing in the courses. The student must prepare a satisfactory thesis and successfully defend it.

"To conform with Ontario Council on Graduate Studies guidelines, students enrolled in a Pattern I M.Sc. Program are advised that only one of their four primary courses can contain more than 50% undergraduate students. Exceptions must be approved by the Supervisor(s) and the departmental Coordinator of Graduate Studies."

Patterns II & III: The Master of Science in Applied Geology

This is a one-year, non-research program leading to enhanced knowledge in Mineral Exploration/Resource Geology (Stream A) or Geological Engineering (Stream B). The program normally commences in September and can be completed by the end of April or August of the following year depending on the project. In addition to the normal academic qualifications required for entry to a Master's program, the Applied Geology program requires that candidates should have previous geological/geoengineering experience in industry or with government agencies.

The M.Sc. in Applied Geology degree is based either on a project/course-work program (Pattern II) or a course- work program (Pattern III). Under the project/course-work pattern II program, a student is required to complete six primary term length course credits. The project course is in addition to these six courses and is taken under the code GEOL-898. At least four primary courses must be taken in the Department of Geological Sciences & Geological Engineering. The project culminates in a written report.

The requirements for the course-work pattern III program are eight term length course credits and at least four courses must be in the Department of Geological Sciences & Geological Engineering.

Selection of courses in both the Pattern I and II programs is subject to Supervisor and Graduate Coordinator approval. Students must obtain a satisfactory standing in all courses in both pattern programs.

Doctor of Philosophy

The department requires that new Ph.D. candidates take a comprehensive examination within 1 year of the start of their program, to be given by an examining committee which includes the supervisor. The academic strengths and deficiencies identified in this way are taken into consideration in designing programs of graduate courses for these students.

Candidates proceeding by thesis to any degree are expected to become familiar with the literature of their subjects, in whatever language it is written.

Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership (MEERL)

The Master program in Earth and Energy Resources Leadership (MEERL) program is  20 months (5 terms) in length, part time, and typically completed while the student remains employed full time.

Students must successfully complete 30 credit units comprised of 10 courses – 7 core courses of 3 units each and a selection of 3 electives out of 4 offered, at 3 units each. For most of the courses, the delivery will be a combination of multiple asynchronous lectures and online tutorials, and several synchronous webinars to summarize the learning outcomes, conduct class discussions, review key concepts, kick-off case studies, and have group presentations.
The courses EERL-801, EERL-802, EERL-803, EERL-805 are offered during the 1st and 2nd terms.   EERL-804, EERL-806 and EERL-810 are offered during the 3rd term and EERL-808, EERL-809 and EERL-811 are offered in the 4th and 5th terms.  In addition EERL-807 extends over 2nd through the 5th term.

Degree requirements are to be delivered via a blended learning program, containing both residential and online components. The overall program will be about an 80:20 online:residential mix for conventional lecture, applied/experiential learning, case analysis, integrated learning, and project work.

Students will begin the program with an intensive residential session of 5 full days, during which they will be introduced to all the courses and given an overview of specific topics that will be covered in greater depth throughout the remainder of the program. Students will complete the residential portion of the first two courses - Resource Life Cycle Overview and Strategic Leadership, with the remainder of the Leadership course being completed in the first term and the Resource Life Cycle being completed in the second term. These two courses provide the frame for the entire program. A second residential session will occur in summer term during which students will complete the residential course Economic Essentials (Part II), with Part I being delivered entirely online in the preceding Winter term. The fifth term is when electives will be completed. In addition there is an online core course that extends over 2nd through 5th terms.  Should the student choose as electives, the Field-based Synthesis course and/or the Energy Life Cycle Track, these will require an approximate 5 day face-to-face site visit.