Graduate Programs

Graduate Degree Programs


Students may register in full-time or part-time programs in the Department of Earth Sciences. The Ph.D. program allows full-time enrolment only, whereas full- or part-time status is allowed for the M.Sc. and the M.A.Sc programs. Part-time students and those in the All Course M.Sc. program or enrolled as special students are not eligible for financial support. General information on admission, registration, and the rules under which the Department of Earth Sciences operates are contained in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) website (

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Students carry out a major program of original research and perform a thesis defense. Students are required to complete a total of 1.5 Full Course Equivalents (FCE), though a reduction in the number of required courses may be granted for students who have previously undertaken graduate studies in the appropriate field. Doctoral candidates are guaranteed funding for four years and must complete all requirements for the degree within six years from first enrolment. In exceptional circumstances, a candidate who has failed to complete degree requirements within this period may be considered for up to two one-year extensions with approval of the Graduate Affairs Committee and the School of Graduate Studies.

Master of Science (M.Sc.)

In the All-Course Master’s Program, students are required to complete a total of 5.0 FCE; interested students are advised to contact the Graduate Chair for more information about this program. The majority of students, however, pursue the Doctoral-Stream (also known as Research-Based) Master’s, which involves a one-year research project that culminates in a research report (shorter than a formal thesis) and presentation. Students must complete a total of 3.5 FCE. Students are required by the University to complete all degree requirements within five years, but students are strongly encouraged to complete the program within one year as guaranteed funding within the Department will not extend beyond that point.

Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.)

Students perform a two-year focused research project and write and defend a formal thesis. Students are required to complete a total of 4.0 FCE. Degree requirements must be completed within three years.  Please note: admission to the M.A.Sc. currently requires full financial support for the second year of study to be provided by the faculty supervisor.  Therefore, it is imperative that prospective M.A.Sc. students contact potential supervisors to discuss possible projects well before applying.


Collaborative Programs

Graduate degrees in Earth Sciences can also be taken in collaboration with other graduate units:

Earth Sciences and Physics

The graduate units of Earth Sciences and Physics participate in the Collaborative M.Sc. and Ph.D. Programs in Earth Sciences and Physics. These programs foster graduate education in those areas of study that overlap traditional departmental boundaries. Students must meet all respective degree requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, the home department (e.g., Earth Sciences or Physics), and the Collaborative Program.

Students who successfully complete the requirements of the Collaborative Program will receive the notation “Completed Collaborative Program in Earth Sciences and Physics” on their transcript.  For a full description of the program requirements, refer to Earth Sciences and Physics Collaborative program entry in the University of Toronto ‘s School of Graduate Studies Calendar.

Environmental Studies

Earth Sciences and a number of other graduate units, in conjunction with the Centre for Environment, offer a collaborative master’s program in environmental studies.

A joint thesis master’s degree may be taken with the Centre for Environment. Normally the program will be defined by M.Sc. degree requirements from the “home department” (e.g., Earth Sciences) as well as several specific requirements prescribed by the Centre for Environment.

For a full description of this program, see the Environmental Studies Collaborative Program entry in the University of Toronto ‘s School of Graduate Studies Calendar.

Grad Handbook_2016-17


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