Graduate Degree Programs

We welcome applicants to our graduate program that consists of several options for a Master’s and PhD degrees. The table below summarizes information about each program. Please contact us for further information or clarification. The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) website contains general information on admission, registration, and the rules under which the Department of Earth Sciences operates.

Degree Full or part-time? Guaranteed Funding for 2023/24 Total number of required courses
(Full Course Equivalents (FCE))
Procedures for Degree Completion
MSc (doctoral-stream)  Full or part-time  1 year ($27,000 + tuition) 3.5
  • Submit ~40-page research report
  • Final oral examination by committee
MSc (all-course)  Full or part-time  N/A 5.0
  • successful completion of all required courses
MASc  Full or part-time 

2 years ($27,000 + tuition per year)

  • Submit thesis maximum 100 pages
  • Thesis defense before committee
PhD (from doctoral stream MSc)  Full time  4 years ($30,000 + tuition per year) 1.0
  • Annual committee meetings
  • Thesis proposal defense
  • Submit thesis
  • Final committee meeting 
  • Department thesis defense before committee (optional)
  • Department seminar prior to SGS Senate defense
  • SGS Senate defense before committee and external examiners
PhD (from external MSc)  Full time  4 years ($30,000 + tuition per year) 1.5
PhD (direct entry)  Full time  5 years ($30,000 + tuition per year) 1.5


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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 four one-year extensions with approval of the Graduate Affairs Committee and the School of Graduate Studies.

Master of Science (MSc)

The Doctoral-Stream (also known as Research-Based) Master of Science 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 three 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 (MASc)

Students perform a two-year focused research project and write and defend a formal thesis. Students are required to complete a total of 2.0 FCE. Degree requirements must be completed within three years.  

Please note: admission to the MASc currently requires full financial support for the second year of study to be provided by the faculty supervisor. Therefore, it is imperative that prospective MASc students contact potential supervisors to discuss possible projects well before applying.

Collaborative Specializations

Graduate degrees in Earth Sciences can also be taken in collaboration with the School of the Environment:

Environmental Studies

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

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


The Earth Sciences Graduate Programs includes faculty members from all three campuses as well as the Royal Ontario Museum. Graduate students are enrolled at the St. George compus but may be supervised by faculty from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) or University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC).