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Courses

Fall 2023 Courses:

 

ESS1101H1F Seminars in Earth Sciences (M. Diamond) - Friday 10-12, ES2119
This is the core graduate course, which is mandatory for all incoming graduate students. The goal of the course is to develop each student’s research proposal and skills to communicate their proposals (oral and written forms). Each student will have a completed written research proposal and two opportunities for oral presentations by the end of the course.
ESS1441H1F Advanced Structure (T. Santimano) - Monday 1-3, Wednesday 12-2, ES2119
This advanced course focuses on analyzing structures to understand how “strain” and “stress” are expressed in the rocks. Through geometric, kinematic and mechanical analysis of these structures, we will learn to elucidate the geological processes that have occurred over time. Graduate student will be given the opportunity to apply the knowledge they learn in this course towards their graduate research.
ESS1445H1F Global Tectonics (R. Pysklywec) Wednesday 10-12, ES2119
Exploration of the tectonic processes of the Earth from a global and regional perspective. The course examines the nature of these surface tectonics based on geological observations and tries to unravel the geodynamics that give rise to planetary activity.
ESS1461H1F Paleoenvironmental Studies (J. Bollmann) - Friday 1-6, ES2100
The use of proxy data (terrestial and aquatic microfossils) to infer past environmental conditions. The nature and extent of Quaternary environmental change is considered in the context of assessing current issues such as acidification, metal pollution, eutrophication and global climate change. Paleoenvironmental techniques are applied in the laboratory.
Prerequisite: A 200-level course from one of BIO, GGR, GLG. Recommended preparation: BIO468H1/469Y1/ GLG216H1
JPE1493H1F Seismology* (A. Swidinsky) Monday 3-5, UCA101
Seismology is a discipline of solid earth geophysics that studies earthquakes and related pheonomena as well as the propagation of seismic waves. This course starts with a simple introduction to strain and stress, and derives the seismic wave equation. Seismic ray theory is then brought in to explain travel time and amplitudes of seismic arrivals. The concept of tomography methods for the inversion of Earth’s internal structure is then described. Subjects such as reflection and refraction seismic methods for exploration seismology, digital seismic data processing, earthquake source mechanisms will also be discussed during the course.
ESS2302H1F Mineral Resources (M. Anderson)
This course will focus on the fundamental processes by which Earth materials are concentrated into economically-viable deposits. Emphasis is placed on techniques used both in mineral deposits research and industry-focused exploration. This is aimed at developing practical skills through a series of hands-on workshops, lectures, guest lectures from industry experts, and assignments using real-world data.
ESS3000H1F Directed Studies in Earth Sciences
An individual directed studies course about a selected topic in Earth Sciences. Contact the Graduate Administrator for more information.

Winter 2024 Courses:

 

ESS1423H1S Mineralogy (D. Gregory) - Wednesday 12-2 and Friday 9-12, ES2101
In this course we focus on the geochemistry of mineral deposit systems. This involves a system wide approach to understand the source of the metals and fluids that form the deposit, trap mechanisms for the mineralization and alteration associated with the fluids near and far from the deposit. This provides students with an understanding of the mineral system that will allow them to predict what alteration should be expected given differences in host lithologies.

Students will also learn practical skills such as hand sample identification of alteration and ore minerals, reflected light microscopy, and an introduction to diamond drill core logging.

This course will be useful to students preparing for a career in mineral exploration because it will provide the underpinnings for mineral exploration. It will also be of use for students preparing for a career in environmental consulting as it will help teach identification of minerals present in acid rock drainage settings and understanding of alteration minerals nearby that could be used to aid in remediation. Further, it will be of interest for students who plan on researching early Earth as identification of hydrothermal overprints is important to ensure that interpretations are being made are from a primary signal not a later hydrothermal overprint.

ESS1425H1S Advanced Methods in Geosciences (C. Sio) - Monday 2-4 and Tuesday 2-5, ES2100
JPE1452H1S Geophysical Imaging with Non-Seismic Methods (A. Swidinsky) Monday 12-2, ES1062
Current geophysical surface and borehole methodologies (gravity, magnetics, electrical, electromagnetic, nuclear) and their theoretical basis for investigating Earth’s interior to depths ranging from several metres to tens of kilometers.
ESS2303H1S Earth Systems Evolution (J. Halfar/M. Laflamme)
This course will focus on the geological evidence and causes for change in the Earth System (coupled lithosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere-atmosphere) over the last 4.5 billion years. It will be taught using specific case studies from selected time intervals, which will change on a yearly basis. Possible topics will include global biogeochemical cycling of C,S,O; deep biosphere geobiology and the origin and evolution of life; proxy indicators for global change; evolution of the atmosphere; the stratigraphic record of sea level change and plate reconstruction. The course will be team taught, in which individual instructors will focus on a particular topic, providing some lectures for background prior to reading the important literature.
JPE2605H1S Advanced Seismology (S.Lui/Q. Liu) - Thursday 10-12
This advanced seismology course covers a range of theoretical and computational topics related to seismic wave propagation, seismic tomography, full-waveform inversion, earthquake sources and fault dynamics, as well as exploration seismology. For the Year 2023/2024, subjects such as seismic data processing, computational seismology and earthquake fault dynamics will be covered.
ESS2704H1S Isotope Geochemistry (M. Hamilton/TBD)
The course is focused on the principles and applications of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry to understanding geological and planetary processes. The course will be taught using specific case studies from selected themes, which will change on a yearly basis. Possible themes might include: early solar system chronology, isotopic contraints on Earth differentiation, tracing pollutants in the subsurface, nature of the early Earth, ocean and atmospheric circulation, applications to tectonics. The course will be team taught, in which individual instructors will focus on a particular aspect of each theme, providing some lectures for background prior to reading the important literature.
ESS3000H1S Directed Studies in Earth Sciences
An individual directed studies course about a selected topic in Earth Sciences. Contact the Graduate Administrator for more information.

Full-year Courses:

 

ESS3601Y Research Presentation
The mark for this course is based on the written report produced in GLG3603Y and the student’s performance in an oral defence of that work. The examining committee for the oral defense will consist of the supervisor and two members of the graduate faculty selected by the supervisor. The student must provide members of the examining committee a copy of the report at least one week in advance. The oral defense will consist of a 20 minute presentation of the work, followed by questioning by members of the examining committee. Other students may attend the presentation and question period with the permission of the candidate and examining committee. The examination concludes when the committee finishes with questions. Each committee member will evaluate the student based on the quality of the written report, and the student’s explanation of it, the depth and breadth of knowledge relevant to the project demonstrated during the oral examination and overall originality and creativity. The mark for this course will be the average mark assigned by the three examiners. For candidates who start their M.Sc. studies in September, the final grade for this course must be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Officer no later than the end of the third week of the following August.
ESS3603Y Research Project
Students must complete a research project assigned by the supervisor. During the first two weeks of the term in which the student first registers, the student and supervisor must reach an agreement on the objectives and methodology of the research project, along with an evaluation scheme. This information must be conveyed to the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for their approval. The final product for this course is a written document of the work performed (approx. 40 pages in standard format). For candidates who start their M.Sc. studies in September, the final grade for this course must be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Officer no later than the end of the third week of the following August.

Table of course requirements by degree. Please see below for more information about each course.

Degree Program

Thesis?

Required Courses

Elective Courses

Total FCE*

M.Sc. (all-course)

No

ESS1101H

ESS3608H

One breadth course

3.5 FCE

5.0

M.Sc. (doctoral-stream)

No

ESS1101H

ESS3601Y

ESS3603Y

One breadth course

0.5 FCE

3.5

M.A.Sc.

Yes

ESS1101H

One breadth course

1.0 FCE

2.0

Ph.D. (from M.Sc. doctoral stream)

Yes

One breadth course

0.5 FCE

1.0

Ph.D. (from external M.Sc. or direct entry)

Yes

ESS1101H

One breadth course

0.5 FCE

1.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*FCE =”Full course equivalent.” Most semester-long courses are worth 0.5 FCE (designated by an “h” after the course code), and year-long courses are worth 1.0 FCE (designated by a “Y” after the course code). “F” courses are scheduled in the fall session and “S” courses are in the winter session.

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. Please cross-reference the table above and consult with your supervisor to choose appropriate courses and to plan your schedule.
 

Required Courses
Students must enrol in courses on ACORN. Doctoral-stream MSc students must enrol in ESS1101H, ESS3601Y, and ESS3603Y. PhD students must enrol in ESS1101H. 

 

ESS1101H Seminars in Earth Sciences
This is the core graduate course designed to help the student develop their scientific presentation skills. During the term, students will be required to deliver at least two oral presentations on assigned topics, and provide critique for the presentation of other students in the course. The course is given on a pass/fail basis, and will meet weekly in the Fall term.
ESS3601Y Research Presentation
The mark for this course is based on the written report produced in GLG3603Y and the student’s performance in an oral defence of that work. The examining committee for the oral defense will consist of the supervisor and two members of the graduate faculty selected by the supervisor. The student must provide members of the examining committee a copy of the report at least one week in advance. The oral defense will consist of a 20 minute presentation of the work, followed by questioning by members of the examining committee. Other students may attend the presentation and question period with the permission of the candidate and examining committee. The examination concludes when the committee finishes with questions. Each committee member will evaluate the student based on the quality of the written report, and the student’s explanation of it, the depth and breadth of knowledge relevant to the project demonstrated during the oral examination and overall originality and creativity. The mark for this course will be the average mark assigned by the three examiners. For candidates who start their M.Sc. studies in September, the final grade for this course must be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Officer no later than the end of the third week of the following August.
ESS3603Y Research Project
Students must complete a research project assigned by the supervisor. During the first two weeks of the term in which the student first registers, the student and supervisor must reach an agreement on the objectives and methodology of the research project, along with an evaluation scheme. This information must be conveyed to the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for their approval. The final product for this course is a written document of the work performed (approx. 40 pages in standard format). For candidates who start their M.Sc. studies in September, the final grade for this course must be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Officer no later than the end of the third week of the following August.
ESS3608H All-Course Research Report (not offered in 2023/24)
This is a term-length course to provide exposure to research for students in the department’s all course M.Sc. program. Students are required to contact a potential research supervisor prior to the start of term to decide upon a research project. The project must involve critical analysis and interpretation of information, be it experimental, analytical or field observations, as acquired by the student, or gleaned from the literature. The final product for the course will be a 20 page (1.5 spaced, 12 point font, including figures and tables) report describing the work accomplished, and a 20 minute oral presentation. The student will receive 80% of their mark from the research supervisor based on the report, and 20% from the faculty members attending the presentation. Prior to commencing, the student must submit a project plan, developed in consultation with the research supervisor, for approval by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.

Breadth Courses

 

ESS1423H Mineralogy*
Crystal chemistry of the major rock forming minerals. The course covers the underlying concepts behind the behaviour of minerals as solid-state materials including: Structure and bonding of minerals, chemical substitutions and solid-state transformations, high temperature and pressure behaviour, chemical weathering and kinetics. Prerequisite: ESS221H1
ESS1425H Advanced Methods in Geosciences
ESS1430H1F Basin Analysis* (not offered in 2023/24)
ESS1441H1F Advanced Structure*
This advanced course focuses on analyzing structures to understand how “strain” and “stress” are expressed in the rocks. Through geometric, kinematic and mechanical analysis of these structures, we will learn to elucidate the geological processes that have occurred over time. Graduate student will be given the opportunity to apply the knowledge they learn in this course towards their graduate research.
ESS1445H Global Tectonics*
Exploration of the tectonic processes of the Earth from a global and regional perspective. The course examines the nature of these surface tectonics based on geological observations and tries to unravel the geodynamics that give rise to planetary activity.
JPE1452H1S Geophysical Imaging with Non-Seismic Methods*
Current geophysical surface and borehole methodologies (gravity, magnetics, electrical, electromagnetic, nuclear) and their theoretical basis for investigating Earth’s interior to depths ranging from several metres to tens of kilometers.
ESS1461H Paleoenvironmental Studies*
The use of proxy data (terrestial and aquatic microfossils) to infer past environmental conditions. The nature and extent of Quaternary environmental change is considered in the context of assessing current issues such as acidification, metal pollution, eutrophication and global climate change. Paleoenvironmental techniques are applied in the laboratory.
Prerequisite: A 200-level course from one of BIO, GGR, GLG. Recommended preparation: BIO468H1/469Y1/ GLG216H1
JPE1493H Seismology*
Seismology is a discipline of solid earth geophysics that studies earthquakes and related pheonomena as well as the propagation of seismic waves. This course starts with a simple introduction to strain and stress, and derives the seismic wave equation. Seismic ray theory is then brought in to explain travel time and amplitudes of seismic arrivals. The concept of tomography methods for the inversion of Earth’s internal structure is then described. Subjects such as reflection and refraction seismic methods for exploration seismology, digital seismic data processing, earthquake source mechanisms will also be discussed during the course.
ESS2222H Tectonics and Planetary Dynamics (not offered in 2023/24)
A treatment of the fundamental physical processes by which planets form and evolve. The course will be taught using specific case studies from selected themes, which will change on a yearly basis. Possible themes might include: tectonic modeling, structural analysis, Precambrian geophysics and dynamics of the terrestrial planets. The course will be team taught, in which individual instructors will focus on a particular aspect of each theme, providing some lectures for background prior to reading the important literature.
ESS2302H Mineral Resources
This course will focus on the fundamental processes by which Earth materials are concentrated into economically-viable deposits. Emphasis is placed on techniques used both in mineral deposits research and industry-focused exploration. This is aimed at developing practical skills through a series of hands-on workshops, lectures, guest lectures from industry experts, and assignments using real-world data.
ESS2303H Earth Systems Evolution
This course will focus on the geological evidence and causes for change in the Earth System (coupled lithosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere-atmosphere) over the last 4.5 billion years. It will be taught using specific case studies from selected time intervals, which will change on a yearly basis. Possible topics will include global biogeochemical cycling of C,S,O; deep biosphere geobiology and the origin and evolution of life; proxy indicators for global change; evolution of the atmosphere; the stratigraphic record of sea level change and plate reconstruction. The course will be team taught, in which individual instructors will focus on a particular topic, providing some lectures for background prior to reading the important literature.
ESS2304H Geochemistry (not offered in 2023/24)
This course will focus on the application of chemical principles to research in the Earth Sciences.  The emphasis will be on recent studies across a range of diverse theme areas, selected according to the research interests of enrolled students. Possible themes might include: global geochemical cycles, microbial geochemistry, origin and distribution of the elements and geochemical kinetics. The course will be taught in a roundtable format with the instructor providing some background lectures; students will take turns presenting their chosen research papers and leading the discussion.
ESS2704H Isotope Geochemistry
The course is focused on the principles and applications of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry to understanding geological and planetary processes. The course will be taught using specific case studies from selected themes, which will change on a yearly basis. Possible themes might include: early solar system chronology, isotopic contraints on Earth differentiation, tracing pollutants in the subsurface, nature of the early Earth, ocean and atmospheric circulation, applications to tectonics. The course will be team taught, in which individual instructors will focus on a particular aspect of each theme, providing some lectures for background prior to reading the important literature.
ESS2708H Characterization of Geological Materials (not offered in 2023/24)
This course provides both theoretical and practical instruction on a range of instrumental methods used in determining the composition, structure and chemical state of geological materials, including fluids, gases, glasses, rocks and minerals. The course includes laboratory assignments providing practical application of these techniques.

*Course is cross-listed with a fourth-year undergraduate course.

Specialized Courses

 

PHY2603H: Inverse Theory (offered by Physics)
This course addresses problems of fitting physical models (both discreet and continuous) to data, and covers topics such as * What is inverse theory in physics and geophysics? When do data-consistent models even exist? * Multivariate regression modelling of discrete models, Bayesian approaches, maximum likelihood estimation, with errors and * hypothesis testing, both classical and resampling(e.g. bootstrap). * Continuous models where spatial resolution is a meaningful concept (Backus-Gilbert theory). * The Singular Value Decomposition approach to modelling. * Answerable and unanswerable questions in modelling: * Singular Value Decompositions, exotic norms such as L-1, L-infinity. * Methods for non-linear modelling: e.g. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), simulated annealing, genetic algorithms.
JGN2607H Advanced Techniques in Hydrogeology (offered by UTSC)
This course examines methods of investigating groundwater flow and subsurface transport of contaminants. It can be tailored to meet the interests and experience of the student. Basic theory is provided during a series of lectures, normally held on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings at UTSC. There is also a small project component, usually involving chemical speciation or contaminant transport models, applied to a groundwater problem.
JPE2605H Advanced Seismology
This advanced seismology course covers a range of theoretical and computational topics related to seismic wave propagation, seismic tomography, full-waveform inversion, earthquake sources and fault dynamics, as well as exploration seismology. For the Year 2023/2024, subjects such as seismic data processing, computational seismology and earthquake fault dynamics will be covered.
ESS2608H: Advanced Glacial Sedimentology (not offered in 2023/24)
Glacial sediments left by successive continental ice sheets cover a large area of Canada and provide a record of past climate change across the Northern Hemisphere. They also allow modelling of ice flow processes and provide insights into the flow of modern ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, especially in regard to ‘ice streams’ which are regional-scale corridors inset within the ice sheet of fast flowing ice.  Mapping of paleo-ice streams in Canada is actively underway aided by new high -resolution topographic imagery (e.g., LiDAR) and is a key part of mineral exploration projects across the Canadian Shield. This course will explore how ice sheets form and decay and their sedimentary records; assessment will be by a brief research project and write up.
ESS3604H Selected Topics in Geology (not offered in 2023/24)
This is a term-length course that will usually involve lectures, reading assignments, and classroom discussion focusing on a specific theme not covered in any of the regularly-scheduled courses. The course structure, content and method of evaluation must be approved by the associate chair for graduate studies.
ESS3605H Selected Topics in Geochemistry (not offered in 2023/24)
This course will provide a more focused treatment of specific topics covered in GLG2304 Geochemistry. Possible areas of focus include: contaminant fate and transport in the subsurface, geochemistry of mineral deposits, cosmochemistry, microbial geochemistry, geochemical biomarkers, trace element geochemistry of igneous rocks. The course will be taught by different instructors depending on the topic, and as demand warrants.
ESS3606H Selected Topics in Earth System Evolution (not offered in 2023/24)
This course will provide a more focused treatment of specific topics covered in GLG2303 Earth System Evolution. Possible areas of focus include: the stratigraphic record of global change, techniques in paleoevironmental research, global biogeochemical cycles and paleoceanography. The course will be taught by different instructors depending on the topic, and as demand warrants.
ESS3607H Selected Topics in Geodynamics (not offered in 2023/24)
This course will provide a more focused treatment of specific topics covered in ESS2222 Tectonics and Planetary Dynamics. Possible areas of focus include: tectonic modeling, structural analysis, Precambrian geophysics and dynamics of the terrestrial planets. The course will be taught by different instructors depending on the topic, and as demand warrants.