Students within the PhD Program can build their research expertise within a wide range of research areas that include:
- Atmosphere-surface coupling – Surface climates, future changes in climate extremes including severe weather, mesoscale meteorology, biogeophysics of surface heat and mass exchange, atmospheric dynamics, thermodynamics and severe weather.
- Biogeography and terrestrial ecology – Socio-ecology of risk, restoration ecology of prairie, riparian forest and urban habitat, population dynamics and dispersal of invasive species. Culture, identity and space – The relationship between identity, culture and the landscape, especially within experience-driven landscapes, like those associated with recreation and tourism.
- Environmental chemistry and toxicology – The chemical processes, and transport of contaminants across environmental interfaces, ecotoxicology; ecological risk assessment and water quality.
- Glaciology and paleoclimate - Glacier and ice sheet dynamics, ice-ocean interaction, iceberg calving and evolution, paleoclimate through ice cores
- Geomatics and remote sensing – Closely integrated with the other five themes, this involves the development of techniques for the gathering and analysis of information.
- Global politics, justice and sustainability – The link between economic, socio-cultural, ecological and political systems, with a strong emphasis on social justice and sustainability.
- Resources environment and society – Critical analysis of the production and use of resources within varying scales.
- Sea ice and ocean science – Sea ice geophysics, polar marine systems, trophic structure, energy and contaminant flows.
The Ultra-Clean Trace Element Laboratory (UCTEL) is one of the most advanced ultra-trace analytical facilities in the world. The chemistry and biogeochemistry of trace elements in the environment are studied.
The Stress Ecology Lab has a mix of controlled environment and field facilities to support the investigation of contaminants on ecosystem structure and function as well as their persistence and degradation in these environments.
The Environmental Conservation Lab focuses on the interface between biological and social sciences and conducts community-centered research, education, and outreach across North America and in the Global South. Research incorporates extensive fieldwork, spatial analysis and participatory video-making.
The Churchill Marine Observatory (CMO) is a globally unique, highly innovative and multidisciplinary research facility located in Churchill, Manitoba, adjacent to Canada’s only Arctic deep-water port. The CMO is dedicated to studies on the detection, impact and mitigation of spills of oil and related contaminants in sea ice-covered waters, as well as extreme weather, climate change, and fresh-water marine coupling studies.
The Sea-Ice Environmental Research Facility is the first experimental sea-ice facility in Canada. Located on the campus of the University of Manitoba, the main feature of the SERF facility is an outdoor seawater pool (60 feet long, 30 feet wide and 8 feet deep). It is equipped with a movable roof to control snow cover and ice growth, and various sensors and instruments to allow real-time monitoring.
The Canada Excellence Research Chair Lab is a biogeochemistry laboratory designed to study certain parameters on climate change in Polar Regions. CERC Lab has capacity to study several physical, chemical and biological processes in sea ice, seawater, sediment, specimens, and atmosphere.
The Petroleum Environmental Research Laboratory (PETRL) is a laboratory designed for analysis of petroleum products and their chemical composition. PETRL consists of two labs; one for sample processing and one for sample analysis.
The Cold Lab, at -26°C, allows scientists to work with snow and ice samples while retaining their natural properties. Ice cores are brought in from the field and their microstructure is analyzed in this lab.
Expected duration: 4 years
Tuition and fees: Two year’s tuition, then continuing fees in subsequent years (refer to Graduate tuition and fees)
In addition to the minimum 12 credit hour course requirement of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, students are required to attend and present their original research at two department seminars.
Students are also encouraged to attend and present at academic and/or professional conferences or seminars as approved by their supervisor.
These minimum course requirements may be increased on the recommendation of the student’s advisory committee or the departmental Graduate Studies Committee. Students are also required to pass a candidacy exam, and complete and successfully defend a dissertation. The dissertation is to be a distinctive contribution to the field of geography and must be of publishable quality.
Sample course offerings
- GEOG 7200: Environment, Resources, and Population
- GEOG 7360: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Issues in the Environment
- GEOG 7380: Advanced Ecotoxicology: Understanding Stress Ecology
- GEOG 7400: Field Topics in Arctic Systems
- GEOG 7420: Synoptic Meteorology and Weather Analysis
- GEOG 7440: Climate Change
- GEOG 7580: Gender and the Human Environment
- GEOG 7780: Storms-Mesoscale
- GEOG 7940: Sea Ice in Arctic Marine System
- GEOG 7960: Oceanography: Biological II High Trophic Levels
For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar.
Milestones for PhD completion (order may vary)
- appointment of advisor
- formation of advisory committee
- completion of coursework
- development of thesis proposal
- thesis proposal defense
- thesis proposal approved
- research ethics board approval and other approvals for access from outside agencies as needed
- candidacy examination (no later than one year prior to expected graduation)
- conduct thesis research
- preparation and completion of thesis
- review by advisor/advisory committee to ensure preparedness for examination
- formation of examining committee including external examiner
- submission of thesis to fgs who distributes to examining committee
- upon approval of thesis by examining committee, the date is set for the oral examination
- oral examination and public defense of thesis is conducted
- further revisions (if applicable)
- revisions approved by the advisor or examining committee
- submission of the thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies
The following are minimum requirements for entry into the geography PhD program. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
A candidate must normally complete a master's degree before entering the PhD program.
PhD applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the last 60 credit hours of study.
Please review the academic listing and communicate directly with professors whose research most closely matches that of your own interests. The department will not consider applications that have not identified a confirmed program supervisor.
In addition to the admission requirements described here, all applicants must meet the minimum admission and English language proficiency requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
How to apply
Applications are submitted online and must include the following before they will be reviewed by the admissions committee:
- $100 application fee (non-refundable)
- Statement of intent
- Supervisor support
- Completed student advisor application checklist
- 2 letters of recommendation from academic sources different from supervisor
Please read the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application instructions before beginning your application.
Statement of intent information
The statement of intent should be between one and two pages and will briefly describe your intended research project, including your previous research or experience, the proposed topic, preferred methods and potential contributions.
Letters written in the format of a research proposal are strongly preferred. Applicants are encouraged to consult the graduate scholarship application instructions of their appropriate Tricouncil Agency (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) for guidance.
The statement of intent must be approved by your proposed program advisor prior to submitting to the online system.