A researcher stands at a work site with his coworkers.
  • icon house


    • Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources
    • Faculty of Graduate Studies

  • icon umachieve


    • Doctor of Philosophy

  • icon umlearn

    Expected duration

     • 4 years 

Graduate students in the Department of Geological Sciences enter a vibrant scientific culture and find themselves in a department with a strong sense of identity and community.

Research topics include:

  • Mineralogy and crystallography
  • Environmental mineralogy and geochemistry
  • Sedimentology and quaternary studies
  • Invertebrate paleontology
  • Crustal and mantle geophysics
  • Applied/environmental geophysics; petrology and tectonics
  • Mineral deposits
  • Arctic, marine and freshwater systems

Research facilities

Extensive analytical laboratories with state of the art equipment—all conveniently located in one building:

  • Stable Isotopes for Innovative Research Lab
  • Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) Laboratory
  • ICP Mass Spectrometer Laboratory
  • Microprobe and SEM Research Facility
  • Argon Argon Mass Spectrometer Laboratory (under construction)
  • X-Ray Diffraction and Mössbauer Laboratories
  • Sedimentology Laboratories
  • Invertebrate Paleontology Laboratory
  • Geophysical Laboratories
  • Nellie Cournoyea Arctic Research Facility 

Program details

Expected duration: four years

Tuition and fees: Two years tuition, then continuing fees in subsequent years (refer to Graduate tuition and fees)

Coursework is normally completed in the first two years, and thesis is normally completed in years four to five. Adjustments may be made with the supervisor’s consultation and approval.

Thesis proposal

Students are required to complete a PhD thesis proposal, normally within 12 months of start of program. The proposal must include an introduction with citation of relevant literature, research objectives, proposed methodology including a timetable, anticipated significant of the research and references. A proposed budget must be appended to the proposal.

Students are required to submit a progress report to the department head on or before February 1 annually.


Students must produce a thesis that is appropriate for the PhD degree being sought and must successfully defend their thesis as determined by the assigned examining committee.

Sample course offerings

  • GEOL 7200: Earth Systems of Central Canada
  • GEOL 7230: Geophysics of the Earth's Crust and Mantle
  • GEOL 7350: Remote Sensing in the Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • GEOL 7470: Advanced Petroleum Geology and Geochemistry
  • GEOL 7480: Advanced Seismology 1
  • GEOL 7540: Isotope Geology and Geochronology
  • GEOL 7550: Hydrothermal Petrochemistry
  • GEOL 7590: Advanced Paleontology 1
  • GEOL 7700: Advanced Clastic Sedimentology
  • GEOL 7720: Geophysical Imaging and Data Processing
  • GEOL 7740: Workshop in the Geological Sciences 1
  • GEOL 7780: Advanced Carbonate Sedimentology
  • GEOL 7790: Advanced Instrumental Techniques in Geology
  • GEOL 7810: Electromagnetic Methods in Geophysics
  • GEOL 7820: Environmental Geophysics

For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar.

Admission requirements

The following are minimum requirements for entry into the geological sciences PhD program. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

The normal entry requirement is the equivalent of a MSc in geological sciences. Students with MSc degrees in related fields may be accepted by the Graduate Admissions Committee providing their planned degree program involves studies in the geological sciences.

Direct entry into the PhD program from an honours bachelor’s degree is permitted only for outstanding students (GPA well above 3.0 in the last two full years of undergraduate study). This route is at the discretion of the Graduate Admissions Committee and is intended only for those students that the committee considers adequately prepared for immediate PhD-level studies.

Students applying should have a GPA of 3.0 (B or equivalent) in the last two full years (60 credit hours) of study

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 
  • Statement of funding 
  • GRE (optional) 
  • The name of your preferred supervisor
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources different from advisor

Please read the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application instructions before beginning your application.

Statement of intent

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.

Statement of funding

A brief statement to indicate that you have a major external grant or scholarship support or that you require departmental financial assistance.

Finding an advisor

We encourage you to contact a potential thesis advisor before submitting an application to ensure that there are openings for new graduate students on specific research projects and funding available for research support. Students who have contacted a prospective supervisor and who have received an encouraging response increase their chances of a successful application.

Application deadlines

Canadian and US applicants

Term Application deadlines Apply
Fall 2021 June 1, 2021 Apply for Fall 2021 (Canada/US)
Winter 2022 October 1, 2021 Apply for Winter 2022 (Canada/US)
Summer 2022 February 1, 2022 Apply for Summer 2022 (Canada/US)
Fall 2022 June 1, 2022 Apply for Fall 2022 (Canada/US)

International applicants

Term Application deadlines Apply
Winter 2022 May 15, 2021 Apply for Winter 2022 (International)
Summer 2022 September 15, 2021 Apply for Summer 2022 (International)
Fall 2022 February 1, 2022 Apply for Fall 2022 (International)

Applicants must submit their online application with supporting documentation and application fee by the deadline date indicated.

Learn more

Contact us

Admission and application inquiries

Faculty of Graduate Studies
Room 500 UMSU University Centre
65 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada

Phone: 204-474-9377
Fax: 204-474-7553

Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Program Inquiries

Celia Mellinger
Graduate Program and Alumni Coordinator
Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources
Room 440 Wallace Building
125 Dysart Rd
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2M6

University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)