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Graduate Recruitment

The links below describe the current graduate study opportunities offered by faculty members. Some faculty, however, may be willing to supervise independent student research related to their areas of study. In all cases, however, students should contact an appropriate faculty member before submitting an application for graduate study. 

Development

Lea Berrang Ford:  I am open to inquiries and discussions with students interested in projects in the following areas: 1) Human adaptation to the health impacts of climate change, 2) Environmental determinants of emerging infectious disease, 3) Sleeping sickness in Uganda/Africa. In particular, I welcome students with quantitative or epidemiology backgrounds and interest in evaluating environmental health datasets. Candidates should have experience or explicit interest in environmental epidemiology and health geography, and should be prepared to develop funding proposals to support research.

Natalie Oswin: Students interested in MA or PhD research projects that connect to my broad interests in urban cultural politics and/ or geographies of sexualities are welcome to contact me. I have some funding available for students entering in 2013, but applicants (especially international applicants) should be prepared to seek external sources of funding.

Brian E. Robinson:I am interested in hearing from potential masters or PhD candidates interested in quantitative work on coupled human and natural systems. In particular I may take on 1-2 students interested in exploring how grassland management institutions can mitigate shocks and impact livelihood outcomes. This work is international and field-based, and the successful candidate must have demonstrated experience an interest in these type settings. Please see further information for prospective students and other project details on my website. Some initial funding may be available, but students are expected to additionally pursue external sources of support.

Sarah Turner: I am interested to discuss graduate opportunities with prospective students wishing to work in Asia, especially Vietnam and southwest China. Fieldwork experience or extensive travel in a developing country/countries is essential. For China, intermediate language skills are needed. Currently I am particularly interested in taking on students with research interests and prior knowledge (broadly) in the fields of livelihoods, food security, extreme weather events, agricultural change, or rural land use change as they pertain to ethnic minorities. I am also interested in informal economies in urban areas in Asia. Those with a broader background/interest in Asian studies are also encouraged to contact me - please do so with a suggested theme/topic (see my publications for possible overlaps in interests). Visit my webpage for further details, and note carefully the information that I would like you to send me with your initial email enquiry.

Earth System Science

Dr. Elisabeth Levac (adjunct professor in Geography): I have funding to support a M.Sc. student (possibly Ph.D.) conducting palynological research. The proposed topic is Holocene millennial-scale variability in paleoceanographic records from the eastern Canadian margin. Other paleoenvironmental projects may be available. Skills in palynology are an asset. Interested students should contact me (elevac [at] ubishops [dot] ca).

Damon Matthews (adjunct professor in Geography): I am looking for a PhD student in the area of Earth system modelling of recent and future climate change.  Possible projects include: (1) modeling land-use change and its impact on carbon sinks, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change; or (2) developing a model to represent Northern peatlands and their contribution to contemporary greenhouse gas budgets.  Both projects would involve the development and use of an Earth system climate model, so some experience with computer programming, modelling and data analysis is required.

Nigel Roulet:I am looking for two to three Doctoral and/or Masters' students and one or two post-doctoral fellows to work on various aspects of the links among hydrology, biogeochemistry and ecosystem functions, with a focus on peatlands and forested catchments in the temperate to Arctic regions.   These positions broadly address the following research questions:

  • How permafrost thaws in peatlands and how that will affect the quantity and quality of dissolved organic carbon export in the Arctic?  When permafrost thaws the Arctic landscape may become much more hydrologically dynamic.  Greater active layer depths are going to expose carbon deposits that were previously inactive.  Does the thaw lead to greater carbon export and will the composition of that carbon change, thus affecting downstream aquatic ecosystems metabolism. (4 year PhD position or M.Sc. positions).
  • How do patterns on peatlands form and what feedbacks are involved?  There are a number of modelling efforts that have approached simulating northern peatlands as complex adaptive systems.  However, there has been very little evaluation of these dynamic peatland models.  Further, the models are currently quite limited in what they can simulate.  Our model, the Holocene Peatland Model (HPM), is currently a one-dimensional model that could be expanded to three dimensions to look at the development of patterns and processes in peatlands.  In particular, I am interesting in understanding how hummock and hollows, and pools, ridges and flarks form in northern peatlands.  This research would likely include a substantial field component to develop the necessary functions for the inclusion of patterning in HPM. (4 year PhD position or M.Sc. positions).
  • Can we use the measurements from eddy covariance systems in combination with various remote sensing platforms such as MODIS, Hyperion, and Radarsat-II to develop algorithms to estimate the present day carbon exchanges between remote northern peatlands and the atmosphere?  Can we develop methods to assimilate remotely sensed data to provide more direct inputs to peatland models? (4 year PhD position or M.Sc. positions). 
  • What are the relationships among nitrogen retention, export and saturation and what are the links between dissolved organic and inorganic nitrogen and carbon in forests?  We have been working on the runoff and seasonal hydrology of seven nested basins at the Mount Saint Hilaire (MSH) nature reserve east of Montreal.  This is a particularly interesting set of catchments because MSH is covered with a relatively pristine old growth temperate forest but is located in an area of some of the highest nitrogen deposition in eastern North America.  It is, therefore, a great place to test some of the hypotheses related to N and C export and the forms of N export related to inputs. (4 year PhD position or M.Sc. positions).
  • What is the current exchange of CO2 and CH4 between the atmosphere and the Hudson Bay Lowlands and what is the potential fate of the large store of carbon in the HBL, the world’s third largest peatland complex, in scenarios of future climate?  We have a research project in partnership with several other universities and the Ontario Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment to address these questions.  This work would include analysis of the measured exchanges from eddy covariance towers in the HBL and the use of the observations to evaluate and develop further the McGill Wetland Model (MWM) and the wetland-version of the DNDC model.   (2 year PDF position).

Environmental Management

Peter Brown: I am looking for up to 2 students to work with me on stewardship economics -- designing an economic system compatible with, and respectful of, the Earth's living communities and the chemical and physical processes on which they depend. Financial support of approximately 20,000 CAD per year is available for three years. Ph.D. level student(s)preferred.

Gail Chmura: My research is focused on tidal salt marshes and biogeography of coastal organisms. I welcome applications from M.Sc. or Ph.D. candidates interested in these topics particularly as it relates to the value of salt marshes as carbon sinks.

James Ford: I am looking for master’s and PhD students with interests in climate change vulnerability and adaptation. My work has a strong focus on the Arctic and Indigenous peoples, although I also welcome interest from those looking to work in the broad human dimensions of climate change field. The candidate should have a high GPA and all email enquiries must include a cv, copy of transcripts, and description of interest for graduate study.

Margaret Kalacska: I welcome MSc and PhD applications for three specific areas of research: 1) Development of image processing algorithms using CUDA (previous experience with CUDA and GPGPU required); 2) Bayesian Network analysis of historical data (previous experience with Bayesian Netoworks required); 3) Distributed computing and remote sensing (previous experience with Torque Server, OpenMPI and one of Matlab, R, IDL or Octave required).

Brian E. Robinson:I am interested in hearing from potential masters or PhD candidates interested in quantitative work on coupled human and natural systems. In particular I may take on 1-2 students interested in exploring how grassland management institutions can mitigate shocks and impact livelihood outcomes. This work is international and field-based, and the successful candidate must have demonstrated experience an interest in these type settings. Please see further information for prospective students and other project details on my website. Some initial funding may be available, but students are expected to additionally pursue external sources of support.

Renee Sieber: I plan to fund up to two graduate positions for either Master's or PhD students who will investigate applications of the geoweb (GIS, digital earths on Web 2.0). One student would investigate methods to aid in communicating climate change to a general public (e.g., via mashups, geowikis, Facebook). Another student would develop applications to integrate environmental and climate change models with digital earths. Prior experience in computer programming (especially Python, PHP) or a demonstrated aptitude to learn programming is a MUST.

I also have two years funding for a graduate (masters) student to participate in a health  informatics grant to investigate existing Web 2.0 data and geo visualization tools for hotspots of injuries (i.e., motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian injury, gunshot wounds and blunt assault). Injuries represent a leading cause of death among the young worldwide.  The focus is on free and open source software (FOSS). The student would develop innovative means to model and visualize geospatial data and integrate it with other environmental and health related information. This research will yield methods and protocols for building virtual models of injury hotspots; in the process it will instantiate Web 2.0 as a working component of health informatics. A Web-based platform also lends itself to knowledge dissemination and exchange. By virtually rendering actual injury hotspots, the student's research will provide a wealth of essential, policy-relevant evidence to communities at risk, health care providers, researchers, injury prevention workers, urban planners and policy makers.

Sarah Turner: I am interested to discuss graduate opportunities with prospective students wishing to work in Asia, especially Vietnam and southwest China. Fieldwork experience or extensive travel in a developing country/countries is essential. For China, intermediate language skills are needed. Currently I am particularly interested in taking on students with research interests and prior knowledge (broadly) in the fields of livelihoods, food security, extreme weather events, agricultural change, or rural land use change as they pertain to ethnic minorities. I am also interested in informal economies in urban areas in Asia. Those with a broader background/interest in Asian studies are also encouraged to contact me - please do so with a suggested theme/topic (see my publications for possible overlaps in interests). Visit my webpage for further details, and note carefully the information that I would like you to send me with your initial email enquiry.

GIS & Remote Sensing

Renee Sieber: I plan to fund up to two graduate positions for either Master's or PhD students who will investigate applications of the geoweb (GIS, digital earths on Web 2.0). One student would investigate methods to aid in communicating climate change to a general public (e.g., via mashups, geowikis, Facebook). Another student would develop applications to integrate environmental and climate change models with digital earths. Prior experience in computer programming (especially Python, PHP) or a demonstrated aptitude to learn programming is a MUST.

I also have two years funding for a graduate (masters) student to participate in a health  informatics grant to investigate existing Web 2.0 data and geo visualization tools for hotspots of injuries (i.e., motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian injury, gunshot wounds and blunt assault). Injuries represent a leading cause of death among the young worldwide.  The focus is on free and open source software (FOSS). The student would develop innovative means to model and visualize geospatial data and integrate it with other environmental and health related information. This research will yield methods and protocols for building virtual models of injury hotspots; in the process it will instantiate Web 2.0 as a working component of health informatics. A Web-based platform also lends itself to knowledge dissemination and exchange. By virtually rendering actual injury hotspots, the student's research will provide a wealth of essential, policy-relevant evidence to communities at risk, health care providers, researchers, injury prevention workers, urban planners and policy makers.

Margaret Kalacska:I welcome MSc and PhD applications for three specific areas of research: 1) Development of image processing algorithms using CUDA (previous experience with CUDA and GPGPU required); 2) Bayesian Network analysis of historical data (previous experience with Bayesian Netoworks required); 3) Distributed computing and remote sensing (previous experience with Torque Server, OpenMPI and one of Matlab, R, IDL or Octave required).

Land Surface Process Studies

Gail Chmura: My research is focused on tidal salt marshes and biogeography of coastal organisms. I welcome applications from M.Sc. or Ph.D. candidates interested in these topics particularly as it relates to the value of salt marshes as carbon sinks.

Michel Lapointe: I am looking for 2 Masters' (or 1 Master's and 1 Doctoral) student to work on projects that have to do with: A) The physical controls on geometry and location of 'thermal refugia' (cool spots): critical habitats in trout and salmon streams during warmer summers; B) the effects of hydro-electric damming on river ecosystems and fish habitat: comparative studies.

Tim Moore

Peatland biogeochemistry. I seek MSc or PhD graduate students with an interest in addressing questions of the biogeochemistry and ecology of peatlands. In particular, I have an immediate opportunity, to start January 2014:

We seek a dedicated student to conduct laboratory-based measurements of C dynamics (CH4, CO2 and DOC production and DOC biodegradability) in organic materials (e.g. plant litter, permafrost soil, bog and fen peat soils) as part of a FRQNT-supported study of the effect of permafrost thaw on C stocks and fluxes.

This is part of PERPLEX (Influence of changing active-layer thickness on PERmafrost PeatLand trace gas EXchanges and Carbon balance) based on Scotty Creek, a hydrologically-well characterized watershed with discontinuous permafrost near Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Detailed field measurements of water, CO2, CH4 and DOC fluxes will be made in peatland types comprising raised, forested plateaus with permafrost that drain into permafrost-free, non-forested and partly hydrologically-connected collapse bogs and into a network of permafrost-free and sparsely-forested fens, channeling water toward the outlet of the watershed. The laboratory studies, therefore, are designed to provide explanations of the field patterns.

The M.Sc. program, based at McGill University, can start in either January or September 2014, with initial experiments starting in summer, 2014. Please send enquiries, with CV and academic record, to:

Dr. Tim Moore
Department of Geography
McGill University
Montreal, QC
tim [dot] moore [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Dr. Oliver Sonnentag
Département de Géographie
Université de Montréal
Montréal, QC
olivier [dot] sonnertag [at] gmail [dot] com

Other interests and opportunities include:

  • Rates and controls on di-nitrogen fixation in peatlands.
  • Changes in peatland ecology and biogeochemistry in response to fertilization: we have been running an N and P-K fertilization experiment at the Mer Bleue peatland for 12 years in collaboration with Professor Jill Bubier (Mount Holyoke College). We have measured changes in species coverage and productivity, root dynamics, CO2 cycling and nutrient uptake. Opportunities exist for further detailed process studies within this experiment.
  • Effect of beaver pond drainage on plant ecology and biogeochemistry at the Mer Bleue peatland. The application of ecological stoichiometry to peatland plants, decompsoition rates and peat accumulation. Detecting graves using the biogeochemistry of soils. We have been examining ways in which soil biogeochemistry can detect the presence of graves, in collaboration with Profs. Margaret Kalacska (Geography) and André Costopoulos (Anthropology). We have shown that methane and nitrous oxide may be useful, as cadaver burial and associated anaerobic conditions lead to elevated concentrations and fluxes of these gases

Wayne Pollard: I am currently looking for a Doctoral student to work on thermokarst and the impacts of climate change related landscape processes in either the High Arctic or the western Arctic.

Nigel Roulet: See Earth System Science node.

Ian Strachan: I welcome graduate applicants wishing to conduct research within the general area of ecosystem GHG exchange. Research will involve using tower-based micrometeorological techniques to study processes behind the surface-atmosphere exchanges of GHGs. Please visit my website where you will find my current research activities.

Political, Urban, Economic, & Health Geography

Lea Berrang Ford: I am open to inquiries and discussions with students interested in projects in the following areas: 1) Human adaptation to the health impacts of climate change, 2) Environmental determinants of emerging infectious disease, 3) Sleeping sickness in Uganda/Africa. In particular, I welcome students with quantitative or epidemiology backgrounds and interest in evaluating environmental health datasets. Candidates should have experience or explicit interest in environmental epidemiology and health geography, and should be prepared to develop funding proposals to support research.

Sebastien Breau: I am currently seeking a Master's student for the fall of 2014 to work on a project dealing with the spatial dimensions of inequality. Students should have a background in economic/urban geography, regional development and/or economics more broadly. Knowledge of GIS and statistical methods is also preferable. Interested individuals should contact me for more information about research and funding possibilities.

Benjamin Forest: I am accepting inquiries about my current SSHRC-funded project on visible minority candidates and constituency organizations in Canada. Potential students should have a background in political geography or cognate field, some quantitative skills, and an interest in electoral systems. Students should contact me -- after reviewing the information on my webpage – well before the graduate application deadline.

Kevin Manaugh: I am interested in hearing from prospective Master's or Ph.D. students who wish to pursue topics related broadly to my research on 1) urban transport systems , 2) social and spatial justice in North American cities, and 3) motivators and barriers to adopting environmentally sustainable transportation patterns. Please contact me for more information about research and funding possibilities.

Sarah Moser: I am interested in hearing from prospective graduate students (Master’s or Ph.D.) who wish to pursue topics relating to: 1) the cultural politics of urban development in Asia and the Arab world 2) the construction of various social identities (race, national identity, religion) 3) race and the built environment 4) geographies of Islam. While some funding may be available, applicants should be prepared to seek external sources of funding.

Natalie Oswin:Students interested in MA or PhD research projects that connect to my broad interests in urban cultural politics and/ or geographies of sexualities are welcome to contact me. I have some funding available for students entering in 2013, but applicants (especially international applicants) should be prepared to seek external sources of funding.

Brian E. Robinson:I am interested in hearing from potential masters or PhD candidates interested in quantitative work on coupled human and natural systems. In particular I may take on 1-2 students interested in exploring how grassland management institutions can mitigate shocks and impact livelihood outcomes. This work is international and field-based, and the successful candidate must have demonstrated experience an interest in these type settings. Please see further information for prospective students and other project details on my website. Some initial funding may be available, but students are expected to additionally pursue external sources of support.

Nancy Ross: I am interested in hearing from prospective graduate students (Master's or Ph.D.) for projects examing the role of the built environment in obesity and chronic disease and the relationship between income inequality of places and population health. Please contact me for further details.

Sarah Turner: I am interested to discuss graduate opportunities with prospective students wishing to work in Asia, especially Vietnam and southwest China. Fieldwork experience or extensive travel in a developing country/countries is essential. For China, intermediate language skills are needed. Currently I am particularly interested in taking on students with research interests and prior knowledge (broadly) in the fields of livelihoods, food security, extreme weather events, agricultural change, or rural land use change as they pertain to ethnic minorities. I am also interested in informal economies in urban areas in Asia. Those with a broader background/interest in Asian studies are also encouraged to contact me - please do so with a suggested theme/topic (see my publications for possible overlaps in interests). Visit my webpage for further details, and note carefully the information that I would like you to send me with your initial email enquiry.