Major Programs of Study

Our undergraduate curriculum provides a rigorous foundation in the physical sciences and the flexibility to create an individualized program in preparation for careers in industry, teaching, or research. In addition to major and honours programs, students can pursue an Earth System Science Interdepartmental major or a joint major in Physics and Geophysics. All of these programs culminate with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree. See below for details on these programs.

Major in Geology

(formerly Earth and Planetary Sciences Major)

The Bachelor of Science Major Program in Geology consists of 66 credits of required and complementary courses; the remaining 24 credits that complete the B.Sc degree can be filled using electives or courses chosen as part of a minor from a different department.

Elective courses are chosen by the student from any department in the Faculty of Arts or Science. There are some restrictions on courses from other faculties. Students generally use these electives to take general interest courses in different fields. Courses at the 180 level are popular because they tend to have few prerequisites. Some 200-level courses are intended for students with a general interest and minimal knowledge of a subject; however, those that are part of a major may be quite demanding.

In the U1 year, EPS students are expected to take 24 credits of required courses, three of which come from EPSC 231 - Field School 1 , taken in the summer semester.

The fall semester should consist of:

The winter semester should consist of:

Note: If you need to take MATH 222 and you are not familiar with vector geometry, MATH 133 - Linear Algebra and Geometry  is a co-requisite. 

If you have passed the equivalent of Calculus 3 in cegep or the sequence MATH 150 - MATH 151 in your U0 year, you cannot take MATH 222 for credit. You must then choose another course in order to fulfill the correct number of credits for your B.Sc. degree. In this case, be sure to consult with the Undergraduate Director; the substitution of MATH 222 by another course appropriate for your major must be approved and noted in your file.

Two field school courses are required in your program. Field School 1, EPSC 231, is taken at the end of the U1 year, in the first two weeks of May. Field School 2, EPSC 331, is usually taken at the end of U2, but may be taken at the end of U3.

Your U2 and U3 year must include 6 credits from two required courses and 36 credits from twelve complementary courses, one of which must be Field School 2 or Field School 3 (EPSC 341). The Department offers required U2/U3 and complementary courses in alternating years, so give them priority in planning your schedule. Contact the Undergraduate Director early if you anticipate timetable conflicts between the required courses of your major and a minor. In some cases, a substitution may be approved.

More information about the Major in Geology.

Honours in Geology

Students majoring in Earth and Planetary Sciences with a GPA of 3.2 or more may enter the Honours stream during their U2 year.

The Honours in Geology follows the same program as a major, but includes 18 credits of required courses in the U2/U3 years, which include:

Note: While EPSC 334 - Invertebrate Paleontology is not required, the student may wish to take this as a complementary course because it counts towards professional accreditation in Canada.

More information about the Honours Program in Geology.

Honours in Planetary Sciences

The Honours in Planetary Sciences stream may be chosen as early as U1 because students following this program are encouraged to take MATH 223 - Linear Algebra in their U1 year, raising the total of required credits for that year to 24. If necessary, MATH 223 can be taken in U2 or U3. There are 42 credits of required courses in the U2/U3 years, which include:

Some of the Planetary Sciences course requirements are different as well. For example, required courses include:

More information about the Honours Program in Planetary Sciences.

Liberal Program Core Science Component in Earth and Planetary Sciences

The Bachelor of Science Liberal Degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences provides the student with a core knowledge of geology, geophysics, earth system science and planetary science while allowing for broadening of the student's educational experience with courses from other sciences or the arts. The Core Science Component consists of 45 credits (21 credits of required courses and 24 credits of complementaries chosen from a list). More information about the Liberal B.Sc. Program in Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Physics and Geophysics

A joint major program is offered by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Physics. Along with physics and math courses, this program includes six EPS courses, so although the Department of Physics is the administrative "home" of the program, students are fully welcome in all EPS activities. More information on the Joint Major in Physics and Geophysics.

Earth System Science

The ESS Interdepartmental Major Program is 57 credits (19 courses). Required ESS courses are:

Also required are 30 course credits from Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC), Biology (BIOL), Environment (ENVR), Geography (GEOG) and Math (MATH).

The remaining 15 credits come from complementary courses chosen from an extensive and diverse list that includes the following departments:

  • Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Biology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Geography
  • Mathmatics
  • Physics
  • Economics

Students may choose to diversify or specialize to suit their interests. Should they decide to continue with their studies, ESS students are able to pursue graduate research in many different areas.

EPS Professor William Minarik is the main program adviser for ESS, but department-specific ESS advisers can also be found in the ATOC and GEOG departments.

ESS students are welcome in all three departments and can choose to make any or all of them their "home base." A student lounge in Frank Dawson Adams 210 is reserved for the exclusive use of ESS students.

More information on the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Major is available on the program website and in the course calendar.

Earth System Science Honours

Students majoring in Earth System Science with a GPA of 3.2 or more may enter the Honours stream during their U2 year. An honours degree in ESS consists of 66 credits.

The Honours in Earth System Science follows the same program as a major, but includes an additional 9 credits of required courses in the U2/U3 years:

More information on the Honours Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Major is available on the program website and in the course calendar.