Earth and Planetary Sciences


Our students learn about the Earth and its neighbouring planets in a collegial atmosphere with dynamic researchers who are world leaders in their fields.

An interdisciplinary subject, EPS applies physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology to planetary processes of the past, present, and future. Earth and planetary scientists work in environments such as a state-of-the-art laboratory, an actively erupting volcano, a submarine on the ocean floor, or the surface of the Moon. They help understand and improve our environment, study Earth's oceans, and predict and monitor natural hazards.

Our students are prepared for graduate studies at top universities around the world, or to immediately begin work in private industry, for the government, or as an independent consultant. With the knowledge they learn at McGill, our graduates can work anywhere in the world in exciting jobs ranging from the exploration for mineral, energy and water resources to the investigation of other planets.

Program options

Undergraduate Liberal, Major, and Honours programs combine a rigorous foundation in the physical sciences with the flexibility to create an individualized program. The Department together with the Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and of Geography introduced an integrated program in Earth System Science in 2005, and the Department works together with the McGill School of Environment to offer two programs (B.Sc. and B.A.) that combine the disciplines of Earth Sciences with Economics. Additionally, the Department offers a Joint Major in Physics and Geophysics.

At the graduate level, we offer M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs. Areas of research include chemical oceanography, economic geology, environmental geology, high-temperature geochemistry, hydrogeology, mineralogy, petroleum geology, petrology, planetary science, tectonics, and volcanology.

Department highlights

  • Field trips, including an annual winter trip to Latin America, are an integral part of our program and provide an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to acquire hands-on experience.
  • Our student to faculty ratio is approximately 4-to-1 which means small classes and professors that are available to answer questions and guide students in independent research projects.
  • Excellent opportunities for summer employment let students explore careers in environmental assessment and remediation, the mineral and petroleum industries, and the government.

More information

Earth and Planetary Sciences webpages for undergraduate students

Calendar entry for Earth and Planetary Sciences - see online calendar