Graduate Degree Programs
The Atmospheric Science Programme, jointly sponsored by the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences and the Department of Geography, conducts teaching and research in atmospheric science. It is an interdisciplinary programme, with faculty members coming from not only these two departments, but also from Agricultural Sciences, Chemistry, and Applied Science, with research covering boundary layer and urban meteorology, atmospheric chemistry and air pollution, climate and climate variability, weather and climate prediction, cloud physics, atmosphere-ocean interactions, geophysical fluid dynamics, and interactions between the atmosphere and land (especially vegetation and soil).
Geological Engineering is an interdisciplinary program that is housed in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences within the Faculty of Science, but is under the jurisdiction of the Dean of Applied Science.
Our program delivers an interdisciplinary experience, combining principles of geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology and geology, to provide a versatile set of skills needed to solve a wide range of practical problems related to engineering interactions with the earth environment.
Faculty members in the Geological Engineering program have research interests in the following general areas:
- landslides, debris flows, runout analysis, hazard assessment
- groundwater hydrology, groundwater contamination & remediation, reactive transport modeling, environmental geochemistry
- rock mechanics & rock engineering, open pit & underground mine design, tunnelling
Other research areas include geotechnical engineering, environmental geology, economic geology and applied geophysics. Students are encouraged to consult individual faculty members for information about current research areas.
See overview of course paths on this PDF.
The Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC, one of the largest geoscience groups in Canada is composed of over 40 full-time faculty, a staff complement of 30, a total of 40 research associates and postdoctoral fellows. UBC and the Province of British Columbia offer exceptional opportunity for combined field and laboratory research. The Canadian Cordillera offers research opportunities in:
- petrology of intrusive and volcanic rocks of many kinds, and of metamorphic rocks of all grades
- structural studies of complex metamorphic terrains exposed in three dimensions
- metalliferous deposits of varied genetic types
- mineral exploration methods; mineralogy associated with many different environments
- complexly folded and faulted successions of bedded rocks in the mountain belts and plateaus, and in virtually undisturbed coal- and gas-bearing strata of the north-eastern province
- numerous problems of engineering, environmental geology-related to water, slope stability, natural geological hazards, and hydrogeology (lakes, fjords, deltas, tidal flats, continental shelf, and oceanic depths provide a wide range of aquatic environments for students interested in sedimentology, geochemistry, biostratigraphy, and geological oceanography)
Numerous research units in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences maintain excellent provisions for research and study in a wide range of geological sciences.
Theoretically, experimentally, and observationally oriented Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are offered in a number of key areas of geophysics. Current interests include topics in observational and theoretical glaciology; climate variability; geodynamics of the crust, mantle, and core of Earth and other planets; geological fluid mechanics; volcanic processes; origin and structure of planetary magnetic fields; reflection seismology; time-series analysis and wavelet processing; inversion methodologies with application to reflection seismology, mineral exploration, and environmental studies; computational electrodynamics; seismology with observational programs in crustal and upper mantle studies; earthquake studies focused on understanding past and current tectonic processes in Western Canada; and theoretical model studies to investigate wave propagation in laterally heterogeneous media.
Oceanographers investigate both fundamental and applied problems relating to the physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and geology of the sea, often working across traditional academic disciplines. Research carried out both independently and in collaboration with federal government laboratories occurs in many different oceanographic regimes, including coastal BC fjords, the inland sea of the Strait of Georgia, open ocean regions of the Subarctic Pacific, and many other locations, including the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. The types of problems that can be studied include fundamental questions about the flow of stratified fluids at scales ranging from tens of meters to thousands of kilometers, applied research in estuaries, coastal, and deep-ocean processes, general ocean circulation and climate change issues, marine chemistry, geochemistry, and biogeochemistry, natural product chemistry, marine viruses, fisheries oceanography, plankton ecology and physiology, and primary production of the sea. The Department is well equipped to carry out research in the field (using either its own boat or larger vessels in the oceanographic fleet), at the laboratory bench, and in the numerical heart of a computer. Most problems involve aspects of all three.
Students in Oceanography may select courses, depending on their interest, from the following areas of specialization:
- biological oceanography
- marine chemistry and geochemistry
- physical oceanography and atmospheric sciences
Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge by taking courses outside their area of specialization. Courses related to Oceanography are also offered in the Departments of Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Geography, Physics and Astronomy, and Zoology.