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Mineral Deposits and Precambrian Geology (PhD)

Push the boundaries of geoscience

Located on the southern rim of one of the world’s largest and best-exposed meteorite impact sites, close to many mines and diverse geological environments, Sudbury is truly the best place in the world to start a PhD project.

Sudbury’s massive deposits of nickel, copper and platinum group elements provide unique opportunities for field instruction and applied research. The region’s geological environments include Archean volcanic/sedimentary belts, a Proterozoic sedimentary/volcanic belt, Grenville metamorphic terrains, and lower to middle Paleozoic sequences. With over 330 lakes and access to over 1000 km of trails, your backyard becomes both your recreational space and laboratory!

Visit the Harquail School Website

Academic Advisor

Dr. Stefanie Brueckner

Telephone: 705-675-1151 ext 5150


Office: B8035, Willet Green Miller Centre

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Laurentian University aerial view
By land area, Greater Sudbury is the largest city in Ontario and as such, the great outdoors beckon with its vast expanse of lakes and waterways, varied terrain, forests and comprehensive network of trails.
Delivery Method: On campus
Program Language: English

Positioning students for employment and success

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences and its Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) are housed in the Willet Green Miller Centre in Sudbury, the world’s largest mineral exploration and mining-service cluster. The building houses several mining-related research centres such as the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the Ontario Geological Survey, the Ontario Geoscience Laboratories (Geo Labs), making it one of the largest earth science resource centres in North America and a great resource for students to find employment within their field while at Laurentian University. The Harquail School contains a wide array of analytical instrumentation to support both the research and educational needs, and benefits from sharing laboratory facilities with the Geo Labs, one of the largest and most advanced geoscience analytical facilities in North America.

Visit the Harquail School of Earth Sciences website to learn more about the faculty, current projects, research areas, student and alumni experiences and events!

Professional Accreditation

The four-year B.Sc. in Earth Sciences is designed to meet the minimum knowledge (academic) requirements for registration as a professional geoscientist (P.Geo.) with the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO). Registration with the APGO will significantly enhance career prospects of Earth Sciences students. 

Laurentian is the leading Canadian university in Economic Geology research funding.

The Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) is a collaborative research centre at Laurentian University affiliated with the Harquail School of Earth Sciences. The Harquail School of Earth Sciences has by far the highest level of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI) funding in economic geology in Canada.

Metal Earth, Canadian $104 million applied research and development program

The most recently funded project called Metal Earth, is a 7 year, $104 Million collaborative research and development project initiated in 2016 and led by MERC. This initiative received a boost of $49,269,000 over seven years from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). This is the largest funding announcement in Laurentian’s 56-year history and the largest exploration research program ever undertaken in Canada, providing undergraduate students with the possibility of obtaining valuable hands-on summer work experience by conducting research in the field as part of this initiative. Findings from Metal Earth will be transferable around the world and position Canada as an authoritative leader in the global quest for metals.

Visit the MERC website. 


Visit the Harquail School of Earth Sciences for more information

Students entering the program must have a M.Sc. degree in Geology or an Earth Science related field, with a grade in excess of 75%. Students may also transfer from the M.Sc. program after one year, if approved by their Supervisory Committee.


Application Process

Step 1. Students are encouraged to consult the faculty list on the Faculty Members to identify a potential supervisor (i.e. a faculty member they would like to work with). Applicants should contact potential supervisors and inquire about the possibility of becoming a student. The application process requires a formal commitment from a faculty member to serve as the main supervisor (Thesis Supervisor Agreement Form).  

Step 2. Click here to submit the online application. Once students have applied, they will receive instructions (typically within 48 hours) from the Office of Admissions leading them to the MyLaurentian portal. Students can access the portal at; sign in credentials will be provided in the correspondence received from the Office of Admissions upon successful completion of an application. The following documents will be required in order to complete an application.


  • Three Reference Forms (to begin the process at click on "Reference Submission" on the left-hand navigation menu)
  • Statement of Interest (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)
  • Thesis Supervisor Agreement Form (found and uploaded via MyLaurentian)
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)
  • Official Academic Transcript(s) from all post secondary studies* (Please note that current or prior Laurentian University students do not need to request transcripts)  

*Please note that official transcripts or WES course-by-course (for institutions attended outside of North America) must come directly to the Office of Admissions from the previous post secondary institution by requesting at the time of your application or by contacting the institution's Registrar's Office.


Step 3. Once the Admissions Office receives all information and the application is deemed complete, the application will be forwarded to the department.  An Admissions Committee meets to review the applications.


Step 4. The Admissions Committee will review all applications on file and make a decision regarding the suitability of each applicant.  The Admissions Committee will then make a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Laurentian University. The Graduate Studies office will verify the dossier and if satisfactory, the Dean of Graduate Studies will forward the recommendation to the Office of Admissions at Laurentian University for admission. 


Step 5: If approved for admission, the Office of Admissions will send the student an Offer of Admission via MyLaurentian.  Applicants wishing to accept the offer of admission must indicate their response on MyLaurentian within 3 weeks of receiving the offer. Once the student has accepted the offer, a transition to the registration process occurs.




1. Check your program requirements

You can find your program requirements on this page, under admission requirements. For some Graduate programs you will need to secure a supervisor as part of your application process. You can find if you need to contact a supervisor on the how to apply to graduate programs page.

2. Complete your Application

Once you have reviewed your program requirements you can apply through the graduate application portal. This will take you to an external site, hosted by OUAC. Within 48 business hours of submitting your application you will receive an email with further instructions.

Apply Now

3. Setup your myLaurentian account and upload your documentation

Once your application has been received by Laurentian University, you will receive an email that contains information on accessing your myLaurentian Portal where you will continue the application process. To activate your account, visit the myLaurentian Portal and click the yellow bar "New to Laurentian".

Please note that the submission of items on the “My Checklist” is solely the obligation of the applicant. Please review this list carefully in order to complete your application.

Learn more on our how to apply to graduate programs page.

Detailed How To Apply
Note for Current Students

The degree options listed below are for the upcoming academic year, not the current academic year. If you are a current student looking for which courses to take in order to complete your degree options from a previous academic year's curriculum, please consult with an academic advisor.

Students must follow these regulations while in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


Approved Fields of Study

  • Mineral Deposits and Precambrian Geology

Program Requirements

Mandatory courses:

GEOL 6000E     Thesis

GEOL 6007E     Research Seminar in Geologyy (Under exceptional circumstances this course may be replaced by another graduate course in Geology)

9 credits GEOL 5000 or 6000 level

Candidate(s) must submit a PhD research proposal and pass an oral PhD Qualifying Examination within 18 months of registration. To complete the Thesis requirement (GEOL-6000) candidates must successfully defend a PhD Thesis and submit a corrected version post-defence.


In addition to the requirements listed above, candidates who are transferred from the MSc degree to the Ph.D. program will require an extra 6 credits of GEOL courses at the 5000 or 6000 level.


Residency Requirements

A minimum of two full academic terms of full-time residence is required for all Ph.D. students within their first two years of study. The minimum period of study is two years (full-time) for candidates holding a M.Sc. degree, or three years (full-time) for candidates entering the program with a B.Sc. Honours degree

GEOL-5000EL - Thesis GEOL-5006EL - Research Techniques in Geology GEOL-5007EL - Research Seminar in Geology GEOL-5055EL - Applied Research Project GEOL-5107EL - Advanced Mineralogy GEOL-5206EL - Topics in Igneous Petrology GEOL-5207EL - Topics in Metamorphic Geology GEOL-5216EL - Basin Analysis GEOL-5217EL - Applied Sedimentology GEOL-5246EL - Carbonate Facies GEOL-5306EL - Structural Control on Ore Dep. GEOL-5307EL - Structure, Tectonics & Mineral Exploration GEOL-5317EL - Topics in Applied Remote Sensing GEOL-5326EL - Exploration Volcanic Terrains GEOL-5406EL - Paleoecology of Ancient Environments GEOL-5407EL - Precambrian and Paleozoic Paleontology
GEOL-5416EL - The Global Change-The Geologic Record GEOL-5606EL - Exploration for Magmatic Ore Deposits GEOL-5607EL - Special Topics in Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits GEOL-5806EL - Exploration Geochemistry GEOL-5906EL - Topics in Shield Geology GEOL-5956EL - Exploration Geophysics GEOL-5957EL - Advanced Topics in Geophysics GEOL-6000EL - Thesis GEOL-6004EL - PhD Comprehensive Examination GEOL-6007EL - Research Seminar in Geology GEOL-6506EL - Directed Studies in Geology GEOL-9500EL - Geology Non-Equivalent - - -