Earth Sciences Option

Department of Earth Sciences

General Office: Forestry & Geology Building, Room 112
Mailing Address: Department of Earth Sciences, 
University of New Brunswick,
P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, N.B.,
Canada E3B 5A3 
Phone: (506) 453-4804
Fax: (506) 453-5055
Website: //


  • Broster, Bruce, BSc (Waterloo), PhD (UWO), Prof - 1987
  • Butler, Karl E., P. Eng, BSc (Queens), MSc (UBC), PhD (UBC), Prof – 1999
  • Day, Jennifer, BA, BSc, PhD(Queens), Asst Prof – 2016
  • Keighley, David, BSc (Manchester), PhD (UNB), Assoc Prof - 2004
  • Lentz, David R., BSc (UNB), MSc (UNB), PhD (Ottawa), Prof - 2000
  • Limoges, Audrey, BSc, MSc, PhD(UQAM), Asst Prof – 2016
  • McFarlane, Chris R.M., BSc (Toronto), MSc (Calgary), PhD (Austin), Prof – 2007
  • Shaw, Cliff, BSc (Goldsmith), MSc, PhD (Western), Prof & Chair – 2002
  • Spray, John G., BSc (Cardiff), PhD (Cambridge), Prof - 1986
  • Susak, Nicholas John, BS (Penn State), MA, PhD (Princeton), Assoc Prof – 1982
  • Timmermans, Ann C., BSc (Waterloo), MSc (Carleton), PhD (Carleton) Instructor – 2014
  • White, Joseph C., BSc, PhD (Western), Prof - 1981
  • Williams, Paul F., BSc (Durham), MSc (NSW), PhD (Sydney), Em. Prof - 1980


  • Tom Al
  • Diane Botelho
  • Don Dingwell
  • Stephen Donovan
  • Jacob Hanley
  • Steven McCutcheon
  • Randall Miller
  • Vernon Singhroy
  • Alan Woodland
  • Deanne van Rooyen

General Information

Earth Science is the natural science that deals with Earth, its interior make-up, and surficial features, its formative and destructive processes, its age, history and development through time. Earth is the natural habitat of all life including mankind. Urban and land-use planning and efforts to clean up our environment require a sound knowledge of geology and geological processes. Earth scientists are concerned with a diverse range of issues such as the origin, migration and quality of groundwater, river and coastal erosion, desert-dune migration, the origin and evolution of oceans and continents, of mountain ranges, valleys and canyons. Studies concerning the causes and effects of natural hazards, such as those created by land and rock slides, earthquakes, floods and droughts, and volcanic eruptions all fall within the realm of Earth Sciences.

Geologists research the origin of Earth's natural resources, and are extensively involved in the discovery, development, and conservation of the metallic minerals we use, the clay, sand, gravel, cement, and fertilizer we need to improve our living conditions, the water we drink and the coal, oil and natural gas we use for energy.

Earth Sciences include studies of the origin, history and evolution of life through time. Most importantly, Earth Science is concerned with the special set of circumstances that makes life on Earth possible and Planet Earth so unique in our Solar System if not in the Universe.

Geochemists deal with the chemical make-up of magmas and rocks in the earth's crusts, and are concerned with using geochemical techniques in the discovery of new ore reserves and in addressing environmental concerns. Geophysicists measure and study the gravity, magnetic and electrical fields of the earth and record and analyse seismic waves generated by earthquakes and manmade sources. This information is used to investigate the nature and form of the Earth's interior, from the near surface to the inner core, in mineral and petroleum exploration, engineering site investigations, and in the solution of environmental Earth Science problems.

Biogeologists are concerned with the taxonomy, biogeography and behavioural evolution of fossils, paleoecological aspects of ancient life forms, history and evolution of life and establishing a relative time frame for past geological events. Mineral economics is mainly concerned with applying economic principles to the unimpeded and ordered supply of metals and energy resources for an expanding society on a global basis.

Geologists, geochemists, geophysicists, biogeologists and mineral economists find employment in the mineral industry, including exploration for oil, metals, and industrial minerals, in government surveys, in University teaching and research, and as independent consultants to the mining industry and engineering and environmental organizations.

W.E. Hale Fund

In addition to the required field schools, the Department supports non-credit field trips through the W.E. Hale Fund. This fund partly defrays the cost of student-initiated field trips. These field trips are generally scheduled during spring break or at the end of term. In the past the Hale Fund has sponsored trips to Iceland, the Eifel volcanic field in Germany, the active Volcanoes of Italy and to the Grand Canyon and the Basin and Range Province of the southwest USA. This fund was established by the friends and colleagues of the late Dr. W.E. Hale, a Professor and former Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences.

Professional Registration

Geoscience is a regulated profession in most of Canada. Individual provinces and territories have legislative acts that restrict the practice of geoscience to individuals who are registered members of professional associations. In New Brunswick, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick (APEGNB) is the licensing body. In order to meet the requirements of professional registration, specific academic training and four years of appropriate full-time experience as a geologist- or geophysicist-in-training following graduation are needed. Geoscientists Canada has developed a set of guidelines for the academic training that are used by most provinces. The professional stream programs offered by the Department meet these current guidelines. Because the academic requirements are set by the individual provincial bodies, outside of the control of the Department of Earth Sciences, and the provincial bodies are free to change their requirements at any time, there is no guarantee that a student will meet the academic requirements for registration. Students are urged to consult the relevant provincial body to ensure that they meet the necessary requirements.

Earth Sciences Programs

The Department of Earth Sciences offers an option in the Earth Sciences, an option in Environmental Geosciences (see the Environmental Geochemistry section of this calendar) and Joint Programs in Earth Sciences and Physics and Earth Sciences and Economics with the relevant departments (see the Interdepartmental Programs section of this calendar).  Co-op programs are available.  A Minor in Earth Sciences is also offered for students in other programs that are interested in a coherent set of earth science courses.

Within the Earth Sciences Option, three programs are offered to students starting their second year in Science: Honours, Major, and Pass. Two required off-schedule field schools for the Major and Honours programs contribute 10ch to the program totals. The Pass program includes 5ch of second year field school.

  1. Honours Program: (minimum of 149ch): This program is recommended for students intending to pursue graduate studies in the earth sciences, or whose goal is to become a professional geoscientist. This program meets the knowledge requirements for professional registration. The program requires a thesis and a cgpa of 3.0 at the time of entry (start of the student’s final year). Honours students are not formally recognized as such until this time.
  2. Major Program: (minimum of 141 ch): This is the program is designed to meet the knowledge requirements for professional registration. It is the same as the honours program except it does not require a thesis.
  3. Pass Program:  (minimum of 137 ch): This program is designed for those students who are looking for some specialization in Earth Sciences and the opportunity of taking more elective courses outside the Department. Minimum course requirements are given below. This program does not meet all of the requirements for professional registration. Students are reminded that courses offered by other Departments can form an important complementary part of the overall course of studies.

All required and elective science and ESCI courses must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Common Core

All students in the Earth Sciences and Environmental Geochemistry options take a common core in the first two years of study.

First Year (36 ch minimum)

ESCI 1001, ESCI 1006 or ESCI 1026ESCI 1012ESCI 1017MATH 1003 or MATH 1053, MATH 1013 or MATH 1063; CHEM 1001, CHEM 1006, CHEM 1012, CHEM 1017. The third science must also include the labs, either PHYS 1061PHYS 1062PHYS 1091, PHYS 1092, or BIOL 1001, BIOL 1006, BIOL 1012, BIOL 1017.

Any deficiencies in the first-year requirements must be made up in the second year.

PHYS 1071 and PHYS 1072 may be substituted for PHYS 1061 and PHYS 1062, but students are cautioned that they may not be accepted for professional registration in some provinces.

Second Year (37 ch minimum)

ESCI 2131, ESCI 2142, ESCI 2211, ESCI 2321, ESCI 2522ESCI 2602, ESCI 2703STAT 2264 or STAT 2593.  Two science electives (6 ch minimum) chosen from the following:

PHYS 1061 and PHYS 1091 (counts as one elective)

PHYS 1062 and PHYS 1092 (counts as one elective)

BIOL 1001 and BIOL 1006 (counts as one elective)

BIOL 1012 and BIOL 1017 (counts as one elective)

MATH 1503 or MATH 2003

CS 1003 or CS 1073

CHEM 2121 or CHEM 2201 or CHEM 2321 or CHEM 2401 or CHEM 2421

Courses used to satisfy first year requirements cannot be used to meet this requirement. Students intending to meet professional requirements must take a full year of physics (PHYS 1061/PHYS 1062/PHYS 1091/PHYS 1092) by the end of second year. Other sciences may be taken with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

At the end of the winter term of the second year, students must chose an option and program stream. Because many third and fourth year courses are offered in alternate years, students must consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies when planning their program in order to graduate in a timely fashion.

Honours Program

Entrance to the Earth Sciences Honours Program requires a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 overall, by the end of the third year. The student must have completed all first and second year requirements and at least 20 ch of earth science requirements listed below. An application for admission to the Honours program, available from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, must be submitted by the last day to add classes of the fall term of the fourth year. Students not admitted to the Honours Program may continue in the Major Program.

For graduation with an Honours degree, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and a grade of B- or higher in ESCI 4900 are required. Students failing to meet these requirements will be awarded a Major degree.

Third and Fourth Year (76 ch minimum)

ESCI 3131ESCI 3271ESCI 3322ESCI 3703ESCI 4312, one of  ESCI 4501 or ESCI 4512, one of ESCI 3482 or ESCI 3492, two of ESCI 4112 or ESCI 4212 or ESCI 4401, and ESCI 4900 plus the following electives:

Two courses of ESCI electives at the 2000 level or above (6 ch minimum). Optional courses not used above may be used as electives.
Four elective courses from the Faculty of Arts (minimum of 12 ch)
Five free elective courses (minimum of 15 ch) from any Faculty or Department. Additional ESCI courses may be counted here up to a maximum of three courses.

Major Program

Third and Fourth Year (68 ch minimum)

ESCI 3131ESCI 3271ESCI 3322, ESCI 3703, ESCI 4312, one of ESCI 3482 or ESCI 3492, two of ESCI 4112 or ESCI 4212 or ESCI 4401, plus the following electives:


Two courses of ESCI electives at the 2000 level or above (6 ch minimum). Optional courses not used above may be used as electives.

Four elective courses from the Faculty of Arts (minimum of 12 ch)

Five free elective courses (minimum of 15 ch) from any Faculty or Department. Additional ESCI courses may be counted here up to a maximum of three courses.

All required and elective ESCI courses must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Pass Program

Third and Fourth Year (64 ch minimum)

Eight courses of ESCI electives at the 2000 level or above (28 ch minimum)

Four elective courses from the Faculty of Arts (minimum of 12 ch)

Eight free elective courses (minimum of 24 ch) from any Faculty or Department. Additional ESCI courses may be counted here up to a maximum of three courses.

Students are encouraged to use their free electives for a Minor.

Co-op Program (Major and Honours Only)

The UNB Faculty of Science seeks to provide opportunities for students and employers to develop relationships that enhance the learning experience for students and present employers with skilled, motivated employees looking to make a career connection. To achieve this, the Faculty through the Department of Earth Sciences, and other Science departments and programs, operates a Co-operative education program. Co-op opportunities are available for qualified students, please refer to the Science section of this calendar for detailed information.

Note that field schools occur at the end of Winter Term in the second year and before the start of Fall Term in the fourth year, so Work Terms must be carefully planned to graduate in a timely fashion.

Minor Program

The Department also offers a Minor in Earth Sciences following the University guidelines outlined in the online calendar. The minor must be pre-approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

A Minor consists of first year earth sciences (ESCI 1001ESCI 1006ESCI 1026 ESCI 1012, ESCI 1017) and an additional 14 ch of approved earth sciences courses (total of 24 ch minimum).

Students whose programs require first year earth sciences courses may count these courses towards their minor. The student must get a grade of C or better in all courses used for the minor.

The Earth Sciences Minor does not meet the requirements for professional registration in New Brunswick.

Students in joint programs with the Department of Earth Sciences are not eligible for a Minor in Earth Sciences.