Earth sciences

Department: Earth Sciences Faculty: Science Campus: St. John's
Length: Four years Honours available: Yes
University Calendar: Earth sciences
Prospective students: Fill out our student inquiry form to receive updates from Memorial.

Earth sciences encompasses all scientific studies related to the structure and development of our planet, whether investigating the composition of rocks or soil on the Earth’s surface, the movement of plates or the properties of material far beneath our feet. Although field work plays an important role in many studies, today’s geoscientists commonly use ocean drilling vessels, satellite imagery, high-precision geochemical and geophysical instruments, and the latest in electronic and laser microscopes.

Earth sciences at Memorial

Memorial University has one of the largest and most diverse Earth sciences departments in Canada. You can choose a comprehensive stream, or specialize in applied geophysics; environmental geoscience; petrology, tectonics and economic geology; or sedimentary basins.

Many companies visit us annually to hire our students both for summer work and permanent positions. A significant proportion of our students become professional geoscientists.

In addition to the major, minor and honours options in Earth sciences, joint programs are offered in:

  • biology/Earth sciences (B.Sc. honours)
  • chemistry/Earth sciences (B.Sc. honours)
  • Earth sciences/geography (B.Sc. honours)
  • Earth sciences/physics (B.Sc. major and honours)
  • geophysics/physical oceanography (B.Sc. honours)

Non-majors are welcome to explore a variety of course offerings: Earth Sciences 1000 (Earth Systems), Earth Sciences 1002 (Concepts and Methods in Earth Sciences), Earth Sciences 2150 (The Solar System), Earth Sciences 2916 (Natural Hazards on a Dynamic Earth), Earth Sciences 2917 (Gems: the Science and Politics), Earth Sciences 2918 (Earth’s Story) and Earth Sciences 2919 (Introduction to Marine Geology).

Admission requirements

You may apply for admission into the Faculty of Science by indicating bachelor of science as your program choice on the undergraduate application for admission.

Direct entry into the Faculty of Science from high school is subject to meeting the general admission requirements for Memorial University, including appropriate courses in mathematics and a laboratory science.

Admission to the major

To be admitted to the Earth sciences major, you must have successfully completed one three-credit hour course in each of the following subjects: English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and Earth sciences. These courses must be first-year courses and selected from the list of required courses for the major program.

You must complete Earth Sciences 1000 and 1002 with a minimum grade of 55%, which is required for all second-year courses with Earth Sciences 1000 and 1002 as prerequisite courses.

Upon completion of these courses (normally in your second semester), you should contact the Department of Earth Sciences to declare the major. 

Registration for the core second-year courses in Earth sciences normally requires that all of the sample first-year program courses be completed. It is possible to take Mathematics 1001 as a co-requisite with second year courses in the fall of the second year of the program.

Sample first year

Wondering what courses you would take in your first year? Check out a sample program of suggested courses for Earth sciences students.

Sample courses beyond first year

EASC 2031 - Mineralogy and Petrography
EASC 2702 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
EASC 3420 - Global Tectonic Processes

Career opportunities

A bachelor of science degree, with a major in Earth sciences, prepares students for a variety of careers including:

  • environmental geoscientist
  • mineralogist
  • gemologist
  • planetary scientist
  • teacher
  • museum curator
  • park interpreter
  • paleontologist

Note: some of these careers may call for supplementary education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential learning or professional courses and exams.