Research Opportunities

SFU Earth Sciences welcomes applicants to our Graduate Program in all areas of our research.  Our Faculty page will introduce you to faculty members and their interests, as will our Current Projects page.  In addition, please see below for current research opportunities within EASC. Those interested in applying should visit SFU Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for information on the application process or contact individual EASC faculty members directly.

Basin Analysis: Stratigraphy, Sediment Geochemistry

Students who are interested in graduate projects in basin analysis are encouraged to contact either Dr. Shahin Dashtgard ( or Dr. James MacEachern ( in the Applied Research in Ichnology and Sedimentology (ARISE) Group. Projects related to basin analysis include both outcrop and subsurface projects. Outcrop projects involve field-based research to resolve regional-scale depositional architectures through detrital zircon geochronology, detailed facies analysis, sequence stratigraphic analysis, and/or field mapping. Subsurface projects are focused on resolving sequence stratigraphic evolution of strata at a regional scale. The results of these project types are commonly of interest to petroleum companies. Please visit for more information.

Coastal Hazards: Sedimentology, Micropaleontology, Geochemistry

Students who are interested in graduate projects in coastal hazards are encouraged to contact either Dr. Jessica Pilarczyk ( or Dr. Shahin Dashtgard ( in the Applied Research in Ichnology and Sedimentology or the Centre for Natural Hazards Research. Projects related to coastal hazards include paleoenvironmental reconstructions and modern analogues. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction projects focus on centennial- to millennial- scale reconstructions of sea level change, earthquakes, tsunamis, and storms using sedimentology, micropaleontology and geochemistry. Modern analogue projects involve post-event field surveys of notable coastal hazards as a way of understanding modern processes that will help to interpret the geologic record. The results of these project types are commonly of interest to policy makers, urban planners, emergency risk managers, and the insurance industry. Please visit for more information.

Engineering Geology and Resource Geotechnics

Applications are welcome at any time from students interested in engineering geology, rock mechanics and/or soil mechanics and their application to surface and underground mining, civil engineering and the stability of natural slopes. You can visit our webpages and to see recent and current projects and publications of the group. 

Prospective M.Sc. and Ph.D. students with an interest in these fields please send an enquiry with a CV and transcript to Dr. Sergio Sepúlveda (

Exploration Seismology

Applications are invited for one M.Sc. student. Potential projects involve reprocessing of existing onshore seismic reflection data from British Columbia or Western Australia. The objective of these projects is to produce high quality images of crustal structures, and to relate these to the tectonic evolution of the region. The project is suitable for students seeking a career in the oil exploration industry.

The ProMAX seismic reflection data processing package and Petrel seismic interpretation software are available within the department. The SAC earthquake processing package and various utility software such as GMT and Matlab are also available. Existing hardware includes a 64-core shared memory computational platform, 8 Terabyte of disk storage and various tape drives, plus access to the WestGrid supercomputer network.

For further information, contact Dr. Andrew J. Calvert ( Applications will be considered at any time and should include a brief statement of research interests.

Geomorphology & Surface Processes

Prospective M.Sc. and Ph.D. students with an interest in geomorphologic fieldwork and surface process modeling, particularly related to post-wildfire debris flow erosion, sediment transport, climatic geomorphology, or bedrock river erosion and weathering, are encouraged to send an inquiry with a CV and transcript to Dr. Brendan Murphy (


The SFU Glaciology Group within the Department of Earth Sciences conducts research in the areas of glacier and ice-sheet dynamics and cryosphere-climate interactions. Graduate projects combine observational and modelling studies, with opportunities for field work. Further information can be found at Prospective students interested in this area of research are encouraged to send an inquiry with a CV and transcripts to Dr. Gwenn Flowers ( High academic standing and a B.A. or B.Sc. in Earth sciences, physics or a related discipline is required. Applicants must have at least the equivalent of university-level calculus and physics.

Hydrogeology and Hydrogeochemistry

Research in Hydrogeology and Hydrogeochemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences spans the fields of physical and computational hydrogeology, and aqueous and environmental chemistry, respectively, and involves a combination of field-, lab- and computer-based studies. Individual research projects may also bridge the fields of hydroclimatology, paleoclimatology, hydrogeophysics, natural and geological hazards, sedimentology, structural geology and geological engineering.

Prospective M.Sc. and Ph.D. students with an interest in physical hydrogeology and numerical modeling, including groundwater processes in coastal and mountain regions, watershed-climate interactions, particularly in relation to extreme climate, and the long-term evolution of groundwater systems, are encouraged to send an inquiry with a CV and transcripts to Dr. Diana Allen (

Prospective M.Sc. and Ph.D. students with an interest in aqueous and environmental geochemistry are being sought to conduct research in the areas of groundwater quality and resources, with a focus on regions under stress (from industrial development like unconventional hydrocarbon extraction), mining and mineral resource related environmental impacts, and the field of CO2‐water‐rock interactions. The research programs combine field work with design and implementation of laboratory experiments and the development of reaction path and reactive transport models.
Contact: Dr. Dirk Kirste (

Magmatism, Tectonics and Crustal Evolution

Students who are interested in graduate projects on igneous rocks, geochemistry, sedimentary provenance and tectonic processes, are invited to apply to Dr. Derek Thorkelson ( Projects typically involve field work and a variety of analytical methods, with the findings applied to regional or global tectonics. Currently, potential projects are located in northern Yukon (Precambrian continental reconstructions) and southern British Columbia (Tertiary magmatism and slab windows). For more information, see

Metamorphism and Crustal Evolution

Students interested in metamorphism, partial melting, and other deep crustal processes are invited to contact Dr. Brendan Dyck at A variety of thesis topics are available for prospective MSc and PhD students with a focus on mineral microstructures and reaction kinetics. Projects typically involve field work, using phase equilibria modelling to constructing P-T-X paths, and microstructural analysis with EBSD and CL. Applicants should have a keen interest in understanding Earth processes and a B.Sc., B.A., or M.Sc. in Earth Sciences, Material Sciences, or a related discipline.

Ore Deposits, Petrology & Geochemisty

A variety of thesis topics are available for potential MSc. and PhD. students interested in topics such as Economic Geology, Metamorphism, Pressure-Temperature-time Paths and Fluid-Rock Interaction. My acceptance policy is based generally on academic and work experience. A background in ore deposits, petrology or geochemistry is preferred. Additional information is available at or  by email (  

Quaternary and Environmental Earth Sciences

The Department of Earth Sciences invites applications from prospective M.Sc. and Ph.D. candidates to undertake thesis research in Quaternary and environmental earth sciences. Research topics include, but are not limited to: Quaternary geology, landslides and slope stability, floods, paleoseismology, alpine geomorphology, and paleoclimatology. Research is field and theory based, with projects available in British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and selected foreign countries. Graduate students work in a strong interdisciplinary environment spanning the fields of geology, geography, and biological sciences. Applicants will have a B.Sc. or B.A. in geology or geography and a high academic standing. Initial expressions of interest should be directed to  Dr. Brent Ward.

Sedimentology, Ichnology, Petroleum Geology

Students interested in graduate projects focused on sedimentology, ichnology and/or petroleum geology should contact either Dr. James MacEachern ( or Dr. Shahin Dashtgard ( in the Applied Research in Ichnology and Sedimentology (ARISE) Group. Projects related to sedimentology include both subsurface-based studies, outcrop studies, and evaluations of modern depositional environments. Subsurface studies involve core logging and evaluation of geophysical well logs, with a focus on detailed facies characterization of sedimentary strata. These projects are typically funded by and are of interest to petroleum companies. Outcrop studies and modern studies are field based and are undertaken to either develop analogs for petroleum reservoirs or to characterize sedimentological expressions of depositional processes. The results of both project types are commonly utilized by petroleum companies who fund the research. Please visit for more information.

Structural Geology, Geochronology, and Tectonics

Potential M.Sc. and Ph.D. students interested in thesis projects involving Structural Geology, Geochronology and Tectonics are encouraged to apply to the Department of Earth Sciences. Projects are field-oriented, working on structural and tectonic problems that require structural and petrologic analyses in the field and lab, accompanied by acquisition of precise timing constraints using an integration of various geochronological techniques. Additional information is available at or by email ( Applicants should have a B.Sc. or B.A. in Geology, with high academic standing. A background in Structural Geology and Metamorphic Petrology is preferred.