Earth Sciences

Minor in Earth Sciences

A minor in Earth Sciences is available to non-Earth Sciences students in a 120 credit hour degree program within the College of Arts and Science. The Minor is also available to students in some other Faculties (please consult the appropriate section for your Faculty in the Undergraduate Calendar.)

Minor Requirements

Refer to the academic calendar for minimum requirements for minors.


Major or Double Major in Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences BSc Majors complete a minimum of 42 credit hours in Earth Sciences courses above the 1000 level. Honours students complete a minimum of 54 credit hours. Research and other experiential learning opportunities are available through laboratories and research project classes.

Major Requirements

1000 level

·         ERTH 1080: Geology I and ERTH 1090 or ERTH 1091: Geology II

·         MATH 1000: Differential and Integral Calculus I (recommended) or MATH 1215: Life Sciences Calculus or equivalent and one other MATH course

·         CHEM 1011: Concepts in Chemistry: Structure and Reactivity and CHEM 1012: Concepts in Chemistry: Energy and Equilibrium

Students in the Integrated Science Program should contact the department regarding first year equivalencies.

2000 level  

·         ERTH 2001: Mineralogy

·         ERTH 2002: Introduction to Petrology

·         ERTH 2110: Field Methods

·         ERTH 2203: Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

·         ERTH 2380: Geochemistry

3000 level  

·         ERTH 3001: Field School

·         ERTH 3140: Structural Geology

·         ERTH 3303: Stratigraphy

Additional Courses

A minimum of 18 credit hours at or above the 3000 level.

Double Major Requirements


Honours or Combined Honours in Earth Sciences

The Honours programs are intended for students who combine a high level of academic achievement with a desire to complete independent research during an undergraduate degree. Students who plan to pursue a postgraduate degree (MSc and/or PhD) are recommended to complete an Honours degree.

The Earth Science department offers both Concentrated Honours and Combined Honours degrees. The Concentrated program provides a focused education in Earth Sciences. In their final year, students in Concentrated Honours must register in ERTH4201 and 4202, within which they complete an independent research project leading to a thesis on a topic within the broad realm of Earth Sciences.

Combined Honours programs allow students to combine Earth Sciences with another subject. The other subject may be from any discipline within the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, or may be a program in Computer Science or Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS).

The thesis may be completed in either Earth Sciences (as ERTH4201 + 4202) or the other subject, and usually in the subject in which the student has the greatest number of courses. The department in which the thesis is written should be chosen in consultation with both departments during the student's third year.

Honours Requirements

Complete the Major program outlined above, plus:

·         PHYC 1190: Introduction to Physics and PHYC 1290: Introduction to Physics (recommended), or PHYC 1310 and 1320 (formerly 1300XY): Physics In and Around You

·         ERTH 2270: Introduction to Applied Geophysics

·         ERTH 4201 and 4202: Honours Thesis

·         One additional ERTH elective at or above the 2000 level

·         A minimum GPA of 3.5 in all ERTH courses and no grade below C in ERTH courses

Combined Honours Requirements

Refer to the academic calendar for minimum requirements for combined honours.


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 Nova Scotia, the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Nova Scotia (APGNS) is the licensing body which fulfils this mandate.  APGNS and other provincial Geoscience associations, under the guidance of Geoscientists Canada, ensure high standards of geoscience practice and education, and are committed to holding paramount the health, safety and welfare of the public and the protection of the environment while contributing significantly to the economy.

More Information

For more information about geoscience as a professional and registration, please consult the following websites:

Knowledge Requirements for PGeo

Completing the knowledge requirements for PGeo registration is an important goal for most of our undergraduate students, and one we as a department strongly encourage.