Earth and Space Science and Engineering

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Our graduate program

Faculty members of the Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering at Lassonde work with graduate students to conduct major research programs and graduate students working with them. Most of our faculty supervise graduate students who are registered for MSc or PhD degrees in Lassonde’s graduate program in Earth and Space Science.

CRESS, founded in 1965, and the related Graduate Program in Earth & Space Science, provide a means for those members of the Departments of Earth & Space Science & Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science & Engineering and Mathematics & Statistics, whose research interests strongly overlap, to work closely together on programs of mutual interest.

Their resources and experience are pooled in comprehensive, fundamental and applied, experimental, observational and theoretical research programs. Specific areas of research include, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, Geophysics, lidar and passive remote sensing of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, Geomatics Engineering, and Space Engineering.

The graduate program invites applications from students expected to graduate from a four-year undergraduate degree with excellent academic standing, or those with an MSc degree. Students are accepted from a wide range of backgrounds, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering.

To facilitate interdisciplinary research, the Earth and Space Science Program faculty consist of regular Lassonde faculty and members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, who hold an appointment in one of the following undergraduate departments at York University: Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth & Space Science & Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics and Astronomy, or Psychology. In addition, there are a number of adjunct members from industry, government or private research laboratories, and other universities.

Graduate Program Enquiries

Marcia Gaynor

Graduate Program Assistant
101 Petrie Science & Engineering

Mark Gordon

Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science
Graduate Program Director
431 Petrie Science & Engineering

Graduate Program in Earth and Space Science

Campus Building: Petrie Science and Engineering Building, 101
Building Address: 140 Campus Walk
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario

Admission FAQ

The department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering offers graduate programs at both the MSc (Masters) and PhD (Doctorate) level.  At the MSc level, there is a thesis option, a research exercise option, and a four-course option.  Research areas include Atmospheric Science, Earth Science, Geomatics Engineering, and Planetary Science and Space Engineering.
For the MSc degree (thesis option), you need to complete the required research evaluation courses plus 2 full graduate courses (12 credits), or equivalent. Up to 3 credits (one-half course) may be from the research evaluation course, meaning that you would typically need to take 3 one-term courses (3 credits each).  If your supervisor determines that it is necessary to strengthen your background in the thesis area, you might also need to take a further one-term (half) course.  You must also successfully defend your thesis in an oral examination.  
For the MSc degree (research exercise option), you must take three full courses (i.e. 6 one-term courses) and conduct an exercise in research procedures and report on it in an appropriate manner. The selection of graduate courses and of the topic of the research exercise must be arranged in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.  
For the MSc degree (four-course option), you must complete four full graduate courses (i.e. 8 one-term courses) selected in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.  
For the PhD degree, you need to successfully complete research evaluation courses. You must also successfully complete three full graduate courses ( 18 credits), or equivalent. Up to 3 credits may be from the research evaluation course, meaning that you would typically need to take 5 one-term courses (3 credits each). A credit of up to 2 full courses (12 credits) may be granted to you if you hold a MSc from York University or another recognized university meaning that you would be required to take 1 one-term courses (3 credits). You might also need to take further half-courses if the supervisory committee determines that you need to strengthen your background for your research (thesis) area. You must also successfully defend your dissertation in an oral examination.  
A thesis is a written report of your research in the MSc program (thesis option).  A dissertation is a written report of your research in the PhD program.  They are at least 100 pages and ensures that the researcher is well informed and knowledgeable about the research topic. The difference between MSc thesis and PhD dissertation is the scope of the work.   
For the MSc thesis or PhD options, you need a supervisor for your research.  It is not required to arrange a supervisor when you apply, but you will need to secure a supervisor before being recommended for admission. Your application will be distributed to all ESSE faculty so that any potential supervisors looking for new students can review your file. If a faculty member is interested in your application, they will reach out to you by email to ask questions or arrange for an interview.  A supervisor is not required for admission for the research exercise or four-course option.       
If you are interested in one of our research options (thesis or dissertation), then it would be in your best interest to contact a supervisor before applying.  Please ask if they are accepting new students and provide your curriculum vitae/resume and a copy of your transcript.   

If you are interested in the research exercise or course-based option (Master’s level), you do not need to contact a supervisor as this is not required for these options.   
You can review faculty research profiles from our website.  Click on the navy-blue boxes for Earth & Atmospheric Science, Geomatics Science and Engineering and Space Science & Space Engineering to read about each faculty member’s research area.  Search for supervisors whose research area is a good fit for your background. To find their email address, please use the York Atlas directory.  Note: some professors may be on sabbatical, but there should be an out of office email message.
Start by choosing your program and go to apply now and create myfile, then you will be contacted by your department. There are preparations that you need to do in advance, such as updating your resume, English proficiency test results if needed and preparing to have a copy of transcripts ready to be sent to the department. If you are applying for the PhD Program you will need to write a Statement of Interest.  You also are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $130. More information is available on the graduate admissions site.
Please refer to this link for the latest information on application deadlines.
Generally, decisions are made 8-12 weeks after an application deadline is closed. This allows time for your application file to be circulated to the faculty, for potential supervisors to review the files contact students for interviews.  If 8 to 12 weeks have passed and you have not received a decision, please contact the department for an update.
There are a few websites that contain information on scholarships.  Please review the eligibility and criteria for each scholarship that you are interested in applying for.
1. Earth and Space Science and Engineering website
2. Lassonde graduate scholarships and awards
3. The Faculty of Graduate Studies