Entrance Requirements

Entrance Requirements

The grade point average obtained during the last 60 units of course weight of undergraduate (or graduate) study must be at least 3 on the 4-point grading scale used at the University of Alberta or an equivalent standing from another recognized institution. The grade point values for each grade, together with the weight for each course taken, are used to calculate the GPA.

The Department's minimum admission requirements are :

  1. an undergraduate degree (a Master's degree is required if applying to a PhD program)
  2. English Language Proficiency (international applicants only)
  3. a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 units of course weight (20 single term courses) of work (undergraduate or graduate) at the University of Alberta, or the equivalent elsewhere.
  4. international students may find the minimum academic requirements here.

If fewer than 60 units were taken in your last two years, then the grades for the immediately preceding term will be used to weight the missing units. If more course units are needed than the preceding term, then the grade average for the entire year will be used.

Please DO NOT contact the Department about the status of your application. All status updates will be communicated via the GSMS portal.


The Application Package

A complete application for admission to a Master's or Doctoral degree consists of the following items uploaded to the online application portal:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Official and original transcripts, marksheets, grade cards and degree certificates from all post-secondary institutions and degrees. Graduate certificates are also required from Chinese applicants. If applicable, these documents must be submitted in English and language of origin. Attested or notarized copies of transcripts and degree certificates are not permitted. The department will no longer add missing educational information, nor will the department accept hard-copies for the purpose of applications. Please ensure your application is complete before submitting.
  • Two letters of reference uploaded by the referees. Letters must be on letterhead and signed with a physical signature. Please note, in most cases we require at least one academic reference; the other reference may be academic or professional. Note: only one referee may be one of your potential supervisors, the other cannot.
  • Referees may upload reference letters in PDF format. However uploaded letters must be on letterhead and signed to be considered valid. Note: reference letters must be provided in English to be accepted.
  • A brief statement (between 250 and 500 words) of your area of research interest and an outline of what you propose to study.
  • Please list the faculty member(s) you will potentially work with in the department. Note that the supervisor(s) you list must have agreed to supervise you. Please ensure you contact our faculty members before you submit the application package. Applications that list supervisors not interested, or not within the department will not be considered. Note: the MSc Urban and Regional Planning and MSc Integrated Petroleum Geosciences programs do not require that you list a faculty member. 
  • (Where applicable) Official notification of proficiency in the English language. Please refer to GPS's (formery FGSR's) ELP requirements for acceptable proof of proficiency. NOTE: The department does not accept ESP 550 as proof of proficiency.

Application Requirements for Academic Documents

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Evaluation of Applications

With the advice of at least one potential supervisor and one or two other faculty members in the applicant's field, completed applications are evaluated by the Department's Graduate Recruitment and Selection Committee. This committee makes decisions concerning admissions and funding.

Four main considerations guide the evaluation of applications for graduate studies:

  • Academic merit of the applicant;
  • Departmental teaching assistantship needs;
  • Ability of the potential supervisor to support the proposed project; and
  • Fair and equitable allocation of assistantships among areas within the Department and among individual faculty members.

Upon admission, students are assigned to their supervisor, but may request a change in supervisor should the need arise.


Our Department's Graduate Program Committee evaluates applications and makes decisions on admissions and financial support throughout the fall and winter terms (September through early May). We STRONGLY encourage interested students to submit their applications as early as possible. In particular, applications that are not complete (including reference letters and transcripts) by the beginning of March stand a considerably lower chance of receiving financial support than applications completed before that time.

The months of December to March are the prime period for initiating an application, and early applicants will be given first consideration.

Students applying from outside of Canada are advised to allow ample time due to the formalities of obtaining a student visa from Employment and Immigration Canada.

Application Deadlines for Thesis Programs:


Applications Period Begins

Document Deadlines*

Canadian/Permanent Residents

International Applicants

Fall Term (September)

November 1

March 15

March 15

Winter Term (January)

July 1

October 1

October 1

* All necessary documents must be received by these dates for a file to be considered complete and able to be adjudicated. Documents and applications received outside of these deadlines may be considered ineligible as determined by the department.

For thesis-based programs, you are responsible for contacting potential supervisors. Please ensure that your chosen potential supervisor is a faculty member of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. If no prospective supervisor expresses interest, please do not apply. Applications without a supervisor will be rejected. 

Information for International Students

All students from outside of Canada who have been accepted by the Department are strongly advised to contact their nearest Canadian Consulate. This should be done as soon as possible following acceptance by the Department, and no later than the end of May.

Detailed information for international students may be obtained from University of Alberta International.

Note that many sources of financial aid are available only to students who possess permanent resident status in Canada. In addition, international students are assessed a 100% tuition fee differential.

For more information, email eas@ualberta.ca

Mail inquiries can be sent to: Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences