DEADLINE APPROACHING (FEB 1) FOR FALL 2018 ADMISSION
After you have read the information on this page, if you are still
interested in applying, contact me to discuss project ideas! If I think you are not a good match for my group, I will let you know this
before you drop the $100 application fee. Please note that due to tuition policies at McGill, it is almost impossible for me to accept
MS students who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada unless they bring their own
funding (unless you are from a country which has a residency agreement with Quebec).
This research group includes students with career aspirations in academia, energy sector, and mining.
All are expected to take primary responsibility for the organization and execution of their research projects, and to publish in peer-reviewed journals. All applicants should contact me before
applying to discuss project ideas. I would like students to take a very active role in developing their research projects, especially at the PhD
I prefer to interview in person or by video chat.
If you would like to read a variety of blog posts about applying for graduate school and contacting professors, I strongly
recommend Female Science Professor. She
gives an insider view to the prof's point of view which graduate school applicants might find very helpful.
ADMISSIONS AND FUNDING
Detailed and up-to-date information about admission to the program is found on the department
Attributes I look for in graduate students: Research background in any area of geology, enthusiasm, curiosity and creativity,
getting along well with others (collaboration skills), autonomy, responsibility, sense of humor, ability/tendency to work hard and focus when something
interests them. I am working to develop and maintain a diverse and inclusive research group. These attributes are more important than your grades, but minimum GPA to be admitted to McGill is 3.00 (or equivalent) for
If I recruit you, your transcripts will be used by the Earth & Planetary
Sciences Department in allocating financial support. You will not receive an offer of admission unless full funding is secured, either through me
or through scholarships. Research in economic geology can sometimes be funded by partnerships with Canadian companies.
If you have potential support from a company to pursue a graduate degree, contact me to discuss the logistics.
The application deadline is February 1 each year. McGill does not request any standardized test scores (such as GRE), but you may include them if
you feel it will help your application.
GRAD STUDENT LIFE
Our graduate students are usually funded with a combination of grant money and TA job which will cover tuition and fees as well as a stipend for
living expenses. Health insurance is provided through the province of Quebec, with supplementary insurance from the McGill Post-Graduate Society.
Research expenses and travel (including conferences) are typically covered by the prof unless the student has received support specifically for
research or travel.
As part of the funding package, graduate students in our department work 80 hrs/semester as TAs for undergraduate courses. TAing a course
can be a good way to reinforce material that you need to review from your undergraduate years, but you shouldn't TA something to replace
a course if the material is new to you. TA assignments are determined by the department according to TA union procedures, which direct
us to assign jobs to the most senior students who meet the qualifications for the job. As a result, junior graduate students usually TA
introductory courses, and the field courses (which are considered the most desirable TA assignments) must go to the senior students.
About 3 months before the semester, a list of courses will be posted and graduate students are asked to give in their list of preferred
assignments. Incoming graduate students will receive assignments upon arrival.
MS students will take 4 courses at McGill (or neighboring universities), and PhD students (already in possession of a MS degree) take a minimum of 2.
The courses must be 500-level or higher. Most of our graduate courses are given ad hoc (by request of the students) rather than on a regular schedule.
Students may also design a reading course/independent study with a prof for credit (but the student's own thesis work does not count toward the
Field Rheology Group
I encourage applicants to contact current and former students in my group to find out more about life at McGill, and more specifically,
what it is like to work with me (Contact info and brief biographies here). In general, our group gets together weekly
during the academic year to read journal articles, and meets all together a few times a semester. I typically talk with each student -
either in a meeting or just informal catching up - several times per week, so I think this makes me a 'hands-on' kind of supervisor.
However, I expect my students to pursue research questions that I don't know the answers to, or that require methods which I don't know.
Thus, students are expected solve problems independently and network with other profs at McGill and other institutions, to make sure they
are getting the support they need. As long as my students are meeting deadlines they set, we are all very flexible with hours at work and time off.
I expect members of the group to be helpful and respectful towards one another and the rest of the community, to perform their TA duties responsibly,
to exercise patience and generosity with one another. The research group (and the department at large) are quite social and friendly, we go on field
trips together (whether to remote areas or just the neighborhood watering hole). Most of the department is on a first-name basis, from entering
undergrads through to every member of staff and faculty. We think the atmosphere of comradery contributes to a dynamic research environment.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
PROJECT IDEAS FOR FALL 2018 - I will accept 1-2 graduate students.
1. Recycling of pseudotachylytes: Norumbega Shear Zone, Maine, USA
Pseudotachylytes form as frictional melt layers along earthquake slip surfaces.
Following the earthquake, these melt layers remain as mechanically and chemically
unstable layers within otherwise strong shear zones. This project will use field
sites in the Norumbega Shear Zone, southern-central Maine, to study the mineralogical
and grain size evolution of pseudotachylytes as they metamorphose and coarsen during
the interseismic period, and evaluate (using available flow laws) the effect of
pseudotachylyte formation and destruction on the strength of crustal shear zones.
Desired qualifications: BS or BA in geology with some field experience.
Familiarity with metamorphic rocks and structural fabrics. Drivers' license
legal in US and Canada. MS applicants encouraged but could also form first chapter
of a PhD.
2. Architecture of thin-skinned thrust belt: Naukluft Nappe Complex, Namibia
The Naukluft Nappe Complex formed in the foreland of the Damara Orogen during
continental subduction in the late-Neoproterozoic to Cambrian. The
extraordinary exposure and access make this area an excellent place to investigate
the 3D geometry of a thrust fault system across scales of outcrop to 10s km
(equivalent scales to 3D seismic volumes of modern submarine fold-thrust belts).
This project could explore nappe complex architecture, fault connectivity,
relative timing, or some combination of these concepts across many scales.
Desired qualifications: MS in field or structural geology or
BA/BS and significant independent field geology experience. PhD applicants
preferred because project is very open-ended.
3. Overpressure in low-angle thrust fault: Muddy Mountain Thrust, Nevada, USA
The Keystone-Muddy Mountain thrust, active during the Cretaceous Sevier Orogeny,
juxtaposes lower Paleozoic carbonates over syn-thrusting foreland basin sediments.
The principle slip zone mixes these sediments and gouges derived from the PSZ
inject into the hanging wall. This project will use detailed field mapping and
quantitative analysis to examine the evidence for high pore pressure during
low-angle thrust faulting and constrain the stress conditions during faulting
Desired qualifications: This project could be an MS or the first chapter
of a PhD. Student should have some course background in sedimentary rocks and
structural geology. Basic Matlab skills or willingness to learn. Experience
with differential GPS and/or Structure-from-Motion would be helpful but not required.
4.... many other ideas possible...
I also co-advise interdisciplinary projects with colleagues in the EPS department - contact me if you have an idea you'd like
Although all these projects involve skills development which would prepare
students for careers in economic geology, I am not advertising any
funded projects related to ore deposits at this time.