Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

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Field Study Fund:


Contact Us at:

Dept. of Geological Sciences
and Geological Engineering
Miller Hall, Queen's University
Kingston,Ontario,K7L 3N6
tel:(613)533-2597 fax:533-6592

Field Study Program Endowment Fund ($2,000,000)

Click Here for Fall 2008 Update!
The study of the earth is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with the application of the latest analytical, geophysical, and mathematical techniques. However, the fundamental object of study remains the earth in all its complexity. As part of a rigorous curriculum, the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering believes that direct exposure to rocks in the field is essential if students are to bridge the gap between lecture-hall theory and real-world practice.

In 1994, the Department revised the undergraduate curriculum to include better integration of fieldwork with regular courses, taking advantage of the varied geology in the Kingston area. The field program begins with trips in first-year and continues with an intense field-based lab course in the fall term of second-year. This course is designed to familiarize students with basic geological field methods and prepare them for the Geological Field School held at the end of the second year, in folded metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks near Sutton, Quebec.

Third- and fourth-year courses include numerous field trips in the Kingston area, Quebec, and adjacent parts of the United States. In addition to the many day trips, a Mineral-Deposits Field School is held in alternating years for upper-year mineral-exploration students during the two weeks following the spring exam period. A one-week Carbonate Field School is held annually in Bermuda before classes begin in the fall term, and a four-day Geophysical Field School is part of the Applied Geophysics program. A new Geotechnical Field School has also been introduced recently. Many graduate courses, and particularly those in the Mineral-Exploration Masters program, also contain an important field component.

Although we are proud of our current program of field-based education, we realize that there is room for improvement as we strive to have the best Field Studies Program in Canada. In addition, our current program has come at a cost. For many years, we have charged students a one-time "Field Transportation Levy" (currently set at $275) that partially covers the cost of field transportation. However, this fee has risen steadily as costs increase. In addition, students must pay the cost of their accommodation and meals while off campus. The combination of these charges represents a total expenditure that exceeds $2,000 per student over their time at Queen's. Thus, the Department's goal is to secure a permanent source of funding to maintain and even improve the excellence of this key activity, while ensuring that all students have access at a reasonable cost.


The Field Studies Endowment Fund will enable the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering to maintain and strengthen the existing program of field education, while making it affordable for our students. The amount of practical field experience is commonly cited as an important criterion in hiring, both for temporary summer employment and also for permanent positions. The revenue from the Endowment will be used in various ways to improve the effectiveness of our field-education program, while making it affordable to students. Existing field trips and schools will be improved by increasing the instructor-student ratio and purchasing new equipment as required (e.g., new geophysical surveying tools, computer-based mapping software, etc.). Existing trips may also be able to visit more distant locations that would provide access to better teaching examples.

New field trips and schools will also be added as resources permit. Possible examples include: a trip to the Sudbury area (it was cancelled several years ago for financial reasons); a sedimentary-geology field school, perhaps to the southwestern United States; and an overseas trip to a classic locality (e.g., Iceland, Great Britain, the Alps, etc.). Above all, however, we wish to reduce the cost to students through the provision of a direct subsidy. Our overall objective is to provide our students with an affordable, superior-quality Field Studies Program to ensure the Department's ability to train the very best geologists, geophysicists and geological engineers.

Project Details

An endowed fund will generate annual income, which will be used to support and enhance existing field-education programs. In 2003, we received a generous donation from Michael L. Rose, B.Sc. Honours (Geology) '79, and Susan Riddell Rose, B.Sc. Honours (Geological Engineering) '86 that provides $25,000 per year for ten years. These expendable funds are being used now to support a new field course in geotechnical engineering, fund the participation of additional teaching assistants and faculty members in field activities, and provide several thousands of dollars of subsidies to students every year. The Field Studies Endowment Fund is intended to continue to support our field-studies program when the Rose donation has ended.

Our students have a well-deserved reputation for their ability to relate theory to practical field applications. Maintaining and improving our competitive position in this area will ensure that students seek us out and that employers seek out our students.


Donors to the Field Studies Endowment Fund will be recognized on the Department's website and in the alumni newsletter. Larger contributions will be recognized on the planned Geology Donor Wall. Where appropriate, it may be possible to name a fieldwork project in the donor's honour. Contributions will also receive suitable recognition through the the Queen's University Donor Recognition Program.

All contributions are eligible for charitable receipts. Donors should note that the donation of publicly listed shares usually offers tax advantages.


Teaching of geology at Queen's began in 1863 when Robert Bell became a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Natural History. In 1893, with the realization that mining was rapidly becoming a major Canadian industry, a School of Mining was established, which included separate departments of Geology and Mineralogy. These departments moved into Miller Hall in 1931 and were amalgamated into the Department of Geological Sciences in 1950. After this, the Department grew rapidly and Bruce Wing was added to Miller Hall in 1973. The name change to Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering occurred in 1999 to recognize that, since 1893, the Department had been educating geologists as well as geological engineers.

Our Mission

In 1995, the Department reaffirmed its three-fold mission:

To deliver excellent undergraduate teaching
in the geological sciences and geological engineering;

To maintain a broadly based
and internationally-recognized program
of research and graduate supervision in
earth-science related fields;

To foster a positive atmosphere of learning
and critical thinking while maintaining a tradition
of addressing societal need and practical applications
in earth-science related problems.


Jim Campbell, Manager Western Regional Office

Herb Helmstaedt, Head
Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering,
(613) 613-533-6186

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Last Revision: Oct 2005