3 MSc positions - Geomicrobiology and Mine Waste

The McBeth Geomicrobiology Group in the Department of Geological Sciences is recruiting graduate students to begin in 2019. This research group studies microbial communities and their influence on metal(loid) solubility in mine waste materials and contaminated environments. https://research-groups.usask.ca/mcbeth/

Applicants are invited to submit applications detailing their interest in one or more of the following potential thesis topics:

  1. Microbial community studies examining trace element mobility and sequestration in mine-waste disposal areas and remediation systems. The successful applicant will use culture-based and culture-independent techniques to characterize microbial communities in mine wastes and study the influence of these microbes on trace element biogeochemistry. Note that both MSc and PhD project options may be available for this project.
  2. Synchrotron-based studies of mine waste materials. The successful applicant will learn how to use synchrotron tools such as PXRD, micro-XRF imaging, and XANES to characterize and study the chemistry of mine waste materials.
  3. Permeable reactive barrier and saturated fill systems for treatment of mine drainage. The successful applicant will complete lab studies of saturated fill to identify optimum mixtures of reactive media to remove selenium and nitrate from mine-impacted water.

These projects are funded through a NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks grant "NSERC Toward Environmentally Responsible Resource Extraction" (NSERC-TERRE-NET). The NSERC-TERRE-NET team is developing improved, cost-effective, socially acceptable strategies for managing mine wastes and mitigating contamination. The network includes researchers from USask, U Waterloo, UBC, U of Alberta, U Ottawa, and UQAT: https://terre-net.ca/ The students on these projects will also have opportunities to interact with a dynamic and collaborative community of researchers at USask during their program. Successful candidates will be provided with opportunities to network and gain transferable skills to prepare them for the job market after graduation. The positions include funds to support student travel to national and international conferences.


  • Undergraduate science or engineering degree in geological sciences, environmental sciences, or environmental microbiology with good to excellent grades.
  • Refer to the USask College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpage for further information on educational requirements for application to USask: https://grad.usask.ca/.


  • Demonstrable interest in remediation or reclamation of mine waste materials and studies of the influence of microbes on biogeochemical cycles
  • Basic laboratory experience or field experience would be beneficial
  • field and/or industry experience would be an asset


  • Motivated, reliable, and well-organized
  • prepared to work in a team-oriented and multidisciplinary research environment
  • Fluent in written and oral English communication

To apply:

Enquiries about the project(s) and applications should be addressed to Dr Joyce McBeth and sent to: geo.micro at usask.ca. Please begin subject line with "Grad Student App:". Applications should contain the following documents (pdf format):

  • Cover letter (1-2 pages) including: (1) undergraduate and other postsecondary educational background with in-major average(s) for final two years of program(s), (2) career goals, (3) which project(s) applicant is interested in applying for and how applicant's research interests and educational background align with the project, (4) research and professional development goals for graduate studies, (5) availability to begin MSc studies, (6) indication of whether you are a domestic (Canadian Citizen or PR) or international applicant
  • Transcript(s)
  • Resume
  • List of three references

Application consideration will begin on Nov 25th and continue until positions are filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Shortlisted applicants may be asked for additional documents (e.g., language test scores, examples of written work).

USask is a member of the prestigious U15 Canadian research university group and provides excellent facilities and analytical tools to our students. We are located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Our historic campus is recognized as one of the most beautiful in Canada, and our warm community welcomes people from around the world including growing numbers of Aboriginal and international students. The University of Saskatchewan is strongly committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All members of the university community share a responsibility for developing and maintaining an environment in which differences are valued and inclusiveness is practiced. We welcome applications from those who will contribute to the diversity of our community.

posted: 22 November 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.