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Modular Course Curriculum

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University offers some of the most comprehensive field- and laboratory-based Earth Science graduate research and education courses in the world. 

The modular courses are designed for geoscientists employed full-time in the mineral exploration industry, industry professionals needing professional development and accreditation, and graduate students (HES students enrolled in 1-year and 2-year coursework-based Applied MSc programs and thesis-based MSc and PhD programs, as well students from other universities.

Curriculum & Enrollment Information.

Logistics: Registration, Travel, Accommodations, Venues, etc.


Live Webcast Option

Several of the modules are available to industry professionals/non-students via live webcast from our state-of-the-art Executive Learning Centre, which provides an immersive experience if remote participants have high-speed fibre connections and use high-quality headsets. Students enrolling for credit must enrol in the on-campus course so that they can complete the laboratory exercises, but the remote option may be preferable for non-students. Contact the course coordinator if you are interested in this option.

Courses Offered

*Find course details, registration, and contact information under course details below. For reference, or printing, you can also download our Modular Course Booklet, last revised in February 2024.


Mineral Exploration in Volcanic Terrains

GEOL 5326
August 2024 & 2026
Field-based - 3 credits (normally taught in Aug-Sept in even-numbered years)

Exploration Geochemistry

GEOL 5806
December 2024 & 2026
Classroom and remote - 3 credits (taught in December in even-numbered years)

Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits

GEO 5306A
December 2024
Registration through the University of Ottawa 




Exploration for Hydrothermal Ore Deposits 

GEOL 5607
April 2025 & 2027
Classroom - 3 credits (taught in April in odd-numbered years)

Structure, Tectonics, and Mineral Exploration 

GEOL 5307
September 2025 and 2027
Field-based - 3 credits (taught in Aug-Sept in odd-numbered years)

Exploration Geophysics 

GEOL 5956
December 2025 & 2027
Classroom - 3 credits (taught in December in odd-numbered years)

Exploration for Magmatic Ore Deposits

GEOL 5606
April 2026 & 2028
Classroom and remote - 3 credits (taught in April in even-numbered years)

Applied Research Project

GEOL 5055
6 credits (taught annually)

Course Details

All course participants (LU students, other students, and industry/government participants) must register with hes@laurentian.ca so that we can send you information about the course and provide you with access to the course website, which you must be able to do before you arrive.


Mineral Exploration in Volcanic Terrains

GEOL 5326 (field-based)

August 19-30, 2024

This 10-day course focuses on recognizing, describing, and mapping volcanic lithofacies, alteration types, mineralization, and deformation in a well-exposed Precambrian volcanic succession hosting base and precious metal deposits. The course is delivered as a mapping project with evening lectures and discussions following a one-day introductory field trip. An introduction to graphic core logging is provided. Mapping is conducted in teams, and grades are based on the map, structural cross-sections, and a final report, which includes a description and interpretation of the geology and structure and an assessment of exploration potential with recommendations.

Cost for industry participants: $4,000 + HST = $4520. Cost includes course tuition, return transportation from Sudbury, hotel breakfasts, and double-occupancy lodging at Quality Inn, Rouyn-Noranda. Lunch and dinner are the students’ responsibility. The class size will be limited to 20 participants.

View 2024 flyer

Download registration form

Contact Dr. Ross Sherlock at rsherlock@laurentian.ca for additional course/content information.

Contact Ms. Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca for registration, logistics, and accommodation information.


Exploration Geochemistry

GEOL 5806

December 2024 and 2026  - 3cr - On-Site and Remote Webcast

Description: This 10-day course addresses the principles and methods of lithogeochemical and surficial geochemical exploration, including planning, sampling, analysis, QAQC, data handling, plotting and data analysis (basic geostatistics and introductory machine learning in ioGAS), and interpretation. It includes case histories, applications to magmatic Cr and Ni-Cu-(PGE) sulfide deposits, porphyry Cu deposits, volcanic-associated Cu-Zn-(Pb) deposits, Archean lode gold deposits, unconformity U deposits, and diamond deposits, and a variety of exploration-relevant laboratory exercises. It is preceded by a 1-day ioGAS tutorial.

Registration: See instructions in Registration Form, which vary depending on whether you are 1) a student registered at LU, another university in Ontario, or elsewhere, or 2) a non-student. Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca for additional information and to register.

COVID Policy: N95/K95 masks are required. We will provide N95 masks for those who do not have them.

DOWNLOADS:      2022 Syllabus  2022 Schedule (Revised Nov. 14, 2022)  Registration Form   Logistical Information (Updated Nov. 17, 2022)


Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits 

GEO 5306 (UOttawa)

December 2024

Instructor: Mark Hannington

The University of Ottawa's Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits Short Course will be available to OVGS students in Ontario this Fall Semester.
This 8-day graduate course focuses on the fundamentals of mineral-chemical systems, ore element geochemistry, alteration mineral assemblages, and water-rock interactions in various ore deposit types. Students will learn critical concepts in understanding ore formation, review ore deposit case studies, and gain practical skills and knowledge applied to ore element behaviour, minerals and fluids in hydrothermal systems, and hydrothermal alteration processes and their application in mineral exploration. (Registration through the University of Ottawa)

This course is being offered to OCGC members and students from Ontario institutions through the OVGS Program. Registration with the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Ottawa (gradsci@uottawa.ca) using the course code GEO5306A is necessary.

Mark Hannington
Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Ottawa


Exploration for Hydrothermal Ore Deposits

GEOL 5607

April 2025 and 2027

View 2021 Course Booklet

In-person delivery in the Executive Learning Centre (3 credits). This 8-day course focuses on the geology, alteration, and origin of hydrothermal ore deposits. Deposit types include epithermal and mesothermal precious metal, porphyry Cu-Mo-Au, IOCG, sediment- and volcanic-hosted base-metal deposits, and U and REE deposits. Emphasis is placed on the processes responsible for their formation, the recognition of alteration halos, and features pertinent to exploration.

Discounts for MERC members. Contact us for pricing options for multiple participants in the same company.

Download Registration & Payment Form

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register. Contact Dr. Dan Kontak dkontak@laurentian.ca for course information.


Structure, Tectonics, and Mineral Exploration 

GEOL 5307 (field-based)

September 2025 and 2027

Course Description: This 8-day field- and lecture-based course addresses the fundamentals of structural field analysis.

The course will be held in Sudbury, Ontario. Sudbury has spectacular geology and is internationally known as one of the three largest meteoritic impact structures on Earth. Moreover, it is at the junction between the Archean Superior craton, the Paleoproterozoic Southern Province, and Mesoproterozoic Grenville Province, allowing easy access to a variety of geological environments from granite-greenstone belts, to continental rift sequences, to high-temperature gneissic terranes. Mapping exercises will be complemented by lectures, allowing the unique opportunity to directly apply classroom learning to the field.

By the end of the course, participants will have learned how to:

  • conduct a geometrical structural analysis of a multiply deformed terrane
  • complete a structural interpretation of a deformed terrrane
  • determine the sense of movement in shear zones
  • determine the geometry and dynamic significance of quartz vein systems.

Instructor: Bruno Lafrance

Course Cost for Professional Participants: $950 (CDN) + HST. Includes transportation during the course, excludes accommodation and meals.  

Students: See enrollment page for further information. 

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca AND Prof Bruno Lafrance blafrance@laurentian.ca for the schedule and to register.


Exploration Geophysics 

GEOL 5956

December 2025 and 2027

Syllabus, Schedule and Logistical InformationRegistration Form 

This 10-day course includes an introduction to the physical properties of rocks and how these can be inferred from geophysical data. The role that geophysics plays in mineral exploration programs will also be discussed. Methods covered gravity, magnetics, electrical and induced polarization, electromagnetics, gamma-ray spectrometry, reflection seismology, borehole, and airborne methods.  There are daily exercises, many involving computer applications, and the final day will include a regional interpretation of public domain geophysical data.

Non-student cost:

On campus: $2750.00 plus HST = $3107.50 for the full course, or $300.00 plus HST = $339.00 per day. 
Remote: $1200.00 plus HST = $1356.00 for the full course, or $120.00 plus HST = $135.60 per day.

Discounts for MERC Members (see registration form).

Laurentian student fees are subject to change. 

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register. Contact Prof Richard Smith rssmith@laurentian.ca for additional information.



Exploration for Magmatic Ore Deposits 

GEOL 5606

April 2026 & 2028 - 3cr   

Course Description: 10-day intensive course in magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE), PGE, Cr, and Ti-V deposits including 3 days of theoretical material, 5 days of case studies, and 2 days of exploration methods. Topics include: S and Cr solubility and metal partitioning in mafic-ultramafic magmas; generation of fertile magmas; applications of stable and radiogenic isotopes (including mass-independent S isotopes) in identifying S and metal sources; sulfide transport and localization mechanisms; textures and deformation of Fe-Ni-Cu sulfide ores, sulfide recalculation and plotting methods; geology/genesis of and exploration for Ni-Cu-(PGE) deposits in mafic-ultramafic lava channels, feeder sills/dikes, and magma conduits; geology/genesis of and exploration for PGE deposits in mafic-ultramafic layered intrusions; geology/genesis of and exploration for stratiform and podiform Cr deposits and Ti-V deposits in anorthosites and mafic-ultramafic intrusions. Case studies and laboratory exercises will include: Alexo (ON), Duluth (MN), Eagle (MI), Eagle’s Nest (ON), Kambalda (WA), Jinchuan and other deposits in China, Noril’sk-Talnakh and Pechenga (RU), Tamarack (MN), Thompson (MB), Raglan (Nunavik), Sudbury (ON), and Voisey’s Bay (Labrador) Ni-Cu-PGE; and Bushveld (SA) and Stillwater (MT) PGE and Cr; and ‘Ring of Fire” (ON) Cr. Exploration methods include geological/mineralogical/ lithogeochemical/geophysical applications to greenfields/regional/brownfields targeting.

2022 Speakers: Dr Steven Barnes (CSIRO), Dr Sarah Dare (UQAC), Dr Pedro Jugo (HES/MERC), Dr Michel Houlé (GSC/HES), Alan King (Geoscience North), Prof Michael Lesher (HES/MERC), Dr Eduardo Mansur (NGU), Dr Louise Schoneveld (CSIRO)

Format:  Live webcast; also on-site if permitted

Non-student on-site cost: Full Course: CDN $2750 + 13% HST. Individual Days: CDN $300 + 13% HST. Non-student webcast cost: Full Course: CDN $1200 + 13% HST. Individual Days: CDN $120 + 13% HST. Mix and match group rates are also available.

DOWNLOADS:   2024 > Registration Form  2022 > Syllabus  Schedule   Zoom Requirements   Logistical Information (coming soon)

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register. Contact Prof Michael Lesher mlesher@laurentian.ca for additional information.


Applied Research Project 

GEOL 5055*

This course is required for and limited to students enrolled in the coursework-based Applied MSc in Mineral Exploration program. A research topic relevant to mineral exploration is selected in consultation with a faculty advisor and students submit, in writing, the results of their research at the end of the program. *Students register for this course only in the term they plan to submit their research project paper.

Contact Prof Daniel Kontak dkontak@laurentian.ca for additional information


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