Associate Professor, Geography | University of Guelph

Research Opportunities

The Surface Processes Research Group (SPRG) is looking for enthusiastic scholars to join our research team as a funded MSc candidates in Fall 2020.  In particular, individuals driven by curiosity and a keen sense for understanding the processes that shape the world around us through a geoscience lens.

Potential graduate or senior undergraduates interested in how fluvial geomorphology and ecohydrology intersect within the context of disturbed systems (e.g., land use land change, climate variability, pre & post disasters or extreme events) are encouraged to get in touch via email if you have any questions or would like to discuss the topics below.

  • Controlling and/or moderating thermal regimes in stormwater ponds, combining numerical modeling with field data
  • Channel geometry changes post-restoration projects
  • Landscape or watershed sensitivity to extremes, can resiliency be a restoration design feature?
  • Erosion threshold characteristics in southern Ontario
  • Low flow regimes and useable habitat for species at risk in southern Ontario
  • Small-channel connectivity (water, sediment, carbon)

Required Qualifications:

  • BSc in Physical Geography or similar with excellent standing (80%+ in the last two full years) with several upper level undergraduate courses in Geomorphology, Hydrology and Soil Science
  • Field experience, either course or job-based
  • Proficient in English (writing, reading, and speaking)
  • Excellent numeracy skills
  • Experience and strong desire to work with stakeholders, and the community more generally


  • Publications and conference presentations related to undergraduate research
  • Experience with programming languages (e.g., python, java, groovy)


GEOG*4990 - Independent Research Project Opportunities for Undergraduate Students in a Geography Major

  1.  Ephemeral sediment traps in a changing watershed:
    •  Investigate the literature on urban and developing watersheds looking at sediment sinks and sediment budget analysis (e.g., beaver & storm ponds)
    •  Some field work and mostly a literature review
  2. Open channel hydraulic modeling and stream restoration
    • How does the current literature and related models address low-order streams with respect to habitat suitability?
    •  Literature review, opportunities to work with some data and potentially assist with some winter field work
  3. Potentially anything related the graduate opportunities posted online

Official graduate school deadlines have passed; interested individuals should send their CV, transcript and statement of interest to Dr. Cockburn before proceeding with a formal application (email: