Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership

Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership
Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership

Overview - Queen's Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership

Purpose and Rationale for Degree

Queen’s University Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, responding to interest expressed by senior industry leaders, has identified the need for a Professional Master’s degree focused on enhancing integration across multiple fields within earth and natural resource management, including the geosciences, engineering, and the legal, policy, and business and finance realms. 

Most aspects of developing and producing natural resources are becoming more complex with time. These include the increased interest by stakeholder communities to be more involved in decision-making; the need to address up-front the concerns about potential environmental impacts of resource extraction and use; doing business in a global marketplace; incorporating new technology to interpret very large datasets for optimizing operations; and the imperative to more fully understand and effectively manage the entire life-cycle of resource development within the context of both sustainability and commercial viability.  These demands require professional development that more fully prepares participants with the broad, cross-disciplinary training needed to make sound decisions regarding resources. 

The goal of this program is to develop these competencies in emerging leaders in the resource sector so that they may play a major role in wise stewardship of those energy, mineral, and water commodities that are essential to civilized society.  Development of these resources in a responsible manner that fosters sustainable futures, both economically and environmentally, demands leaders who can assess risk and make sound decisions in the face of uncertainty.

Target Market

The intended candidate pool for this program consists of early, to early mid-career professionals (approximately 3 to 10 years’ work experience, but flexible depending on applicant’s background) working in a range of positions within the resource field.  Participants are anticipated to be working in commercial, governmental, or not-for-profit enterprises related to energy and mineral resources and who plan to remain in these sectors as a career path.  Pursuit of this degree will allow candidates to build on their experience and expand their perspective through examination of the opportunities and challenges involved in sustainable energy, mineral, and related water resources management.  A graduate degree from this program will enhance both vertical and lateral career progression opportunities for recipients working in the resource field.


The proposed degree will capitalize on Queen’s widely recognized strengths by drawing teaching staff from the Faculties of Arts and Science, Engineering and Applied Science, and Law, School of Policy Studies and Smith School of Business, as well as engaging industry practitioners.  Working together, these experts will integrate diverse disciplines and practice into a unique curriculum that focuses on resource-related decision-making within the real-life complexity experienced routinely by those working in the areas of natural resource business, policy, and regulation today.  This includes focus on the leader’s need to understand interdependencies and manage trade-offs between resources, deal with conflicting and competing needs between resources and between stakeholders, and make decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk.  Students will be able to synthesize and integrate multi-disciplinary components and enhance their ability to work/think/integrate across a range of scales.  A key organizing framework for the curriculum will be working within a full life cycle/sustainability context.  This includes consideration of corporate social engagement, as well as both technical and nontechnical risk across the span of the upstream, midstream, and downstream aspects of the resource development enterprise.  Students will experience a unique integration of the state-of-the-art insights emerging out of the research of participating faculty, including methodologies for multi-stakeholder resource development projects and environmental impacts of resource development.  They will benefit from the hands-on experience and expertise of senior leadership from within the resources industries, government, and the not-for-profit sector.  Use of contemporary industry examples is an essential experiential learning element.


The program was designed based on extensive interfacing between academia and people employed in a range of industry positions, from recent hires to senior executives, in the minerals and energy sectors.  Specifically, three significant inputs were used to develop the curriculum: (1) an external market survey, (2) a series of interviews with hiring managers in the resource sector, and (3) a series of Curriculum Workshops involving faculty.  Curriculum priorities expressed by the market include Business, Economics, and Risk; Resource Development and Production; Environmental Considerations, and Negotiation and Collaboration.  For topics related to leadership and management top priorities are Decision-making: Economic-Environmental-Social; Managing Uncertainty; Setting a Strategic Vision; and Leading interdisciplinary teams and functions.  Priorities for program features include Use of Industry-specific case examples; Engaging with industry experts and leaders; and Group/team projects.

Program Logistics

The Master’s degree program will be 20 months in length, part time and anticipated to be typically completed while the student remains working. This is in keeping with preferences of the target market for a blended part-residential/part online program. 

For tuition costs please go to:

Structure and Curriculum

A conceptual model for the program structure is shown in the Figure below.  The unique curriculum design places the progression of the resource life cycle, with its fundamental earth science and engineering aspects, as the center of the program.  This life cycle moves from resource exploration, through development, production and use, to stages of remediation, recycling and disposal, and on to a final stage of closure and maintenance.  Each phase of this life cycle will be evaluated successively through one of 4 lenses, or perspectives.  These are the: (1) economic and business lens, (2) operating framework of legal, policy, regulatory, and ethical lens, (3) strategic leadership and management lens (including decision-making, and risk analysis), and (4) stakeholder engagement, partnership development, communication lens. 

Following the model, the curriculum comprises 7 core courses focused on the resource life cycle and each of these lenses, along with a seminar-based course focused on state-of-the-art technology and innovation.  Students may then select electives that permit more detailed work in either energy, or minerals, or both, along with a field-based synthesis course and the opportunity to do a sector-focused project, potentially derived from their workplace.  There are several cross-cutting themes woven throughout the program: Enterprise Leadership - ability to optimize both earth systems and organizational interdependencies; Informed Decision-Making and Risk assessment - evaluating options and managing trade-offs; Integration and Synthesis across multiple disciplines; Innovation -  applied problem-solving through combined analytical and creative thinking; and Non – advocacy – taking a balanced approach across the continuum from resource-development to environmental impact.  This approach will provide the student with the most rigorous training for leadership competencies in analyzing options and risk, understanding interconnections in both natural and commercial systems, and optimizing trade-offs when developing natural resources.

Leaders and experts from the energy and minerals/mining sectors will serve as guest lecturers, advisors/mentors for student and team projects, and Adjunct Faculty to bring real-life case examples to the students for dissection, discussion, analysis and decision recommendations.  Students will receive feedback on their recommendations and presentations which are to be delivered in a business format.  This engagement with industry practitioners will be done by a pioneering combination of both in person (face-to-face) and on-line interaction.

Earth and Energy Resources Leadership Professional Master's Program Conceptual Model - Graphic by Eric Morrissey