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Study Geology at Otago

Geology is the science of the Earth – it reveals the origins of our planet, and our own beginnings.

We need to understand our ancient and dynamic Earth because it provides all the ingredients that sustain our existence.

Geology is a foundation of global ecology – as human impacts increase, geology guides the balance between our use and conservation of Earth materials.

Otago's Geology course explores Earth's evolving environment, natural hazards, and resources. It also considers impacts and solutions to pollution and waste disposal, to major civil engineering problems, and ot the effects of global change arising from our activities on the planet.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Why study Geology?

Discover the ancient and active building blocks of our planet and you'll never see Earth the same way again.

Interact with a small, friendly department that's committed to excellent teaching and welcomes you as part of our community. Enjoy fieldwork outdoors around the South Island, from the alps to the sea. Experience small0group study, building personal skills and forming lifelong friendships and memories.

Integrate geoscience with many other subjects to gain a more holistic overview of the Earth. Geology is a great background for all science degrees.

Career opportunities

A degree in Geology opens many doors. During your time at Otago, you will learn data-handling, problem-solving, and teamwork skills that are applicable to a wide range of careers. As a Geology graduate, you may choose to:

  • Manage soil and groundwater resources
  • Assess natural hazards
  • Explore for energy and mineral resources
  • Pursue a teaching career
  • Conduct engineering site investigations
  • Research Earth processes and history
  • Conduct oceanographic and Antarctic research

Background required

First-year papers introduce the earth sciences and assume no previous study in geology. Most of all, you need enthusiasm, drive, and motivation. Students considering geology are encourages to take sneior high school science and mathematics courses. The geology curriculum at Otago includes required papers in maths and at least one other science.

Teaching style

Geology is a hands-on science, so you get more personal attention than in most other subjects. We support varied teaching and learning styles, complementing lectures and case studies with practical experience in the laboratory and the field. Practical work involves both individual projects and small-group studies.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Geology

Level Papers Points
100-level

EAOS 111 Earth and Ocean Science

GEOL 112  Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective

One of
MATH 151  General Mathematics
MATH 160  Mathematics 1
MATH 170  Mathematics 2
COMO 101  Modelling and Computation
STAT 110  Statistical Methods
STAT 115  Introduction to Biostatistics

18 points from BIOL, BTNY, CELS, CHEM, ECOL, or PHSI papers

18

18

18

 

 

 

 

18

200-level

GEOL 251  Minerals and Rocks

GEOL 252  Field Studies and New Zealand Geology

One of GEOL 221, GEOL 261, GEOL 262, GEOL 263, GEOL 264, GEOL 265, GEOL 272, GEOL 273, GEOL 274, GEOL 275, GEOL 276

One of GEOL 221, GEOL 261, GEOL 262, GEOL 263, GEOL 264, GEOL 265, GEOL 272, GEOL 273, GEOL 274, GEOL 275, GEOL 276, EMAN 204, GEOG 282, GEOG 283, GEOG 284, GEOG 288, GEOG 289, GEOG 298, OCEN 201, PHSI 243, SURV 208

18

18

18

 

18

300-level

GEOL 344  Advanced Field Studies

GEOL 353  Tectonics

One of GEOL 302 or GEOL 303, GEOL 321, GEOL 341, GEOL 361, GEOL 362, GEOL 363, GEOL 364, GEOL 365, GEOL 372, GEOL 373, GEOL 374, GEOL 375, GEOL 376

One of GEOL 302, GEOL 321, GEOL 341, GEOL 361, GEOL 362, GEOL 363, GEOL 364, GEOL 365, GEOL 372, GEOL 373, GEOL 374, GEOL 375, GEOL 376, CHEM 304, GEOG 388, GEOG 389, GEOG 390, GEOG 394, GEOG 395, GEOG 398, OCEN 323

18

18

18

 

18

Plus

144 further points; must include 36 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

144
Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Geology

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Geology

Papers
  • GEOL 480  Research Project

  • GEOL 401  Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience or (GEOL 402 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 and GEOL 403 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2)

  • Six further 400-level GEOL papers

Master of Science (MSc) in Geology

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOL 401  Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience or (GEOL 402 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 and GEOL 403 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2)

  • GEOL 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Six further 400-level GEOL papers

  • Thesis: GEOL 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Geology as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree 

Level Papers Points
100-level

EAOS 111  Earth and Ocean Science

GEOL 112  Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective

18

18

200-level

GEOL 251  Minerals and Rocks

GEOL 252  Field Studies and New Zealand Geology

18

18

300-level

One 300-level GEOL paper

18
Total   90

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
EAOS121 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOL112 2021 Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective 18 points Second Semester
GEOL221 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOL251 2021 Minerals and Rocks 18 points First Semester
GEOL252 2021 Field Studies and New Zealand Geology 18 points First Semester
GEOL261 2021 Geophysics of the Earth 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL262 2021 Geochemistry 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL263 2021 Fossils, Strata and Hydrocarbon Basins 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL264 2021 Igneous Petrology and Volcanology 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL265 2021 Natural Hazards of New Zealand and Beyond 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL272 2021 Evolution of New Zealand Biota 18 points First Semester
GEOL273 2021 Sedimentary Processes and Materials 18 points Second Semester
GEOL274 2021 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Mineralisation 18 points Second Semester
GEOL275 2021 Rock Deformation 18 points Second Semester
GEOL276 2021 Geological Resources for a Sustainable New Zealand 18 points First Semester
GEOL302 2021 Independent Project 18 points Full Year
GEOL304 2021 Accelerated Independent Project 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
GEOL321 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOL341 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2021
GEOL344 2021 Advanced Field Studies 18 points First Semester
GEOL353 2021 Tectonics 18 points First Semester
GEOL361 2021 Geophysics of the Earth 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL362 2021 Geochemistry 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL363 2021 Fossils, Strata and Hydrocarbon Basins 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL364 2021 Igneous Petrology and Volcanology 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL365 2021 Natural Hazards of New Zealand and Beyond 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
GEOL372 2021 Evolution of New Zealand Biota 18 points First Semester
GEOL373 2021 Sedimentary Processes and Materials 18 points Second Semester
GEOL374 2021 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Mineralisation 18 points Second Semester
GEOL375 2021 Rock Deformation 18 points Second Semester
GEOL376 2021 Geological Resources for a Sustainable New Zealand 18 points First Semester
GEOL401 2021 Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience 20 points Full Year
GEOL402 2021 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 10 points Second Semester
GEOL403 2021 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2 10 points First Semester
GEOL450 2021 Special Topic 1 10 points Not offered in 2021
GEOL451 2021 Special Topic 2 10 points Not offered in 2021
GEOL461 2021 Advanced Topics in Geophysics 1 10 points First Semester
GEOL462 2021 Advanced Topics in Geochemistry 10 points First Semester
GEOL463 2021 Advanced Topics in Paleobiology and Evolution 10 points First Semester
GEOL464 2021 Advanced Topics in Igneous Processes 10 points First Semester
GEOL465 2021 Advanced Topics in Structural Geology 10 points First Semester
GEOL471 2021 Advanced Topics in Geophysics 2 10 points Second Semester
GEOL472 2021 Advanced Topics in Environmental Geochemistry 10 points Second Semester
GEOL473 2021 Advanced Topics in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 10 points Second Semester
GEOL474 2021 Advanced Topics in Metamorphism and Mineralisation 10 points Second Semester
GEOL475 2021 Advanced Topics in Rock Deformation 10 points Second Semester
GEOL480 2021 Research Project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOL490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOL495 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Geology

Email geology@otago.ac.nz
Website otago.ac.nz/geology