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Study Geology at Otago

Without understanding Earth’s past and present, you can’t begin to plan for Earth’s future.

Many of the world’s critical future challenges lie in the realm of geology: climate change, water quality, sustainability and resources, natural hazards, renewable energy, and infrastructure.

Geology – the study of the Earth and planets – is more relevant today than ever before. If you are passionate about making a difference in an ever- changing society and environment, and want to have adventures that will last a lifetime, geology is for you.

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 Master of Science (MSc) 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?

Geology provides the foundations to understand the future of society: from our food and water, buildings and clothing, through to the very land on which we stand. If you are motivated by global challenges such as climate change, sustainability, natural hazards, energy and infrastructure, studying Geology will give you the skill-set required to make a difference in the world.

The solutions to today’s great challenges can be solved by studying the world around us. Geologists explore the great outdoors to learn how Earth formed and is continuously changing.

Be part of a dynamic and friendly department that commits to excellence in teaching and research and welcomes you as part of the community.

Career opportunities

A degree in Geology unlocks a wealth of possibilities. The data-handling, problem- solving, and teamwork skills that you learn in Geology provide an opportunity to contribute to:

  • Earth processes and history
  • Earth resources
  • planetary and Space Sciences
  • palaeontology and the history of life
  • oceanography and Antarctic research
  • natural hazard assessment
  • geospatial analysis
  • environmental protection and sustainability
  • renewable energy
  • teaching and mentoring
  • science policy and advocacy

Background required

Most of all you need enthusiasm, motivation and curiosity. First-year papers provide a broad foundation and assume no previous study of Geology. Fundamental sciences are an integral part of Geology, and it will be beneficial if you have some background in sciences subjects from secondary school.

What will I learn?

A Geology degree will open your eyes to the dynamic processes that occur on Earth and other planets.

You will learn how to read and interpret the history of Earth and its lifeforms by studying rocks, minerals, magma, fossils, ice and water.

You will learn how Earth’s interior interacts with the oceans and atmosphere to regulate global change, and you will become a master of critical observation and interpretation at molecular to plate tectonic scales.

How will I learn?

Geology is a hands-on science. Our world-renowned fieldwork and laboratory programmes give you frequent opportunities to work closely with staff, and to put theory into practice. We support varied teaching and learning styles. Since all our staff are active researchers, you will learn about cutting-edge science. Practical work involves both individual projects and small-group studies.

Can I combine my Geology degree with other subjects?

Yes! Geology is a very broad discipline and you can easily combine it with other interests – Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Business, Computing, Ecology, Geography, Law, Marine Science, Mathematics, Physics, Surveying and Zoology. Contact our friendly course advisers for help or information.

What about further study?

We offer postgraduate opportunities that are tailored to your interests at honours, master’s and PhD level.

Our graduates leave with a wide range of technical and generic skills that make them competitive for employment and advanced study at institutions around the world.

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 302  Independent Project  or GEOL 304  Accelerated Independent Project

GEOL 344  Advanced Field Studies

GEOL 353  Tectonics

One of 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 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

 

18

Plus

126 further points; must include 18 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

126
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

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

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