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    Completion of an independent geoscience research project

    This paper allows students to develop their ability to work independently on a research project. A range of geological and transferable skills may be advanced, depending on the chosen project.
    All students gain experience in literature research and report writing.
    GEOL304 (or GEOL 302) is a required paper for the BSc degree in Geology."

    About this paper

    Paper title Accelerated Independent Project
    Subject Geology
    EFTS 0.1500
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
    Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    72 200-level points from Science Schedule C including GEOL 251 and GEOL 252
    Pre or Corequisite
    GEOL 344
    GEOL 302
    Schedule C
    (i) Students enrolled at the University of Otago for both semesters in a single year must enrol in GEOL 302 instead of GEOL 304. (ii) Students must be prepared to attend field trips outside of regular semester time.
    Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.

    Teaching staff

    Co-ordinator: Dr Steven Smith
    All Geology staff are supervisors

    Paper Structure

    Students choose a field-focused geological investigation in consultation with a staff member who has agreed to supervise them. The supervisor helps design the project, suggests appropriate background readings and methodologies, is available for consultation on field and laboratory work, and offers guidance on a first draft of the written report.
    Assessment is 100% internal. There is no final exam. The final research project and associated work are assessed.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Some formal meetings will be scheduled around Health and Safety and other logistics. Students conduct their own independent fieldwork.



    • Edbrooke, S.W.; Heron, D.W.; Forsyth, P.J.; Jongens, R. (compilers) 2015 Geological map of New Zealand 1:1 000 000. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science geological map 2 2 maps (also available as a free web map service at
    • Coe, A. (ed.); 2010. Geological Field Techniques. Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Fry, N. The Field Description of Metamorphic Rocks. Wiley.
    • Jerram, D. & Petford, N. The Field Description of Igneous Rocks. Wiley.
    • Lisle, R., Brabham, P & Barnes, J. Basic Geological Mapping. Wiley.
    • McClay, K. Mapping of Geological Structures, Wiley.
    • Tucker, M.E. Sedimentary Rocks in the Field: A Practical Guide. Wiley.
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    This paper is intended to develop a range of geological skills, including some of stratigraphy, mapping, structural geometry, facies analysis, petrography and library research. The report resulting from the independent project develops abilities in written communication and geological interpretation.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system

    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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