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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.

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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

Geology at Otago

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.

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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.

Requirements

Geology as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, 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 Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), 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

LevelPapersPoints
100-level

EAOS 111 Earth and Ocean Science or GEOL 112 Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective

18

200-level

See below

 
300-level

Four other EAOS or GEOL papers, of which three must be 200-level or above and one must be at 300-level.

Note: Students should check the prerequisites for 200- and 300-level papers.
72
Total 90

GEOL papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
GEOL112 2024 Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective 18 Semester 2
GEOL221 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL251 2024 Minerals and Rocks 18 Semester 1
GEOL252 2024 Field Studies and NZ Geology 18 Semester 1
GEOL261 2024 Geophysics 18 Semester 2
GEOL262 2024 Geochemistry 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL263 2024 Paleoenvironments and Basin Evolution 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL264 2024 Magmas and Volcanoes of Zealandia 18 Semester 2
GEOL265 2024 Natural Hazards of NZ and Beyond 18 Semester 1
GEOL272 2024 Evolution of New Zealand Biota 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL273 2024 Modern and Ancient Sedimentary Systems 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL274 2024 Metamorphism, Mineralisation, Tectonics 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL275 2024 Rock Deformation 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL276 2024 Geological Resources and Sustainability 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL302 2024 Independent Project 18 Full Year
GEOL304 2024 Accelerated Independent Project 18 Semester 1, Semester 2
GEOL321 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL341 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL344 2024 Advanced Field Studies 18 Semester 1
GEOL353 2024 Earth Evolution and Plate Tectonics 18 Semester 1
GEOL361 2024 Geophysics 18 Semester 2
GEOL362 2024 Geochemistry 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL363 2024 Paleoenvironments and Basin Evolution 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL364 2024 Magmas and Volcanoes of Zealandia 18 Semester 2
GEOL365 2024 Natural Hazards of NZ and Beyond 18 Semester 1
GEOL372 2024 Evolution of New Zealand Biota 18 Not offered in 2024
GEOL373 2024 Modern and Ancient Sedimentary Systems 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL374 2024 Metamorphism, Mineralisation, Tectonics 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL375 2024 Rock Deformation 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL376 2024 Geological Resources and Sustainability 18 Not offered, expected to be offered in 2025
GEOL401 2024 Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience 20 Full Year
GEOL402 2024 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 10 Semester 2
GEOL403 2024 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2 10 Semester 1
GEOL450 2024 Special Topic 1 10 Not offered in 2024
GEOL451 2024 Special Topic 2 10 Not offered in 2024
GEOL461 2024 Advanced Topics in Geophysics 1 10 Semester 1
GEOL462 2024 Advanced Topics in Geochemistry 10 Semester 1
GEOL463 2024 Advanced Topics in Paleobiology and Evolution 10 Semester 1
GEOL464 2024 Advanced Topics in Igneous Processes 10 Semester 1
GEOL465 2024 Advanced Topics in Structural Geology 10 Semester 1
GEOL471 2024 Advanced Topics in Geophysics 2 10 Semester 2
GEOL472 2024 Advanced Topics in Environmental Geochemistry 10 Not offered in 2024
GEOL473 2024 Advanced Topics in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 10 Semester 2
GEOL474 2024 Advanced Topics in Metamorphism and Mineralisation 10 Semester 2
GEOL475 2024 Advanced Topics in Rock Deformation 10 Semester 2
GEOL480 2024 Research Project 40 Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOL490 2024 Dissertation 60 Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOL495 2024 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

More information

Contact us

Department of Geology

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

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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