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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 2022

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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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 120  Mathematics for Scientists
MATH 130  Fundamentals of Modern Mathematics 1
MATH 140  Fundamentals of Modern 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, MARI 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

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 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL112 2022 Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective 18 points Semester 2
GEOL221 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL251 2022 Minerals and Rocks 18 points Semester 1
GEOL252 2022 Field Studies and New Zealand Geology 18 points Semester 1
GEOL261 2022 Geophysics of the Earth 18 points Semester 2
GEOL262 2022 Geochemistry 18 points Semester 2
GEOL263 2022 Fossils, Strata and Hydrocarbon Basins 18 points Semester 1
GEOL264 2022 Igneous Petrology and Volcanology 18 points Semester 2
GEOL265 2022 Natural Hazards of New Zealand and Beyond 18 points Semester 1
GEOL272 2022 Evolution of New Zealand Biota 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL273 2022 Sedimentary Processes and Materials 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL274 2022 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Mineralisation 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL275 2022 Rock Deformation 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL276 2022 Geological Resources for a Sustainable New Zealand 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL302 2022 Independent Project 18 points Full Year
GEOL304 2022 Accelerated Independent Project 18 points Semester 1, Semester 2
GEOL321 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL341 2022 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL344 2022 Advanced Field Studies 18 points Semester 1
GEOL353 2022 Tectonics 18 points Semester 1
GEOL361 2022 Geophysics of the Earth 18 points Semester 2
GEOL362 2022 Geochemistry 18 points Semester 2
GEOL363 2022 Fossils, Strata and Hydrocarbon Basins 18 points Semester 1
GEOL364 2022 Igneous Petrology and Volcanology 18 points Semester 2
GEOL365 2022 Natural Hazards of New Zealand and Beyond 18 points Semester 1
GEOL372 2022 Evolution of New Zealand Biota 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL373 2022 Sedimentary Processes and Materials 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL374 2022 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Mineralisation 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL375 2022 Rock Deformation 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL376 2022 Geological Resources for a Sustainable New Zealand 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
GEOL401 2022 Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience 20 points Full Year
GEOL402 2022 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 10 points Semester 2
GEOL403 2022 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2 10 points Semester 1
GEOL450 2022 Special Topic 1 10 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL451 2022 Special Topic 2 10 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL461 2022 Advanced Topics in Geophysics 1 10 points Semester 1
GEOL462 2022 Advanced Topics in Geochemistry 10 points Semester 1
GEOL463 2022 Advanced Topics in Paleobiology and Evolution 10 points Not offered in 2022
GEOL464 2022 Advanced Topics in Igneous Processes 10 points Semester 1
GEOL465 2022 Advanced Topics in Structural Geology 10 points Semester 1
GEOL471 2022 Advanced Topics in Geophysics 2 10 points Semester 2
GEOL472 2022 Advanced Topics in Environmental Geochemistry 10 points Semester 2
GEOL473 2022 Advanced Topics in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 10 points Semester 2
GEOL474 2022 Advanced Topics in Metamorphism and Mineralisation 10 points Semester 2
GEOL475 2022 Advanced Topics in Rock Deformation 10 points Semester 2
GEOL480 2022 Research Project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOL490 2022 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
GEOL495 2022 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