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GEOL302 Independent Project


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Completion of an independent field project.

This paper allows students to develop their ability to work independently on a field-based project. A range of geological skills are advanced, depending on the chosen project; these may be stratigraphy, mapping, facies analysis, petrography, structural analysis, geochemical or geophysical techniques. All students gain experience in library research and the report resulting from the independent project develops abilities in written communication and geological interpretation. This paper is a prerequisite for the BSc(Hons) course in the Department of Geology.

Paper title Independent Project
Paper code GEOL302
Subject Geology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,110.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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GEOL 251 and GEOL 252
Pre or Corequisite
GEOL 344
GEOL 304
Schedule C
(i) Recommended for students with average grade of B- or better in GEOL251 and GEO252, or in GEOL252 and some other GEOL paper at the discretion of the Head of Department. (ii) Students enrolled at the University of Otago for both semesters during a year must enrol in GEOL302 instead of GEOL304. May not be credited with GEOL321 completed in 2019 or 2020.
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.
Course outline

View the GEOL 302 handbook (latest handbook indicative of content next time the paper is taught)

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.

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system