School of Environment


Earth Sciences

The School of Environment offers Earth Sciences programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These incorporate the subjects of Geology, Physical Geography, Geochemistry and Geophysics.

Undergraduate study in Earth Sciences


At undergraduate level the Earth Sciences programme explores the processes that have shaped Earth, from its deepest interior to its surface, and into neighbouring space. It investigates the complexity and interactions of Earth’s systems, and addresses the impact of natural processes on society, and vice versa. Knowledge of Earth Science is important for, understanding how natural resources are formed, better stewardship of our environment and natural hazard risk management. Courses in the Earth Sciences programme explore such issues as Earth’s origin and evolution, plate tectonics, past life and climate environments, and the dynamic nature of earth surface and sub surface forms and processes and their interaction with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere. Earth Science also tackles issues of resource identification and use, encompassing mining, oil and gas exploration, and alternative energy.

The Earth Sciences major enables you to gain practical and theoretical knowledge that is critical to understanding Earth and the environment we live in. Take a look at our movie to find out more about the School of Environment's Earth Sciences Programme.

The Earth Sciences major consists of a core framework of required courses at Stage I and II, with the opportunity for you to select your Stage III courses to fit your desired pathway. This framework allows you to explore a range of disciplinary approaches to resolving questions about earth systems.

A distinctive element of the major is an emphasis on field skills with dedicated field courses at Stage II and field components incorporated into relevant third year courses. Exploring ideas in a field setting is an excellent way of bringing to life concepts discussed in lectures and laboratories. Some of the skills you will learn include:

  • Exercising critical and innovative spatial and temporal thinking.
  • Undertaking field observations and laboratory analyses to interpret geological and earth surface processes.
  • Using quantitative techniques, including statistics and simple numerical models, and applying principles of experimental and sampling design.

Find out about about Earth Sciences at undergraduate level: Earth Sciences major or Earth Sciences courses

Additional information: Planning an undergraduate programme

Postgraduate study in Earth Sciences


We offer Earth Sciences in the following postgraduate programmes: BSc (Honours), Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) and Master of Science (MSc). These new programmes have replaced Geology and Applied Geology.

The postgraduate programmes in Earth Sciences provide pathways to advanced studies and research for students with first degrees in Earth Sciences, Geology or Geography, and provide the foundation required for rewarding career in one or more of the Earth Sciences, including geology, geomorphology and geophysics. With the appropriate combination of advanced courses they provide the training for professional Geologists and Geophysicists. These programmes also provide the basis for those wanting to undertake advanced research in a PhD programme.

Find out more about studying Earth Sciences at postgraduate level: Earth Sciences major or Earth Sciences postgraduate courses

Additional information: Planning a postgraduate programme

What do Earth Science students explore?


See a short flim clip about the type of questions Earth Science students explore