School of Environment


The skills you will develop in our programmes will equip you for many jobs in science and research, commerce, government, education, Geographic Information Science (GIScience), consultancy and policy and planning.

Apart from the important theoretical and practical knowledge specifically relating to their area of study, our students also acquire a number of other key employment skills including:

  • critical thinking
  • organisation and planning
  • teamwork
  • multi cultural understanding
  • presentation skills
  • report writing
  • computer literacy
  • analysis.

Listed below are a number of specific fields and careers our students have been employed in. It should be remembered however, that our qualifications particularly at undergraduate level, provide a general knowledge base that often gives graduates the flexibility to move between the various specialties.

Environmental management careers


With their broad backgrounds and proven skills in geography or environmental management, students can also have careers in environmental management and resource management with local and regional government, government ministries, Crown Research Institutes and private consultancies.

Specific careers may include:

  • policy analyst
  • resource management consultant
  • (eco)tourism planner
  • impact assessor
  • conservation manager
  • environmental advocate or educator
  • urban designer.


Environmental science careers


The number of jobs in the environmental field is increasing steadily due to economic social and legislative factors. Applied science is crucial to environmental management so environmental science graduates are sought after. Organisations that have employed our graduates include:

  • large corporations
  • regional and local councils
  • government ministries
  • Crown Research Institutes
  • environmental consultancies
  • international and national conservation groups
  • university research units.



Geography careers


Physical Geography

Physical geographers find employment in regional and local Councils, government ministries, consulting firms and Crown Research Institutes.

Specific careers may include:

  • climate analyst
  • environmental monitoring and consultancy
  • hydrographic, geographic science officer or manager
  • resource consent management
  • soil conservator
  • secondary school teacher



Human Geography

Human Geographers find employment in regional and local Councils, non profit organisations, government, international agencies, consulting firms, Crown Research Institutes, marketing companies and a wide variety of other organisations.

Specific careers may include:

  • demographic analyst
  • statistical analyst
  • analyst in marketing, industry or policy
  • secondary school teacher
  • policy analyst with local body and central government agencies
  • qualitative and quantitative field research



Geographic Information Science

Possessing significant GIScience skills can be an important advantage in a wide range of jobs but it is a key requirement for the following positions:

  • environmental impact assessment modeller
  • health geo-information consultant and planner
  • spatial policy analyst for government
  • regional council analyst
  • GIS developer
  • market researcher
  • environmental monitor
  • spatial consultant
  • cartographer and geo-visualiser



Geography and environmental science career resources

The following websites may be of relevance to environment and geography students:



Geology careers


Careers involving geology are many and varied, whether you specialise in geology, or include geology as part of another discipline. A career as a geologist is very rewarding as you are always working for the benefit of society, helping to increase understanding and make life easier and safer for the general public.

A degree in Geology provides the holder with excellent career opportunities, both locally and internationally. The geology programme has a reputation for producing superior, well rounded geology graduates with a broad range of geological knowledge and skills. Graduates have found employment worldwide and in virtually every geological discipline.

Geologists are people who, with the proper training, are able to study specific aspects of the Earth to learn more about its processes. Information gathered by geologists impacts on all of our lives, from the discovery of new sources of materials necessary for the continuation of society, to the provision of information that increases public safety and awareness, to the management of the Earth's resources and protection of the environment for future generations.

Employment prospects

The long term outlook for employment as a geologist is excellent, with a large range of career opportunities available. As our energy reserves become depleted and mineral and water resources become scarcer, new sources must be found, providing constant challenges for geologists. As populations expand so does the need for infrastructure and geologists are always involved in the assessment of land suitability for construction. Expanding populations often mean encroachment on areas that are not entirely safe for habitation, so there is always demand for the geological assessment and monitoring of hazards.

A growing need to maintain the environment under increasing population pressure, while still meeting the demands for more resources, requires the input of geologists on such matters as waste disposal and resource management. The increased awareness of issues such as global warming and sea level change require better understanding of the processes involved, and geologists are constantly at the cutting edge of such studies.

Career opportunities

Listed below are some of the more prominent career opportunities for geologists. These are necessarily generalised and not divided into individual geological disciplines, as a particular job description can include a range of disciplines.

Engineering Geology
Careers are possible in all of the major engineering consultants in New Zealand.

There are also many small engineering consultants who employ geology graduates.

At present this industry is one of the largest employers of geology graduates, and demand continues to grow as New Zealand's population growth requires more and better infrastructure. Geologists employed in this capacity generally work closely with geotechnical engineers, providing geological assessments of sub-surface conditions such as, foundations, roads, airports, tunnels, dams, large excavations and rock slopes. Geological work with these companies can include, but is not limited to, geological mapping, hydrogeology, environmental geology, hazard analysis, drill-core logging and more. There is also the opportunity for travel, both local and international.

Resource and Environmental Management
Local and national government and agencies regularly employ geologists. Work in this sector includes resource management and assessment, land use assessment, hazard assessment, hydrogeology, hydrology and more. Engineering geologists, resource and economic geologists, groundwater geologists, geophysicists and geochemists can all find employment in this sector in disciplines such as resource planning and consenting, hazard monitoring, hydrogeology and hydrology, environmental management geophysics and seismology. This field is one of the strongest growth areas for employment of geologists as councils strive to better manage their resources under increasing pressure from growing populations and the Resource Management Act.

Exploration Geology
Oil and mineral companies are constantly looking for new resources and geologists play a very important part in the discovery and development of these. Geothermal energy is also becoming increasingly important in many parts of the world. Work is varied depending on the resource being sought. Energy companies are constantly prospecting for new resources, and require expertise in geophysics, sedimentology and paleontology. Mineral exploration, such as for precious metals, requires expertise in mineralogy and petrology, economic geology, structural geology, geochemistry and more. Work in these industries can take you overseas to many and varied locations, both on land and off shore.

Mining Geology
Once mineral resources have been discovered, geological expertise is required to manage their extraction. Job opportunities always exist for geologists in this capacity, both locally and worldwide. Mining geologists use a wide range of geological expertise in the safe and economic management of the mineral extraction process. These include skills in mineralogy and petrology, structural geology, hydrogeology, engineering geology, environmental geology, geochemistry, etc. They are utilised in mine planning, mineral extraction, mineral processing, ensuring mine safety, and controlling environmental issues.

Research Geologists
Although competition is fierce, there are always opportunities in teaching and research for outstanding geology graduates. The Geology Department has an excellent international reputation, and The University of Auckland graduates can be found in research and teaching positions all over the world. Institutions where such opportunities exist include universities, government and industrial research laboratories and museums. The positions are generally geared towards a specific geologic discipline, so a degree of expertise is necessary. This is gained through graduate study and research, eg, MSc and/or PhD. Opportunities exist in all of the geologic disciplines.

Other opportunities
There are many and varied opportunities for graduates with a geological background, or with geology as part of their degree. Any industry that utilises earth materials requires a degree of geological input, eg, steel, ceramics, power generation, construction, quarrying and more Opportunities also exist in teaching, law, commerce, architecture and engineering for graduates with some geological background in their degree.

Geology job sites
The following job sites specialise in advertising jobs for Earth Scientists. These include a wide range of geological jobs in most parts of the world. They are also a good place to start if you think that you may want to become a geologist but are unsure of which particular geological discipline will take you where.

  • is one of the main sites for geological information worldwide.
  • Earthworks-jobs
    Earthworks-jobs lists job opportunities in virtually every Earth Science and related discipline.
  • Geologyshop
    Geologyshop contains a portfolio of some of the best websites worldwide for jobs and career information for geologists

Geologic journals regularly list employment opportunities for geologists. These are available from:


Careers for postgraduates

A graduate degree can be an important step towards a successful and rewarding career. Graduate training provides for an advanced level of knowledge, as well as contributing to the development of skills that are sought by employers. For some career paths, a graduate degree is much more than an advantage, it is a necessity.

A masters degree and other postgraduate qualifications give people a strong competitive edge in the employment market, not just by virtue of the qualification, but also because of the high reputation of qualifications granted by The University of Auckland.

Participants in our programmes also gain other important work skills including:

  • research design and practice
  • project and time management
  • report preparation
  • advanced communication skills
  • information capture, processing and analysis
  • computer processing and analysis skills
  • ethical awareness.

A Bachelor of Science with Honours, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours or a masters degree may also be a step on the way to a PhD. The Doctoral degree is strategic for those people who aspire to senior positions in research, business, education and the public sector. This degree provides a context for advanced learning and experience in research at the highest level.

Some companies that have employed are graduates include:

  • Air New Zealand
  • Alliance Group
  • Auckland Council
  • Auckland Transport
  • Beca
  • Bell Gully Barristers and Solicitors
  • Cawthron Institute
  • City and District councils
  • Department of Conservation
  • Ecomatters Environmental Trust
  • Landcare Research
  • Meritec
  • Ministry for the Environment
  • Ministry of Primary Industries
  • National Institute of Water and Atmosphere
  • Nufarm Limited
  • Opus International Consultants Ltd
  • Pattle Delamore Partners
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Regional Councils
  • Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society
  • Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Sandford Fisheries
  • Scion
  • SERCO Consultancy
  • Tonkin & Taylor
  • URS
  • WaiCARE
  • Watercare Health Care
  • World Wide Fund for Nature