Aotearoa New Zealand, on the active margin of the Pacific with its volcanoes, earthquakes, dramatic geomorphology, and 500 million years of geological history, is one of the best places on Earth to study geological processes. Our position in mid-southern latitudes and relative proximity to Antarctica means that Aotearoa New Zealand is a key location for climate change research.
Geologists are directly involved in the monitoring, prediction, and assessment of hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. The geologist has an important role in land planning processes and in assessing environmental impact.
Geologists have developed one of the most exciting scientific theories of the 20th century – plate tectonics – which explains the origin and locations of all the major geological features and Earth building processes of the planet. Geologists also search for the natural resources that sustain our technological society, not least of all, water. The construction of buildings, bridges, roads, dams, and reservoirs requires geological expertise.
- Te Tari Pūtaiao ā-nuku | Department of Geological Sciences at UC is one of the top geoscience research departments in the country and, not surprisingly, we are leading the world in our studies of earthquakes. First-year students have their own laboratory for practical classes and teaching staff are readily contactable.
- Field sciences are a distinctive feature of the subjects offered at UC and are supported through a range of field facilities at Cass and Kawatiri Westport. Field studies are carried out in the locations and environments around these field stations.
- UC is ranked in the top 150 universities in the world for Earth and Marine Sciences (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2020).
The first stage in a University Geological Sciences pathway is to complete a three-year BSc degree in Geology.
- Learn about specific entry requirements for postgraduate programmes in Geology.
UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Geology and related areas:
- Graduate Diploma in Science
- Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Postgraduate Certificate in Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science
- Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience
- Master of Science
- Professional Master of Engineering Geology
- Doctor of Philosophy
See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.
Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Geology
Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Geology
To complete a GradDipSc with a Geology focus, students will need to complete at least 60 points in 100-300 level GEOL courses throughout their degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the GradDipSc from Geology and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Geology
Students need to complete at least 45 points in GEOL 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Geology and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Geology
At least 120 points (8 courses) from GEOL 473–489 is required for the major.
Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience
Students must complete DRRE 408 (unless prior work or experience in GIS is approved by the Director of Studies), DRRE 401, DRRE 402, DRRE 403, ERST 604 (Lincoln University), ERST 609 (Lincoln University), and either a 60-point dissertation (DRRE 691 Professional Project in Disaster Risk and Resilience) or 60 points of further coursework from either UC or Lincoln University.
Master of Science majoring in Geology
Part I of the MSc in Geology is 120 points (8 courses) from GEOL 473–489. Students need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.
Part II requires GEOL 690 MSc Thesis.
Professional Master of Engineering Geology
There are seven required courses, along with the dissertation: ENGE 411, ENGE 412, ENGE 413, ENGE 414, ENGE 416, ENGE 417, DRRE 402, ENGE 691, or the Programme Director may approve other 400-level courses.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Geology
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the Geology field (GEOL 790 Geology PhD).
A career in Geology offers a very wide spectrum of work environments and employment opportunities. Geology graduates find positions as research scientists, policy analysts, exploration geophysicists, mining and exploration geologists, practitioner engineering geologist with consultancies, natural hazard analysts and consultants, coal and petroleum geologists, teachers, GIS specialists, environmental impact officers and consultants, hydro-geologists, seismic interpreters, resource advisors, research technicians, soil technicians and research assistants, museum curators, and more.
They are employed in the mining and petroleum industries, national and local government, planning and conservation organisations, university teaching and research, secondary teaching, museums and science centres, energy companies, consulting and engineering firms, research institutes, and exploration firms.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Geology.
See the School's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
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