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Earth and Environment Careers

28 January 2024

Graduates of degree programmes in UC's School of Earth and Environment are highly employable in New Zealand and overseas. They go on to work in a variety of careers in private industry, government sector, consultancy, and research positions. Learn more about earth and environment careers.


Graduates of School of Earth and Environment undergraduate and postgraduate degrees go on to work in a variety of careers in private industry, government sector, consultancy and research positions. Their problem solving skills and discipline specific knowledge are assets to employers in a range of fields.

An in-depth knowledge of Antarctic issues can form a useful part of many careers in science, politics, tourism, education, and law. There are a large number of people who visit the Antarctic every year, many of whom are scientists specialising in areas such as geology, glaciology, biology, astronomy, and environmental management.

To make their day-to-day operations run smoothly, a range of staff are employed by national Antarctic programmes – from engineers to plant technicians, finance personnel to communication managers.

Having a degree and some background knowledge in Antarctic Studies will give you a greater opportunity to visit and work in Antarctica. It provides you with information on global systems that is becoming fundamentally important in many non-Antarctic jobs such as science technicians, IT specialists, and law or policymakers. The important role the polar regions play as drivers of the world's climate will be a major consideration in many careers in the coming years.

The job market for Disaster Risk and Resilience graduates is strong and varied. Recent graduates have taken up roles in both central and local government and in the private sector, including for example NZ Crown Research Institutes, Ministries for the Environment and for Defence, Civil Defence and Emergency Management groups, local government hazard management, and consultancies (both here and overseas).

A career in Engineering Geology offers a very wide spectrum of work environments and employment opportunities.

Wide-ranging employment opportunities exist for engineering geologists, and there is presently a strong demand both from the civil and mining professions, as follows:

  • Geotechnical consultancies (New Zealand; Australia; Canada; United Kingdom)
  • Mining companies and specific operations (New Zealand; Australia)
  • Hydrogeology specialists (New Zealand; Australia)
  • Government agencies and local authorities (New Zealand)
  • Research institutions (University and other)

Work options include larger construction projects, land subdivision, corridor projects, mining geotechnics, environmental management, and aspects of hydrogeology.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Engineering Geology.

Environmental Science is a growth area for employment. Well-educated people with strong technical and communication skills are needed to help identify, to monitor, and to contribute to solving a variety of problems associated with the environment and with the use and allocation of resources and sustainability.

Environmental scientists help businesses be more sustainable, work with engineering agencies to reduce the impact of major projects, advise government on environmental risks, and more.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Environmental Science.

Recent Geography graduates have found work all over Aotearoa New Zealand and the world, from Tāmaki-makaurau Auckland to Melbourne, California to Antarctica. Many have found careers in the public service, the tourism industry, private companies dealing with geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), the police, local authorities, and in education.

The Resource Management Act has created a lively market for geographers in consultancy and in regional and local government. Those who gain technical expertise in areas such as GIS and remote sensing are also in demand from both the public and private sectors. In addition, research and policy positions in central, regional, and local government are popular.

Some graduates find work overseas for Manatū Aorere | Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, development agencies, and the United Nations, or in positions that are particularly people-focused, like the union movement, teaching, or personnel, where communication skills are critical.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Geography.

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.

There is currently a geospatial skill shortage in Aotearoa New Zealand. Graduates of our Geospatial Science and Technology programmes will be able to fill positions in a range of different industries, including the private sector, government, and community organisations. Potential roles could be GIS analyst, GIS planner, local government analyst, or geospatial technology developer.

The Master of Urban Resilience and Renewal will provide students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies to be employed professionally in any organisation involved in urban resilience and renewal. It will enable graduates to seek out careers in areas such as environmental management, disaster risk reduction, hazard management, environmental consulting, as well as local and regional government.

Water Resource Management graduates progress to a range of careers.

See some real-life examples from our own graduates on where a career in Water Resource Management can take you.

Engineering Geologist

With a BSc in Geology and MSc in Engineering Geology, Sophie Bainbridge is now an Engineering Geologist, helping to create a more resilient future for New Zealand.

Senior Executive at Jacobs

After earning a BSc, Gareth went on to complete a PhD in Environmental Science and now leads an internationally recognised team at one of the world’s largest construction and engineering companies.

Founder of MAProgress

Shane is utilising his GIS knowledge to transform the way the world sees and experiences outdoor sporting events.

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