Geology and Geophysics


Geology and geophysics are extremely diverse sciences that deal with the study of the Earth as a complex system, including its composition, structure, origin and evolution of life, environments, global climate and sea level changes, natural hazards and sea exploration.

The combination of geology and geophysics with other disciplines such as geography, archaeology, biology, chemistry, computing, engineering, economics and law can lead to many specialisations.

For more information on the program structure and content, view the Science Undergraduate Handbook.

Major outline

When planning for a geology and geophysics major, you should take at least 12 credit points of junior geosciences units in your first year and GEOS 1003 or Engineering Geology GEOL 1501 which provide essential knowledge for second year units of study.

You will take the intermediate geology and geophysics units of study which are prerequisites for your senior units. Your second year units highlight geological environments, plate tectonics, geological materials, climate change, natural hazards, field data collection and life through time.

You will learn about the role of the Earth system in all natural phenomena, including those of concern to humans such as geo-biodiversity, salinity, seismicity, volcanic hazards, climate and sea level change.

To complete your major in geology and geophysics, you need to complete at least 24 credit points of senior geology and geophysics units of study. Your third year units will provide you with the skills necessary for employment in all areas of sustainable exploration and management of our natural, mineral and energy resources.

Field Geology and Geophysics
Earth’s Structure and Evolution
Global Energy and Resources
Environmental and Sedimentary Geology
Geophysical Methods
Fossils and Tectonics
Environmental and Resource Management
Volcanoes, Hot Rocks and Minerals
Oceans, Coasts and Climate Change
Earth, Environment and Society

Graduate opportunities

Global climate change and shrinking resources have heightened our sense of dependence of Earth as a complex system. Our need for understanding climate change and continuing demand for metals, oil and gas ensures that geologists are not only in high demand but are also amongst the highest paid professionals in the world.

Recent geology and geophysics graduates have secured employment with major mining, petroleum and geophysical companies in Australia and overseas. Many of our graduates are also employed by environmental companies, Geoscience Australia, the CSIRO, geological surveys, financial institutions and universities.

Further study for major

After majoring in geology and geophysics, you may wish to undertake an honours research year to explore your potential for a research career. Honours involves completing a research project under the direction of a supervisor, submitting a thesis embodying the results of your investigation and undertaking coursework which may include units of study offered through the Sydney Universities Consortium of Geology and Geophysics (SUCOGG). There are University scholarships available for your honours year.

If you perform very well in your honours year, there is a range of opportunities for you to gain MSc or PhD qualifications in geology and geophysics. Current postgraduate students are involved in research ranging from modelling of past climates, reconstructing ancient ocean basins, improved data integration for resource exploration, early Earth processes and formation of high temperature and high pressure rocks.

Related subject areas

Environmental Studies
Marine Science

Our courses that offer this major