Geology & 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 resource exploration. Geology and geophysics provide a unifying context for understanding the workings of the earth system and the dynamic structural and ecosystem relationships between the continents and oceans. The combination of geology and geophysics with other disciplines such as geography, archaeology, biology, chemistry, physics, computing, engineering, economics and law can lead to many specialisations.
School of Geosciences website
What do geologists and geophysicists do?
Global climate change and shrinking resources have heightened our sense of dependence on 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 graduates of the University of Sydney 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.
What will you study?
To major in geology and geophysics, you need to complete 24 credit points of third year geology and geophysics units of study by enrolling in two senior geology and geophysics units per semester. You can choose a variety of unit combinations in order to attain a geology and geophysics major with a focus on surface, marine, environmental and deep earth processes. You will have the opportunity to participate in an array of learning environments including laboratory work, high-end computing and field trips to destinations in Australia and overseas.
Second year units of study 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. Third year units of study cover methods of field data collection and provide you with access to cutting edge computing and data resources used for turning your observations into knowledge. You will acquire the skills necessary for employment in all areas of sustainable exploration and management of our natural, mineral and energy resources. These units also provide you with foundation training that prepares you for further study in honours or postgraduate coursework programs.
After majoring in geology and geophysics, you can undertake honours by 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.
Scholarships and prizes
Each year, the Earth Resources Foundation provides scholarships and awards to undergraduate students in the School of Geosciences to encourage talented recipients to continue studying earth sciences. At least three scholarships are offered for each undergraduate year of study. In addition, if you are undertaking third year units of study in geology and geophysics, you are eligible to apply for a number of industry scholarships.
Geology and geophysics at Sydney
The particular strengths offered in geology and geophysics are in the fields of:
- marine geology
- environmental geology
- computational modelling of earth systems
- plate tectonics
- petroleum geology and geophysics
- economic geology
- igneous and metamorphic geology
Computational modelling of earth systems is a growing field of interest which has become an area of outstanding strength at the University.
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.