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Facts & figures

  • 125 Years of education and research in geosciences.
  • Best Ranked best in NSW and 17 in the world for the study of Geography.*
  • 5 out of 5 For research excellence in both geology and geophysics.
  • Leader Of ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Basin Geodynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems
  • *QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019
Faculties and schools_

School of Geosciences

Study the earth, its origins, the environment and people
A dynamic group of disciplines made up of geology, geography and geophysics. We tackle key issues facing society including climate change, resource management and sustainability.

Geosciences is the study of the Earth – its oceans, atmosphere, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers, soils, its complex surface, rocky interior and metallic core. This includes deciphering the history and possible future paths of Earth’s evolution and many aspects of how living things, including humans, interact with the Earth.

We also investigate the past, measures the present, and models the future behaviour of our planet. It also studies the other planets, asteroids, and the solar system, both to better understand the Earth and to expand our knowledge of the universe.

Our teaching

As a student you will learn how to analyse problems and work out solutions. You will have opportunities for hands on experience outside of the classroom in the field and laboratory.

We are invested in the future work prospects of all of our students. We are ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability*.

The School of Geosciences is built upon Australia's oldest Department of Geology which was established in 1893, followed by the foundation of Australia’s first Department of Geography in 1920.

Study at Geosciences

Our people


We are committed to supporting equity, diversity and inclusion and have set up a committee to oversee these principles.

We make all efforts to support staff with caring responsibilities and retaining staff who are planning a career transition such as parental leave. We have developed a Parental Leave Process to reinforce the School’s commitment to supporting and growing a talented and diverse workforce.

Read the committee’s Terms of Reference here or contact one of our Equity Officers Kevin Davies, Tristan Salles, Bree Morgan or Naama Blatman-Thomas. 

The University of Sydney has a number of high quality teaching and research facilities available to geosciences students.

  • Our Madsen Building is fitted out with laboratories and specialised equipment suitable for all disciplines within the geosciences. We have sorting and weighing facilities to assess items collected on field trips as well as high-tech computing systems and software to assist with analysis and reporting.
  • The University of Sydney Marine Studies Institute (MSI) is amongst the largest marine research and education centres in Australia. MSI is a partner in the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) whose headquarters are in Chowder Bay. Students are often taken on field trips to utilise the facilities and equipment here.
  • One Tree Island, located in the southerly part of the Great Barrier Reef is managed by the University of Sydney. Used for marine research, the 4 hectares of reef are often visited for field studies.

Geosciences Seminar Series Semester 2: A world of excess

This seminar series will discuss the natural and human worlds of excess. This is explored both in terms of abundance, neglect, waste and resultant crises that are a hallmark of our present-day society, and also in the extreme conditions that have disrupted the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere through geological time. Building on the converging and conflicting meanings of excess – an abundance and plethora but also an excessiveness, a surplus and a residue or remainder – we are hoping to engage in the complex formations and transformations of our human and more-than- human environments and their ramifications for our survival here. 

Venue: Madsen Conference Room 449 Madsen Building F09

Time: 1-2pm

Contacts: or

This seminar series is open to the public.

  1. Week 2, Tuesday, 13th August
    Dr Laurie Menviel, UNSW | Deglacial changes in ocean circulation and their impact on the global carbon cycle
  2. Week 4, Tuesday, 27th August
    Dr Michelle Dyer, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority| The Great Barrier Reef: Human understandings in abundant seas
  3. Week 6, Tuesday, 10th September
    Prof Howie Scher, University of South Carolina| Climate extremes
  4. Week 8, Tuesday, 24th September
    Dr Ryan Jones, University of Auckland | Excess and Indebtedness: Green Bonds in a Time of Environmental Crisis
  5. Week 10, Tuesday, 15th October
    Dr Andrew Valentine, ANU | An excess of data: New opportunities for geoscience inference?
  6. Week 12, Tuesday, 29th October
    Prof Claudio Minca, MQ | Populations in excess: geopolitics of the refugee camps along the Balkan Route
  7. STUVAC, Tuesday, 12th November
    Prof Dale Dominey-Howes, USYD | Excess and waste as a lens to reimagine hazards and disasters in the Anthropocene 

The Thinking Space Seminar Series for Semester 2 will be held every Wednesday at the Madsen (F09) Conference Room 449 from 1pm-2pm.

Contacts: or

This seminar series is open to the public.

  1. Wednesday August 7th
    Dr. Sophie  Chao (Research Associate USyd) | Topographies of Violence in Merauke, West Papua
  2. Wednesday August 14th  
    Dr. Jo Gillespie and A. Prof. Dan Penny (Geosciences) | Smoke on the water: wetlands and fire
  3. Wednesday August 21st
    Dr. Jess McLean (Macquarie University) | Changing Digital Geographies: the Anthropocene as more-than-real
  4. Wednesday August 28th
    Dr. Sophie Webber (Geosciences ) | Creative farmers and climate politics in Indonesian rice production
  5. Wednesday September 4th
    Dr. Rebecca Lawrence (Research Fellow USyd) | Rehabilitating Ranger Uranium Mine: Scientific Uncertainty, Deep Futures and the Regulatory Abyss
  6. Wednesday September 11th
    Alistair Sisson and Pratichi Chatterjee (Geosciences) | Ethics, activism, and over researched places
  7. Wednesday September 18th
    A. Prof. Donna Houston (Macquarie University) | Cities in the Shadow of Extinction
  8. Wednesday September 25th
    Veronica Gregorio (National University of Singapore) | Heritage or Future?: Intra-household relations of farming families in Philippines and Malaysia
    Javed Azad (Geosciences) | What determines local differences in adaptive capacity to climate change induced flooding in Northern Bangladesh?
  9. Wednesday October 9th
    Dr. Bess Moylan (Honourary Associate USyd Geosciences) | Indigenous knowledge in historical maps: Cultural collecting institutions and the decolonisation process
  10. Wednesday October 16th 
    Dr. Svenja Keele (University of Melbourne) | From catastrophe to capital: consultants and the privatisation of climate adaptation
  11. Wednesday October 23rd
    A. Prof. Andrew McGregor (Macquarie University) | The trouble with human development: towards a more-than-human development studies
  12. Wednesday October 30th
    Prof. Neil Martin Coe (National University of Singapore) | Thinking through Global Production Networks
  13. Wednesday November 6th
    Danilo Ignacio (Geosciences) | Governance of forest landscape restoration in the Brazilian Amazon
    Chieh-Ming Lai (Geosciences) | Transplanting landscapes: from King’s study tours to citizens’ participation

Head of School

Phil McManus
Professor Bill Pritchard
View academic profile

School of Geosciences

  • Room 348 Madsen Building F09, The University of Sydney

Madsen Building

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