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Two marine science students on a boat conducting research at the Great Barrier Reef
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Environment and geosciences

Make your mark on the world
Environment and geosciences will immerse you in the study of our world. Whether you become an expert in climate change, coastal erosion or sustainability, you will be working on the frontline of issues of global importance.

How can I study environment and geosciences?

Course options

Subjects in the area of environment and geosciences can be studied as a major or minor in many undergraduate science courses, and other courses available across the university. 

Undergraduate courses
Programs, majors and minors

Available in the courses above:

You may also choose to study these subjects from the shared pool of majors available to many university courses.

See all of our undergraduate courses.

The honours year in science is a widely recognised and highly regarded additional year of undergraduate study focusing on a research project. 

For more information visit the honours page.

Master of Environmental Science

The course’s focus is on linking your education in environmental sciences (such as ecology, climate change and chemistry) with studies in politics and law, project evaluation and assessment, decision-making and conflict resolution. Also available as a Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate.

Master of Environmental Science and Law

This course allows you to gain a qualification to complement your environmental experience and to acquire knowledge in areas of policy and management. It will bring together subjects that are normally taught separately and are difficult to study together outside of the degree. 

Master of Marine Science and Management

Developed in collaboration with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and its partner universities, the degree’s rich array of subjects include the science and management of coasts, marine ecology and conservation, coral reefs, climate change, oceanography (physical, geological and biological) and engineering (coastal and marine). Also available as a Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate.

Master of Sustainability

A course with a strong multi-disciplinary focus, you’ll learn about renewable energy and energy conservation, population health, food and water security, sustainability law and policy, business leadership and sustainability analysis tools. Also available as a Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate.

See all our postgraduate coursework degrees

Research the big questions in environment and geosciences by doing a research degree, such as a

To find a potential supervisor visit Research Supervisor Connect or learn more about postgraduate research.

What is environment and geosciences?

Imagine turning your passion for global issues into a rewarding and satisfying career! Choose subjects from environment and geosciences discover a selection of courses where you will have opportunities to study the earth, its oceans, atmosphere, forests, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers.

This will also include many aspects of how living things, including humans, interact with the earth and environment. Your studies will take you from the laboratory to a rainforest, the desert or even underwater.

Why study environment and geosciences with us?

  • Geography is the study of Earth as the home of people. As the need to find solutions to issues of environmental sustainability, population change and globalisation have become more challenging, the skills and knowledge of geographers have come to the forefront. Students of Geography are taught to think critically about the relationships between people, environments and places.
  • Geology and Geophysics provides a unifying context for understanding the workings of the Earth system and the dynamic structural and ecosystem relationships between the continents and the oceans through time. Global climate change and shrinking resources have heightened our sense of dependence on Earth as a complex system. Geology and Geophysics provides students with an understanding of change on Earth, its origin, plate tectonics, surface processes, evolution of life and geologic time.
  • Marine studies draw together every aspect of science applicable to the understanding and management of the whole maritime environment. These areas include oceanography, biology, ecology, geography and geology and aspects of physics, chemistry and mathematics. Marine science involves studying the coast and oceans in all their aspects.
  • We are ranked 17th in the world for geosciences.*
  • Our practice of using research-led teaching will give you opportunities to get out of the classroom and into the field.
  • Gain valuable experience working on projects locally and internationally in places such as New Zealand, China, Great Barrier Reef, Australian desert, and South East Asia.
  • Environment and geosciences studies will provide you with an understanding of the governance framework in which your professional career will operate, including the fundamental aspects of sustainability, environmental assessment, law, ethics, development, energy use, economics and politics.
  • We have industry partners such as; Crommelin Biological Research Station NSW Central Coast, Tropical Ecology Research Facility Kakadu National Park, One Tree Island Research Station the Great Barrier Reef and the Marine Studies Institute
  • We are invested in the future work prospects of all of our students. We are ranked first in Australia and fifth in the world for graduate employability.**

*QS World Rankings by Subject 2019.
**QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019.

Where can environment and geosciences take you?

Our graduates pursue careers in government funded organisations, in local government, or in the multitude of private environmental consultancies seeking graduates with science-based skills and specialist knowledge in environmental and geological issues.

The Australian Government estimates that up to 5000 new jobs will open up for Geologists, Geophysicists and Hydrogeologists in the next 5 years. Many geo-occupations will focus on finding and extracting the materials used in new technologies, especially enabling sustainable energy infrastructure. Cobalt demand for phones, computers and cars are expected to double by 2025 and lithium requirements are estimated to increase 10 times above 2010 levels by around 2020.Australia is presently ranked 6th in the world in terms of known lithium reserves but geoscientists will need to use new technologies and skill sets to expand this resource and perhaps others that we don’t even know we need yet.

Our graduates can be found in many settings and roles, including:

  • Fisheries, parks and wildlife
  • Environmental and coastal protection
  • Marine and atmospheric research
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services
  • Environment, urban planning and heritage agencies
  • Exploration for critical and base metals
  • Energy exploration
  • Natural hazards, such as erosion, earthquakes and volcanic activity
  • Earth monitoring from space

Science study plans

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Student profile

Wenchao Cao - PhD candidate (Geosciences)

"I was strongly interested in research in the fields of plate tectonics, paleobiology and climate change. The EarthByte research group at the University of Sydney is a world-leading Earth modelling group, aimed at understanding the planet’s plate tectonic, deep and surface processes by synthesising big and complex geodata through space and time."