“Geologists play a key roles in the resource industry and their research carefully unravels the past to help define the future. They use a variety of tools from advanced geophysical and geochemical analysis to boots-on-the-ground fieldwork all over the world and can expect an exciting career in a number of fields.” – Dr. Kevin Welsh, Major Convener

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Geology is the study of the interacting systems of the solid Earth, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere as they evolve through time. Geologists discover, develop and responsibly manage minerals, energy, and other Earth resources. Geological knowledge underpins our capacity to ensure a sustainable supply of natural resources and the use of these resources responsibly, and it is essential to solving environmental challenges such as global climate change.
UQ offers a wide range of core courses in geology, chemistry, mathematics and physics, which provide a foundation for the study of fundamental geologic methods and problems, both in the laboratory and in the field. Within the Geological Sciences major you may specialise in economic geology, mining geology, energy resources, geophysics, environmental geology, geochemistry, palaeobiology, marine geology, surficial processes and landscape evolution, and tectonics. Most students complete advanced courses in field geology, culminating in field trips to the Great Barrier Reef and the Mt Isa region. Field and laboratory based projects during your optional honours year solidify your geologic skills and provide essential training for independent research.
 
 If you are interested in enrolling in the Exploration Geophysics Honours program please contact Associate Professor Steve Hearn prior to beginning your first year of study: steveh@geoph.uq.edu.au
 
This major is administered by the School of Earth Sciences.
 
For further information please contact the Science Faculty.

What will I study?

Geologists and geophysicists may work in field investigation, collecting data from instruments probing below the Earth's surface and from satellites hundreds of kilometres above the surface. They may work in data processing using some of the world's most powerful computer systems. They may be involved in drilling of wells thousands of metres deep, in the production of resources, or in R&D to invent new technologies.

The long-range employment forecast for geoscientists is very strong, particularly due to the buoyant nature of the worldwide resource sector. Exploration for energy resources (including alternatives such as geothermal and coal seam methane), minerals and water, environmental planning, engineering, and the disposal of hazardous waste are just a few of the challenging areas which will require the skills of trained geoscientists for many years to come.

There are three recommended study plans in the BSc Geological Sciences Major:

Minerals and Energy

This area provides excellent undergraduate training for the professional geologist in the exploration and mining industries, and for students who wish to pursue further postgraduate education. The BSc Honours program in geology is a professionally recognised qualification.

Environment and Marine

This field provides a broad training for students interested in aspects of  Earth systems science, such as environmental geosciences, marine geology, climate change, hydrogeology, and geochemistry. Students will acquire the ability to look at the big picture. Given the importance of water resources and of the marine environment for Australia’s future, particular emphasis will be placed on marine geology and on coastal processes.

Exploration Geophysics

The exploration geophysics plan is intended primarily for students who wish to pursue careers as professional geophysicists, working for major resource and engineering companies, international geophysical contractors, and government or research organisations. Geophysics is a dynamic and challenging profession, integrating diverse skills including mathematics, geology, physics, computing and instrumentation. It suits people who enjoy intellectual variety, problem solving, quantitative analysis, and the outdoors. The plan given here allows students to combine Geological Sciences with Mathematics and is recommended as the ideal undergraduate plan for capable students intending to become exploration geophysicists. For a professionally recognised qualification, this undergraduate plan would normally be followed by BSc Hons (Exploration Geophysics) or MMinRes (Exploration). Students are encouraged to contact the co-ordinator, Dr Steve Hearn, (steveh@geoph.uq.edu.au) for advice and further information.

A large component of the education of a geoscience student involves laboratory and practical activities, and field work. There will be ample opportunities for vacation work in the mining industry in your second and third years, and this will immensely enrich your university education and your personal experience. Our school has a very strong research record and links with industry, and our multicultural staff have strong collaborations with the best geoscience institutions across the five continents. Students interested in a research career will have access to some of the most advanced research laboratories in the country.

Study Plans

Geological Sciences is available as a Single Major and an Extended Major. The Extended Major demonstrate to a future employer that you have a broader range of knowledge, skills and understand of geological science. The Single Major may be more appropriate for students taking dual degrees such as BEng/ BSc.
 
For the Single Major you are required to complete #14 (#6 at Level 2 and #8 at Level 3) from the Geological Sciences course list. For the Extended Major you are required to complete #22 (#10 at Level 2 and #12 at Level 3) from the Geological Sciences course list. 
For students that are interested in studying Exploration Geophysics we recommend that you contact A/ Prof. Steve Hearn (s.hearn@uq.edu.au). Students may consider taking the dual major in Computational Science and Geological Science
 
Please refer to the course list below to ensure you complete the major requirements.

How do I use the Study Plans?

1.Choose a study plan.
2.Take all Compulsory Courses in each semester.
3.Select required number of units in Key Courses for each year level (we generally recommend taking all of these)
4.Ensure you take at least #12 of level 3 (or 4) courses from the BSc list.
5.Fill any gaps in each semester with Recommended Courses or electives from BSc or other programs. 
(Standard full-time semester load #8.)
6.Ensure you meet the BSc requirements and rules.

What do the different columns mean?

  • Compulsory courses – compulsory for the major.
  • Key courses – electives from the major's course list.
  • Recommended courses – complement the major. 

Choose a study plan

Course List

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Geological Science (Extended Major)

You can find details about the first year of the program here.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses

Key Courses

# 2 from

Recommended Courses
 

Sem 1

 

 

ERTH2020 Introduction to Geophysics
ERTH2050 Field Geology
 

ERTH2003 Sedimentary Petrology and Stratigraphy 
ERTH2005 Mineralogy

 

Sem 2

ERTH2004 Structural Geology
ERTH2006 Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology

 

 

 

 

ERTH2002 Palaeobiology
ERTH2007 Quantitative Geology

Year 3

Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses

Key Courses
#8 from:

Recommended Courses
 

Sem 1

ERTH3001 Ore Deposits & Exploration Geology

 

 

ERTH3104 Tectonics and Crustal Evolution


ERTH3050 Field Geology: Mapping in the Outback1
ERTH3103 Sedimentary Environments2
ERTH3203 Energy Resources

ERTH3205 Geochemistry

Choose electives from ERTH courses or other BSc courses

Sem 2

 

 

 

 

 

ERTH3250 Hydrogeology
 

 

ERTH3301 Ore Body Modelling
 
Choose electives from ERTH courses or other BSc courses

1. Available in Semester 1 and 2.
2. Available in odd years only.


Geological Science (Single Major) - Minerals and Energy

You can find details about the first year of the program here.

Year 2 Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses Recommended Courses
 
Sem 1

ERTH2020
Introduction to Geophysics
ERTH2050 Field Geology1

ERTH2003 Sedimentary Petrology & Stratigraphy
ERTH2005 Mineralogy

CHEM2050 Chem Reactions & Mechanisms

Sem 2
ERTH2004 Structural Geology
 ERTH2006 Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology
ERTH2002 Palaeobiology
Year 3 Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses
#4 for:
Recommended Courses
 
Sem 1

ERTH3001
Ore Deposits & Explor Geology
ERTH3104 Tectonics and Crustal Evolution
 
ERTH3050 Field Geology: Mapping in Outback1
Choose electives from ERTH courses or other BSc courses
Sem 2  

ERTH3021
Exploration Geophysics &Mining
ERTH3250 Hydrogeology
 
Choose electives from ERTH courses or other BSc courses

 1. Available in semester 1 and 2.

Geological Science (Single Major) - Environment and Marine

You can find details about the first year of the program here.

Year 2 Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses Recommended Courses
 
Sem 1
 
ERTH2020 Introduction to Geophysics
ERTH2050 Field Geology1
 
ERTH2003 Sedimentary Petrology & Stratigraphy
ERTH2005 Mineralogy
CHEM2050 Chem Reactions & Mechanisms
 
Sem 2 ERTH2004 Structural Geology  
ERTH2006 Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology
 

ERTH2002
Palaeobiology
 
Year 3 Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses
#4 for
Recommended Courses
 
Sem 1

ERTH3001
Ore Deposits & Explor Geology
ERTH3104 Tectonics and Crustal Evolution
 
 ERTH3203 Energy Resources (Not offered 2013)2
Choose electives from ERTH courses or other BSc courses 
Sem 2  

ERTH3212
Geology of Coral Reefs
ERTH3250 Hydrogeology
 
Choose electives from ERTH courses or other BSc courses 

1. Available in semester 1 and 2.
2. Available in even years only.

Geological Science (Single Major) - Exploration Geophysics

You can find details about the first year of the program here.

Year 2 Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses Recommended Courses
 
Sem 1
 
ERTH2020 Introduction to Geophysics
ERTH2050 Field Geology1
 
ERTH2003 Sedimentary Petrology & Stratigraphy
ERTH2005
Mineralogy
PHYS2810 Electronics & Circuit Theory
PHYS3071 Computational Physics
Sem 2
ERTH2004 Structural Geology
MATH2000 Calculus & Linear Algebra II
At least #2 from
MATH1061 Discrete Mathematics *if not completed 1st yr
MATH2100 Applied Mathematical Analysis
COSC2500 Num Meth in Computational Sci
Plus one from
CSSE1001 Software Engineering I
PHYS2041 Quantum Physics
Year 3 Compulsory Courses
Complete all courses
Key Courses
#4 for:
Recommended Courses
 
Sem 1
ERTH3001 Ore Deposits & Explor Geology
ERTH3104 Tectonics and Crustal Evolution
PHYS3071 Computational Physics
 
COSC3000 Visualization, Computer Graphics & Data Analysis
MATH3201 Advanced Scientific Computing
 
Sem 2
 
 
ERTH3021 Exploration Geophysics & Mining
ERTH3250 Hydrogeology
at least #2 from
MATH3102 Applied Mathematics
MATH3403 Partial Differential Equations
MATH3500 Problems & Applications
One from
CSSE1001 Software Engineering I
PHYS2041 Quantum Physics

1. Available in semester 1 and 2.

Major Convenor

Dr. Kevin Welsh

Specific Research Area – Sedimentology and Palaoeclimate
 
What I do
 
I use physical and geochemical analysis of carbonates (corals, molluscs) and sediment cores to reconstruct the climate and environments of regions such as the tropical Pacific and Antarctica which have a profound affect in driving global climates. 
 
I began my research in Papua New Guinea using chemical signals of giant molluscs to reconstruct the history of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This naturally occurring interannual climatic oscillation has a near global affect on agriculture, ecosystems and human life through its influence on regional temperatures and particularly the hydrological cycle.  It has been suggested that the number and intensity of these events might change in the future, creating major economic and social issues, however we know surprisingly little of how it has behaved in the past under different boundary conditions. The work I do helps to constrain this so that we might more accurately predict the future. 
 
More recently I sailed as part of a drilling expedition to Antarctica to try and understand the variability in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during warmer conditions in the past. This is the largest reservoir of freshwater on the planet with the ability to raise sea level by a considerable amount.
 
What I teach
 
I teach the second year Sedimentary Petrology and Stratigraphy (ERTH2003) course and the third year Marine Geology course (ERTH3110). I also teach on field camps in Central Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef and teach into the first year ERTH1000 Planet Earth: the Big Picture course. I am the Academic Advisor for the School of Earth Science.

Careers

Geoscientists find excellent employment positions in industry, both within Australia and overseas, in the areas of mineral and fossil fuels exploration and production, mining geology and mineral processing, as well as in natural resource and environmental management and protection. Your excellent quantitative and problem-solving skills, global perspective and interpersonal skills will also open the door to a wide range of employment beyond the traditional scientific sector, such as management consulting, investment banking and government. Many geological sciences graduates also study advanced degrees and go on to research positions in universities, the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Geoscience Australia (GA), and private companies. More information about exciting career paths is available at www.earth.uq.edu.au.