• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Biology
  • Major code EART-MAJ

Understanding how our planet works has been a human ambition for many centuries. Earth Science deals with complex systems and brings together aspects of chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology to understand the processes that shape our planet. Earth Science is central to many pressing issues of our time such as the supply of resources including energy and water, climate change and natural hazards.

The major in Earth Science will examine the origin of Earth from its beginning as one of several planets orbiting the sun to the evolution through time of rocks, the oceans and the atmosphere and how this made life on Earth possible. In the past 50 years, we have come to appreciate the global mobility of plates encapsulated in the paradigm of plate tectonics. Interactions between plates generate earthquakes, mountain belts and volcanos. In addition to understanding the fundamental mechanisms driving these global forces, Earth Scientists are engaged in understanding the origins of global resources. An increasingly important aspect of Earth Science is the understanding of past and present climate systems through integrated studies of the interactions between the lithosphere, oceans, atmosphere and biosphere.

Studying the Earth involves testing hypotheses and many opportunities arise in the major for field studies. A major in Earth Sciences opens up possibilities for work in the mining and minerals industries, government agencies and science education. It serves as a pathway to higher degree research at Australian or overseas universities.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Gather and interpret data from a wide range of Earth Science disciplines, using a variety of techniques.

  2. Draw on diverse learning environments, from the field to the laboratory to the classroom by individual and group learning, combining field observation with experiments, modelling and theory.

  3. Have an understanding of the history of and debates within the discipline of Geology and how they have influenced modern Earth Science.

  4. Apply an understanding of time (evolution of continents, oceans and life over billions of years) and space (nano to planetary scales) to a variety of contexts.

  5. Perform process-oriented, multidisciplinary studies to critically evaluate models and test hypotheses on how our planet works.

  6. Write scientific reports, and communicate effectively with university staff, peer students and the wider community on Earth Science topics.

  7. Conduct themselves in a way that reflects professional expectations within the discipline.

Other Information

What 1st year courses should you enrol in? EMSC1006 and EMSC1008.

Students are encouraged in first year to take appropriate foundation courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and /or environmental science because of the interdisciplinary nature of Earth Sciences. Some of the first year courses in these disciplines are required as a basis for higher-level Earth Science courses.

We recommend that students wanting to work as professional geoscientist should complete at least one of the offered specialisations in addition to this major.

Students should seek further course advice from the academic convener of this Earth Science major.

Back to the top


This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

6 units from completion of the following courses:

EMSC1008 Earth: The Chemistry and Physics of our Planet


6 units from completion of the following courses:

CHEM1101 Chemistry 1

PHYS1101 Physics I

PHYS1001 Foundations of Physics


6 units from completion of the following courses:

MATH1003 Algebra and Calculus Methods

MATH1013 Mathematics and Applications 1


18 units from completion of the following courses:

EMSC2021 Fundamentals of Climate System Science

EMSC2022 Introduction to Global Geophysics

EMSC2023 Fundamentals of Geology

EMSC2024 Geochemistry


12 units must come from completion of courses from the following list:

3000 level Earth and Marine Science (EMSC) courses

BIAN3010 Scientific Dating in Archaeology and Palaeoenvironmental Studies

Back to the top

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions