• 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. Develop theoretical and practical skills required for Earth Sciences.

  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

This major is self contained. There is a pathway through the major that does not require prerequisites outside of the major however:

Students intending to take the Environmental Geology Specialisation, the Geochemistry and Petrology Specialisation or the Climate Science Specialisation will also need to complete:

This course can form part of the Earth Science Major, a Foundational Science minor, another science minor/major or sequence of science electives. If a student is in a Flexible Double Degree, the courses can only contribute towards one degree.

What 1st year courses should you enrol in? EMSC1006 and EMSC1008 and either MATH1003 or MATH1013 or MATH1115

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.

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

6 units must come from completion of the following compulsory course:

EMSC1008 Earth: The Chemistry and Physics of our Planet (6 units)

6 units must come from completion of a 1000- level course from the following list:

CHEM1101 Chemistry 1 (6 units)

PHYS1101 Physics I (6 units)

PHYS1001 Foundations of Physics (6 units)

6 units must come from completion of a 1000- level MATH course from the following list:

MATH1003 Algebra and Calculus Methods (6 units)

MATH1013 Mathematics and Applications 1 (6 units)

MATH1115 Advanced Mathematics and Applications 1 (6 units)

18 units must come from completion of a 2000- level EMSC course form the following list:

EMSC2021 Fundamentals of Climate Science (6 units)

EMSC2022 Introduction to Global Geophysics (6 units)

EMSC2023 Fundamentals of Geology (6 units)

EMSC2024 Geochemical Cycles (6 units)

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

ARCH3042 Scientific Dating in Archaeology and Palaeoenvironmental Studies (6 units)

EMSC3002 Structural Geology and Tectonics (6 units)

EMSC3007 Economic Geology (6 units)

EMSC3019 Coral Reef Field Studies (6 units)

EMSC3020 Geobiology and Evolution of Life on Earth (6 units)

EMSC3022 Planetary Science (6 units)

EMSC3023 Marine Biogeochemistry (6 units)

EMSC3024 Magmatism and Metamorphism (6 units)

EMSC3025 Groundwater (6 units)

EMSC3027 Palaeoclimatology and Climate Change (6 units)

EMSC3032 Melting Polar Ice Sheets, Sea Level Variations and Climate Change (6 units)

EMSC3033 Applied Geophysics (6 units)

EMSC3034 Dynamic Earth: Plates, Plumes and Mantle Convection (6 units)

EMSC3050 Special Topics (6 units)

ENVS3013 Climate Change: Past, Present and Future (6 units)

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