Earth Sciences

The demand for experts in Earth Sciences continues to grow as we look to better manage our soil, water, minerals, energy and coastal and marine resources, as well as understand natural hazards  such as floods, earthquakes, tsunami, landslides and volcanic eruptions.

Billy Bodger

Master of Science
Smaller class sizes, enthusiastic lecturers and field trips to exciting North Island locations has made Earth Sciences study at Waikato a top experience for student Billy Bodger.

Aaron Huesser

Master of Science
Growing up in rural Taranaki, Aaron developed an appreciation and passion for the environment. Surrounded by natural energy producers he also gained an enthusiasm for the energy industry, which sparked his interest in the earth sciences.

Riki Lewis

Master of Science
For Riki Lewis, studying Earth Sciences at Waikato has led to an exciting job as a Soil Scientist with the Queensland Government.

Peter Longdill

Master of Science, PhD
A University of Waikato science graduate is in the Middle East working to reduce the environmental impacts of a major sea port project.

The University of Waikato is uniquely placed to offer a thorough grounding in all aspects of the Earth Sciences. We are situated close to both North Island coasts, a short drive from the active Taupo Volcanic Zone, at the heart of the richest New Zealand farming region, and have New Zealand's longest river on our doorstep.

We are a leader in teaching and research related to the Earth’s environment, and offer you a learning experience that goes beyond the laboratory and lecture room - and out into the world.

Our first year programme gives you a broad understanding of Earth's systems. In the following years you can dig deeper into areas such as coastal marine science, engineering geology, environmental engineering science, environmental monitoring and management, geo-resource exploration, global environmental change, hydrology and water resource management, meteorology, natural hazards, oceanography, sedimentary geology and tectonics, soil and land resource management and volcanology.

Coastal Marine Science

Impressive field resources provide Waikato’s Earth Sciences students with excellent opportunities to combine field experience with state-of-the-art computer modelling techniques.  The Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga has become a major centre of marine research excellence.

Engineering Geology

You will develop key skills highly sought-after in geotechnical engineering, consulting and environmental management by honing your technical abilities in the analysis of hillslope stability, environmental monitoring, rock and soil strength, and engineering site assessment.

Hydrology and Freshwater Resources

Water-resource management, whether for flood prevention and control, drinking water, economic development, or environmental protection, is a rapidly growing issue for New Zealand and the world. You will study groundwater, surface waters, and the atmosphere and climate, including greenhouse gas emissions.

Sedimentary Geology

Sedimentary geology provides you with important skills in geological mapping, data acquisition and data interpretation that have applications in the energy industry, and in groundwater management and geo-resource development.

Soil Science

Managing our soils to ensure sustainable food production, environmental protection and the safe management of waste is critical to the future of New Zealand and the world. You will study the distribution of soils in the landscape and learn how soils’ chemical, physical and biological properties can be managed to contribute to more positive environmental health.


The Waikato region includes a diverse range of volcanoes and volcanic products such as lavas, ignimbrites and tephra. Study of these products is important to help us manage responses to potential volcanic hazards and to better understand the geo-resources and geological history of the Earth. As a volcanology student you will be able to take advantage of the natural laboratory on our doorstep in the central North Island.


As an Earth Sciences student at the University of Waikato, you will have access to the University's well-equipped laboratories, and will have the opportunity to examine features in the field and undertake field investigations using a wide range of techniques. You'll be working alongside, and learning from, well-respected researchers, industry professionals and academics.

Build a successful career

As a graduate you will gain the knowledge and skills to pursue a wide range of careers. Earth Sciences graduates are spread across New Zealand and around the world, working in careers ranging from Earth resources' exploration to environmental management and planning, and from scientific research to teaching.

Career Opportunities

  • Coastal Resource Manager
  • Engineering Geologist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Geologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Soil Conservator
  • Volcanologist
  • Water Resource Manager

100 level

Environmental ScienceENVS10115.0 Points
Discovering Planet EarthERTH10315.0 Points
Earth and Ocean EnvironmentsERTH10415.0 Points

200 level

Earth Materials and ProcessesERTH22120.0 Points
Stratigraphy, Structure and Field MethodsERTH22220.0 Points
Soils in the LandscapeERTH23310.0 Points
Soil Properties and their ManagementERTH23410.0 Points
OceanographyERTH24220.0 Points
Weather and ClimateERTH24510.0 Points
Introduction to HydrologyERTH24610.0 Points
Engineering GeomorphologyERTH25110.0 Points
Introduction to Environmental MonitoringERTH28410.0 Points

300 level

VolcanologyERTH32120.0 Points
Sedimentary and Petroleum GeologyERTH32220.0 Points
Pedology and Land EvaluationERTH33310.0 Points
Soil and Land ManagementERTH33410.0 Points
Coastal Geomorphology and ManagementERTH34320.0 Points
Coastal Oceanography and EngineeringERTH34420.0 Points
Catchment HydrologyERTH34510.0 Points
Freshwater Resources and HazardsERTH34610.0 Points
Engineering GeologyERTH35210.0 Points
Advanced Environmental MonitoringERTH38410.0 Points

Prescriptions for the GradCert(EarthSc) and GradDip(EarthSc)

A Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are available to graduates who have not included Earth Sciences at an advanced level in their first degree.

For further details, contact the School of Science.

Prescriptions for the PGCert(EarthSc), PGDip(EarthSc), BSc(Hons), MSc, MSc (Research) and MSc(Tech)

Students in masters degrees are normally required to take a thesis and a selection of papers. Normally, only 30 points from ENVS coded paper may be taken as part of an Earth Sciences graduate qualification. Enrolment in papers towards the BSc(Hons) is only by invitation of the Graduate Convenor. Candidates for these graduate qualifications should select their papers in consultation with the Graduate Convenor.

To complete a BSc(Hons) in Earth Sciences, students must complete 120 points at 500 level, including at least 60 points from the papers listed for Earth Sciences, of which at least 30 points must be of research (normally ERTH591).

Environmental EvaluationENVS52415.0 Points
Special TopicERTH51215.0 Points
Special TopicERTH51315.0 Points
Volcanic Processes and HazardsERTH52415.0 Points
Hydrothermal Mineral and Energy Systems in New ZealandERTH52515.0 Points
Field Analysis of Sedimentary BasinsERTH52615.0 Points
Sedimentary and Petroleum GeologyERTH52715.0 Points
Quaternary: Past EnvironmentsERTH52815.0 Points
Soil and Greenhouse GasesERTH53315.0 Points
Land and Soil EvaluationERTH53515.0 Points
Introduction to Hydrological ModellingERTH54715.0 Points
EcohydrologyERTH54815.0 Points
Rock Slope EngineeringERTH55215.0 Points
Coastal SedimentationERTH56215.0 Points
Coastal and Estuarine ProcessesERTH56315.0 Points
Coastal and Freshwater Modelling: Physical ApproachesERTH56415.0 Points
Time Series Analysis for Environmental ScientistsERTH56515.0 Points
Directed StudyERTH59030.0 Points
DissertationERTH59130.0 Points
DissertationERTH59260.0 Points
Earth Sciences ThesisERTH59390.0 Points
Earth Sciences ThesisERTH594120.0 Points
Earth Sciences ThesisERTH595150.0 Points

Prescriptions for the MPhil

The Master of Philosophy is a one year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis that critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

Earth Sciences MPhil ThesisERTH800120.0 Points

Prescriptions for the PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy is a three syear research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis that critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

Earth Sciences PhD ThesisERTH900120.0 Points

Broad Memorial Fund

For students who are enrolled in the thesis year of a MSc, MSc(Research), MPhil or PhD qualification in Earth Sciences. The value of the scholarship will vary.

Closing Date: 2017-03-31 23:59:00

DairyNZ Masters Scholarship

For students who are enrolled in the final year or have completed a Bachelors degree in Science, agricultural science, agricultural business or economics and are eligible to enrol in a masters degree at a New Zealand University. Up to three scholarships of $30,000 will be available each year + tuition fees.

Closing Date: 2016-08-08 23:59:00

School of Science Postgraduate Study Scholarship

For students who qualify to enrol at the University of Waikato, and are intending to enrol part or full-time in semester B 2016 in the School of Science in either a 180pt masters, the taught components of a masters degree or the research component of a masters degree. The Scholarship will have a value of $5,000 per year for two years.

Closing Date: 2016-07-18 23:59:00

Science Admission Fees Scholarship

For school leavers who are intending to enrol full-time in the first year of a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Science(Technology) in the Faculty of Science & Engineering and are performing well academically in their final year of secondary school. The Scholarship has a value of up to $4,000.

Closing Date: 2016-08-31 23:59:00

Science and Engineering Masters Fees Awards

For students enrolling full-time in the first year MSc (research), MSc, MSc (Tech) ME or MEnvSci programme in the faculty of Engineering. Part-time applicants may be considered but any scholarship awarded will be on a pro-rata basis. The Scholarship will have a value of up to $2,000.

Closing Date: 2017-03-15 23:59:00

Terry Healy Memorial Award

For students who are enrolled or are intending to enrol, part- or full-time in a masters or doctoral degree in Earth Sciences, and who are not receiving other awards providing significant funds or substantial financial assistance under a research contract. The value of the award will vary.

Closing Date: 2025-12-31 23:59:00

University of Waikato Research Masters Scholarship

For students intending to enrol full-time in a thesis of 90 points or more as part of their first Masters degree at the University of Waikato. The Scholarships will have a value of: Tier 1 - $15,000 for 120-point theses (or more), Tier 2 - $12,000 for 90-point theses, or Tier 3 - thesis paper domestic tuition fees only.

Closing Date: 2017-04-30 23:59:00


Faculty of Science & Engineering

Phone: +64 7 838 4625 / 0800 438 254