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BSc - Earth Sciences as a major

If you're intrigued by the natural world around you, or enjoy understanding how things work, Waikato's Bachelor of Science (BSc) is what you're looking for. Putting into practice what you learn in your lectures is a major part of this degree. You will gain hands-on experience with some of the most up-to-date and high-tech computing facilities and laboratory equipment.

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.


Apply to enrol

Key information

Years: 3
Points: 360
Start Dates: Trimester A (March) and Trimester B (July)
Estimated Fees* (Domestic): $7,404 per year
Estimated Fees* (International): $31,515 - $33,735 per year
Entry Requirements: Undergraduate International
Area of Study:
*Tuition fees shown are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.

Career opportunities

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

Degree Planner

Degree planner — BSc in Earth Sciences

If no point value is listed, papers are worth 15 points. This structure applies to study starting in 2021.

Year 1

One from List A:
Science Fundamentals

One from List A:
Science Fundamentals

One from List A:
Science Fundamentals

One from List C:
Science Numeracy

Elective

Elective

Year 3

300 level
EARTH paper

300 level
EARTH paper

300 level
EARTH paper

One from List B:
Work-Integrated Learning

Elective

Elective

Elective

  • Major
  • Compulsory
  • Elective

300 level EARTH papers

Choose 45 points from the following:

This information is provisional and subject to change.

Earth Sciences offers a broad understanding of Earth's landscape features and processes and includes a range of branches of the subject, including soil science, hydrology, geomorphology, physical geography, volcanology, sedimentary geology, coastal marine studies, engineering geology and environmental science.

Earth Sciences is available as a first major for the Bachelor of Climate Change (BCC), Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Science (Technology) (BSc(Tech)). Earth Sciences may also be taken as a second major in other undergraduate degrees, subject to approval of the Division in which the student is enrolled.

To complete Earth Sciences as a single major for the BCC, BSc and the BSc(Tech), students must gain 135 points, including EARTH101, EARTH102, 60 points from EARTH211, EARTH221, EARTH231, EARTH241, EARTH251, and at least 45 points from 300-level Earth Sciences papers.

To complete Earth Sciences as part of a double major for the BCC, BSc, BSc(Tech) or other undergraduate degree, students must gain 120 points, including EARTH101, EARTH102, 60 points from EARTH211, EARTH221, EARTH231, EARTH241, EARTH251, and at least 30 points from 300-level Earth Sciences papers.

Students with a special interest in physical geography should consult with the subject convenor before selecting their papers. The majority of papers in Earth Sciences include both laboratory practical and field work.

Further information regarding papers, staff and research details can be found in brochures available from the School of Science office or website.

100 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EARTH101Introduction to Earth System Sciences15.022A (Hamilton) & 22A (Tauranga)
A lecture and laboratory paper that explores the interacting processes that affect the surface of the Earth, producing landforms and resources, with a focus on physical processes. Topics covered include coastal processes and hazards; climate change; weathering; erosion and mass movement; soil formation; the hydrological cycle; rive...
EARTH102Discovering Planet Earth15.022B (Hamilton)
This paper explores the Earth's interior and its dynamic interaction with the crust, including: the major rocks and minerals; interpreting the rock record and geologic maps; the geological time scale and fossils; plate tectonics; volcanism; earthquakes.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EARTH211Earth Resources and Materials15.022A (Hamilton)
An introduction to the nature, composition and origin of Earth materials and resources. Topics covered include mineral properties and their uses; process origins of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; and the importance of Earth materials as a societal resource. The paper also encompasses the petrographic and analytical cha...
EARTH221Soil Science15.022B (Hamilton)
An introduction to the nature, formation, and classification of soils, their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and biological properties, and issues of soil quality, land degradation and sustainable management. The paper also encompasses the properties, genesis, and distribution of the soils of New Zealand and their use.
EARTH231Water Resources, Weather and Climate15.022A (Hamilton)
Introduction to physical processes that influence the distribution of water in space and time within Aotearoa-New Zealand. Topics include mid-latitude weather and atmospheric precipitation processes that ultimately affect the availability of water across Aotearoa-New Zealand's diverse landscapes: a description of surface water reso...
EARTH241Oceanography15.022B (Hamilton) & 22B (Tauranga)
This paper introduces students to the broad scale properties, issues, and research importance of the global ocean via the main disciplines of oceanography: particularly biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography
EARTH251Applied Earth Sciences15.022A (Hamilton)
A field-based paper involving data collection and spatial analysis across Earth sciences, including production of maps and cross-sections of surface and subsurface materials, and geomorphology from field and aerial image interpretation; and analysis of measurements of processes acting on the landscape.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EARTH311Volcanology15.022A (Hamilton)
A study of pyroclastic rocks, physical volcanology, volcanic hazards, the origin of magmas, crystallisation of rock-forming minerals and phase equilibria, petrology and trace element geochemistry of volcanic rocks, and geothermal and mineral resources.
EARTH312Sedimentary Geology15.022B (Hamilton)
This paper explores the links between sedimentary rocks and past environments through two major strands: reconstructing depositional environments and understanding the effects of sea-level change on sedimentary processes (sequence stratigraphy). A third strand explores the environmental and economic aspects of sedimentary geology, ...
EARTH313Engineering Geology15.022A (Hamilton)
Engineering Geology is the application of the principles of Earth Sciences to ensure hazards associated with landslides or unfavourable soil and rock conditions are idetified in engineering or environmental work. This paper gives an introduction to the field of engineering geology. Topics covered include: landslide processes and th...
EARTH322Soil and Water Management15.022A (Hamilton)
This paper integrates an understanding of land/soil and water processes that occur at paddock to catchment to national scales. A focus is on management practices that optimise resource use for productive purposes with attention to avoidance or minimisation of environmental effects. Topics include soil degradation, soil fertility, ...
EARTH331Hydrology15.022B (Hamilton)
This paper considers the impact of components of the hydrological cycle on the South West Pacific, particularly New Zealand, including evaporation and precipitation, terrestrial water movement and storage (surface and groundwater), and extreme events.
EARTH341Coastal Oceanography15.022A (Hamilton) & 22A (Tauranga)
This paper focuses on the physical oceanography of the coastal zone. Topics include estuarine circulation, wind driven currents on the shelf, longwaves, resonance, seiching, methodologies for quantifying processes and coastal responses, waves and surfzone processes.
EARTH342Coastal Geomorphology and Management15.0No occurrences
This paper focuses on understanding of coastal processes, sediments, and evolution of coastal landforms as a basis for coastal management. Topics covered include coastal sediments and processes; coastal landforms, their origin and evolution; coastal hazards and their mitigation; and case studies of coastal issues.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EARTH501Volcanic Techniques and Applications15.022A (Hamilton)
This paper investigates geological techniques used to reconstruct eruption processes and histories, and their application to society, including volcanic facies analysis, tephra studies (tephrochronology), volcanic glass and mineral studies, juvenile and lithic studies, and volcanic hazards.
EARTH502Land and Soil: Resources and Risks15.022A (Hamilton)
In this paper students initially gain practical experience in large-scale soil mapping and in evaluating land-use capability (LUC) on a research farm. They then examine various issues associated with land use, especially its intensification, including the management of farm dairy effluent, soil degradation, and soil contamination. ...
EARTH503Coastal Processes: Analysis and Prediction15.022A (Hamilton)
This paper considers techniques to predict coastal processes for management and research, including assessment of which processes to observe, how to obtain and analyse data, and using results for prediction.
EARTH504Geohazard Risk15.022B (Hamilton)
This seminar paper evaluates the methodologies used to characterise risk associated with geohazards, and assesses the impact of strategies employed to avoid or mitigate this risk.
EARTH505Fluvial Sedimentary Processes and Deposits15.022B (Hamilton)
This paper investigates the processes that control the evolution of the geomorphology and associated sedimentary deposits of rivers over timescales of storm events to millennia.
EARTH506Sedimentary Geology15.022A (Hamilton)
A paper examining the application of sedimentary geological and geophysical principles, and models of Earth materials, to the exploration and analysis of sedimentary basins in New Zealand.
EARTH508Rock Slope Stability15.022B (Hamilton)
This paper considers rock mechanics within Engineering Geology, including: strength of intact rocks and rock joints; engineering hazards; slope stability modelling; and an applied site investigation project.
EARTH509Coastal Sedimentation and Management15.0No occurrences
This paper addresses modern contentious coastal issues involving sedimentation and sedimentary processes within a range of coastal environments. Both fundamental and applied contexts are examined using case studies.
EARTH592Dissertation60.022X (Hamilton) & 22X (Tauranga)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
EARTH593Earth Sciences Thesis90.022X (Hamilton) & 22X (Tauranga)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
EARTH594Earth Sciences Thesis120.022X (Hamilton) & 22X (Tauranga)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
ENVSC503Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from Land15.022A (Hamilton)
Processes and factors controlling exchanges of water, carbon and greenhouse gases in natural or managed ecosystems, methodologies to quantify them, and approaches to mitigate undesirable anthropogenic consequences.
SCIEN511Scientific Supercomputing15.022B (Hamilton)
A practical introduction to undertaking scientific research on a supercomputer. The paper assumes no prior computing knowledge.
SCIEN512Data Analysis and Experimental Design15.022A (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of research design for experiments, and methods for analysis of scientific data using modern statistical techniques.
SCIEN589Directed Study15.022A (Hamilton), 22A (Tauranga), 22B (Hamilton), 22B (Tauranga), 22C (Hamilton) & 22C (Tauranga)
No description available.
SCIEN592Dissertation60.022X (Hamilton) & 22X (Tauranga)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
SCIEN593Thesis90.022X (Hamilton) & 22X (Tauranga)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
SCIEN594Thesis120.022X (Hamilton) & 22X (Tauranga)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.

800 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EARTH800Earth Sciences MPhil Thesis120.022X (Hamilton)
No description available.

900 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EARTH900Earth Sciences PhD Thesis120.022I (Hamilton) & 22X (Hamilton)
No description available.

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

Broad Memorial Fund  Not currently accepting applications

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.

Terry Healy Memorial Award  Accepting applications

For students who are currently enrolled part- or full-time in a masters or doctoral degree in an Earth Sciences subject and have not previously received the Award. Preference will be given to students involved in marine sciences, but applications will be considered for all areas appropriate to the current research activities of the Earth Sciences subject in the School of Science.
Closing Date: 31 Oct 2021

University of Waikato Research Masters Scholarship  Accepting applications

For students intending to enrol full-time in a 500-level thesis of 90-points or more as part of their first master's degree. International students must have completed at least 120-points of study at a New Zealand university in order to be eligible for this Scholarship.
Closing Date: 31 Oct 2021

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Contacts

School of Science
Phone: 0800 924 528 or +64 7 838 4625
Email: [email protected]
Website: sci.waikato.ac.nz
Facebook: facebook.com/WaikatoScience