Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).
Every applicant must either: be a graduate with an average grade of at least B for the appropriate 300-level papers, or have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).
An applicant seeking admission to the thesis-only option of the programme on the basis of the degree of Bachelor of Science with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Science or equivalent must have achieved a grade of at least B+ for the research report, thesis preparation, or dissertation requirement of the qualification concerned.
If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept Duolingo English Test (DET), IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.
Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre English for Otago programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.
Months of entry
The Master of Science (MSc) is a two-year degree which encompasses both coursework and research. The first year involves mainly coursework and preliminary research preparation. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to existing fields of research, or to begin to develop new areas.
Geology, the science of the Earth, is concerned with understanding:
- The Earth's internal structure and composition, its dynamic character (earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics), and the processes that occur within it
- The processes that shape the surface of the Earth, and the materials that constitute its surface layers
- The origin, occurrence, extraction and conservation of the Earth's natural resources - minerals, fossil fuels, soils, water
- The place of the Earth within the Solar System
- The history of life on Earth.
An understanding of Geology/Earth Science has direct relevance for students majoring in disciplines such as Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, Marine Science, Physics, Surveying, and Zoology (as well as those who intend to major in Geology).
Increasingly, understanding of geological principles and processes is essential for those concerned with awareness of natural hazards, civil engineering problems, impacts of global change, the responsible utilisation of Earth's natural resources, pollution and waste disposal, and environmental and resource planning and monitoring.
The study of Geology at Otago highlights the exciting and dynamic geological history of New Zealand, and the origin of the New Zealand fauna and flora.
Papers and Thesis
- GEOL 401 Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience
- GEOL 495 Master's Thesis Preparation
- Six other 400-level GEOL papers
- Thesis: GEOL 5
Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.
Structure of the Programme
- The degree may be awarded in the name of the subject.
- The programme of study shall be as prescribed for the subject concerned.
- A candidate may be exempted from some of the prescribed papers on the basis of previous study.
- A candidate shall, before commencing the investigation to be described in a thesis, secure the approval of the Head of the Department concerned for the topic, the supervisor(s), and the proposed course of the investigation.
- A candidate may not present a thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.
- A candidate taking the degree by papers and thesis must pass both the papers and the thesis components.
- For the thesis, the research should be of a kind that a diligent and competent student should complete within one year of full-time study.
- Bachelor’s degree in the same subject with B grades – leading to the two-year coursework and research MSc.
- Postgraduate diploma or honours degree in the same subject with B+ grades – leading to a one-year research MSc. For those completing a one-year research-only degree, study can commence at anytime. Due to the range of majors available, applicants are encouraged to seek advice prior to applying: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for international students
Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city. Otago is home to over 3,000 students, from over 100 countries.
Fees and funding
New Zealand is a relatively affordable country to live in. Dunedin, being a student-focused city, has living and entertainment options for all budgets.
Students are eligible for the Otago International Excellence Scholarship.
Qualification, course duration and attendance options
- full time12 or 24 months
- Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
Course contact details