The UNSW Earth & Environmental Science (GEOS1211) course introduces theoretical concepts of earth surface processes, landforms, surface deposits and soils. During the course, you’ll explore and interpret the origins of the continents, oceans, atmosphere and the planet itself from a variety of perspectives.

This course examines the effects of environmental change, both natural and induced by humans on soil, water and the landscape. The beginnings of life and the evolution of selected fauna and flora are also investigated from genetic and fossil evidence. Our lecturers will introduce you to the tools required to investigate Earth’s environments, including gamma-ray spectrometry and electromagnetic induction.

Environmental Scientists work all over Australia, with the industry growing from 25,300 in 2018 to an anticipated 28,100 by 2023. Through the course, you’ll formulate short- and long-term management goals to evaluate constraints of geology on urban development, soil constraints on agricultural land used and human impacts at the local and global level. This knowledge can lead to implementing policies in areas such as infrastructure development, site remediation and resource management.

Your study is reinforced by field and laboratory-based practical work and a mandatory two-day field trip through The Sydney Basin (including, Homebush Brick Pit, Prospect Quarry and Three Sisters at Katoomba) and the Lachlan Fold Belt (including, The Bathurst Mineral Museum and Mount Panorama Racing Circuit).


Course Breakdown

This is a stage one course and covers the fundamentals for any degree in the broad Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Engineering fields.

  • Planetary Geology and evolution
  • Geoscience
  • Sedimentary geology
  • The Sydney basin and Lachlan Fold Belt
  • Igneous process and rocks
  • Rock and mineral weathering
  • Soil science, soil use and management
  • Geochemistry
  • Geophysics
  • Biogeography
  • Human origins and archaeology
  • Palaeontology
  • Natural hazards
  • Earth Science in the news


Conditions for Enrolment

Students may wish to take the following courses concurrently:


Career Opportunities

Environmental Science analyses and provides solutions to current environmental challenges, including waste management, climate change and pollution. To protect the planet, Environmental Scientists study, develop and advise on future policies. These policies can be embedded within Government legislation to ensure the survival of flora, fauna and other natural resources. 

Relevant Roles

  • Meteorologist 
  • Geologist 
  • Geophysicist 
  • Hydrologist 
  • Ecologist 
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Natural Resource Manager 
  • Marine Scientist 
  • Marine Biologist 
  • Environmental Scientist