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Facts & figures

  • 125 Years of education and research in geosciences.
  • Best Ranked best in NSW and 15 in the world for the study of Geography.*
  • 5 out of 5 For research excellence in both geology and geophysics.
  • Leader Of ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Basin Geodynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems
  • *QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2020
Faculties and schools_

School of Geosciences

Study the earth, its origins, the environment and people
A dynamic group of disciplines made up of geology, geography and geophysics. We tackle key issues facing society including climate change, resource management and sustainability.

Geosciences is the study of the Earth – its oceans, atmosphere, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers, soils, its complex surface, rocky interior and metallic core. This includes deciphering the history and possible future paths of Earth’s evolution and many aspects of how living things, including humans, interact with the Earth.

We also investigate the past, measures the present, and models the future behaviour of our planet. It also studies the other planets, asteroids, and the solar system, both to better understand the Earth and to expand our knowledge of the universe.

Our teaching

As a student you will learn how to analyse problems and work out solutions. You will have opportunities for hands on experience outside of the classroom in the field and laboratory.

We are invested in the future work prospects of all of our students. We are ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability*.

The School of Geosciences is built upon Australia's oldest Department of Geology which was established in 1893, followed by the foundation of Australia’s first Department of Geography in 1920.

Top image photo credit: Dietmar Muller

Study at Geosciences

Our people


We are committed to supporting equity, diversity and inclusion and have set up a committee to oversee these principles.

We make all efforts to support staff with caring responsibilities and retaining staff who are planning a career transition such as parental leave. We have developed a Parental Leave Process to reinforce the School’s commitment to supporting and growing a talented and diverse workforce.

Read the committee’s Terms of Reference here or contact one of our Equity Officers Kevin Davies, Tristan Salles, Bree Morgan or Naama Blatman-Thomas. 

The University of Sydney has a number of high quality teaching and research facilities available to geosciences students.

  • Our Madsen Building is fitted out with laboratories and specialised equipment suitable for all disciplines within the geosciences. We have sorting and weighing facilities to assess items collected on field trips as well as high-tech computing systems and software to assist with analysis and reporting.
  • The University of Sydney Marine Studies Institute (MSI) is amongst the largest marine research and education centres in Australia. MSI is a partner in the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) whose headquarters are in Chowder Bay. Students are often taken on field trips to utilise the facilities and equipment here.
  • One Tree Island, located in the southerly part of the Great Barrier Reef is managed by the University of Sydney. Used for marine research, the 4 hectares of reef are often visited for field studies.

Climate Emergency and Climate (In)action

As of 24 January 2020, it is estimated that over 7.7 million hectares of land were burnt in Australia’s recent catastrophic bushfire events. More than one billion animals were killed. According to the Australian Institute, 57% of all Australians were impacted by the fires and over 5 million people experienced health impacts due to the smoke. At various moments in the past few months, Australian cities – including Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne – topped the global ranking as having the most hazardous air quality in the world. Unfolding over many centuries, this is a moment of crisis that we are yet to fully grasp or deal with. What does the science tell us about the state of our planet? What types of impacts are being felt and what will they be into the future? Have we been doing enough as academics in general and geoscientists in particular to unpack and address this crisis? What can we do to avoid a catastrophic future? In 2020, the School of Geosciences Seminar Series will be devoted to Climate Emergency and Climate (In)action, reflecting on and debating our own work and the work of others in this crucial space.

Venue: Invite via Zoom

Time: 1-2pm

Contacts: or


  1. 17/3/2020 | Critical minerals, renewables and sustainability
    A/Prof Bénédicte Cenki-Tok, Montpellier University, EU H2020 MSCA visiting researcher, The School of Geosciences USYD
  2. 31/3/2020 | Roundtable Discussion: The Green New Deal – Science meets Policy         
    Presenters: Dr Amanda Tattersall and A/Prof Kurt Iveson, The School of Geosciences USYD
    Discussant: Prof Dietmar Müller, The School of Geosciences USYD
  3. 14/4/2020 | Epistemic violence and slow emergencies in today’s climate justice: A provocation
    Prof Petra Tschakert, University of Western Australia
  4. 28/4/2020 | The influence of climate change and variability on Australian rainfall
    Dr Andrew King, University of Melbourne
  5. 12/5/2020 | Wild Infrastructure, Urban Futures
    A/Prof Wendy Steele, The Centre for Urban Research, RMIT 

Venue: Invite via Zoom

Time: 1-2pm or


  1. 18/03/20 | Coastal Policy Implementation - Some recent insights from Australia
    Emeritus Prof Bruce Thom, The School of Geosciences USYD
  2. 01/04/20 | Homeward Bound: A Global Women in STEMM Leadership Initiative Set Against The Backdrop Of Antarctica
    Assoc Prof Eleanor Bruce, The School of Geosciences USYD
  3. 15/04/20 | Climatic-Affective Atmosphere
    Dr Blanche Verlie, The Sydney Environment Institute
  4. 29/04/20 | Botanic Urbanism: The Technopolitics of Controlled Environments in Singapore’s Gardens by The Bay
    Prof Donald McNeill, The School of Architecture, Design & Planning USYD
  5. 13/05/20 | Conservation and Indigenous Survivance in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo
    Dr June Rubis. Sydney Environment Institute & The School of Geosciences USYD
  6. 27/05/20 | Green Structural Adjustment in the World Bank’s Climate City
    Dr Sophie Webber, The School of Geosciences USYD

Head of School

Phil McManus
Professor Bill Pritchard
View academic profile

School of Geosciences

  • Room 348 Madsen Building F09, The University of Sydney

Madsen Building

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