Skip to main content
Two marine science students on a boat conducting research at the Great Barrier Reef
Study area_

Environment and geosciences

Make your mark on the world
Environment and geosciences will immerse you in the study of our world. Whether you become an expert in climate change, coastal erosion or sustainability, you will be working on the frontline of issues of global importance.

Environment and geosciences courses at Sydney

You can study subjects in the area of environment and geosciences by choosing a program, major, minor or electives within one of our courses.

Undergraduate courses

Programs and majors available in these courses:

Most majors are also available as minors.

Postgraduate coursework

Postgraduate research

To find a potential supervisor visit Research Supervisor Connect.

What is environment and geosciences?

Imagine turning your passion for global issues into a rewarding and satisfying career. Choose subjects from environment and geosciences discover a selection of courses where you will have opportunities to study the earth, its oceans, atmosphere, forests, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers.

This will also include many aspects of how living things, including humans, interact with the earth and environment. Your studies will take you from the laboratory to a rainforest, the desert or even underwater.

Why study environment and geosciences with us?

  • We are ranked 15th in the world for geography.*
  • Geography is the study of Earth as the home of people. As the need to find solutions to issues of environmental sustainability, population change and globalisation have become more challenging, the skills and knowledge of geographers have come to the forefront. Students of Geography are taught to think critically about the relationships between people, environments and places.
  • Geology and Geophysics provides a unifying context for understanding the workings of the Earth system and the dynamic structural and ecosystem relationships between the continents and the oceans through time. Global climate change and shrinking resources have heightened our sense of dependence on Earth as a complex system. Geology and Geophysics provides students with an understanding of change on Earth, its origin, plate tectonics, surface processes, evolution of life and geologic time.
  • Our practice of using research-led teaching will give you opportunities to get out of the classroom and into the field.
  • Gain valuable experience working on projects locally and internationally in places such as New Zealand, China, Great Barrier Reef, Australian desert, and South East Asia.
  • Environment and geosciences studies will provide you with an understanding of the governance framework in which your professional career will operate, including the fundamental aspects of sustainability, environmental assessment, law, ethics, development, energy use, economics and politics.
  • We have industry partners such as; Crommelin Biological Research Station NSW Central Coast, Tropical Ecology Research Facility Kakadu National Park, One Tree Island Research Station the Great Barrier Reef and the Marine Studies Institute
  • We are invested in the future work prospects of all of our students, and are ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability.^

*QS World Rankings by Subject 2020.
^QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020.

Where can environment and geosciences take you?

Our graduates pursue careers in government funded organisations, in local government, or in the multitude of private environmental consultancies seeking graduates with science-based skills and specialist knowledge in environmental and geological issues.

The Australian Government estimates that up to 5000 new jobs will open up for Geologists, Geophysicists and Hydrogeologists in the next five years. Many geo-occupations will focus on finding and extracting the materials used in new technologies, especially enabling sustainable energy infrastructure. Cobalt demand for phones, computers and cars are expected to double by 2025 and lithium requirements are estimated to increase 10 times above 2010 levels by around 2020.Australia is presently ranked 6th in the world in terms of known lithium reserves but geoscientists will need to use new technologies and skill sets to expand this resource and perhaps others that we don’t even know we need yet.

Our graduates can be found in many settings and roles, including:

  • Fisheries, parks and wildlife
  • Environmental and coastal protection
  • Marine and atmospheric research
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services
  • Environment, urban planning and heritage agencies
  • Exploration for critical and base metals
  • Energy exploration
  • Natural hazards, such as erosion, earthquakes and volcanic activity
  • Earth monitoring from space

Science study plans

Download PDF

5 cool topics you can study with a geography major

Geography investigates some of the world’s most pressing issues

While geography facts make for excellent trivia, what applications can the subject have in society or in a career sense? We chatted with five University of Sydney geographers to learn more about their fascinating research.


Student profile

Wenchao Cao - PhD candidate (Geosciences)

"I was strongly interested in research in the fields of plate tectonics, paleobiology and climate change. The EarthByte research group at the University of Sydney is a world-leading Earth modelling group, aimed at understanding the planet’s plate tectonic, deep and surface processes by synthesising big and complex geodata through space and time."