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Geology is the study of the solid Earth. Its aim is to understand the structures and processes that compose and change the Earth and other planets. Its main focus is on rocks and their composition, but modern geology interacts actively with hydrology, the study of water, and atmospheric science, as these are necessary complements for understanding the complex histories and futures of planetary surfaces and cores. As such, it involves the use of a range of investigative techniques, such as field work, chemical analysis, physical experiments, and mathematical modeling. Geology is essential for understanding the history of the earth, but also for understanding its future, as it gives us an understanding of natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis, of our water resources and their development, and of climate change.

Course Details

Duration: Three to four years (full-time study); six to eight years (part-time study)

Difficulty: Advanced

Entry Requirements: Undergraduate degree or equivalent general education

Course Description

Core Curriculum

The core topics introduce the field of geology and give students the skills and understanding to choose and pursue their interests in the specialized topics. The Director of Studies will make adaptations based on student ability and schedule. On completing the core, students will be able to independently read the historical and academic literature. The core topics are:

  • Dynamic Earth
  • Earth Materials
  • Petrology and Petrogenesis
  • Geochemistry
  • History of Life
  • Surface Processes
  • The Earth
  • Global Geophysics
  • Igneous Petrology
  • Isotope Geology
  • Maps and Structures
  • Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • Surface Processes and Structures
  • Vertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution
  • Earth Resources and Sustainability
  • Geodynamics and Global Tectonics
  • Methodology in Field Work
  • Field Work*

* Field work must be decided in partnership with a Director of Studies and may come with an additional fee.


Specializations should be discussed with the Director of Studies. On completing specializations, students will be able to independently read advanced literature and conduct a final project in that topic. Some suggested specializations are:

  • Physical Geoscience
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Science Communication
  • Climate Science and Climate Change
  • Numerical Methods
  • Evolution in Science and Culture
  • Advanced Geochemistry
  • Biodiversity and Ecology
  • Groundwater Science
  • Marine Geology
  • Ocean Physics
  • Seismology

Final Project

The final project in geology consists in one or more papers written on an area of specialization. The paper should take the form of a dissertation elaborating original field work or an original argument, interpretation, or perspective. All final projects should be discussed with the Director of Studies, who will assist in choosing an appropriate focus and method. Advanced students may be advised to submit their paper for publication in an appropriate academic journal.

Apply now to study Geology