Geology and geophysics Environment

Geology and geophysics Environment

Whether you’re interested in studying the materials that make up the Earth or applying the principles of physics to study the inaccessible Earth, you’ll find a rewarding career in geology and geophysics.

At Macquarie, you’ll receive the professional training you need to enter the workforce with a clear advantage when you graduate.


Undergraduate Courses

Postgraduate Courses


Undergraduate Courses

Postgraduate Courses

Geology is the study of the materials that make up the Earth, whereas geophysics studies the inaccessible Earth using physical measurements. Both areas and techniques can be applied to other celestial bodies, like the Moon or Mars.

Careers in geology and geophysics

Geophysicists use measurements of the physical properties of the Earth to aid in the exploration, construction and environmental industries.

The distinct physical (electrical, magnetic or gravity) properties of many ore deposits makes geophysics essential to finding and mapping buried deposits.

Likewise, the distinct geological structures that host large gas and oil deposits underground are primarily found using geophysical imaging techniques. The mining and petroleum industries are major employers of graduate geophysicists in Australia.

Marine geophysicists are employed in high-resolution off-shore seafloor surveys.

Geophysicists are also employed in the environmental field, to identify environmental hazards, or for site remediation (eg. using the electrical properties of water to track a contaminated aquifer).

Geophysics is also used to identify hazards (such as fractured rock) at construction sites or potential dam areas, and to identify and assess groundwater resources.

Geophysicists are often employed in environmental and geoscience consulting companies.

Geophysicists receive, on average, the highest starting salary of any science graduate, and have one of the highest rates of employment of all science graduates.

Who employs geoscientists?

Many companies within Australia and around the world employ geoscientists. Such companies include but are not limited to:

  • BHP Billiton
  • ExxonMobil
  • Fugro-Jason
  • Geoinformatics Exploration
  • NSW Office of Industrial Relations, Department of Mineral Resources
  • Rio Tinto Exploration
  • Santos
  • Schlumberger Oilfield Australia

Geophysicists receive, on average, the highest starting salary of any science graduate, and have one of the highest rates of employment of all science graduates.

Professional experience

Take your studies to the very heart of the Earth's formation and search for gold alongside mining companies through Macquarie's unique PACE program.

PACE embeds practical experience in your degree so you can learn important industry skills alongside leading academics and industry professionals in mutually beneficial projects. Previous students studying geology and geophysics have worked with Australian mining companies to map a defined area and determine the likelihood of possible silver/gold mineralisation and controls on this mineralisation within the defined mapping area. Other students have studied the volcanic formations and history in Wahroonga to produce a report for council on the geological history and impact on the area today.

See the world in a new light. No matter what you decide to study at Macquarie, PACE has an opportunity available for you. Learn more about the opportunities available through PACE.

Scholarships and prizes

Alpha Geoscience Environmental Geophysics Prize

Awarded for proficiency in the unit GEOS305 Environmental and Groundwater Geophysics.

AWE Exploration Geophysics Prize

Awarded for proficiency in 300 level (3rd year) Geophysics units.

Coffey International Exploration Engineering & Environmental Geophysics Prize

Awarded for outstanding performance in the Geophysics Major.

Crozcare Field Geology Prize

Awarded for proficiency in the unit GEOS226 Introduction to Field Geology.

Geological Society of Australia (NSW Division Prize)

Awarded for best performance in 300-level Earth Science units in the areas of Geology, Geology and Geophysics or Palaeobiology.

Geology Prize

Awarded for proficiency in the unit GEOS125 Earth Dynamics.

Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Prize

Awarded for proficiency in the unit GEOS309: Sediments, Liquid Fuels and Energy Security.

Preston Geology Prize

Awarded for best performance in 300-level geology units.

Prospectors Earth Sciences Prize

Awarded for proficiency in the unit GEOS344 Structural and Metamorphic Geology.

The Oil Search Geophysics Prize

Awarded for proficiency in the unit GEOS205 Introduction to Geophysics.

  • geomorphology and landscape evolution
  • quaternary environmental change
  • ecosystem response and productivity
  • human impacts on the environment.

In addition, cross-departmental and cross-institutional collaborative research is being undertaken with colleagues in the fields of:

  • biology
  • climate science
  • geochronology
  • earth system science.

Our research also relates to key aspects of environmental management, and collaborative research and student supervision in environmental science and management is carried out with our colleagues.

Research projects

Rivers and wetlands

  • Survival of rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin: use of sedimentary archives to determine sensitivity in times of change
  • Avulsion processes in multi-channeled floodplain wetlands
  • Hydrological and geomorphic controls on channel and floodplain productivity
  • Sediment dynamics in semiarid catchments


  • Vertisol development and post-depositional modification
  • Primary productivity in gilgai of varying morphology and hydrological connectivity

For more details, contact Paul Hesse or Tim Ralph in the Department of Environmental Sciences.

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