Bachelor of Science (Earth Science)

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Understanding Earth systems and tackling environmental problems

When you join the Bachelor of Science (Earth Science) you will learn how to provide information to society for solving geotechnical and environmental problems. Earth scientists are discovering hydrocarbon and mineral resources and establishing policy in resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure

What is it like?

The study of Earth science is dedicated to the science and history of our planet. It’s a huge area to cover leading to fascinating and varied careers.

Massey’s Bachelor of Science (Earth Science) will take you on a journey of understanding the processes that moulded our planet, our landscapes, geological resources and soils.

Understand how the world works

You will develop an appreciation of the immensity of geological time. You’ll learn how to visualise Earth's structures in three dimensions and gain a capability to identify and understand the beginnings of the valued resources of our planet.

You’ll also learn how to predict where these resources may be found, and develop an eye for understanding the natural processes that shaped our environment.

World-leading in Earth and soil science

Massey University is one of the few places in the world with a research group that examines the combination of Earth and soil science.

We are at the forefront in environmental geochemistry and the evolving discipline of hydrology. This unique blend of research expertise underpins our teaching. We’ll take you beyond traditional geology and connect geology, soil science and environment, as well as explore metals and plants, mining and remediation and ground water hydrology. You’ll graduate with cutting edge skills and the ability to predict future changes in the Earth’s surface such as natural disasters, climate change and water contamination.

Hands-on learning

Massey has a focus on finding innovative solutions to environmental issues. You’ll engage in practical laboratory work including hands-on experimental projects in all core courses and attend field trips to Limestone Downs, Waima and volcanoes in the Central North Island. You’ll graduate ready to take your skills to the world.

Leading in volcanology

With the largest number of internationally renowned volcanology experts researching around the world in places like Saudi Arabia and the South Pacific, Massey is the number one place to study earth science if you’re interested in volcanoes.

You’ll get to explore this exciting and life-saving area through field trips to volcanoes in the Central North Island and our unique equipment that mimics volcanic ash flow.


Some of the topics taught in advanced earth science courses include:

  • Understanding geological structures
  • Understanding New Zealand geology
  • Stratigraphy, sedimentology and paleoenvironments
  • Volcanology and mineralogy
  • Plate tectonics
  • Pedology and Quaternary geology
  • Geographic information systems
  • Remote sensing
  • Field work


New Zealand’s science institutions want employees who know their industry and therefore invest in the future workforce by providing scholarships to students. Why not have a crack at helping fund your study with a share of hundreds of thousands of dollars on offer every year? For more information visit:

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report, undertaken over nine years, showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.

A good fit if you:

  • Are fascinated by our planet, its rocks and fossils and why they are there
  • Want to make a contribution to science and a difference to people and our environment
  • Enjoy the sciences at school
Sharn Hainsworth
Bachelor of Science (Earth Science)
Pedologist - LandcareResearch

“A degree in Earth science from Massey University has given me a thorough understanding of land as a finite resource…”

The degree opened doors into a wide variety of employment options. This discipline has enabled me to spend a lot of time in the rural heartlands of New Zealand working as a scientist.

I was drawn to Earth science at Massey by the observation-based approach that was encouraged by the lecturers. They also presented a culture of researching practical solutions to environmental issues. Many New Zealand employers working with the Resource Management Act need employees with skills in Earth science. Since completing my degree I have been:

  • Working with Landcare Research producing the national soil map (S-map)
  • Working in a team to establish a national framework for quality assurance and capacity building for the production of farm scale soil and land resource information in New Zealand
  • arm scale soil and Land Use Capability mapping
  • assessing suitability of soil on flats and erodible hill country for the land-based application of domestic, municipal and industrial wastewater
  • evaluating the inherent properties of soil with respect to the potential for efficient irrigation
  • evaluating what kinds of development are appropriate on the most versatile and productive land

The degree had an emphasis on fieldwork and geology/geomorphology, which assisted in my understanding of the distribution of soils in landscapes throughout New Zealand.


Massey University Earth science graduates are employed in various Crown Research Institutes, by regional councils (land and water resources), as secondary school teachers, in universities, as consultants, and varied positions in industry all around the world.

If you are interested in a research career, Massey’s BSc will allow you to choose from a wide range of specialist postgraduate programmes throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Massey University Earth science graduates are employed as scientists in the petroleum and petrochemical industries, in mining, resource management, hazards research, land rehabilitation, and engineering geology.

Research scientists have specialised in geochemistry, paleomagnetism (the Earth's past magnetic fluctuations), palynology (fossil pollen), volcanology, phytoremediation (using plants to remove pollutants from soils), pedology, soil pollution, and groundwater.

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