New information following the change in COVID-19 alert levels.

Bachelor of Science (Earth Science)

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Available for international students studying in NZ
  • Some distance courses contain compulsory contact workshops.

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


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Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, agriculture, technology, computer science, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study compared to the national median. 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
Ella Nisbet
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Earch Science)

“The lectures were well put together, and I found the topics really fascinating. Many of the courses are field work based and I loved being able to work in the outdoors…”

I made the switch to earth science after thoroughly enjoying the content introduced in Earth Science 101.

My interest in earth science has also been supported by wonderful and enthusiastic lecturers who have constantly encouraged my own enthusiasm for my studies.

I am currently pursuing an honours degree in volcanology. My research project is centred around investigating the initial ash of the last Taupō eruption and understanding the processes behind this eruptive event. The ultimate aim of the project is to produce a hazard model so risk management plans can be developed. The skills I have learnt from field work are invaluable to my honours project and the knowledge obtained from my undergraduate studies provides an excellent foundation for further study. I am confident that I will have the necessary grounding and understanding for a professional role where I hope


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.

Contact us Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey