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Major: Geology



Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Earth Dynamics (3)
Introduction to Oceanography (3)

200 level

Volcanoes and Igneous Processes (3)
Introduction to Field Geology (3)
3cp from
Introduction to Geophysics (3)
Marine Sediments: Records of Past Earth (3)
Deformation and Metamorphism (3)

300 level

Field Geology and Mapping (3)
9cp from
Marine Sediments and Energy Resources (3)
Magmas, Ores and Geochemistry (3)
Petrology and Geodynamics of the Lithosphere (3)
PACE in Earth and Planetary Sciences (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Overview and Aims of the Program The Macquarie University geology major includes the scientific study of the Earth and other planets, the materials of which they are composed, and the processes by which they change. Integration of field geology with laboratory and theoretical studies of Earth materials underpins an understanding in space and time (4D) of mineral and petroleum systems, geodynamics, geochemistry, tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes and their underlying scientific disciplines.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you will be able to:

1. identify and understand the key properties of geological materials such as rocks, minerals, sediments, fossils, ores and energy resources (K)
2. identify key geological systems and their physical and chemical expression within the Earth and solar system (K, T, J)
3. describe the nature of interactions between Earth materials and key geological systems, and interpret the record of these interactions both in space and time (K, T, P, I, J)
4. articulate the central role of time and rates of change in geological phenomena and the scalability and universality of this understanding (K, T, I, P)
5. describe the interaction between chemical and physical processes that govern the evolution of the Earth and planets (K, T, I).

6. have achieved proficiency in field-based geological techniques to describe, interpret and predict geological relationships and models (K, T, P, J)
7. use microscopic and macroscopic techniques to identify rock types, minerals, sediments, fossils and ores in order to interpret their origin and subsequent geological history (K, T, P, I, J)
8. systematically collect, record, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative geological data in order to construct and validate scientifically-relevant arguments (T, P, I, J, L)
9. research and extract relevant geological information from existing data sets in order to describe and communicate a coherent understanding of Earth system processes (K, T, P, C, J, L)
10. manipulate and interrogate geochemical data, experimental and computational laboratory methods to interpret geological processes (K, T, P, I, C, J).

11. co-ordinate and integrate multiple strands of knowledge in order to solve geologic problems by combining literature review with field, laboratory and computational studies (T, P, I, C, L)
12. summarise and effectively communicate scientific understanding. This will include presentation of information, articulating and evaluating arguments and justifying conclusions using a range of mechanisms (oral, written and visual) to diverse audiences for a variety of purposes (C, E, A, J, L)
13. understand the role of resources and geology in society and appreciate the implications of current resource use (K, T, I,C, E, A, J, L)
14. formulate hypotheses and use appropriate techniques to test and evaluate these rigorously through experimentation and observation (T, P, I, J, L)
15. demonstrate a capacity for self-directed learning, an ability to work in a team and work towards deadlines (J, L)
16. work in a safe and responsible manner in the community and environment (C, E, A, J, L).
Learning and Teaching Methods Students are encouraged throughout this program to acquire the relevant subject skills, methods, knowledge and understanding through a variety of independent and collaborative activities. Primarily students attend a series of lectures and closely integrated practical classes that over the length of the program build up their basic knowledge of the discipline. Towards the middle and the end of the program students learn how to acquire data in both the field and laboratory, how to analyse and interpret data in order to produce scientific reports. Students also produce scientific assignments in the form of literature research projects which amplify aspects of their core skills. Towards the end of the program, students gain skills in communicating their results through presentations, in addition to critically assessing the works of others and communicating those results to their colleagues. The program is structured to promote and steadily encourage independent learning.
Assessment The assessment methods are mostly based on the submission of individual coursework. This can range from undertaking numerical and descriptive assignments; to oral presentations; to the production of scientific reports; and to the examination of learnt knowledge in quizzes and exams.

The program incorporates formative and summative feedback. Formative feedback is that which is received whilst students are working on a task, often during "hands on" practical sessions or fieldwork. Summative feedback is that received once students have completed a task. Both forms of feedback are extremely important and provide students with information and guidance on their development and progress. Feedback may be provided in written form or simply in discussion with peers and teachers.

One important aspect of the program is the emphasis on students communicating their own findings as well as understanding and dissecting the work of others. This comes to the fore in the later part of the program where students give presentations and produce reports on the works of others and themselves.

Toward the end of the program there is one substantial assessment event that requires students to integrate and exhibit their skills, knowledge and application. This event involves the production of several large field maps by students working in groups, who then interpret that data and to produce an individual scientific report and geological interpretation.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates are prepared to work in the minerals and petroleums industry being equipped with the fundamental Earth Science knowledge and problem solving skills required in the private sector. Likewise they are prepared to work in state and national geological surveys as geologists, or undertake research careers in the Earth and Planetary Sciences in terms of their specific skill sets.
The minerals and resource industries are areas of continued growth, particularly in Australia, but also globally.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148