School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor of Science

Students in the School can complete a Bachelor of Science with the below listed majors:

Masai baby and Parent

Photo by Kesaya Baba

Development Studies

An understanding of the issues of poverty and social inequality can lead to many diverse and interesting career opportunities locally, nationally, internationally, in government and non government organisations.  In this subject you can study almost any aspect of human societies and their relationship to the Earth.  This field looks at inequality between people and nations and the ethical issues that poverty and inequality create.  It teaches you confidence and tolerance with cross-cultural issues and to analyse and solve global problems.

tararua forest

Photo by Mark Grams

Environmental Studies

The growth in environmental awareness through out New Zealand has created many career opportunities in local and national government and the private sector.  If you have a passion for the natural world and the environment then this is the course for you.  You can study topics from resource management to architecture, from Antarctica to urban land use.  Victoria University recognises the importance of environmental issues to our future.

Environmental Science

Environmental Sciences give students the change to combine physical, biological, mathematical and earth sciences papers.  This course draws on extensive expertise of staff in the Faculty of Science and from the science community of Wellington.


Geographers have plenty of opportunities for fieldwork and research in exotic places.  This subject has a broad appeal from general world issues such as the environment to cultural studies, geographic information systems, landslide processes or urban transport polices.   The courses are full of fieldtrips and prove to be very popular.  Our graduates leave with a breadth of knowledge and skills and are considered to be a great asset.  Students go on to work in local government, the business sector and everywhere in between.

Chris Conway

Photo by Matt Ryan

No where on Earth are active geological processes more obvious and accessible than in Wellington, which sits between two active faults on a major plate boundary.  If you enjoy a mix of laboratory and field-based studies then this subject will appeal to you.  Our graduates are employed around the world in resource companies and are highly sought after.  Others have found their geological training very useful in teaching and in working for government departments.  This subject looks at the history and makeup of the Earth including internal structure, plate tectonics, earthquakes, mountain building, volcanic eruptions, evolution of life, the extinction of the dinosaurs, climate and sea-level change, glaciations and landscape evolution.  It also considers the origin and conservation of the Earth's natural resources such as minerals, fossil fuels, soils and water. 

Hunter Valley Station

Photo by Emily Warren Smith

Geophysicists work at understanding some of the biggest and most exciting physical phenomena we know - such as earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain-building, the Earth's magnetism, gravity, the deep structure of our land and  New Zealand's and the Earth atmosphere. Our graduates have found employment in emergency management, oil and mineral exploration, the IT industry, weather forecasting, engineering, seismology and (with a postgraduate qualification) work in research laboratories.  If you are interested in using mathematics to explore the mysteries of the sky above us and the ground beneath our feet then this subject will prove very useful.

Physical Geography

If you would like to understand better the interaction of processes involving the Earth's climatic system, oceans and landforms, animals, plants and people then this is a subject that you will find very relevant.  Our graduates are highly regarded by employers because of their breadth of knowledge and skills which make them highly employable.  Come and learn about the relationships between the various earth surface processes that have a strong bearing on economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Students at work Taranaki

Photo by Matt Ryan

Bachelor of Arts

Students can also complete a Bachelor of Arts with majors in:

  • Development Studies
  • Geography


Summer Courses

Geographies of New Zealand - GEOG 313

This course explores the human geographies of Aotearoa, New Zealand in historical and contemporary settings. It is taught as two modules in late January and February and internally assessed. It is led by Richard Willis

Module 1: Lectures and tutorials (9-12 for two weeks) covering demography, historical, social and urban geographies and political economies.

Module 2: Field Trip (five days) to the Taranaki and Tongariro regions to study sustainable agriculture and tourism.

Climate Change and New Zealand's Future - ESCI 201

This course provides a summary of current knowledge on climate change and climate prediction for the next 50 to 500 years. It discusses the influence of climate change on New Zealand and includes a marae forum where issues are discussed from traditional and modern-day Māori perspectives.

It runs in January and can be taken in parallel with GEOG 313, but please contact us for more information.