Master of Science, majoring in Environmental Earth Science

Courses and Study Australian courses Master of Science, majoring in Environmental Earth Science

Why study Environmental Earth Science at JCU?

The Master of Environmental Earth Science is about understanding natural processes on the Earth’s surface.

JCU is a premier place to study Environmental Earth Science, particularly if you are interested in the Tropics. From our Townsville or Cairns campuses you will have easy access to the most diverse climates, landscapes and land uses in Australia, including: rugged mountains covered in rainforest, fertile agricultural regions, sparsely grazed vast savannah plains, huge rivers, and diverse coastlines.

You will enjoy the benefits of being taught by a team who are internationally acclaimed for research in ‘Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience’ and ‘Geology’,  world class research facilities, and research partners from a range of industries and government agencies.

Environmental earth science (or geoscience) covers a range of topics including hydrology, sedimentology and geomorphology. You will develop skills in resource and environmental impact assessment, mine site rehabilitation, and soil and water science.

Townsville, Cairns
Start dates
February, July
1.5 years full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus

Career opportunities

This degree prepares you for a diverse range of jobs in earth and environmental science throughout the world.

Most graduates get jobs as an environmental scientist with consultant companies ranging from large engineering to specialised environmental firms, with regulatory agencies responsible for natural resources in the state and national government (eg. Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines), or with advisory agencies such as Natural Resource Management Boards. There are also jobs with mining companies and other natural resource-related businesses.

The course also prepares you well for postgraduate research and a career as a scientist with institutions such as universities, CSIRO and Geoscience Australia. Or, together with a diploma in education, you can become a science teacher.

Course highlights

Up-to-date, hands-on, cross-disciplinary teaching in Environmental Earth Science

Strong collaboration with industry and research organisations, both locally and internationally

Engaged, research-active and internationally acclaimed teaching staff:

Course overview

Environmental earth science (or geoscience) covers a range of topics including hydrology, sedimentology and geomorphology.

You will learn about

  • the impacts of land-use and climate change on earth surface processes
  • the water, soil, mineral and energy resources we rely on
  • the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods and
  • the condition of our ecosystems and environment.

Who is this course for?

This coursework program provides specialist skills and knowledge for science graduates wanting to pursue careers in environmental earth science. Environmental scientists undertake work such as developing ways to minimise the impacts of humans on the natural environment.

How you will study

This course is available in Townsville and Cairns. It is available part time (domestic students only) and full time.

How to apply

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.


MSc – Environmental Earth Science Major

Major code


Credit points

36 credit points

Major Structure


EA5016:03 Hydrology

EA5017:03 Applied Soil Science

EA5026:06 Special Studies

EA5046:03 Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

EA5090:03 Advanced Hydrology

EA5404:03 From Icehouse to Greenhouse

EV5505:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems


Select 12 credit points of specified EA and EV level 5 subjects

EA5018:03 Field Studies in Tropical Water and Soil Science

EA5320:03 Earth Resources, Exploration and Environment

EA5330:03 Field Techniques

EA5340:03 Disturbed Site Repair

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

EV5401:03 Coastal and Catchment Geomorphology

EV5404:03 Field Studies in Tropical Geography

EV5406:03 Coral Reef Geomorphology

EV5502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Pathway into course

Please consult the admission requirements section in the Handbook for prerequisites and pathways into this course.


Master of Science

Course code


Course type

Masters Degree (Coursework) (AQF Level 9)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of an AQF level 7 bachelor degree in Science; or equivalent.

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Post Admission requirements

Some majors require attendance at block mode subjects on either the Townsville or Cairns campus.  Students may be required to attend block mode classes at a campus other than that at which they are enrolled, at their own expense.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

36 credit points as per course structure

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced level of scientific knowledge from with their chosen major

  • Critically analyse scientific theory, models, concepts and techniques from within their chosen major

  • Critically read and evaluate quantitative and qualitative research findings from within their chosen major

  • Apply analytic tools and methodologies to define and describe scientific problems from within their chosen major

  • Communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing.

Course Structure


Select a discipline area (major)


Type of major



Credit points in major

36 credit points




Aquaculture Science and Technology



Environmental Earth Science




Environmental Marine Science

Townsville (Suspended 2015-2017)


Fisheries Biology and Management



Marine Biology and Ecology



Natural Resource Management


Cairns (Suspended 2017)


Protected Area Management


Cairns (Suspended 2017)

Tropical Biology and Conservation







Not all majors available in Cairns




Expected time to complete

18 months full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

5 years

Maximum leave of absence

2 years


Course progression requisites


Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment requirements


Professional accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable

Advanced Standing


Students may apply for advanced standing for previous tertiary study in accordance with the Advanced Standing and Articulation policy and associated procedures.

Maximum allowed

12 credit points, unless part of an approved articulation process.


Advanced standing will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course.


Advanced standing gained for any subject shall be cancelled 15 years after the date of the examination upon which the advanced standing is based if, by then, the student has not completed the course of study prescribed for the degree.

Other restrictions


Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviations


Inclusion of majors on testamur

The major studied shall appear on the testamur.

Exit with lesser award

Students who exit the course prior to completion, and have completed the appropriate number of credit points, may, depending on the subjects studied, be eligible to receive the award of either the Graduate Certificate of Science or the Graduate Diploma of Science.

Course articulation

Not applicable

What is Environmental Earth Science?

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.