Master of Science, majoring in Environmental Earth Science

Future Students Australian courses Master of Science, majoring in Environmental Earth Science

Master of Science, majoring in Environmental Earth Science

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

James Cook University (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 point value

36 credit points

Major Structure


EA5016:03 Hydrology

EA5017:03 Soil Properties and Processes

EA5018:03 Field Studies in Tropical Land and Water Science

EA5046:03 Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

EA5404:03 From Icehouse to Greenhouse


Select 3 credit points from:

BS5260:03 Modelling Ecological Dynamics or

BZ5450:03 Ecological and Conservation Genetics or

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment or

EV5502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems or

EV5506:03 Remote Sensing or

MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design or

SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies


Select 6 credit points of subjects from List 1


Select 12 credit points of any level 5 AQ, BS, BZ, CH, EA, EV, MA, MB, MI, SC or TV subjects

List 1

AQ5004:03 Aquaculture: Stock Improvement

BC5203:03 Introduction to Bioinformatics

BS5260:03 Modelling Ecological Dynamics

BZ5450:03 Ecological and Conservation Genetics

BZ5990:03 Toolkit for the Field Biologist

CH5203:03 Analytical Chemistry (Advanced)

EA5018:03 Field Studies in Tropical Land and Water

EA5330:03 Field Techniques

EA5640:03 Advanced Marine Geoscience Technologies and Applications

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

EV5502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

EV5505:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

EV5506:03 Remote Sensing

MA5405:03 Data Mining

MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design

SC5202:03 Quantitative Methods in Science

SC5232:03 Marine Sensor Technologies and Applications

SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies

Pathway into course

For prerequisites and pathways into this course visit the admission requirements section in the Handbook.


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 of the Master of Science, graduates will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply an advanced body of theoretical and technical knowledge, including an understanding of recent developments, in one or more science disciplines.
  • Retrieve, analyse, synthesise and evaluate complex information, concepts and theories from a range of sources.
  • Plan and conduct reliable, evidence-based laboratory and/or field experiments/practices by selecting and applying methods, techniques and tools, as appropriate to one or more science disciplines.
  • Organise, analyse and interpret complex scientific data using advanced mathematical, statistical and technological skills.
  • Communicate theoretical propositions, methodologies, scientific data, arguments and conclusions clearly and coherently to specialist and non-specialist audiences through advanced written and oral English language skills and a variety of media.
  • Identify, analyse and generate solutions to unpredictable or complex problems, especially related to tropical, rural, remote or Indigenous contexts, by applying scientific knowledge and skills with initiative and expert judgement.
  • Critically review regulatory requirements, ethical principles and, where appropriate, cultural frameworks, to work effectively, responsibly and safely in diverse contexts.
  • Reflect on current skills, knowledge and attitudes to manage their professional learning needs and performance, autonomously and in collaboration with others.
  • Apply knowledge of research principles, methods, techniques and tools to plan and execute a substantial research-based project, capstone experience and/or piece of scholarship.

Course Structure


Select a discipline area (major) from Table A


Type of major

Mandatory, Single

Credit points in major

36 credit points




Aquaculture Science and Technology



Environmental Earth Science



Environmental Management


Available from Admission Period 2 2018

Fisheries Science and Management





Available from Admission Period 2 2018

Marine Biology



Natural Resource Management

Cairns (Suspended 2017-2018)



Protected Area Management

Cairns (Suspended 2017-2018)



Tropical Biology and Conservation







Not all majors available at 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 24 credit points of appropriate subjects, may be eligible for the award of Graduate Diploma of Science.

Students who have completed 12 credit points of appropriate subjects may be eligible to receive the award of Graduate Certificate of Science.

Course articulation

Students who complete the requirements for the Master of Science are eligible for direct entry into the 48 credit point Master of Science (Professional) and may be granted advanced standing for all subjects completed under this course.

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.