The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


This course focuses on a project of choice from all major sub-disciplinary areas of Earth Science. The exact area will vary from year to year according to which industry partners choose to participate, and upon academic staff availability.

The course will evolve from summer vacation employment, whereby a student will work for a company, or staff member, for 8-10 weeks. During this period, the students will be expected to independently collect data to solve an Earth Science problem, which may or may not directly relate to the vacation employment. This problem will be selected through consultation between the course co-ordinator, the Industry Partner, and the project supervisor.

Before entering the workplace, students are advised to read background research on the practical, real-world geoscience problem selected. The student will be shown methodologies on how to collect data and develop databases, and be trained in appropriate procedures for data processing. Data collection should take at least 40 hours of the vacation period. The student will be expected to process the data using relevant company software during the vacation period. Interpretation of the data should be consultative with the industry supervisor and, if necessary, with the co-ordinator of the course. Lectures will be given on report evaluation and report writing.

Identification of the industry partner will rely on the candidate obtaining employment.

Project discussion and approvals need to take place in October/November, prior to employment.

Placement documentation needs to be completed prior to enrolment

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. experience in a range of methodologies, concepts and techniques used in industry, focussed on the earth sciences;

2. practical experience in addressing a topical earth science problem, as discussed and agreed to with industry supervisor;

3. developed observational skills in the field/laboratory, including accurate recording of the features observed, according to industry standards;

4. the ability to synthesise results and present them in a concise written form.

5. training in the use of relevant instruments for field survey and measurement, under industry supervison;

6. experience in the application of appropriate analytical methods in the field and in the laboratory for obtaining meaningful results, following direction from the industry supervisor;

7. the ability to synthesise results in concise map, graphical and/or tabular forms, in direct consultation with the industry supervisor (and course co-ordinator if additional guidance is necessary);

8. the ability to work independently and with others in groupwork, within an industry-based environment.


  1. Orientation day before placements, to outline parameters for the course; Including course outline and objectives, industry and university expectations, documentation, insurance implications, and OH&S.
  2. Discussion with Industry supervisor to outline nature of project, timelines, etc. Development of methodology and practical procedures to tackle the problems in the field or laboratory (this needs to be done with your industry supervisor).
  3. Use of field & laboratory methods to collect qualitative or quantitative data relevant to the problem.
  4. Use of computing, statistical and laboratory methods to process the data (dependent on the design and nature of data collected) while on-site.
  5. Analysis of field/laboratory data using interpretive and statistical methods.
  6. Communication of results through discussions/ summaries and written reports prepared in the conventional manner of industry or scientific reports.


Students also need to be approved for supervision by a Work Integrated Learning Panel on the basis of academic record and a suitable project for supervision . Student numbers will be capped subject to availabilty of supervision. Entry standards and availability will be reviewed mid-year.

Students attending this course will be selected by Industry, who expect a minimum GPA of 5.0 at the end of second year.

Assumed knowledge

For those interested in placements as geologists in the Coal or Petroleum Industry, completion of GEOS2161, GEOS 2190 and GEOS2200 is required; For those interested in research projects related to environmental and surficial processes, GEOS2050 and/or GEOS2070 are highly recommended, in addition to GEOS2161.

Assessment items

Report: Reports

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Practical: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course students must have completed a compulsory health and safety induction with their industry host and provide evidential documentation prior to comm

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 40 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Note: 40hrs Practical is to be completed during vacation employment ('Practical' is on-site data collection relevant to the project)


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 7 Weeks