The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

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 a minimum of 40 hours over 4-10 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 placement 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 or university software during the vacation period. Interpretation of the data should be consultative with the industry or academic supervisor and, if necessary, with the co-ordinator of the course. Lectures will be given on report evaluation and report writing.

Identification of the placement partner will rely on the candidate obtaining employment, or being offered a research placement.

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

Placement documentation needs to be completed prior to enrolment, including the Professional Placement Plan provided in the Guidelines for Potential Host Organisations.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Prepare and write a Risk Assessment for an industry-based project in Earth Science, to ensure the safety of themselves and other members of the work team.

2. Plan, undertake and report on a project investigating an industry-based problem in association with an industry supervisor.

3. Connect practical skills and theoretical knowledge to generate, analyse and interpret results of an industry-monitored project.

4. Communicate the results of both theoretical and experimental work in concise written report format, suitable for a commissioning client.

5. Work with peers and industry supervisor and colleagues to collaboratively plan, problem solve and execute a work-integrated research project.

6. Critically evaluate solutions including the consideration of the history of a problem, a review of solutions, and the feasibility and impact of solutions.

7. Communicate the results of both theoretical and experimental work in oral presentation format.

8. Provide and receive feedback on aspects of report writing, analysis and presentation of results.


  1. Orientation with the Course Coordinator before placements including objectives, industry and university expectations, supervisor documentation, insurance documentation, and WH&S.
  2. Student discussion with the placement supervisor to outline nature of project, timelines, etc.
  3. Development of methodology and use of field & laboratory methods to collect qualitative or quantitative data with their placement supervisor.
  4. Use of computing, statistical and laboratory methods to process the data collected while on-site with placement supervisor, or during the weekly course workshops.
  5. Analysis of field/laboratory data using interpretive and statistical methods during the placement or in weekly course workshops.
  6. Communication of results through discussions/summaries and written, scientific industry reports, prepared for both the placement partner and in weekly course workshops.
  7. Writing a critique, giving and receiving of feedback from peers and supervisors during the compilation of their report.


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

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.

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. Students must have completed 140 units at 1000/2000 level to enrol in GESO3320.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Risk assessment on UON Template

Report: This report has 3 parts

Professional Task: Supervisor rating

Presentation: Oral presentation of project findings

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 work health and safety induction with their industry or university host and provide documented evidence prior to commencing placement.