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Earth science is a unique blend of the traditional fields of physical geography, geology, oceanography, climatology and soil science. Students who study the Earth Science major in Environmental Science & Management will use tools from geology, physics, chemistry, biology and geography to build a quantitative understanding of how the Earth system works, how it evolved to its current state and the environmental, social and economic impacts of human development on it’s surface. Many of the courses within the core of the Environmental Science & Management program and those within the Earth Systems major involve fieldwork and real-world experience. , The Earth Systems major involves studying courses such as GIS and remote sensing, climatology and soils, climate change, river basin processes, protection and management of waterways and catchments and global change.
Employment opportunities are diverse and are often found in unusual places where an organization needs to better understand the behaviour of surface processes on the Earth and the environmental impacts of humans on its surface. There are many opportunities in all levels of government where Environmental Scientists with a major in Earth Systems conduct research or implement and manage environmental regulations and public policy. Environmental consulting firms often assist in construction planning and site development associated with resource development, in locating and managing water resources, in directing environmental clean-ups and site remediation, and in performing environmental risk assessments.
Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. View Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours).
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options following the Bachelor of Science include:
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
The following list provides some example jobs for Earth Systems graduates. Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.
- Conservationist / Ecologist
- Environmental Chemist
- Environmental Manager
- Environmental Scientist
- Field Assistant
- Geographic Information System Officer/Analyst
- Geological Oceanographer
- Geotechnical/Geoscience Technician
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- Laboratory/Research Assistant
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries within small, medium and large oranisations for Earth Systems graduates. Below is an example of some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in Earth Systems.
- Anglo Coal (International)
- Australian Conservation Foundation (Australia)
- BHP Billiton (Australia)
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia)
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Conservation (WA) (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Heritage (Australia)
- Department of Industry and Investment (NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (NT) (Australia)
- Department of Primary Industries (NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (Australia)
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Australia)
- Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (SA) (Australia)
- Environmental Protection Agency (Australia)
- Environmental Resources Management (Australia)
- ExxonMobil (Australia)
- Friends of the Earth Australia (Australia)
- Geoscience Australia (Australia)
- GHD (International)
- Greenpeace Australia (Australia)
- National Museum of Australia (Australia)
- National Parks and Wildlife Service (Australia)
- Questacon (Australia)
- Rio Tinto (International)
- Roads and Traffic Authority (NSW) (Australia)
- Santos (Australia)
- Sinclair Knight Merz (International)
- URS Corporation (Australia)
- Westpac (Australia)
- Woodside (Australia)
- Xstrata (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Australian Academy of Science (Australia)
- Australian Conservation Foundation (Australia)
- Australian Geoscience Information Association (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Geoscientists (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
On completion of the Bachelor of Environmental Science & Management degree, a graduate will be able to demonstrate:
1. Comprehensive theoretical and applied knowledge of environmental science and its application in environmental management within an interdisciplinary natural and social sciences base.
2. Capacity for incisive, ethical and independent thinking on issues of environmental management and sustainability at all scales & the ability to apply knowledge in these diverse contexts.
3. Capacity for analysis of environmental processes and problems, coupled with the ability to develop management strategies for environmental protection, remediation or restoration.
4. Experience and skills in working as part of interdisciplinary teams and with diverse stakeholders.
5. Advanced written, oral and other communication and negotiation skills.