Earth Sciences: Top universities that help us achieve a more sustainable future
Source: Victoria University of Wellington, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Climate change is dominating headlines, placing sustainability high up on the political agenda. Its negative effects can already be seen from volatile weather patterns and the changing behaviour of animals – such as polar bears being forced into residential areas in search of food due to melting ice caps, as well as fluctuating crop yields.

Growing awareness on the devastating impacts of climate change serves as a catalyst for environmental change, paving the way for the implementation of more sustainable practices and policies. As such, there has never been a more opportune time for graduates and professionals looking to make an impact on the world through the pursuit of postgraduate studies in the Earth Sciences. An understanding of the planet and its resources enables professionals to bring about changes to the world.

The programme is ideal if you’re passionate about the Earth and environment and would like to carve yourself a career that would equip you with the skills to positively impact the world, whether directly or indirectly. An Earth Sciences qualification also acts as a platform for you to better understand the Earth on a granular level, and can lead to varied career paths, depending on your specialisation. Graduates can become geologists, geophysicists, oceanographers, to name a few, and even go on to become researchers, work in the lab, office or even out in the field.

The Asia-Pacific is home to several universities that offer forward-thinking Earth Sciences programmes, coupled with strong industry links and partnerships with relevant organisations as well as excellent facilities to facilitate student learning.  If your interest is piqued, here are four Earth Science schools you may want to consider:


New Zealand may be home to swathes of fertile greenland, but as a student at VUW, you’ll enjoy an unparalleled learning experience that combines breathtaking scenery without forgoing the comforts of modern living.

Located in Wellington – the country’s capital city – VUW is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most prestigious tertiary institutions with a strong history of academic excellence. The university is home to excellent teaching, research, facilities and scholarship opportunities for its students, and covers a range of Earth Science-related programmes under its School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.

Source: Victoria University of Wellington, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Programmes are well-rounded and enable students to make real-world connections through their studies. Students will also learn from staff who are highly regarded internationally, acknowledged each year with research and teaching awards in their specialist fields.

VUW’s areas of academic distinctiveness address local, national and global challenges, making it an ideal place of study for international students. Postgraduate programmes include Master of Climate Change Science and Policy (MCCSP), Master of Environmental Studies and the Master of Geographic Information Science (MGIS), and the Master of Environmental Science, to name a few.

The MGIS programme is unique as geographic data underpins our understanding of many global issues, from climate change to population dynamics. Globally, there is a shortage of talent with the ability to apply and interpret data, making it a useful area of study. Meanwhile, the threat of climate change cannot be ignored – the MCCSP programme gives students the necessary combination of policy and scientific knowledge to address the real-world problem of climate change. It’s cross-disciplinary, combining taught courses with a research essay or placement with an external organisation.


If you’re keen on studying in Australia, why not consider Curtin University? Nestled in Perth – an affordable and multicultural environment – Curtin gives international students the chance to explore the natural wonders of Western Australia.

The university’s teaching and research is highly rated in global rankings. For instance, it’s ranked 3rd in Australia and 35th in the world for Earth and Marine Science – QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, and third in Australia and 49th in the world for Earth Sciences – 2019 ARWU Subject Ranking.


In the Australian Government’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2018 assessment, the university was also ranked well above world standard in geology and geochemistry, above world standard in oceanography and in physical geology and environmental geoscience, and at world standard in geomatic engineering and geophysics.

The university’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences discipline areas include geology; spacial sciences; basins, oceans and biogeosciences; as well as planetary science. Postgraduate programmes include the Master of Science (Geology), Master of Science (Geophysics), Master of Geospatial Intelligence, MSc Water Quality and Treatment Major, among others.

With water being critical for economic growth, agriculture and food production, the MSc Water Quality and Treatment Major is especially relevant to those who have studied chemistry, hydrology, water-related engineering courses, agriculture, environmental science or other related fields. Recent graduates looking to launch their water quality career, or practising water scientisst or engineers looking to become experts in water chemistry, will find this programme ideal.


This public university in New South Wales has cemented its academic and teaching prowess through numerous accolades. UOW is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2020, ranked 16th best modern university in the world in the QS Top 50 Under 50 Rankings 2020.


Its School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences (SEALS) is a new school that integrates environmental sciences research and teaching. SEALS staff are world-class academics and researchers who also have key relationships with colleagues in other institutions and industries across the world. They’ve also been successful in competitive research grants at a national level, and in attracting industry partnerships and funding.

UOW has many postgraduate study options. In the sciences, students can choose from postgraduate research and postgraduate coursework. Programmes include the Master of Philosophy (Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Master of Conservation Biology, among others.


South Korea may be famous for many things; be it skincare, tourist attractions or food, but it’s also an education stronghold. A prime example is Seoul National University, which consistently ranks well in global university rankings. It was recently ranked South Korea’s top university, in addition to being ranked 64th globally, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020.

Located in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, international students at SNU are primed to step out of their comfort zones and bask in a unique culture, further facilitating their journey towards becoming global citizens.


This research university was founded in 1946 as the first national university of Korea. It houses 15 colleges, one Graduate School and 11 Professional Schools, and has 2,609 full-time faculty members, 16,511 undergraduate students and 11,591 graduate students.

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) Graduate School offers a wide and varied curriculum that would appeal to students with numerous interests, including Environmental Geochemistry, Sedimentary Geology, Marine Pollution, Recent Advances in Geology, among others.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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