Are you interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree in Geology? Here is what you need to do:

  1. Before you complete the application to the university, you need to have a confirmed supervisor

  2. Please contact any of our academic members that you would like to supervise you. This is important - you will not be admitted to any postgraduate degree without a supervisor or prior consultation with one. 
  3. Learn more about postgraduate application procedures here.


Course Convener: Associate Professor J F Diener

Course entry requirements: A BSc degree with a major in Geology, first qualifying courses in Chemistry and Mathematics. A first qualifying course in Physics is recommended. The Senate may accept other courses as being equivalent to these and this criterion will be applied when considering science graduates from other universities. Registrations are limited to 16 and acceptance will be at the discretion of the Head of Department, who will consider quality of final year results, material covered in undergraduate curriculum, and referee reports in making decisions. Preference will be given to UCT graduates who meet the course entry requirements.

Course outline: Students are required to take 7 compulsory modules which cover the following subject areas: Geochemistry (including Isotope and Marine Geochemistry), Geophysics, Economic Geology, Igneous, Metamorphic and Mantle Petrology, Palaeontology, Quaternary Geology, Petroleum Geology, Sedimentary Basins, Tectonics, Geological Data Interpretation & Analysis, and Scientific Communication. In addition, each student is required to undertake a supervised research project. Choice of research project requires the approval of the Honours course co-ordinator and Head of Department. All students are required to attend a two week fieldtrip held during the year.


Course outline: This course consists of an investigation of an approved topic chosen for intensive study by the candidate (student), culminating in the submission of a dissertation. The dissertation shall demonstrate the successful completion of a programme of training in research methods, a thorough understanding of the scientific principles underlying the research and an appropriate acquaintance with the relevant literature. It must be clearly presented and conform to the standards of the department and faculty. The dissertation will usually consist of a report detailing the conduct, and analysis of the results of, research performed under the close guidance of a suitably qualified supervisor/s. The dissertation should be well-conceived and acknowledge earlier research in the field. It should demonstrate the ability to undertake a substantial and informed piece of research, and to collect, organise and analyse material. General rules for this degree may be found at the front of the handbook.


Course outline: The PhD is a research degree on an advanced topic under supervision which can be taken in any of the departments in the Faculty. Examination is by thesis alone. A candidate shall undertake doctoral research and advanced study under the guidance of a supervisor/s appointed by Senate. The thesis must constitute a substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen subject, must show evidence of original investigation and give a full statement of the literature on the subject. The PhD degree demands that the candidate is able to conduct independent research on his/her own initiative. Through the thesis the candidate must be able to demonstrate that he/she is at the academic forefront in the topic selected, that the work is original and that it advances our knowledge in the relevant field. Prospective candidates are referred to the rules for the PhD degree in Book 3, General Rules and Policies.