Staff and Students in the Field
The School of Geosciences is one of 10 Schools in the Faculty of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Geoscience involves the study of the Earth – principally its solid part (rocks), but also the ways that this solid geosphere interacts with the air (atmosphere), water (hydrosphere) and life (biosphere). This allows students to combine interests in chemistry, physics, maths and biology across a variety of fields of study relating to our planet. Geoscientists study everything from the internal structure of the deep earth (using the physical properties of rocks like magnetism and density) to modern environmental hazards such as active volcanoes, earthquake zones and environmental pollution, and are able to unravel the 4.6-billion-year history of the Earth and its life forms from studying rocks found today at the Earth’s surface.
The School enrols over 250 BSc Undergraduate, 35 Honours, and 90 postgraduate students annually. It combines a rich teaching tradition with a strong research base. It is the only School in South Africa offering specialist Honours degrees in Geophysics and Palaeontology, in addition to Geology. Options are also available for further specialisation within these programmes in Geochemistry, Mining Geology, Environmental Earth Science, and Palaeoanthropology. Research projects extend throughout South Africa and in more than a dozen countries in Africa and beyond.
Wits Geosciences degrees are highly regarded internationally. Graduates are mostly employed by the Minerals Exploration and Mining Industry where they search for, and oversee the extraction from the ground of, the raw materials needed to run our modern society. Careers with mining companies or consultancies can take geoscientists all over the world. Increasing numbers of geoscientists are employed as environmental scientists, monitoring pollution and other geohazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Government agencies, research institutes and universities are also major employers.
Information on careers in the Geosciences can be downloaded here.
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