MASTER OF SCIENCE IN
TECHNICAL GEOLOGY

An in-depth and practical exploration of the earth, from the inside out

Introduction

Please note that the Master's degree programme in Technical Geology will not be offered in 2017.

From looking out to looking in: insight is the simplest way to describe the MSc in Technical Geology degree. Which sediments contain groundwater? What is the spatial distribution of the sediments, and which layer of soil protects groundwater against pollution and to what extent? Why do strata have strengths, and is it possible to predict the variation in strength from one type of deposit to another and from one part of the country to another? These are just some of the questions you will learn to answer as a technical geology student.

Options and scope

The two-year MSc in Technical Geology programme, offered by Aarhus School of Engineering at Aarhus University, builds on a relevant graduate engineering or BSc degree. The programme leads to the title of graduate engineer or MSc (Engineering). Depending on qualifications, students commence their studies with a supplementary course in geology or engineering geology. The supplementary courses account for approximately half the first year of the study programme, while the remainder consists of an individual programme drawn up in collaboration between the student and the specialist lecturers for the degree programme. The individual programme may focus on a specialisation within either geotechnics, sedimentology, hydrology, hydro-geophysics, or soil and water chemistry.

From lectures of fieldwork

This multidisciplinary degree programme is taught mainly at the Department of Geoscience and Aarhus University School of Engineering. Both institutions have a strong study environment, focusing on the individual student and the interaction between academic and social challenges, for
example through fieldwork and expeditions. As a technical geology student, you do not get to sit at your desk for long periods of time. Teaching is regularly supplemented by field trips to destinations in Denmark and to Norway or Greenland. As a student, this gives you a chance to work with your subject in practice.

Teaching normally takes place in small groups, and consists of a combination of theory and work on practical exercises.

AU Engineering and research

 

Career profile

As a graduate of the programme, you will acquire comprehensive knowledge that can pave the way to a career in the environmental, energy and planning sectors, with opportunities both in consulting engineering companies and in public administration. You also have the option of working in the construction and facilities branch in connection with solving geotechnical tasks. A degree in technical geology opens up career possibilities both in Denmark and abroad.

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree in Technical Geology (Master of Science in Engineering):

  • A Bachelor of Technical Science degree in Technical Geology from a Danish university.
  • A Bachelor of Engineering degree in Architectural Engineering from a Danish university or engineering college with elective subjects in geotechnological disciplines.
  • Bachelor’s degrees with at least 60 ECTS in the field of technical geology can provide admission, provided that the academic requirements for the Master’s degree are met.
  • Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

In connection with possible admission, further requirements can be stipulated regarding the composition of the degree programme.

The following Bachelor's degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Technical Geology (Master of Science in Technology):

  • A Bachelor of Geology or Geophysics from a Danish university.
  • Bachelor’s degrees with at least 30 ECTS in the field of technical geology can provide admission, provided that the academic requirements for the Master’s degree are met.
  • Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master's degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

In connection with possible admission, further requirements can be stipulated regarding the composition of the degree programme.

New admission requirements

As from the winter intake 2017 applicants must document qualifications in Mathematics corresponding to Applied Mathematics I (5 ECTS) and Applied Mathematics II (5 ECTS).

Language requirements

To qualify for admission to English language programmes you must document English language qualifications comparable to an "English B level" in the Danish upper secondary school. See the general English language requirements.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree in technical geology counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the technical geology field of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis. During your very first week, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a teacher from the Department of Earth Sciences by choosing courses from a course catalogue. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelor’s degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enrol for examinations.

If you would like information about options regarding a Master’s thesis in technical geology, go to the department’s website.

Academic regulations

For further information on the structure of the programme please see the academic regulations for master's degree programmes.

A year divided into four terms

The teaching is divided into terms with four terms per year. Each term consists of a block of seven weeks followed by an examination period of 2-4 weeks. An example of the teaching calendar is given here.

PhD programme

If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher. You can read more here or study examples of current technical geology research projects here.


 

Student life

Forms of Teaching

At the University of Aarhus you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professor’s and associate professor’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.

Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks and give you a general overview of the subject. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you study relevant issues in depth.

The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers, as well as the strong relationship with the industrial sector, provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts – even in jobs you didn’t know you were qualified for.

"The Geologists"

As a geology student, you soon become part of “the geologists” – a group of students who work closely together. This teamwork is largely because you are brought together by the relatively small number of students in your year group and on field excursions. As a Master’s degree student, you can enjoy the newly refurbished buildings – which recently became the home of the Department of Earth Sciences – in the south-eastern part of campus, close to the Aarhus city centre. The new attractive premises have study areas, reading rooms, Internet access, computer rooms and a Friday bar. These new facilities are used for departmental activities and you quickly get to know the teachers and learn about their research activities. You are given access to an office where you can sit and work, read or just hang out with fellow students.

Student Life

Student life is hard work, attending lectures and carrying out assignments. However, it also involves contact with other students, relaxing together and social events. At the Engineering College of Aarhus, much of your work is in project groups, and you often build up a close relationship with your fellow students, both academically and socially.

In addition, a number of student organisations arrange academic activities, excursions, celebrations and social functions. The different student associations at the university and the college consist of students who meet to discuss issues relating to the degree programme. These organisations influence the academic content of the degree programmes, from department and centre level to the top management levels at the university and the college. The student council – commonly called DSR (De studerendes råd) – is the focal point for social events and activities for students. DSR has different sub-committees, including the fitness club, music club and mountain bike club.

Harry’s Cellar (Harrys Kælder) is a club for staff and students. This club provides a break at the end of a busy week, where you can knock off with a beer, play electronic darts and backgammon, listen to live music, take part in weeks with a different theme, etc. The university also has a number of popular Friday bars, and the Tågekammeret (the Cloud Chamber) association organises celebrations and social events for all science students.

Campus – a unique place

The University of Aarhus is unique, especially because the buildings are grouped in one campus area close to the Aarhus city centre. The campus has many green areas and a beautiful park surrounding a small lake. Here you also find student accommodation and an underground system of corridors, which means that you don’t have to get your feet wet going from the canteen to your study area. There are also lecture theatres and a host of activities ranging from sports days to the regatta on the lake, interesting lectures, a film club, libraries and university celebrations. The campus ensures that you have easy access to the canteen, student counsellors, teachers, the bookshop, the State and University Library and the Friday bar.

Aarhus as a Study Centre

The university and the Engineering College of Aarhus are not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has numerous different cultural activities. Every year the well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated for a week at the beginning of September and the streets really come to life. During the rest of the year, you can visit different music venues and concert halls in the city or find entertainment at one of the many theatres in Aarhus. The city’s many museums include ARoS – the major international art museum, which is a spectacular place for visual experiences. If you have had enough of cultural activities, you can ride your bike to the beach in no time or go for walks in the Risskov woods or in the beautiful woods around Marselisborg. The forty thousand young students in Aarhus make up 17.5% of the population, which leaves its mark on city life. Aarhus is a young, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities.

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Career

Outlook for insight – the Master’s degree programme in technical geology can be described this simply.

  • In which sediments is the groundwater located?
  • How is the spatial distribution of the sediments and which layers of soil protect the groundwater from pollution and to what extend?
  • Why do layers of soil have strength and is it possible to predict the variation of strength between different types of sediments and between different parts of the country?

These are just a few of the questions that you as a student in technical geology will be able to evaluate.

Competence profile

With a Master’s degree in technical geology, you have the following competences:

  • You have general knowledge of technical geology and detailed knowledge of key disciplines, methodologies, theories and concepts within technical geology.
  • You can independently plan, manage and implement projects and apply the results in scientifically relevant decision processes.
  • You can assess the applicability and appropriateness of theoretical, experimental and practical methodologies for the analysis and solution of scientific questions and issues.
  • You can structure your own competence development independently and critically.
  • You are able to systematically and critically familiarise yourself with new subject areas.
  • You can communicate academic questions and issues to both a scientific and a general audience.
  • You can collaborate constructively on a scientific basis to solve subject-related issues.

Job profile

You will obtain a broad knowledge that qualifies you for jobs within the sectors of environment, energy and planning. This means that you can get a job within consultative engineering companies as well as within the public administration. There are also opportunities of employment within the construction industry regarding the solution of geotechnical jobs. In many of these jobs, your role is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. As an example the geologists have carried out a wide number of geological and geotechnical investigations in connection with the building of “Storebæltsbroen” (the bridge connecting Seeland and Funen), the bridge across Oresund, the mini-metro in Copenhagen and the construction of motorways.

You also have the opportunity of continuing your studies with a PhD programme, or you can use your education in technical geology as a stepping stone for at job abroad at international companies or research institutions. The career possibilities are thus manifold both nationally and internationally.


 

I work as a project manager for Geo in Aarhus. There is quite a lot of desk work preparing offers, project plans and reports, but it is also important for me to get out into the field a bit and feel the soil between my fingers. My education really prepared me well for this job. The combination of an engineering and geological background is perfect, in my job in any case.

OLE WEEL JENSEN
Graduate, MSc in Technical Geology

Geotechnical Project Manager, Geo