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About the programme
Language: English  (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September and January / February (only applicants with a legal right of admission can apply)


The MSc in Geology at Aarhus University is a flexible, research-centred programme that encourages students to explore their own interests both in the lab and in the field. The programme includes most classic geological disciplines in new and modern guises. Students have the chance to customise their research within the programme to suit their own personal and professional interests.

Some courses are taught to both Geology and Geophysics Master students, so a decent background in elementary geophysics, calculus, programming and chemistry is assumed.

Specialised research

Teaching in the programme is integrated with research at the highest international level. The department of Geoscience is renowned for its research in quaternary geology, hydrogeology, basin and lithosphere geology (oil geology and geothermics), micropalaeontology and climate research, structural geology, petrology, and geochemistry. The Department has a close collaboration with Archaeology. A number of laboratories are available, including a luminescence dating facility, a metal-free clean laboratory with mass spectrometers, a cosmogenic nuclide laboratory, and a core scanner.

Students work closely with technical staff and with some of the best Danish and international researchers in the field. Teamwork is promoted so as to provide a forum for group research and discussion as well as opportunities to partner with private companies for research.

Read more about our research

The thesis, which is heavily weighted, is a chance for students to tailor their degree to their own personal and career interests while benefiting from close collaboration with fellow students and faculty members.


Graduates of the programme have moved on to a diverse range of careers, occupying jobs in water and oil related industry, engineering and construction firms, as consultants to governments, and in research.

Read, print and be inspired

Download and print a short presentation of the MA programme in Geology.

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Geology:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Aarhus University or the University of Copenhagen.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Geology:

  • Another Bachelor's degree programme in natural science, with courses in geology equivalent to 60 ECTS as well as basic courses in the majority of the subjects: physics, geophysics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics and probability theory programming can qualify for admission to the Master's programme.    

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.

Language Requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. 

Read how to document your language qualifications


Please see the general admission requirements.

Legal right of admission

Students with a Bachelor's degree programme in Geoscience at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Geoscience on the condition that application is made for admission to the Master’s degree programme no later than three years after completion of the Bachelor’s degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s programme only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme. 

Allocation of student places is based on an overall assessment. In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assess applicants on the basis of the following criteria:

Academic background

  • Overall grade level – Bachelor’s degree
  • Grades achieved on relevant courses*
  • Relevant courses* (measured in credit units) included in your Bachelor’s degree

* Relevant courses include core courses within the subject areas of Geology, Geophysics, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Probability theory, Statistics and Programming.    

Please note that grades obtained after the time of application cannot be included in the assessment of grade level.

The admissions committee assess each applicant on the basis of the information provided in diplomas, transcripts, and course descriptions.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree in geoscience counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the 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.

For more information about the individual courses, go to: kursuskatalog.au.dk

If you would like information about options regarding a Master’s thesis in geology working with research groups at the Department of Geoscience, go to their respective web sites via www.geo.au.dk

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 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.

The teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you study relevant issues in depth. Most geology students also spend a certain amount of time on laboratory work and work related to field courses. The degree programme also includes a number of excursions to key geological locations in Denmark and abroad.

The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers 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 teaching is divided into two semesters per year. For an example of a course calendar, go to: studerende.au.dk/studier/fagportaler/geoscience/undervisning/undervisningskalender/

PhD programme

If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree or when you have completed your Master’s degree. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher. Find more information about the PhD-programme in Geoscience here or read examples of current research projects at the Department of Geoscience.

Academic regulations


Student life

The Department of Geoscience is a small community of about 200 students brought together by shared research, team field trips and common interests.

Classes take place in modern facilities with well-equipped labs. Students have access to cosy study areas, quiet reading rooms, wifi, computers and, of course, a classic Danish pop-up Friday bar. Students also have access to a communal office where they can sit and read, or just hang out together.

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 is not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has numerous different cultural activities. The well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated for a week at the beginning of September every year 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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Meet our students

Ida-Emilie Nilsson, student at Geoscience, Aarhus University. Photo: Melissa Yildirim, AU Foto
Ida-Emilie Nilsson, student at Geoscience, Aarhus University. Photo: Melissa Yildirim, AU Foto

Ida-Emilie Nilsson, Master's student at Geoscience

Since I was very young, I have been interested in nature, and the environment and climate have always been important to me. However, when I was in upper secondary school, I did not make a connection between my interest in these topics and a degree in Geoscience, so it was actually my interest in natural disasters and volcanoes that made me apply to Geoscience.

There has not been a single day where I have regretted to study at Geoscience. This is of course due to my strong interest in the academic field of geoscience, and dreams of adventurous jobs ahead, but also due to the daily student life here at Geoscience. We are a relatively small department, and this fosters a study environment, where you not only know your own classmates, but also know students from other classes as well as the lecturers. A special aspect of studying at Geoscience is the field trips both in Denmark and abroad. This is a special opportunity for getting to know your fellow classmates outside the classroom.

Currently, I am planning an exchange stay north of the Arctic Circle. I hope to get both personal development from this and to improve my knowledge about arctic processes and environments. There are good opportunities to go on exchange as a geoscience student, and as a lecturer told me in the first year of my Bachelor’s degree: "the best geologist is the most travelled geologist".

I do not have a specific job in mind for once I graduate. The job opportunities are quite diverse; however, I hope to get a job where I can work with climate and/or environment in some way. Through my student jobs, I have already peeked into some of the options available. My student jobs have primarily been within the environmental area, where I for example collected soil samples for a company. Who knows what the future holds? I am sure that I will find a job where I can feel that I make a difference somehow.