B.Sc.(Honours) Programme

Application Form

The NCPGG B.Sc.(Honours) Programme is designed for students who have completed a B.Sc. or equivalent and are interested in exploration geology and/or geophysics with particular emphasis on petroleum. The B.Sc.(Honours) degree is the minimum qualification normally required for entry into the Australian petroleum exploration and development industry. Centre staff have a very strong combination of industrial and academic experience, ensuring that the student receives a thorough grounding in the principles of exploration and development geoscience, whilst being exposed to the practical aspects of the oil and gas industry gained through years of experience around the world.

Students may enrol in either the University of Adelaide or the University of South Australia to undertake the programme.

The Centre is proud of the excellent employment record of its graduates, most of whom obtain positions in the petroleum industry upon completion of the Honours Programme. The Centre is widely recognised as providing the essential training for a career in the industry, as well as a thorough preparation for postgraduate study. The curriculum is periodically updated in consultation with the oil and gas industry to maintain its relevance.

The Honours Programme is a full-time course taking one year to complete. It commences at the beginning of February each year and finishes in mid-December.

The Programme consists of five months of course work five months of research work, which is written up in a thesis, and includes six weeks of paid industrial experience

 Course work

The coursework component of the Programme starts in early February and finishes at the end of June each year. Courses are presented in modular format, ie as a series of consecutive short courses, varying between one and nine days in length, depending on the topic. This is different from the "interleaved" presentation of units common in most undergraduate courses. This format is used in order to allow external lecturers to teach and industry personnel to attend the courses.

The courses are presented by Centre staff, academics from other institutions, and industry experts.

The NCPGG's multidisciplinary philosophy is reflected in the course curriculum. Approximately 20% of the course time is devoted to advanced geological and geophysical topics. These are alternatives which allow the student some specialisation. The remaining 80% of the course time comprises a core set of geotechnical topics which are taken by all students. These cover the basic concepts and techniques which need to be understood by any professional geoscientist in the petroleum industry. Such topics include structural geology, clastic sedimentology, reservoir description, sequence stratigraphy, wireline logging and seismic interpretation. The operational, commercial, managerial and legal aspects of petroleum exploration and development are also covered. There are several field trips, including an 8 day excursion to the Flinders Ranges, and whenever possible, a visit to an area of current drilling and production operations. Most courses involve considerable practical work, and where appropriate, students obtain hands-on experience with industry-standard computer software.

Click on the appropriate link below to obtain more information on aspects of the coursework.

 Research Project/Industrial Experience

The period from July to early December is devoted to researching and writing up a thesis project. All projects must have direct relevance to petroleum exploration, and are sponsored by oil and gas companies or Mines Departments. Most of the major Australian petroleum companies participate in this scheme. Students will normally have both an academic supervisor (from the NCPGG) and an industry supervisor (from their sponsor company) for their thesis.

The first six weeks are spent with the sponsoring company, to gain exposure to the industry environment while commencing work on the research topic. Students are paid a scholarship during this period. Sponsors also pay travelling costs for students assigned interstate. This period allows students to "prove" themselves to the sponsor, and may lead to career opportunities.

Upon returning from their sponsor companies, students continue their research work. This should be complete by mid-October, when students present a major review of their project. The thesis must be written up and submitted by mid-November. Oral examination of the thesis takes place in early December, and students also deliver brief presentations on their research to the members of the Centre's Advisory Board and other industry personnel. Thesis corrections should be completed by mid-December.

Click on the appropriate link below to obtain more information on aspects of the thesis project.


Coursework assessments are based on a combination of written and oral examinations and the marking of practical exercises. The manner of assessment varies from one unit to another, depending on the amount and type of material presented. Results for individual topics are weighted according to the length of the course to arrive at a total mark for the coursework.

The thesis is assessed by Centre staff, with allowance for the student's performance in the oral examination of the thesis. The final mark for the year is the equally weighted average of the coursework and thesis marks. All assessments are made in accordance with standards and procedures of the University of Adelaide.

 Financial Support for Honours Students

There are a number of sources of funding which are available to students undertaking the NCPGG Honours Programme. At a minimum, each student receives a scholarship for the industrial experience period. Additionally, to maintain the Centre's national perspective, there are financial incentives for interstate students to study here.

 Course Cost

The NCPGG Honours Programme is HECS-liable for Australian Citizens and Australian Permanent Residents. The cost for 1998 is For non-Australian students, the cost is $A15,000. As these figures and conditions may change, interested students should make enquiries concerning fees to the student administration branch of the relevant university.

 Enrolment Information

Students may enrol in either

 Further Information/Applications

If you would like further information on any aspect of the NCPGG Honours Programme, please click on this link to obtain contact details.