Graduate Certificate Programme

The NCPGG Graduate Certificate programme is designed for people having at least a B.Sc. or equivalent degree with a major in geology or geophysics. It is well suited to those with prior experience in the industry who wish to expand or update their knowledge and skills in the many aspects of petroleum geology and geophysics. This is accomplished via an intensive coursework curriculum. The programme was designed after extensive consultation with the industry, and is periodically updated to maintain its relevance. The Centre is widely recognised as providing essential training for a career in the industry. Centre staff have a very strong combination of industrial and academic experience, ensuring that the student receives a solid 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.

The Programme is a full-time course taking approximately six months to complete, commencing at the end of January each year. It consists of five months of course work and a major essay.

 Course work

Graduate Certificate students take all of the NCPGG Postgraduate coursework programme, in common with B.Sc.(Honours) students. This starts in late January, 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 alternative options 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 in the petroleum exploration industry, regardless of their specialisation. Such topics include structural geology, sandstone reservoirs, sequence stratigraphy, wireline logging and seismic interpretation. The operational, commercial, managerial and legal aspects of petroleum exploration are also covered. There are several field trips, including an 8 day excursion to central Australia, and where possible, a visit to an area of current drilling and production operations. Most of the courses involve a considerable amount of 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.


At the completion of the coursework, a student will research and write a major essay on a relevant topic agreed upon by the student and Centre staff. It is expected that this should take no longer than six weeks, enabling the student to complete all requirements for the Certificate by mid August.


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 essay is assessed by Centre staff, and counts for 20% of the final mark. All assessments are made in accordance with the standards and procedures of the University of Adelaide.

 Course Cost

The NCPGG Graduate Certificate Programme currently (July 2003) costs $9,500 for both Australian and international students.

 Enrolment Information

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 Further Information/Applications

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