Prospective Students

Why Study Geoscience?

Geoscientists research the interactions within the Earth System, the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. They focus on the composition, structure and evolution of Earth, along with the biosphere. The results of geoscience research are of great importance, for example in protecting against natural disasters or the sustainable use of our finite resources. Geoscience is essential in a society that aims to shift to more sustainable economic activity to keep our planet habitable for future generations.

Application information for the Bachelors Degree in Geoscience

New enrolment for summer semester is only possible for students changing universities within a Geoscience Bachelors Degree Programme. Next possible start is winter semester 2018/19.

The application is submitted in two halves:

1) Online via the portal; the online portal is open from the start of June (German).

2) In person at the Student Record Office, located in the Halbmondstraße 6, Room 0.034. Here you will find the date for the enrolment in person at the Student Record Office.

Information on the kick-off event at the FAU for the winter semester 2018/19 can be found here.

Information on review courses (crashcourse chemistry) can be found here (German).

There is currently no numerus clausus on the Bachelors Degree in Geoscience at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

The course starts in winter semester.

Bridging Course for Chemistry as a Minor Subject

The Department of Chemistry offers a bridging course for undergraduates who take chemistry as a minor subject. The aim is to refresh the fundamentals of chemistry. The course will be held in German.

Registration is not required.

Date: to be announced
Time: 9.30 am – 3.30 pm
Location: Lecture hall “Großer Hörsaal”, OC, Henkestraße 42, 91054 Erlangen

Mathematics for Freshers – Online-Preparation Course

A fundamentals of mathematics refresher course is offered online freshers of a MINT degree programme. This course is recommended.

Geoscience investigates the composition, structure and evolution of Earth, alongside the geological, chemical, physical and biological processes that occur within it. Plate tectonics, volcanism and the ever changing climate important within this field. 

Geoscientists look not only into the past, but also to the future. Modern research focuses on contemporary geoscience problems and earth processes, such as climate change, natural disaster prediction and changing biomes.

Applied geoscience investigates mineral resources (metals, geothermal energy, fossil fuel), the development of new materials (cements, high-performance ceramics and bone substitutes), geological engineering and hydrology (foundations investigation, slope stability and aquifer protection).

Early geoscience involved detailed discriptions of rocks, fossils and the appearance of Earth. Today however, geoscientists work with specialised, high-precision chemical and physical lab and field analysis. This makes the geosciences are a diverse discipline where new findings and methodical developments are always occurring, with the aim of better understanding of the earth system.

The Geoscience Bachelors Degree is designed to impart a good understanding of the geological processes and their interactions. Students learn various methods to answer geoscience questions, which are applied in their first scientific work – the Bachelor’s Thesis.

The Geoscience Department of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg offers a broad range of field trips. Students get the opportunity to learn about geological interesting areas home and abroad, whilst practically applying what they have learnt in lectures. Recent fieldtrip destinations include the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, India, Portugal and of course lots of interesting areas within Germany.

The Geoscience Degrees available at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg are as diverse and interesting as the field.

Our institution hosts three excellent departments that offer five areas of specialisation for students. Thus, Master’s students can adjust their studies towards their own interests and future aspirations.

Petrology – Geodynamics – Georesources (PG)

This major focuses on geodynamic processes in the Earth’s crust and mantle, which are fundamental in understanding the evolution of our planet. The formation of magmas in Earth’s interior and at active continental margins (mid-oceanic ridges and subduction zones) play an important role. Furthermore, the consequences of magmatic activity, such as volcanic eruptions, and the impacts on society are covered in this field. The formation mechanisms of magmatic ore deposits is an important subject, fundamental for exploration geology. The main methods of investigation in this specialism is isotopic and chemical analysis of rocks.

Applied Sedimentology – Georesources (AS)

The processes that lead to the formation of sedimentary rocks and related non-metallic natural resource deposits, alongside methods of exploration are the main focus of this major. This includes fossil fuels (crude oil, natural gas, coal) and construction materials (sand, gravel, natural rock). A second important topic in this field is geothermal energy as a renewable energy resource. Here the study focuses on the thermal properties of rocks with respect to their use for heat and electricity generation, for both near-surface and deep geothermal engineering. In addition, the isotopic geochemistry laboratory is in this department, focusing on stable carbon and oxygen isotopes for the reconstruction of climatic conditions and changes of Earth’s past.

Applied Geology (AG)

Applied geology is divided into two departments: Engineering Geology and Hydrology.

Engineering geology focuses on the investigation of geohazards, such as landslides, in the upland areas of central Germany and the Alps. Most importantly, analysing potential locations, dimensions and time frames of these often catastrophic events is covered. Investigation methods include aerial photograph interpretation, geodesic measurement, direct measurement of movement alongside soil and rock mechanics. Other topics in engineering geology are tunnel and dam construction, contamination investigation, subsoil investigation and landfill construction.

Hydrology is the study of water cycle processes. It covers ground and surface water dynamics, preservation and safety of regional water supplies, karst hydrology and water chemistry. Main methods of this area are isotope analysis and the  chemical composition of waters. This research group also investigate possible ground storage of CO2.

Applied Mineralogy (AM)

The mineralogical institute covers the applied field of building chemistry (cement mineralogy), high-performance ceramics (e.g. phosphorecent materials) and calcium phosphate as bone substitutes. The focus is on reaction processes in mineralogical substances and their influence on material properties. The methods used are primarily x-ray diffractometry, calorimetry and microprobe analysis.

Palaeobiology – Palaeoenvironment (PB, in English)

Palaeobiology covers the evolution of life and ecosystems, with a focus on environmental conditions and processes. It ranges from the early history of life to recent history and the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Important topics are carbonate sedimentology, marine fossils and taxonomy alongside palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Methods include geological field and laboratory work, chemical analytical methods and statistical analysis of large datasets (primarily the Palaeobiology Database, PBDB).

This major can be combined with one of the other four majors, or studied with the Earth System Research Lab major. Additional information is available on the Palaeobiology homepage.

Career prospects for geoscientists are very good, due to the broad nature of the field and the interdisciplinarity nature of the subject. A wide range of professional fields are available in geoscience, with major subjects in the programme providing a focus towards specific areas. A Master’s Degree enhances career prospects and is often required for project management positions. It is also provides the foundational skills required to continue into doctoral studies (PhD). A PhD is required for many occupations in universities and research facilities.

Geoscience jobs can be found in:

  • Industrial and business enterprises (e.g. exploration, material development, device manufacture)
  • Consulting engineers and business consultancies (e.g. building development, tunnel and dam construction,  geothermal energy, investigation of contaminated sites)
  • Research institutes and Universities (e.g. scientific research, natural disaster forecasting)
  • Educational institutions and museums (e.g. teaching, curatorship)
  • Public authorities and ministries (e.g. water supply, environmental protection)