2 December 2005
Postgraduate degree in petroleum geoscience launched
Victoria University of Wellington and GNS Science have joined forces to offer New Zealand’s first postgraduate degree in
There is a worldwide shortage of petroleum geoscientists and graduates from the two-year Master of Science in Petroleum
Geoscience are expected to be snapped up by a market hungry for skilled specialists.
The programme, which starts in 2006, will be open to earth science students worldwide. It will consist of one year of
course work followed by a one-year research project jointly supervised by Victoria and GNS Science.
The programme is designed to produce graduate students with a well-rounded knowledge of the scientific techniques used
in oil and gas exploration. Students will spend part of their time at GNS Science gaining experience with industry
software and equipment. New Zealand’s complex petroleum systems would provide an unrivalled setting for the course.
GNS Science Hydrocarbons Manager David Darby said an advisory group representing the oil and gas exploration industry
would provide input on course content. This would ensure relevance to industry needs. Industry specialists would also be
involved in the course, mostly by presenting seminars and supporting collaborative projects.
“The industry is recruiting aggressively and there are not enough skilled graduates to go around. This initiative will
help to address this urgent problem,” Dr Darby said.
Dr Darby said 30 world-class petroleum geoscientists from GNS Science would contribute to the course. This level of
specialist expertise would be invaluable to the course participants. GNS specialists work closely with the petroleum
industry, providing research and consulting services within New Zealand and internationally.
“Very few universities would be able to draw on that level of petroleum expertise for a postgraduate course.”
Acting Head of Victoria’s School of Earth Sciences, Dr Mike Hannah, said the School’s Geology and Geophysics Programmes
had an excellent record in teaching and research in a vide variety of geological, geophysical and geochemical areas.
“Students on this programme will not only be able to tap into the knowledge and research of Victoria’s scientists, but
also that of our colleagues at GNS Science and in the industry. It’s a combination that combines the best of theoretical
knowledge with the best of practical experience, allowing students to work alongside specialists in the industry.
“Wellington is the best place in New Zealand to study petroleum geoscience—only here do you have the combination of
academic knowledge, scientific expertise and practical knowledge that comes from Victoria, GNS Science and many of the
major oil companies.”