Study with us

The geological sciences teach us how the planet earth is built, how it functions, and how it has evolved from ancient times until today. Understanding of geology and geological processes is crucial for many aspects of modern day life including sustainable development of natural resources, the construction of infrastructure such as roads, tunnels and bridges, understanding natural hazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes and in research on the Earth's climate history. At the Department of Geological Sciences, you will learn about all of these areas and much more if you enroll in our programs and courses on campus or by distance.

The geological sciences are based on physical observations and therefore combine theoretical studies with practical elements such as laboratory work, field studies and excursions in Sweden and abroad.

As a student at our department you will meet qualified teachers and researchers who are outstanding in their fields. We welcome you to our department to study with us!

Our courses and programmes


 

Information about the Spring semester 2021

sun light through vegetation covered with snow

During the spring semester, teaching will take place both on campus and at a distance, depending on the course conditions. It is based on the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations. Visit your course page for more detailed information about your course.

List of all IGV courses


 

Meet our students

We bring together students from three main areas. It provides a stimulating and pleasant environment with the common interest in how the Earth works and what, for example, can be done to understand today's climate issue.

"To first read about landforms and processes during lectures and then get to see it in reality is something very special."

Mikaela Lindström is a bachelor student i earth sciences.

Mikaela sitting on a rock on a mountain somewhere i Cyprus witha glacier in the background
Austria. Photo: Jonatan Cairenius

– I chose the bachelor's program in earth sciences because I have always been fascinated by nature. I wanted to learn about the climate, the landscape and all the processes that affect the planet earth and that is exactly what you study in earth sciences. My interest in the environment has always been big and I wanted to read something where you learn to understand nature, and then how humans affect it.

– The very best thing about the education is the mix between theory and practice! The courses are very varied with lectures, exercises, laboratory work and excursions. To first read about landforms and processes during lectures and then get to see it in reality is something very special.

– I plan to apply for the master's program in geological sciences at Stockholm University next year. Then I can immerse myself more in geology, which is the branch of geoscience I like the most. My dream is to get a doctorate and eventually be able to do research in geology.

"During the bachelor's program, my hunger for knowledge increased, as I understood that the more you learn about geology, the more you understand how little we know about the subject."

Photo: Anton Almgren

Vidar Jakobsson is a master's student in earth sciences.

– I chose this education because as soon as I started studying geology during an evening course, I was inspired to continue with a master's program. During the bachelor's program, my hunger for knowledge increased, as I understood that the more you learn about geology, the more you understand how little we know about the subject. This made it obvious to me that I would continue with a master's degree because I feel an aspiration to participate in the hunt on new knowledge and increase the understanding of what we can and where we need to expand our understanding.

– One of my biggest ambitions is to continue working in the academy, this would mean a doctoral education to begin with. Overall, I hope that my education and ambition lead me into working with projects that inspire and engage me so that I can dedicate and develop my mind in that area. If the academy does not become an obvious choice, then I see prospecting in the mining industry as a fun alternative.

– The most fun thing about studying geology is getting to know the theory behind how the bedrock has been formed by the earth's nature, and then being able to observe the theory in the field. Personally, I feel that much of geology is a science that can be observed and analyzed with sight and mind, thus it is more obvious to me.

"It's like detective work and the project becomes sort of your baby that you do not want to let go of."

Charlotte on a top of a mountain in Cyprus
Excursion to Cyprus. Photo: Evelina Rann

Charlotte Fredriksson is a PhD student in Geology

– Becoming a PhD student was nothing that I had in my mind while I was studying, but I have always thought that the most fun part during the bachelor's and master's education has been the independent work because it is like a small mini-research project where you really get to use what you have learned during your studies. I took the earth science program at the Department of geological sciences and chose to do my master's thesis in geology and igneous rocks in Alaska, a project that I became very interested in and hooked on. During the master's program, I had the chance to continue to immerse myself in this project as a degree project, so when a doctoral position came out in this particular area, there was only one alternative for me – to send in an application! I have simply chosen this education because it is so much fun to do research. It's like detective work and the project becomes sort of your baby that you do not want to let go of. Due to the corona pandemic, the field work was unfortunately canceled this year, but hopefully I will be able to come to Alaska and take my own samples next summer – how cool is that?

– If I continue to enjoy doing my PhD/research, I will probably look for a post-doctoral position, or alternatively apply for a position as a lab technician as I work a lot with our mass spectrometer in the lab and find it very interesting. But since I "only" made my first year as a doctoral student, I have a few years left to decide, which is quite nice actually!

 

Meet our teachers

If you choose to study at the Department of Geological Sciences, you will get some of Sweden's most prominent researchers in their fields as teachers.

"I ended up specializing in marine geology once I discovered that the deep sea contains the best and most continuous records (mud layers) for unravelling climate change patterns in the past, and even how organisms evolve or go extinct to in response to climate and ocean change."

Helen Coxall is a senior lecturer in marine micropaleontology. Helen teaches two courses at the undergraduate level: Critical Steps in the Evolution of Earth and life and Paleoceanography and marine geology.

Hellen takes a selfi on a private boat, Stockholm

– I loved science at school but I did not know what area to focus on at university level. Medicine? Biochemistry? Environmental Science? Chemistry?
Geological sciences, broadly, is the perfect blend of biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science that helps us address and explain everything natural that we see around us, why mountains, oceans and forests are where they are, why some countries are rich in mineral wealth and have good farmland, while others don’t, how the different countries came to have the characteristic flora and fauna that we are familiar with. It gives a long-term history of these things, how they have and can change and therefore allows us to predict what will happen in the future. I ended up specializing in marine geology once I discovered that the deep sea contains the best and most continuous records (mud layers) for unravelling climate change patterns in the past, and even how organisms evolve or go extinct to in response to climate and ocean change. Most people don’t know that the hidden mud layers at the bottom of the sea hold all these secrets.

– Earth is our home. There is no second planet we can escape to if life on Earth becomes too difficult. Earth may seem vast and robust but what you learn from studying it’s geological history is that its various ocean, ice, climate and biological systems, upon which we depend for food, jobs and safe stable places to live, is fragile. From the geological record (rocks, sediments and fossils) we can see that these systems have all changed radically in the past and they will change again as humans continue to disturb them. We need to know what the most vulnerable systems are for the climate and environment and what human activities cause the most damage. Politicians need to listen to this. Also from a very practical point of view we also need to know about the physical properties of the rock and sediment beneath our feet because humans use this for extracting raw materials (metal ores, sand, gravel, rock for building, chemicals for industry and food, etc.), to build on, dig into to burry our waste, and fix engineered structures into (e.g. roads, power generating infrastructure).

What can students work with when they have completed their education?

Environmental consultant for surveying rock and subsurface samples for the construction industry, mineral extraction industry/mining; offshore-sediment surveying industry; museum collections; advisory role to the climate/environmental sector.

"Studying Earth provides one with the opportunity to study changes at a global scale."

Volker Brüchert is a senior lecturer in Biogeochemistry and theaches three courses. Two at the undergraduate level: Basics of Geochemistry and Geochemistry in the Field and Laboratory, and one at the master level: Applied Environmental Geochemistry.

Volker on Oden, with an arctic view in the background
Photo: Carina Johansson

– I chose geochemistry, because I really liked organic chemistry and biochemistry in school, but I also really liked being outdoors and was fascinated by mountains and rocks. So, instead of enjoying the mountains and rocks on the weekend and a chemical engineer or pharmaceutical chemist working for a company during the work week, I discovered that I could study a field where the hard sciences chemistry and physics are part of a job that lets me work outdoors. I like working quantitatively and analytically using sophisticated instruments, and in the course of my studies, I discovered that geochemistry allows me to do this – being both in the field and in the lab. Moreover, I discovered that biology and microbiology are also subjects that are intimately tied to the geological sciences, and that geochemistry allows one to combine these fields as well. Today I have a large toolkit at my disposal to explore scientific questions using chemical analysis that span both the ocean, groundwaters, and land. I wouldn’t know of many other subjects that would allow me to work so broadly.

Why is it important to educate about the Earth?

– There is a simple answer to this question: The Earth is, where we human beings evolved, and it has provided the fertile ground for an incredible evolution of life over billions of years. Studying Earth tells about everything surrounding us, how it developed and how it survives. Understanding Earth is essential to understand our resources, to gauge the constraints of our living and other life’s conditions, and the stress and consequences that changes in Earth’s conditions, for example, due to climate change, impose on us. Studying Earth provides one with the opportunity to study changes at a global scale.

– We educate broadly and your acquired skills will be used rather selectively. In my field, geochemistry, currently, most students start to work with consulting companies that investigate surface water and groundwater quality, or soil quality. For example, you would work on charting out and remediating contaminant spreading or help to predict the safety of waste disposal sites. You may be involved in environment risk assessment. You may also work for public legal bodies, such as county administrations. But, you may also choose to work for a mining company, or as still some do, to work in the oil and gas sector in exploration. If you do not become a researcher and university teacher, because there is also a need for geochemistry educators.

"We are part of the 'Earth system' and it is our responsibility to interact with it in a friendly and balanced way"

Paola Manzotti is an assistant professor in Tectonics, metamorphic petrology and geochronology. Paola teaches Mineralogy and Petrology at the undergraduate level.

Paola with mountains Monviso in the background
The famous Monviso mountains in the background. Photo: Francesco Nosenzo

– I have been always fascinated by nature since I was a child. I had lovely memories of collecting fossils, rocks and shells during the holidays with my parents, doing orienteering at school (the first time that I had something to do with a map!) and seeing my garden bloom again in spring. Even now I cannot resist the stunning landscapes you see on reaching the top of a mountain or in front of the vastness and the mystery of an ocean. I liked nature, but I have followed humanities at the high school (Latin, Greek, philosophy and Literature). These subjects opened my mind and strengthened my communication skills. The choice of Geology at the university level reflects for sure my curiosity and love for nature, but stems also from meeting a talented professor in Earth Sciences the last year of the high school. Her lectures were so fascinating that I was passing my afternoon studying Earth Sciences instead of Latin and philosophy!

Why I choose Geology?

Studying geology develops a broad and deep knowledge of the Earth. Geology provides a comprehensive framework essential to understand the Planet where we live. It is an exciting journey through minerals, rocks and their interaction with fluids with the aim of understanding how our Planet formed. You may be able to answer questions like how do mountain belts grow? Through which processes do continental and oceanic crust form? How rocks transform and deform when they are buried at great depth? Which mechanisms are able to exhume these rocks? Where and why we find precious ore deposits? These are just a few fascinating discoveries that are waiting you…

A good knowledge of the “Earth system” is a fundamental step towards global sustainability, hazard mitigation and the building of an eco-friendly environment. This will include understanding (i) the availability of natural resources (mineral, water, energy…) and how we have used or abused of them in the past or (ii) the causes and consequences of geological processes (floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions…). We are part of the “Earth system” and it is our responsibility to interact with it in a friendly and balanced way.

What can you work with when you have completed the education?

– Education in geology is a combination of field and theoretical studies and gives the possibility to acquire analytical skills that may be useful for future jobs. There are several career opportunities in this field.

  • Applied Geologist – working on infrastructure (railways, dams, tunnels) and monitoring geological risks (landslides, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis)
  • Environmental Scientist – working on for example treating contamination problems of lakes and rivers
  • Geologist working on renewable and not renewable energies (geothermal energy, oil and petroleum, ore deposits)
  • Academic research – with the possibility to do a PhD and to discover and investigate poorly understood events and processes in Earth history
  • Finally, yet importantly, teaching in high school to educate the new generations about the Earth.
 

What do the studies lead to?

Studies in geological sciences can lead to a variety of professions, from teaching and research to work in infrastructure projects as a consultant and project manager, in the mining industry with exploration or fororganizations or public legal bodies, such as county administrations.

Meet our former students


 

Geological sciences and research

Geological Science constitutes a major academic discipline. It provides crucial information to society about mineral resources and energy, ground-water availability, the evolution of the climate and about other natural hazards including tsunamis, landslides, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Stockholm is a leading center of geochemical, geophysical and geological research in Sweden. Our research and teaching bring classical geology together with geochemistry and marine geology/geophysics. Research at the Department of Geological Sciences is strongly integrated with the interests of the Bolin Centre for Climate Research and the Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre.

Research in the department is conducted within three programs: Geochemistry, Geology and Marine geology.


 

External Collaborations

PhD studens talking about IGV bachelor and master programs at a student fair
SACO student fair. Photo: Richard Gyllencreutz

External collaborations have a long tradition at the Department of Geological Sciences. We thrive to make knowledge and research available to partners outside of academia.

Our researchers are actively engaged in transfer of knowledge to the general public to increase geological knowledge within society. We conduct joint research projects with several different stakeholders, have continuous dialogues with politicians and participate in large, international projects of societal relevance. We are proud of our alumni, who interact with our students and facilitate connections to a working life outside of academia.

See exemples of external collaborations at the Department of Geological Sciences


 

Contact

Student Counsellor

Elisabeth Däcker, elisabeth.dacker@geo.su.se

Stockholm University's emergency number

is available 24 hours: +46 (0)8 16 22 16 or +46 (0)8 16 42 00.

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