Wits Geology

Wits Geology, Geology is the study of processes that form and shape the earth. This includes the study of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, the mantle, tectonic processes such as rifting and orogeny, and the interaction of these elements through time.

Programme overview

Geologists are primarily engaged in the search for, and management of the extraction of metal and energy resources necessary to drive the global economy, as well as the monitoring of environmental consequences of human activity.

Why study Geology?

Geology incorporates everything! Whether you enjoy hiking, computer modelling, or blasting minerals with a laser, there’s something for you to do as a geologist. Geology permeates into every aspect of life, whether you’re driving over an interesting landscape, or tracing the origin of the materials that make up everything from your smartphone to your toothpaste. Geology gives you a fundamental understanding of how the Earth formed and continues to develop with time, and integrates observations from the planetary to the submicroscopic scales to build holistic models of how the Earth system works.

South Africa has a rich geological and mining heritage and world-class examples of some of Earth’s oldest rocks, large ore deposits, and spectacular fossils.

Why study Geology at Wits?

The School of Geosciences is one of the largest and most diverse groupings of geoscientists in Africa, with strengths in geology, geochemistry, geophysics and palaeontology. Honours students can select from a wide range of research topics and have access to excellent preparation and analytical facilities for petrography, geochemistry and hydrogeology. We are centred in the hub of geological activity in South Africa and host numerous events each year that allow students to network with industry.Back to top

Career Opportunities

Geology Honours can lead to careers in the mineral and energy resource industry, where the search for new mineral deposits and oil, gas, and coal is driven by an understanding of Earth processes. Field mapping projects, either government programmes or private enterprise, are led by geologists, who are required to integrate field and laboratory observations and data with state-of-the-art satellite remote sensing imagery. Hydrogeologists focus on the sustainable use of water and other natural resources. Scientific research is an important part of geology, and research in geology has answered important questions such as “how old is the Earth?” and “how did the Earth form?”


Honours programme co-ordinator 

Zubair Jinnah, Zubair.Jinnah@wits.ac.za

Geology Honours contains nine 10-credit courses and a 30-credit Research Project to bring up 120 credits.

Compulsory courses

  • Research Project in Geology (GEOL4019): various supervisors
  • Introduction to Geochemistry (GEOL4013): Prof. Lew Ashwal/Dr. Grant Bybee
  • Igneous Petrology (GEOL4020): Dr Katie Smart/Prof. Rais Latypov
  • Hydrogeology (GEOL4014): Prof. Tamiru Abiye
  • Structural Geology (GEOL4021): Dr Asinne Tshibubudze/Prof. Roger Gibson
  • Mineralisation Processes (GEOL4015): Prof. Paul Nex/Dr. Glen Nwaila
  • Geophysics for Geologists (GEOP4009): Prof. Susan Webb
  • Exploration, Mining, and Mineral Economics (GEOL4016): Dr. Matthew Brayshaw
  • Tectonics of Africa (GEOL4017): Dr Sharad Master
  • Sedimentary Basin Analysis (GEOL4018): Dr Zubair Jinnah

Elective courses

While there are no elective courses for Geology Honours in the School of Geosciences, students are able to swop in courses from other schools at the discretion of the Head of School. This typically includes GIS or Palaeontology courses. Such requests are subject to constraints of the course timetables, and to the student having the prerequisite undergraduate background to enter the Honours courses in question.

Entry Requirements

  • A Bachelor of Science degree or equivalent
  • A pass in the relevant major course at this University or any other university whose programme has been approved by Senate.
  • At least 60% average in the final undergraduate course.

Additional Entry Requirements

Priority is given to graduates who have completed a BSc Geological Sciences or equivalent in the School of Geosciences, with a minimum of 60% in Geology III. Non-Wits applicants will be considered on an individual basis. Work experience and a positive recommendation from industry can also count towards an application – contact the course co-ordinator for more details.

Please note that the selection process is competitive and an average of 60% does not guarantee admission.

Application Process

  • Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.
  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre. Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal, view academic application status, accept or decline an offer, apply and check residence application status, and generate a fees estimate.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at www.wits.ac.za/askwits.