The programme is highly flexible and students can choose most of their courses, except as noted below. A Master's thesis is required of all students.
Required courses are as follows:
- first and second semesters: field course with preparatory seminar
- second semester: short research lab on topic different from Master's thesis topic
- third semester: no required courses except those listed below under "each semester"
- fourth semester: workshop on communicating science
- each semester: seminar on current research in one of the following fields: active tectonics, geological resources, climate and landscape, deformation and rheology, geo- and paleomagnetism, or geochronology and isotope geochemistry.
In general, courses can be traditional lectures, labs, seminars, or field exercises. Many courses combine two types of activity (e.g. lecture and lab), and the final evaluation will reflect performance in both.
Study abroad unit(s)
Students can apply for the exchange programme with the Department of Geology and Geophysics of the University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA). Students can choose to spend one or two semesters there. Courses taken at the University of Utah will then be credited upon return to Germany.
Additional exchange programmes with the University of Arizona (Tucson, USA) and with the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) are also available.
There are no internship requirements, although in individual cases some of the research work required during the course of studies may be based in external labs or other facilities.
Forms of assessment
Various forms of assessment are possible, depending on specific courses chosen by the student. In general, students should expect a mix of written exams, oral exams, homework and/or project reports (for labs and field work), and paper presentations (for seminars). All students must write a Master's thesis and defend it. The thesis and defence count for 30 ECTS altogether.
If a course consists of two different learning activities, the exam will likely consist of tests designed to assess competence in both (i.e. expect a theoretical and a practical part).
Graduates should have a solid preparation in the general field of geology and should have developed critical scientific thinking and good skills in scientific communication. They should be proficient in geological mapping and in one or more laboratory or computer methods. They are expected to acquire enough basic knowledge and tools that an employer would not have to retrain them, but only to offer additional training in specific techniques as necessary.