Faculty of Engineering

Postgraduate Certificate in Geothermal Energy Technology


The PGCertGeothermTech is aimed at training engineering and science graduates for work in the geothermal industry, and includes two (week long) field trips to the Taupo volcanic zone.

This programme is only available in Semester Two.

Quick facts - PGCertEng (Geotherm Tech)
Points per degree 60
Full-time study One semester
Part-time study Two semesters
Structure Taught
Applications close 4 July 2017
2017 start date 24 July


New Zealand is a small English-speaking country in the South Pacific with a wealth of geothermal resources and expertise. The geothermal systems are valued both for their natural beauty and for power generation. New Zealand currently generates around 82% of electricity from renewable resources, including 16% from geothermal fluid. Most of the high temperature geothermal systems are located in the Central North Island of New Zealand, a three hour drive from Auckland, the largest city. This means that the University of Auckland is well situated for offering an intensive postgraduate geothermal course.

GNS Science logo


The teaching staff in this programme are members of the Geothermal Institute at the University of Auckland, and GNS Science.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science degree or have reached an equivalent level of qualification in science or engineering, as approved by Senate or its representative.

Students should refer to the following document before making an application.

Regulations for the Postgraduate Certificate in Geothermal Energy Technology


For international students

All Faculty of Engineering postgraduate programmes require you to provide evidence of your level of English language ability.

Check our specific requirements and the documentation you will need to submit as part of your application.

New Zealand is a very beautiful country with a large tourist industry. Students wishing to see the many natural attractions of the country may wish to spend time in the country after the end of the course. The workload during the PGCertGeothermTech is high. It is a demanding course that requires students to study on average three hours every day and often for part of the weekend.

Obtaining a visa

Most international students will require a visa.  Please allow 2-3 months to arrange a visa. Details about how to obtain a visa are available on the

Immigration New Zealand website.

Information for international students


Accommodation, including all meals, is available at one of the University Halls of Residence. The cost of accommodation is not included in course fees. There are additional costs for airfares and health and travel insurance.

University of Auckland Accommodation Services



Scholarships that may be of particular interest to students considering a Postgraduate Certificate in Geothermal Energy Technology are

Further information on scholarships is available on the University's International students' Scholarship, loans and funding page.



Who should apply?

The programme is a one semester course aimed at training engineering and science graduates for work in the geothermal industry.

It is also popular with Masters and PhD students undertaking research in geothermal energy.


Programme outline

Time limit

The PGCertGeothermTech must be completed within one semester of initial enrolment if enrolled full-time or four semesters of initial enrolment if enrolled part-time. Extensions of time to complete the PGCertGeothermTech will not be granted beyond the end of the semester(s) in which the programme is offered.

Part-time study

GEOTHERM 601 and 602 are taught in parallel from week 1-5 of the semester (and a final test is held in week 6).

GEOTHERM 603 and 620 are lectured and examined during weeks 8-13. Thus parts of the PGCertGeothermTech can be completed in 6-week blocks.

The course is not available for correspondence studies, as students are required to attend, on average, four hours of lecture and two hours of tutorial each day.

Allocation of marks

GEOTHERM 601, 602, 603 and 620:

60% from coursework (assignments, short tests, field reports, and seminars)
40% final 3 hour test



Field trips

There are two field trips to the Taupo volcanic zone of one week duration.

The first is during the 601 and 602 courses in the first part of the semester and the second is during 603 and 620 in the second part of the semester. Students have to complete a 1500-2000 word technical report after each long field trip.

There are also several day trips to visit geothermal companies and sites of geological or geothermal interest.

High visibility vests, hard hats, and eye protection are provided when necessary, but students are required to provide their own steel toe-cap safety boots for field work.

Field trip photographs
(489.2 kB, PDF)


Programme structure

60 points of course work

  • Includes:
    • 45 points of GEOTHERM 601, 602, 689.
    • 15 points from GEOTHERM 603, 620.
  • Complete the University of Auckland online Academic Integrity course.

Course list

Compulsory courses
GEOTHERM 601 - Geothermal Resources and Their Use 15 points
Worldwide occurrence of geothermal systems, introductory geology, volcanoes and volcanic rocks, New Zealand geothermal systems, structure of the TVZ, hydrothermal alteration, permeability and porosity, introduction to geochemistry of geothermal systems, geothermal surface manifestations, water compositions, geothermometry, silica geochemistry, overview of geophysics for geothermal exploration, geothermal resource assessment.
GEOTHERM 602 - Geothermal Energy Technology 15 points
Worldwide geothermal development, types of geothermal systems, thermodynamics, properties of water and steam tables, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, steam-field equipment, geothermal power stations, geothermal drilling, wellbore processes, completion tests, downhole measurements, reinjection, corrosion, stored heat, Darcy's law, cold groundwater, geothermal reservoirs, direct use, reservoir modelling, reservoir monitoring and steam-field management.
GEOTHERM 689 - Geothermal Project 15 points
Based on a study using field, lab or theoretical methods, students are required to submit a report on some aspect of geothermal exploration, development or exploitation.
Elective courses
GEOTHERM 603 - Geothermal Exploration 15 points
Hydrothermal alteration, clays, fluid inclusions, direct use, subsidence, scaling and corrosion in geothermal wells, production geochemistry, environmental aspects of geothermal development, feasibility study, physical properties of rocks and self-potential (SP), magnetics, thermal methods, gravity, seismic methods, electrical methods, magneto-tellurics (MT).
GEOTHERM 620 - Geothermal Engineering 15 points
Completion tests, wellbore flow, two-phase flow, geothermal power cycles, flow measurements, direct use of geothermal energy, environmental effects, scaling and corrosion in geothermal wells, drilling engineering, flow measurements, steam-field operation and maintenance, subsidence, waste heat rejection, heat exchangers, geothermal well-test analysis, stimulation, pipeline design, feasibility study, reservoir modelling theory, TOUGH2, reservoir modelling process, case study (data and conceptual model, natural state modelling), Wairakei model.


Course coordinator

Programme convenor