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Professional Certificate in
Field Volcanology and Hazards

What you will learn

  • Describe why volcanoes erupt in Iceland and New Zealand.
  • Use the field skills of a volcanologist to explain and describe volcanic rocks and landscapes.
  • Explain why different volcano types have different eruption hazards.
  • Appreciate the value of cross-cultural perspectives from Māori narratives and values to stories of Icelandic trolls.
  • Apply field data and historic eruption stories to discuss volcanic hazard implications in different locations in Iceland and Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Discuss the plan to drill into a magma chamber, weigh up the societal benefits such as renewable geothermal energy and better eruption prediction with risks and costs.
  • Use appropriate cultural consideration and apply communication skills to describe volcanic processes to diverse audiences.

When people and volcanoes get too close, it is important to understand and manage their hazards. This program was created following the success of our first EdX volcano course that won the EdX prize for innovative teaching. This course has now been expanded into two courses, using feedback from participants to include new introductory material, animations, interactive graphs, 360 videos and interviews. Part 1 of the course is focussed on Aotearoa New Zealand. Part 2 of the course focusses on our virtual fieldtrip to Iceland.

In this program, you will learn the science of how volcanoes work and the skills of a field volcanologist to investigate and communicate volcanic hazards. We will use animations and experiments, and to enrich our learning and hone your communication skills, we’ll explore Mātauranga Māori perspectives on volcanoes and managing volcanic hazards.

We will be taking you outside of the classroom on virtual field trips to New Zealand and Iceland. These field experiences are where volcanologists get their hands dirty and really learn the tools of the trade. We will explore volcanoes by talking to experts on location, digging holes to discover past eruptions, and hearing amazing stories of survival. You will also get to explore 3D rock samples and landscapes and navigate around 360° videos. You will gauge your learning all along the way, building knowledge and skills, and reflecting about why volcanoes matter to you.

Expert instruction
2 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
3 months
1 - 2 hours per week
For the full program experience

Courses in this program

  1. UCx's Field Volcanology and Hazards Professional Certificate

  2. 1–2 hours per week, for 5 weeks

    In this introductory course, you will use interactive technologies to learn the science of how volcanoes work and the skills of a field volcanologist. You will explore the intersection of field volcanology and society, by looking into cultural perspectives of volcanoes, hazard mapping and communication using examples in Aotearoa New Zealand and drawing on Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge).

  3. 1–2 hours per week, for 5 weeks

    In this course, we will take you on an interactive tour around Icelandic volcanoes where we will be talking to experts on location, digging holes to discover past eruptions, and hearing amazing stories of survival. We will discuss how to better manage volcanic hazards, using examples of volcanoes in Iceland and Aotearoa New Zealand.

    • Hazard management: There is an increasing need across the globe for people with the right skills to solve complex natural hazard issues and to engage with communities that are affected by natural hazards.
    • Science communication: Effectively communicating hazards to affected communities is becoming more and more important, given the faster spread of information (and misinformation) with the use of social media.
    • Science teaching: There is an increased push towards STEM education across the world which moves beyond knowledge of facts and more towards questioning, science communication and solving global problems like climate change.
    • Geology: Volcanology is a discipline that geologists may follow, but not all geology degrees offer volcanology as a studying subject.

Meet your instructors
from University of Canterbury (UCx)

Ben Kennedy
University of Canterbury
Jonathan Davidson
University of Canterbury

Experts from UCx committed to teaching online learning

Enrolling Now

2 courses in 3 months
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Also in Energy & Earth Sciences at edX


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