Professor Stephen (Steve) McCourt


Professor in Geology


BSc (Honours), PhD

Office Block:

Room 124

Geological Sciences

Westville Campus




+27 (0)31 260 2803

+27 (0) 31 260 2280




Biographical sketch

  • Born April 1951
  • Education: University of Exeter BSc Honours (1969-1972) and PhD (1972-1975)
  • Married to Liz, 1 daughter (in Pretoria), 2 sons (in London and Melbourne)
  • Arrived in South Africa in 03-1976 directly after PhD at Exeter University; initial employment with the then Geological Survey of South Africa as part of the regional mapping team in the high grade Limpopo belt. Joined academia in 1983 as lecturer in structural geology at the University of Pretoria, relocated to the University of Durban-Westville (UDW) in KZN as Professor and Head of department in 04-1995. Served as Honorary Editor of the South African Journal of Geology 1994-1998 attaining ISI listing for the Journal during this period. Deputy Dean of Science at UDW 2002-2004 and part of the team negotiating and managing the merger with the University of Natal. Head School of Geological Sciences at UKZN 10-2006 to 12-2011. Served on numerous University and external committees dealing with geoscience during this period. Currently Senior Professor of Geology at UKZN.

Academic Profile

  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor (University of Pretoria)
  • Professor and Head of Department (University of Durban-Westville 04-1995 to 12-2003))
  • Senior Professor UKZN from 2004
  • Deputy Head of School Geological Sciences (01-2005 to 09-2006)
  • Head School of Geological Sciences (10-2006 to 12-2011))
  • External examiner in geology at various Universities in southern African at all levels

Professional Activities

  • Fellow of the Geological Society of London
  • Fellow of the Geological Society of South Africa
  • Member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Registered Natural Scientist South Africa (SACNASP)

Community Activities

  • Council Member Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA): 1991-1998
  • Member Executive Committee GSSA Council 1994-1998
  • Founder Member Tectonics Division GSSA
  • Chairman of Tectonics Division 1988‑91 and 1994-96
  • Committee Member: IASTG (International Association Structural/Tectonic Geologists)
  • Member of Editorial Board South African Journal of Geology 1990‑1993
  • Honorary Scientific Editor South African Journal of Geology 1994-1998
  • Chair: Scientific Publications Committee GSSA 1996, 1997
  • Chairman Earth Sciences Task Group SANAP 1996-2001
  • Member South African Committee Antarctic Research 1996-2001
  • National Representative IGCP Project 418 1997-2001, 2002-2005
  • South African National Committee for IUGS and IGCP 1998-2001, 2002-2005, 2008-2012
  • Member Geology Working Group, Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research 1998-2001
  • FRD evaluation team for individuals, projects and equipment proposals
  • NRF Grant Funding Panel
  • Editorial Board Journal of African Earth Sciences 2001-present
  • Member SANAP review panel 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009
  • Member Executive Committee International Commission for Earth Science in Africa
  • Member SA National Committee for International Year of Planet Earth 2008-2009
  • Member Review Panel Wits School of Geosciences 2007
  • Member NRF Panel for National Equipment Programme 2010, 2011
  • Member Council for Geoscience Audit Panel (KZN and Eastern Cape Business Units) 2006-2012


Current Teaching (2013)

  • GEOL101
  • GEOL102 (practical component)
  • GEOL304 (co-teach with Professor Watkeys)
  • GEOL306 (co-teach)
  • GEOL710 (co-teach with Professor Watkeys)


Research Interests / Areas of Specialty

  • Research interests are in crustal evolution of southern Africa in particular the Archaean Limpopo belt and adjacent cratons, the Palaeoproterozoic Angolan Shield and the Mesoproterozoic Natal belt.

Research Projects

  • When was the Limpopo orogeny?
  • Evolution of the Tugela terrane Natal belt
  • Archaean geology of NE Botswana
  • Palaeoproterozoic evolution of southern Africa

Academic Service

  • Department of Geology University of Pretoria (1983-1995)
  • Department of Geology University of Durban Westville (1995-2003)
  • School of Geological Sciences UKZN (2004-2011)
  • School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences UKZN (2012-present)


Please click here to view Prof Steve McCourt's publications