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Masters Degrees (Micropalaeontology)

We have 2 Masters Degrees (Micropalaeontology)

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The course is aimed at graduates from a variety of Geoscience backgrounds who wish to gain expertise in Micropalaeontology and Petroleum Geosciences. Read more

The course is aimed at graduates from a variety of Geoscience backgrounds who wish to gain expertise in Micropalaeontology and Petroleum Geosciences.

Applicants should ideally have a first degree in Geology or a closely related subject. Early Applications are encouraged as places on the course may be limited.

Course details

Key features:

  • Comprehensive coverage of the key microfossil groups used in hydrocarbon exploration
  • Focus on the role of microfossils in understanding major changes in global climate
  • Course taught by both academic staff and industrial partners
  • Opportunity to experience working with geological consultancies as well as an academic research environment
  • Individual research project tailored to your own skills and goals
  • The course has received financial support from BG Group, BP, Petrostrat and Shell.

Learning and teaching

The first semester is preceded by a short UK-based field trip to collect samples, and delivered through a series of modules focussing on the key microfossil groups and their applications. In the second semester, students will normally take courses to broaden their understanding of petroleum geology and sedimentary basin analysis while undertaking independent research projects.

Employablity

  • The course is primarily designed to prepare students for work in the hydrocarbon industry and related service sector; this may involve both onshore and offshore work in the UK, Europe and Worldwide.
  • The research skills acquired will also provide a strong foundation for those wishing to undertake further postgraduate study towards the award of a PhD.


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This programme is for students who are passionate about early life, dinosaurs, mass extinctions, macroevolution, fossil preservation and understanding the palaeobiology of extinct organisms. Read more
This programme is for students who are passionate about early life, dinosaurs, mass extinctions, macroevolution, fossil preservation and understanding the palaeobiology of extinct organisms. It examines quantitative aspects of the fossil record and the history of life. The research-oriented MSc bridges the biology-geology divide and will provide you with a strong background for independent research to PhD level or for a career in museums, libraries, management or the media.

This interdisciplinary programme is taught mainly in the School of Earth Sciences, along with some archaeology and biology units. You will engage in current debates in evolutionary biology, systematics and palaeobiology.

You will learn how to analyse problems quantitatively, and design experimental approaches to resolving questions in macroevolution and in the study of ancient organisms. First-hand training in research methods in palaeobiology involves laboratory techniques. In addition, you will learn a range of advanced skills throughout the programme, such as computer software use, numeracy, planning research, problem-solving and communication skills. You will learn multimedia techniques, including presentation of palaeontological data through talks, posters and formal written reports. A key aspect of the programme is preparing your projects for publication, and we provide continuing support to ensure as many projects as possible are published in leading international journals.

Programme structure

The first half of the programme consists of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and visiting speakers, designed to provide a firm foundation in the theory and methodology of the subject.

The programme comprises five core units which all students take, and a number of optional units of which students choose four. We recommend that biologists take some of the more geologically-orientated optional units, and that geologists take some of the biological optional units.

Core units
-Current Controversies in Palaeobiology and Macroevolution
-Scientific Communication
-Phylogenetic Methods in Palaeobiology
-Literature Review
-Research Methods in Palaeobiology

Optional units
-Biomechanics and Functional Morphology
-The Cambrian Explosion: the origin of animal body plans
-Early Human Origins
-Evolutionary Biology*
-Evolution of the Biosphere
-Geology for Research Palaeobiologists**
-Micropalaeontology
-Tree of Life
-Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution

*Mandatory for non-biologists
**Mandatory for non-geologists

Careers

The degree is research-based, and about half the graduates go on to academic careers, usually starting with a PhD. The MSc is focused on methods, and you will learn the latest techniques in phylogenetics, biomechanics, and macroevolution training, which is highly sought after by PhD supervisors across the world.

The training in professional skills, including writing scientific papers, is also highly regarded. Some students have used the MSc as a means to go on to careers in museums, the media and education and now hold senior positions as curators and collection managers in national and regional museums. Graduates also work in making scientific documentaries, or are involved in science education at all levels.

Finally, some graduates have gone into commercial work in marketing, the oil industry and computing, where their practical skills in palaeobiology and communication have proved invaluable.

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