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Course content

About the course

Supported by Aberystwyth University’s internationally renowned Centre for Glaciology, this unique MSc programme is designed to provide students with a range of skills appropriate for the practical and theoretical challenges of glaciological research. Graduates of this course emerge equipped fora wide range of career paths both within Physical Geographical/Earth Science contexts and beyond.

Why study MSc Glaciology at Aberystwyth University?

Aberystwyth University’s Centre for Glaciology is a leading British research group whose interests cover contemporary and palaeo-glacial processes and products across the world.

Opportunity to study in an internationally-renowned research institute and to be taught by lectures and researchers who are at the cutting edge of their disciplines.

Conduct fieldwork in a glacierised environment - this course commences with a 6 day field course in the European Alps.
Aberystwyth is located in a high quality outdoor physical environment and comprises a multi-national community

The Department of Geography and Earth Science (DGES) is top in Wales, with 78% of its research classified as either ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the most recent research assessment - REF 2014

DGES is in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regards to research power, which provides a measure of the quality of research, as well as of the number of staff undertaking research within the department

Engage with research that aims to further human knowledge at a delicate stage in global affairs

DGES receives funding from organisations such as United Nations, WHO, NERC and the European Research Council

Benefit from a superb variety of outside and in-class learning environments, and state-of-the-art teaching facilities.

Course content and structure

In the first two semesters, you will undertake a number of core and optional modules that will give you a strong theoretical understanding of glaciology and will also convert the purely academic theory of glaciological research and data collection into the proven know-how of experience. At the beginning of the course, as part of the module Glaciological Field Techniques, you will undertake a 6 day field course to the European Alps on a data-collection expedition.

In the final semester, you will undertake a 60 credit 15,000 word master’s dissertation, through which you will be able to prove your mastery of your chosen topic and directly contribute to the knowledge base of DGES.

Core modules:

Advanced Research Skills 1: science communication and data analysis
Advanced Research Skills 2: research design and data acquisition
Approaches to Glaciology
Glacial Processes and Products
Glaciological Field Techniques
Research Dissertation in Glaciology

Optional modules:

Fundamentals of Remote Sensing and GIS

Contact Time

Approximately 8-10 hours a week in the first two semesters.


The taught part of the course (Part1) is delivered and assessed through lectures, student seminars, practical exercises, case studies, course work and formal examinations. The subsequent successful submission of a 12,000 word research dissertation (Part 2) leads to the award of an MSc.


This course will empower you to:

- Engage with the practical and theoretical challenges of glaciological research
- Master the latest technological tools available for glaciologists
- Get to grips with an impressive array of systems and technologies including GIS, SDI, satellite imaging and remote sensing
- Gain subject-specific expertise, field skills, and technical experience
- Develop study and research skills, as well as a professional work ethic
- Enhance your presentation and communication skills
- Develop your ability to work independently and in a team-setting
- Improve your critical analysis and evaluation
- Develop and sustain a self-initiated programme of study underpinned by good time management skills
- Enhance your project management skills to deliver a demanding combination of research, analysis, communication and presentation


Our graduates have gone on to work for/as/within:

- The Met. Office
- The European Space Agency
- National parks
- Field technicians
- Geologists
- Explorationists
- Environmental consultancy
- Oil and gas exploration and development
- Research work alongside prominent institutions/initiatives - REDD+ initiative, Norwegian Space Centre
- Policy advocacy work in the energy sector
- PhD researchers, post-doctoral researchers and lecturers in Higher Education.
- Other pathways our graduates have taken include:
- Management
- Commercial & Quality Assurance
- Strategic Research Consultancy
- Marketing and Strategy Development
- Planning roles across various market sectors
- Local and national government
- UK Parliament
- International, investment, and private banking
- Education

Visit the Glaciology - MSc page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!





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