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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas



  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Please see website for details

  • Last Updated

    22 October 2018

Mineral exploration geoscience is concerned with the location of ore and industrial minerals found within the earth. The work of exploration geologists is essential to energy and production industries as it acts as a starting point for extraction.

This MSc will equip students with specialist, essential knowledge and skills that are required when exploring and evaluating new mineral deposits around the world. As major orebodies are exhausted, the search for viable deposits in more complex geological terrains and in remote regions has intensified, creating a need for trained geologists able to carry out mineral exploration in varied environments.

The collection, interpretation and reporting of geoscientific data is the major focus of this course; based around a robust understanding of current theories for orebody genesis, exploration techniques and the application of industry-leading software. You will have the opportunity to gain experience in acquiring, synthesising and critically evaluating data from a range of remote sensing, geophysical, geochemical and drill hole sources. The programme provides pathways to careers in the national and international exploration and mining sectors as well as important transferable skills used in the broader geotechnical, site investigation and environmental industries.


This programme is modular and flexible, carrying 180 credits in total and offering flexibility in choice of modules studied.

MSc Exploration Geology consists of eight core modules totalling 180 credits, which includes the 60-credit research project.

The programme begins in September each year and the taught elements are concluded by May. The research project, under the personal supervision of an expert in the chosen area, continues until September.

Details at any time may be obtained from the programme website.

Compulsory modules

  • Research project and dissertation
  • Ore deposit geology and industrial minerals
  • Economics, processing and environment
  • GIS and remote sensing
  • Site investigation including near surface geophysics
  • Exploration targeting
  • Exploration and mining geology

Assessment method

The programme is delivered through a mix of lectures, workshops, tutorials, practical activities, case studies, industry visits, computer simulations, project work and a dissertation.


On this MSc programme you will receive a great deal of practical experience of working within the minerals industry. The programme aims to produce high-quality graduates who can enjoy high employment rates and easy transition into further PhD study. Emphasis remains on applied teaching and research relevant to careers in the earth resources and renewables sectors. Field visits and practical field-based assignments are used, where appropriate, to emphasise key areas within each module.

You will spend a significant proportion of your time in the field during the autumn term. Over the Easter period you are required to participate in an international field trip to visit mines and exploration projects in Scandinavia. This trip will prepare you to undertake typical greenfields and brownfields exploration work, including boulder tracing, stream sediment sampling and glacial till investigations, and link the results back to exploration targeting and existing operating mines.

Research areas

From May to September you will undertake a major research project, usually in association with a mining/exploration company, and present a dissertation. Recent projects have been carried out in West Africa, Canada and Europe.

Examples of recent mineral exploration research projects

  • A Geochemical Assessment of the Exploration Potential for Alkalic (Cu-Au) and Calc-Alkalic (Cu ± Mo ± Au) Porphyries within the Quesnel Terrane, British Columbia, Canada
  • Using stream sediment geochemistry to aid polymetallic-Sn-W exploration targeting in the Vosges Mountains, France
  • Petrographic investigations into the potential for REE-pegmatite and orogenic gold deposits, Sierra Leone
  • A Remote Sensing Study into the mineral potential of the Taimyr Peninsula, Arctic Russia
  • Gold and REE exploration in the Birimian Greenstone Belt, Ivory Coast

Visit the Msc Exploration Geology page on the University of Exeter website for more details!





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