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MSc Glaciology

Course Description

The MSc in Glaciology is designed to provide you with a range of skills appropriate for the practical and theoretical challenges of glaciological research, but which are also highly relevant to wider Earth Science and Physical Geographical contexts and employment beyond.

Supported by world-leading glaciology staff in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES), you will gain high-level, subject-specific expertise in the critically-important study areas of glaciology, glacial geological and glacial geomorphological investigation. The department’s careful balance of tutoring and independent study will thoroughly prepare you for further doctoral study and specialist employment.

In addition, you will develop a broad range of personal and practical skills through new experiences in managing teams and individuals, planning, implementing and evaluating research programmes, and the use of field and remote sensing technology. Whether you progress into related geographical employment or not, these sought-after skills and experiences will enhance your employability and impress prospective employers. Your mastery of analytical and applied skills and strategies will stand you in good stead throughout your career in which ever sector you choose.

We invite applications from students from a range of related disciplines including geologists, geographers, environmental Earth scientists and computer scientists.

See the website http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/glaciology-masters/

Suitable for

This degree will suit you:

- If you wish to obtain a Master’s degree from an internationally-renowned research institute;
- If you have a 2:1 degree or higher in a related discipline;
- If you wish to gain academic expertise, field skills and technical experience a single course of study;
- If you wish to enter one of a diverse range of careers requiring research, analysis and practical excellence.

Course detail

The Master’s in Glaciology is a full-time programme taught over one year. Having completed your undergraduate degree in a related field, this MSc will enable you to bring your skills and knowledge up to date with a mastery of the latest technological tools and contemporary theoretical understanding. The course will also enhance your oral, visual and written communication skills, as well as your ability to work independently or in a team setting.

The course is divided into two parts over three semesters. In part one, you will establish a breadth of necessary skills in a number of core modules whilst directing your own study by choosing specialist modules. You will receive specific instruction in a wide range of specialist skills, including the programming and operation of automated instruments, interpreting satellite and aerial imagery, the use of computer software – especially quantitative analysis, GIS and remote sensing tools – and the use of field skills in sedimentological logging and landform interpretation.

In part two, you will apply your learning in the individual dissertation worth an additional 60 credits. You will prove your mastery of the subject in this final 15000-word assessment and directly contribute to the knowledge base of DGES. For those considering progression into a PhD, the dissertation project can form the basis for a doctoral proposal and, subsequently, a foundation for a career in academia and further research.

Whatever your own previous experience or future aspiration, you will benefit from a superb variety of outside and in-class learning environments. Outside activities include field research expeditions, including a week in the European Alps, case study visits and team development activities. In-class activities include lectures, seminars, guest speakers and specialist technological workshops. Our small class sizes offer a friendly environment to encourage communication and sharing of experiences, opinions and observations between you and your colleagues.

As a graduate of the MSc in Glaciology, you will emerge with broadened horizons, technological and theoretical expertise and proven field experience.

Our lecturers are active researchers working at the cutting edge of their disciplines, and you will benefit from being taught the latest geographical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2014) DGES retained its crown of the best Geography department in Wales, with 78% of the research being undertaken classified as either "world leading" or "internationally excellent”. DGES is also in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regard 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.


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 15,000 word research dissertation (Part 2) leads to the award of an MSc.


Every aspect of the MSc in Glaciology programme is designed to enhance your employability: indeed, successful completion of this degree is in itself certain to do so; but we set more store by the hugely enhanced knowledge, abilities and skills with which you will graduate. We believe that prospective employers take a similar view. This course will widen your knowledge, skills, experience and understanding of the subject in such a way that cultivates transferable skills which will benefit you in other disciplines of work and study.

In addition to building your CV, completion of this Master’s course demonstrates your passion for furthering human knowledge at a delicate stage in global affairs. Understanding the processes that govern glaciers and snow cover is not only crucial for developing models of the response to climatic change, but also for evaluating water and other natural resources, understanding waste disposal, assessing pollution and tracking earth-surface erosion.

By completing the Master’s in Glaciology, you will have aligned your passion to a unique and highly-desirable set of skills and experiences. Your tutored expertise, personal research and team experience in the field will make you an engaging candidate for areas of work relating to Geography, but also to more generic positions within companies that require thoroughness in research, clarity in analysis and fluency in communication. You will gain these skills and more as you progress through your studies at DGES.

Find out how to apply here https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/

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

Student Profiles

Aberystwyth Masters Scholarship 2015 - 20+ Awards

Scholarships, each worth £1,000 towards tuition fees will be available for UK/EU students commencing full-time Taught Masters courses in September 2015. Part-time students would be eligible for £500 for Year 1 and Year 2 of their Masters. The scholarships will be awarded for academic excellence (minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree or the equivalent award. In order to be considered for one of these awards, an application for a place on a taught Masters degree at Aberystwyth University must be received by 31st July 2015.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Students from the UK/EU that will be studying an on campus taught Masters and that have good results from their undergraduate degree will be entitled to an Aberystwyth Masters Scholarship worth around £1000.

Application Procedure

Separate application forms are not required. Therefore it is essential that the application for a place be received by the (AU) Postgraduate Admissions Office by 31st July 2015 at the very latest.

Further Information



International Postgraduate Excellence Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The scholarships will be awarded for academic excellence (minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree or the equivalent award, either already achieved or predicted by the candidate’s awarding university).In order to be considered for one of these awards, an application for a place on a taught Masters degree at Aberystwyth University must be received by 31st August 2015.Up to 72 scholarships worth £2500 towards tuition fees for full-time non-EU students on taught Masters courses are available for students who commence their studies in September 2015 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Up to 72 scholarships, each worth £2,500 towards tuition fees will be available for non-UK/EU students commencing full-time Taught Masters courses in September 2015.

Application Procedure

Separate application forms are not required. Therefore it is essential that the application for a place be received by the AU Postgraduate Admissions Office by 31st August 2015 at the very latest. Selection will be on the basis of academic excellence and the applicant’s suitability for their proposed course. A minimum (UK) 2.i Honours (or equivalent) is required for an award. Information on the comparability of non-UK degrees is available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/before-you-apply/comparability/.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

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