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Masters Degrees in Seismology & Tectonics, United Kingdom

We have 12 Masters Degrees in Seismology & Tectonics, United Kingdom

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This course focuses on the physical processes that generate natural hazards through an advanced understanding of geological and environmental processes. Read more

Why take this course?

This course focuses on the physical processes that generate natural hazards through an advanced understanding of geological and environmental processes.

You will be fully trained by internationally recognised experts in hazard identification, terrain evaluation techniques as well as hazard modelling and risk assessment techniques. Providing you with the essential skills to monitor, warn and help control the consequences of natural hazards.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is accredited by the Geological Society of London. It offers advanced professional and scientific training providing an accelerated route for you to attain Chartered Status, such as Chartered Geologist (CGeol) and Chartered Scientist (CSci) on graduation.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

Aid organisations
Environmental organisations
Offshore work
Civil sector roles
Mining
Insurance companies

Module Details

You can opt to take this course in full-time or part-time mode.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part comprises the lecture, workshop, practical and field work elements of the course, followed by a five-month independent research project. The course is a mixture of taught units and research project covering topics including site investigation, hazard modelling and mapping, soil mechanics and rock mechanics, contaminated land, flooding and slope stability.

Here are the units you will study:

Natural Hazard Processes: The topic of this unit forms the backbone of the course and give you an advanced knowledge of a broad range of geological and environmental hazards, including floods, landslides, collapsible ground, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hydro-meteorological and anthropogenic hazards. External speakers are used to provide insights and expertise from an industry, regulatory and research perspective.

Numerical Hazard Modelling and Simulation: This forms an important part of the course, whereby you are trained in the application of computer models to the simulation of a range of geological and environmental hazards. You will develop skills in computer programming languages and use them to develop numerical models that are then used to simulate different natural hazard scenarios.

Catastrophe Modelling: On this unit you will cover the application of natural hazard modelling to better understand the insurance sector exposure to a range of geological and environmental hazards. It includes external speakers and sessions on the application of models for this type of catastrophe modelling.

Volcanology and Seismology: You will gain an in-depth knowledge of the nature of volcanism and associated hazards and seismology, associated seismo-tectonics and earthquake hazards. This unit is underpinned by a residential field course in the Mediterranean region that examines the field expression of volcanic, seismic and other natural hazards.

Flooding and Hydrological Hazards: These are a significant global problem that affect urban environments, one that is likely to increase with climate change. This unit will give you an in-depth background to these hazards and opportunities to simulate flooding in order to model the flood hazard and calculate the risk.

Hazard and Risk Assessment: This unit gives you the chance to study the techniques that are employed once a hazard has been identified and its likely impact needs to be measured. You will have advanced training in the application of qualitative and quantitative approaches to hazard and risk assessment and their use in the study of different natural hazards.

Field Reconnaissance and Geomorphological Mapping: These techniques are integral to the course and an essential skill for any graduate wishing to work in this area of natural hazard assessment. On this unit you will have fieldwork training in hazard recognition using techniques such as geomorphological mapping and walk-over surveys, combined with interpretation of remote sensing and aerial photography imagery.

Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing: You will learn how to acquire and interpret aerial photography and satellite imagery, and the integration and analysis of spatial datasets using GIS – all key tools for hazard specialists.

Geo-mechanical Behaviour of Earth Materials: You will train in geotechnical testing and description of soils and rocks to the British and international standards used by industry.

Landslides and Slope Instability: This unit will give you an advanced understanding of landslide systems, types of slides in soils and rocks and methods for identification and numerical analysis.

Impacts and Remediation of Natural Hazards: You will cover a growing area of study, including the impact of hazardous events on society and the environment, and potential mitigation and remediation methods that can be employed.

Independent Research Project: This provides you with an opportunity to undertake an original piece of research to academic or industrial standards, typically in collaboration with research staff in the department or external industry partners. In addition to submission of a thesis report, you also present the results of your project at the annual postgraduate conference held at the end of September.

Programme Assessment

The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You will learn through hands-on practical sessions designed to give you the skills in laboratory, computer and field techniques. The course also includes extensive field work designed to provide field mapping and data collection skills.

Assessment is varied, aimed at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments. Here’s how we assess your work:

Poster and oral presentations
Project reports
Literature reviews
Lab reports
Essays

Student Destinations

This course provides vocational skills designed to enable you to enter this specialist environmental field. These skills include field mapping, report writing, meeting deadlines, team working, presentation skills, advanced data modelling and communication.

You will be fully equipped to gain employment in the insurance industry, government agencies and specialist geoscience companies, all of which are tasked with identifying and dealing with natural hazards. Previous destinations of our graduates have included major re-insurance companies, geological and geotechnical consultancies, local government and government agencies.

It also has strong research and analytical components, ideal if you wish to pursue further research to PhD level.

We aim to provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

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This MSc is a uniquely broad and flexible programme that suits students' aspirations, background and experience. UCL Earth Sciences has strengths in geophysics, geochemistry, palaeobiology, mineral physics, geodynamics, geohazards, climate science, environmental geosciences and policy, and other areas. Read more

This MSc is a uniquely broad and flexible programme that suits students' aspirations, background and experience. UCL Earth Sciences has strengths in geophysics, geochemistry, palaeobiology, mineral physics, geodynamics, geohazards, climate science, environmental geosciences and policy, and other areas. Students choose from a wide range of optional modules from within the department and more widely across UCL, building an MSc tailored to their interests.

About this degree

The programme aims to integrate theoretical studies with essential practical skills in the Earth sciences, both in the field and in the laboratory. Students develop the ability to work on group projects, prepare written reports, acquire oral skills and gain training in the methods of scientific research.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), six optional modules (75 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Research Methods
  • Project Proposal
  • Earth and Planetary Systems Science

Optional modules

  • Earth and Planetary Materials
  • Melting and Volcanism
  • Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard
  • Earthquake Seismology & Earthquake Hazard
  • Tectonic Geomorphology
  • Palaeoceanography
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Patterns
  • Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling
  • Geodynamics and Global Tectonics
  • Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Analysis
  • Advanced Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Studies

Students can also choose relevant elective modules from UCL Geography.

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 10,000–12,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and laboratory and fieldwork exercises. Student performance is assessed through coursework, written assignments, unseen written examination and the dissertation.

Fieldwork

Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Analysis is a fieldwork only module without a classroom element.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Geoscience MSc

Careers

Geoscience students have gone on to pursue careers in many varied areas, such as planning and surveying, governmental organisations, academic research.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • PhD in Climatology, Cardiff University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)
  • PhD in Geoscience, UCL
  • Engineer, Geo-Info
  • Lecturer in Geology, University of Benin
  • Oil and Gas Analyst, EIC (Energy Industries Council)

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.

Graduate students benefit from our lively and welcoming environment and world-class facilities, which include the UK's only NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility and access to the University of London Observatory in north London.

The department also hosts the UCL Hazard Research Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre, and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences

92% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Join us for our. Master Open Day. to find out more about our courses. The only applied structural geology Masters in the UK. Read more

Join us for our Master Open Day to find out more about our courses.

The only applied structural geology Masters in the UK. Providing you with advanced training in the practical application of structural geology, preparing you either for employment in the hydrocarbon or mining industries or for postgraduate study (PhD).

You’ll gain a skillset combining advanced structural techniques and interpreting seismic data, an understanding of structural systems in time and space, and an appreciation of both the geological and geophysical constraints of seismic interpretation and model building.

This will enable you to use a combination of structural and geophysical techniques to solve geological problems. As a capable seismic interpreter you’ll be able to contribute in an industry role from day one.

Our teaching is research led, with direct links to active applied research. You’ll be taught by a range of research and industry experts, as well as through industry-led workshops. Strong industry links are a feature of this course.

Course highlights:

  • The only applied structural geology Masters in the UK, offering you a route to both industry or a PhD.
  • Unlike other petroleum/ ore geoscience courses in the UK, which only provide you with broad training in all aspects of petroleum and ore geology. At Leeds, apply your skills, tools, and knowledge in structural geology and tectonics to exploration settings, datasets, and problems.
  • A key focus of this Masters is on understanding structural evolution in various settings and the use of 3D and 4D thinking in geological contexts. Skills that are essential for your employment in industry.
  • Gain an international standard of Masters qualification in 12 months rather than 24. We deliver focused, advanced teaching linked to a research project (in contrast to the more research-oriented US Masters).
  • Undertake free fieldwork in the UK and EU that is directly linked to your classroom learning.
  • Choose from hydrocarbon and mining module options, depending on your interests.
  • Access high-spec computing facilities and industry-standard software.
  • Produce an industry or research focused dissertation in your final year.

Fieldwork

The following fieldwork to the UK and overseas is free, and forms an integral part of the course. It is directly linked to learning outcomes in the classroom.

  • An introductory field day to Ingleton, North Yorkshire.
  • A 6-day trip to the South West of England. Consider both extensional and compressional tectonics, basin-scale to fault to reservoir scale deformation, fault seal analysis, kinematic and geometric fault evolution, restorations, and 3D fault analysis.
  • A 12-day trip to the Central Spanish Pyrenees. This trip serves as a summary trip where you will pull together elements from the entire course. Consider regional scale orogenic deformation through to basin scale to fracture scale. And the influence of sediment-structure interaction in basin evolution, and tie outcrop scale observations with seismic examples.


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This course is one of the premier international applied petroleum geoscience courses. Since the inception of the course in 1985 its graduates have an unparalleled employment record in the petroleum industry both in the UK and worldwide. Read more

This course is one of the premier international applied petroleum geoscience courses. Since the inception of the course in 1985 its graduates have an unparalleled employment record in the petroleum industry both in the UK and worldwide. In addition our graduates are highly sought after for further PhD research in the petroleum geosciences.

● Recognised by NERC - 5 MSc studentships each year covering fees, fieldwork and maintenance.

● Recognised by Industry - Industry scholarships

● We offer highly focused teaching and training by internationally recognised academic experts as well as by visiting staff from the petroleum industry.

The course covers the applications of basin dynamics and evolution to hydrocarbon exploration and production. The course is modular in form providing intensive learning and training in geophysics, tectonics and structural geology, sequence stratigraphy and sedimentology, hydrocarbon systems, reservoir geology, remote sensing and applied geological fieldwork.

The MSc course provides ‘state of the art’ training in -

● 3D seismic interpretation and 3D visualization;

● Fault analysis and fault-sealing;

● Seismic sequence stratigraphy;

● Applied sedimentology;

● Well log analysis;

● Remote sensing analysis of satellite and radar imagery;

● Analysis of gravity and magnetic data;

● Numerical modelling of sedimentation and tectonics;

● Applied structural geology;

● Geological Fieldwork.

● Transferable skills learned during the course include

project planning, presentation techniques, report writing and compilation, team working skills, spreadsheet and statistical analyses, GIS methods as well as graphics and visualization techniques.

● The full time MSc course runs for 50 weeks. The first half comprises one and two week course modules as well as group projects and fieldwork. The second half of the MSc course consists of an individual research project usually carried out in conjunction with the petroleum industry or related institutions such as international geological surveys.

● Part time study over 24 months is also available

● Each year independent projects are arranged with new data sets from industry – some students work in the offices of the company whereas other may use our excellent in-house facilities. All independent projects are supervised by faculty members with additional industry supervision where appropriate.

Facilities include –

● Dedicated Modern Teaching Laboratories

● 14 Dual Screen Unix Seismic Workstations

● PC and Macintosh Workstations

● Internationally Recognised Structural Modelling Laboratories

● Advanced Sedimentological Laboratories

The MSc course also greatly benefits from dynamic interaction with internationally recognised research groups within the Geology Department including –

● Project EAGLE – Evolution of the African and Arabian rift system – Professor Cindy Ebinger

● Southeast Asia Research Group – Tectonic Evolution and Basin Development in SE Asia – Professor Robert Hall

● Numerical Modelling Research Group – Numerical Modelling of Tectonics and Sedimentation – Dr Dave Waltham

● Fault Dynamics Research Group – Dynamics of Fault Systems in Sedimentary Basins – Professor Ken McClay

The 2005 MSc graduates went on to employment with Shell, BP, Amerada Hess, Gaz de France, OMV (Austria), Star Energy, First Africa Oil, Badley Ashton, ECL, PGS, Robertsons, PGL, Aceca, and to PhD research at Royal Holloway and Barcelona.

Since 2001, 85% of our graduates have gone in to work in the oil industry, 10% into geological research and 5% into environmental/engineering jobs.

Accommodation is available on campus in en-suite study bedrooms grouped in flats of eight, each with a communal kitchen and dining space.

Subsistence Costs ~£9,000 pa (including Hall of Residence fees of c. £4,500 for a full year)

APPLICATIONS can be made on line at http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Registry/Admissions/applyonline.html



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This is one of the premier international applied MSc courses with a focus on petroleum exploration and production. It is run in parallel with the Basin Evolution and Dynamics MSc in Petroleum Geocsience but with a greater emphasis on tectonics and structural geology. Read more
This is one of the premier international applied MSc courses with a focus on petroleum exploration and production. It is run in parallel with the Basin Evolution and Dynamics MSc in Petroleum Geocsience but with a greater emphasis on tectonics and structural geology. In addition to successful employment in the international petroleum industry graduates from this course are employed in the international mining industry as well as being highly sought after for further PhD research in the geosciences.

● Recognised by Industry - Industry scholarships

● We offer highly focused teaching and training by internationally recognised academic experts as well as by visiting staff from the petroleum and remote sensing industries.

The course covers the applications of tectonics and structural geology to hydrocarbon exploration and production as well as to applied structural geology research in different terranes. The course is modular in form providing intensive learning and training in tectonics, applied structural geology, seismic interpretation of structural styles, tectonostratigraphic analysis, section balancing and reconstruction, remote sensing, crustal fluids and hydrocarbon systems, reservoir geology, and applied geological fieldwork.

The MSc course provides ‘state of the art’ training in –
● Plate tectonics and terrane analysis;
● Applied structural analysis;
● 3D seismic interpretation and 3D visualization of structural styles;
● Fault analysis and fault-sealing;
● Tectonostratigraphic analysis;
● Scaled analogue modelling;
● Numerical modelling of structures;
● Remote sensing analysis of satellite and radar imagery;
● Analysis of gravity and magnetic data;
● Section balancing and reconstruction;
● Applied structural fieldwork.

● Transferable skills learned during the course include
project planning, presentation techniques, report writing and compilation, team working skills, spreadsheet and statistical analyses, GIS methods as well as graphics and visualization techniques.

● The full time MSc course runs for 50 weeks. The first half comprises one and two week course modules as well as group projects and fieldwork. The second half of the MSc course consists of an individual research project usually carried out in conjunction with the petroleum industry or related institutions such as international geological surveys.

● Part time study over 24 months is also available

● Each year independent projects are arranged with new data sets from industry – some students work in the offices of the company whereas other may use our excellent in-house facilities. All independent projects are supervised by faculty members with additional industry supervision where appropriate.

Facilities include –
● Dedicated Modern Teaching Laboratories
● Internationally Recognised Structural Modelling Laboratories
● 14 Dual Screen Unix Seismic Workstations
● PC and Macintosh Workstations
● Advanced Sedimentological Laboratories

The MSc course also greatly benefits from dynamic interaction with internationally recognised research groups within the Geology Department including –

● Project EAGLE – Evolution of the African and Arabian rift system – Professor Cindy Ebinger
● Southeast Asia Research Group – tectonic evolution and basin development in SE Asia – Professor Robert Hall
● Numerical Modelling Research Group – Numerical modelling of tectonics and sedimentation – Dr Dave Waltham
● Fault Dynamics Research Group – Dynamics of Fault Systems in Sedimentary Basins – Professor Ken McClay

Our Tectonics MSc graduates have gained employment with Shell, BP, ECL, PGS, Sipetrol, PGL, Codelco, and to PhD research in a range of universities including Trieste, Barcelona, and Ulster universities.
Since 2001, 85% of our Petroleum Geosciences MSc graduates have gone in to work in the oil industry, 10% into geological research and 5% into environmental/engineering jobs.

Accommodation is available on campus in en-suite study bedrooms grouped in flats of eight, each with a communal kitchen and dining space.

Subsistence Costs ~£9,000 pa (including Hall of Residence fees of c. £4,500 for a full year)

APPLICATIONS can be made on line at http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Registry/Admissions/applyonline.html

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This course will provide you with the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of our leading academics. Read more
This course will provide you with the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of our leading academics.

You will receive training in research methods and take a taught course unit in a relevant subject area. The research topic for your project is agreed with a supervisor in advance and can be in any area of the expertise in the department research groups. The project outline will be developed in consultation with your supervisor and project work is carried out in parallel with the taught courses, becoming full-time during the third term.

This Master’s by Research will provide you with a suitable background to work as a research assistant or as the grounding for further study towards a PhD.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/earthsciences/coursefinder/mscearthsciencesbyresearch.aspx

Why choose this course?

- This course is ideal for graduates in geology and related sciences who wish to carry out independent research over a shorter time period than is possible in a doctorate (PhD) programme. It allows you study at Master's level an aspect of the geological sciences which may not be catered for by specialist MSc programmes.

- You will be involved at every step of the research project - from planning and sample collection, laboratory work, result analysis, to writing your dissertation.

- It is ideal preparation if you are interested in studying for a PhD, but would like to have further preparation and training.

- In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the Department of Earth Science’s research was ranked equal 6th in the UK with 70% rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

- The Department has up-to-date computer interpretation facilities, a full range of modern geochemical laboratories including XRF, quadrupole and multicollector ICP Mass Spectrometry, atmospheric chemistry and a new excimer laser ablation facility, excellent structural modelling laboratories, palaeontology and sedimentology laboratories.

Course content and structure

The course consists of the following three components:

A Research Study Skills Course Unit
- Personal research skills (e.g. safety, time and project management, teamwork)
- IT skills (e.g. literature retrieval, web authoring, databases, modelling)
- Data analysis skills (e.g. statistical methods, GIS systems, sampling techniques)
- Communication skills (e.g. posters, oral presentation, writing papers, web pages)
- Subject-specific skills and techniques. These amount to 55% of the research skills assessment, and for example may include parts of specialist taught courses (see below), a training course on the theory and practice of chemical and isotopic analysis, or other training arranged by the project supervisor. This will include training for research in the general field of the research project, not solely what is needed to carry out the project.

A Specialist Taught Course Unit
You will choose an advanced taught course unit relevant to the subject area of your research project. The following taught units are currently offered:
- Applied Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
- Pollution Sources and Pathways
- Oceans and Atmospheres
- Risk and Environmental Management
- Geographical Information Systems
- Environmental Inorganic Analysis
- Contaminants in the Environment
- Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis
- Seismic Processing and Interpretation
- Geodynamics and Plate Tectonics
- Interpretation of Structural Settings
- Coal Geology
- Petroleum Geology and Evaluation
- Terrestrial Palaeoecology
- Palaeoclimates

Research Project
The project may be on any topic which is within the broad research themes of the Department. You will be linked to a potential supervisor at the application stage and, in consultation with the supervisor, you will develop a detailed project outline during the first half of the first term. Project work is then carried out in parallel with taught courses during terms one and two, becoming the full-time activity after Easter. A bound dissertation is submitted for examination in early September.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

- an advanced knowledge and understanding of a variety of analytical, technical, numerical, modelling and interpretive techniques applicable to the specific field of earth sciences

- the articulation of knowledge and the understanding of published work, concepts and theories in the chosen field of earth sciences at an advanced level

- the acquisition of knowledge from published work in the chosen area of earth sciences to a level appropriate for a MSc degree.

Assessment

Research Study Skills: this is assessed by coursework and theory examination and will include short written assignments, a seminar, worksheets and practical tests. These assessments contribute 12.5% of the course marks.

Specialist Taught Course Units: these are mostly assessed by a written, theory examination and coursework. The unit assessment contributes 12.5% of the course marks.

Research Project: the project dissertation must be submitted in early September. It will be marked by both an internal and an external examiner, and will be defended at an oral examination with both examiners. The project assessment contributes 75% of the course marks.

Employability & career opportunities

Subject to agreement and suitable funding, MSc by Research students can transfer to the MPhil/PhD programme at Royal Holloway. They may use the research carried out for the MSc towards the PhD, and count the time spent towards MPhil/PhD registration requirements, provided that the MSc research forms a coherent part of the PhD, and that the transfer is approved prior to submission of the MSc research dissertation.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studyhere/postgraduate/applying/howtoapply.aspx .

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The hydrocarbon industry is crucial to provide us with domestic energy, transportation, plastics and other everyday needs. Petroleum Geoscience by Distance Learning with the University of London lets you earn a Masters degree in this booming sector which fits around your work or family commitments. Read more

The hydrocarbon industry is crucial to provide us with domestic energy, transportation, plastics and other everyday needs. Petroleum Geoscience by Distance Learning with the University of London lets you earn a Masters degree in this booming sector which fits around your work or family commitments.

Choose from a range of course modules to tailor your learning, studying online over a period of years to earn your MSc. This flexible programme lets you choose between the standard course structure, a postgraduate diploma or a series of individual taught courses, letting you fit your studies around your daily life.

You’ll graduate with a Masters degree from the University of London by studying with the University of London International Programmes featuring academic direction from the renowned Royal Holloway Department of Earth Sciences, which is consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10. The programme finishes with a one-week field trip and research project, letting you contribute to our leading research culture while you develop your skills and knowledge.

Royal Holloway is recognised as one of the world’s premier training centres for the hydrocarbon industry, and has run a Petroleum Geoscience MSc programme since 1985. We’ve established invaluable links within the industry while helping over 600 graduates from 32 countries progress into rewarding careers in the Earth Sciences. Study Petroleum Geoscience (by Distance Learning) to enhance your career development without the need for full-time study. 

  • Benefit from a pioneering research culture, with 94% of Department of Earth Sciences research ranked world-leading or internationally excellent – no.2 in the UK (REF 2014).
  • Graduate with a Masters degree developed and taught by a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016).
  • Study a programme recognised internationally as one of the industry’s best.
  • Benefit from adaptable part-time learning fitted around your daily life.

Course structure

  • Tectonics and Lithosphere Dynamics
  • Geophysical Analysis
  • Structural Analysis
  • Petroleum Systems
  • Sedimentology
  • Reservoir Geoscience
  • Independent Project

Teaching & assessment

Full details of the assessment process can be found on the University of London International Programmes website.

This course may be studied up to 5 years part-time.

Your future career

Petroleum Geoscience (by Distance Learning) lets you earn a desirable Masters degree while studying part-time alongside employment. You’ll graduate with excellent employment prospects in a sector with many well-paid career opportunities in the UK and abroad, as well as the option to progress into further postgraduate study. 

Royal Holloway, University of London has taught a Petroleum Geoscience programme since 1985, and it’s now recognised as one of the premier training facilities in the hydrocarbon industry. You’ll benefit from strong industry links, and a track record of helping 600 graduates from 32 countries progress to rewarding careers in the Earth Sciences.

  • The MSc is ideal for hydrocarbon industry professionals who wish to develop their knowledge and skills alongside their work;
  • Graduates will be trained in the skills needed to address a range of exploration and production challenges;
  • You'll join a worldwide network of alumni who are successful industry professionals in oil companies, geoscience IT, consultancy, and academia.

PLEASE NOTE: All applications must be made through the University of London International Programmes website University of London application.



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This MSc provides a broad introduction to geohazards, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology. Read more

This MSc provides a broad introduction to geohazards, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology. A key goal is to provide an essential grounding in quantitative modelling that can be widely applied to several fields, from pure research to the commercial sector.

About this degree

The programme provides an introduction to the spectrum and impact of geophysical hazards, and a focus on quantitative models for hazard forecasting and assessment. Selected case studies illustrate how these models are essential for improving decision-making during emergencies, for raising the awareness of vulnerable populations, and for evaluating and implementing mitigation strategies.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of six core modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Geological and Geotechnical Hazards
  • Meteorological Hazards
  • Research Methods
  • Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazard
  • Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard
  • Meteorological, Climate and Hydrogeological Hazard

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project in geophysical hazards, which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading and practical exercises. There are excellent opportunities for field investigations in the UK and abroad. Assessment is through unseen written examinations, practical problem-solving exercises and essays. The independent research report is assessed through the dissertation and an oral presentation.

Fieldwork

Field sites for field trips are normally in Italy. The department pays for accommodation and transport in the field. Students pay to get to the field and subsistence.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Geophysical Hazards MSc

Careers

On graduation from this programme about one-third of students have followed careers in global insurance and re-insurance and another third have pursued research with a PhD in hazard-related studies. The remaining third have developed careers in a wide range of sectors, from non-governmental organisations, through teaching, to the fields of emergency planning and environmental management.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Aggregate and Catastrophe Modeller, Advent
  • Catastrophe Analyst, Talbot Underwriting
  • Graduate Trainee Reinsurance Broker, Aon
  • Catastrophe Model Analyst, Aon Benfield
  • Policy Adviser, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Employability

The MSc in Geophysical Hazards will provide essential training for careers in hazard assessment and risk evaluation, including: industry, from engineering to insurance; academic research; civil protection agencies and government organisations; and NGOs related to aid and development. 

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.

Graduate students benefit from our lively and welcoming environment and world-class facilities. The department hosts UCL Hazard Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre, and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum.

This MSc aims to include a short field trip to locations that illustrate the impact of natural hazards. Previous trips have included the Neapolitan volcanic district, the Italian Alps and the Po Delta, and the Cádiz region in south-western Spain.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences

92% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Your programme of study. Read more

Your programme of study

If you have an interest in the earth in relation to minerals extraction Geophysics has plenty of scope to get involved in the profession itself and expertise required to explore different types of terrain but in a newly evolving landscape of assistive technology companies offering the latest methods of discovering production and risk issues beneath the earths surface. You learn these latest methods of finding out data to understand risk and potential engineering issues in difficult to reach places. Signal processing uses the latest advances in sensor development to set up an alert system to monitor specific areas which are normally difficult to reach. Seismic processing looks at how the earth moves not only in times of earthquakes but natural movement from chemical reactions beneath the surface of the earth.

Borehole extraction is used in mineral extraction but also to determine if reserves are live or loading is safe and much and more. The skills you learn apply equally to current and future mineral extraction as they do to land and sea where extraction has historically taken place and where there is application for a different use from a remediated coal mine for example where loading can be critical to risk for future use. The programme equips you with skills in hydrocarbon, minerals and associated industries or research. You understand structure from near surface to deep interior learning from geophysical data analysis and interpretation.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

  • Earth Physics, Structure and Processes
  • Seismic Reflection Processing, Imaging and Quantitative Interpretation
  • Time Series Analysis and Signal Processing
  • Geophysical Inverse Theory and Statistics

Semester 2

  • Seismology and Earth Imaging
  • Field Geophysical Data Acquisition
  • Borehole Geophysics', Including Petrophysics and Well- Log Analysis
  • Topics in Advanced Applied Geophysics

Semester 3

  • Project in Geophysics

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • You will gain hands on experience within our facilities with a large range of relevant equipment
  • Join the Aberdeen Geological Society for guest lectures and learning and networking opportunities
  • Study in a department ranked no 1 in Scotland for Earth Sciences
  • We research Earth Science over time, with strengths in Geology, Sedimentology, Geochemistry and more.

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Full time
  • 12 Months
  • September start

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about international fees:

Find out more about fees on the programme page

*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page and the latest postgraduate opportunities

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

Your Accommodation

Campus Facilities

Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs



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The hydrocarbon industry is one of our most important sectors, helping to cater for needs as diverse as domestic energy, transportation and plastics manufacturing. Read more

The hydrocarbon industry is one of our most important sectors, helping to cater for needs as diverse as domestic energy, transportation and plastics manufacturing. Our flexible MSc in Petroleum Geoscience provides you with the ideal training for a career in the hydrocarbon industry and related sectors. 

Our teaching on Petroleum Geoscience at Royal Holloway, University of London is informed by leading research and links to the international oil industry, meaning that you’ll benefit from the most relevant, up-to-date learning. The programme lets you select from a range of course modules to tailor your learning to your own preferences and ambitions.  

You’ll study in the renowned Department of Earth Sciences, which is consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016) – contributing towards our leading research culture with your own Independent Research Project. You’ll become a part of a vibrant international graduate community, and make use of our extensive range of modern facilities as you work towards a rewarding future career. 

Our Petroleum Geoscience MSc has run since 1985, and has become recognised as one of the world’s premier training centres for the hydrocarbon industry. We’ve established excellent industry links, and have helped over 600 graduates from 32 countries progress into rewarding careers. Study Petroleum Geoscience at Royal Holloway and you’ll graduate with excellent employment prospects in a well-paid sector with job opportunities across the globe.

  • Benefit from a pioneering research culture, with 94% of Department of Earth Sciences research ranked world-leading or internationally excellent – no.2 in the UK. (REF 2014)
  • Graduate with a Masters degree from a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016).
  • Study a programme internationally recognised as one of the industry’s best.
  • Graduate with excellent employability prospects in the UK and overseas.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Tectonics and Lithosphere Dynamics
  • Geophysical Analysis
  • Structural Analysis
  • Petroleum Systems
  • Independent Project

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

You will take either Sedimentology and Regional Tectonic Analysis or Reservoir Geoscienceand Advanced Structural Analysis.

  • Sedimentology
  • Regional Tectonic Analysis
  • Reservoir Geoscience
  • Advanced Structural Analysis

Teaching & assessment

The taught course units are assessed by a combination of written exams and coursework. Each of the six units comprises 10% of the total assessment for the MSc course. The remaining 40% of the assessment comes from the Independent Research Project.

Your future career

Petroleum Geoscience at Royal Holloway, University of London was first established in 1985, giving us ample time to build valuable links with the international oil industry. We’re now recognised worldwide as one of the hydrocarbon industry’s premier training facilities, having helped more than 600 graduates from 32 countries progress into rewarding careers in the Earth Sciences. 

This flexible Masters programme will equip you with a range of skills and knowledge necessary to achieve a fulfilling career in a sector with many well-paid career opportunities in the UK and abroad. There is huge demand for well qualified petroleum geoscientists, and as we’re considered world leaders in the field, you’ll graduate as a highly desirable candidate for employers in a variety of sectors. 

  • Jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career opportunities.
  • 90% of graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Graduate with a desirable Masters degree from a recognised world-leader in the hydrocarbon industry.


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What you will study. The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management course will develop knowledge, technical skills, interpersonal and management skills, and experience. Read more

What you will study

The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management course will develop knowledge, technical skills, interpersonal and management skills, and experience. You will study a range of hazards using examples from the UK and other countries. This will provide you with the experience to assess risks and vulnerabilities from desk-based research, laboratory and field situations, consider hazard management and disaster risk reduction strategies, develop emergency plans, and critically review the concept of resilience along with techniques for its development.

You will consider the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of disasters and examine a range of aspects pertinent to the operational, political and socio-cultural issues involved in disaster relief, including aspects of international law. The course will ensure a sound working knowledge and experience with one of the mostly widely used GIS platforms, extensively used by many planning authorities, GOs and NGOs, and you will develop valuable skills in the acquisition and processing of spatial datasets with a wide variety of disaster management applications, along with the ability to visualise and depict spatial information.

Opportunities for study on residential field courses will include the use of field simulations either in Finland or in the UK, and the opportunity to examine environmental hazards and evaluate management strategies on an overseas residential field course. Currently, the field course takes place in Italy or Greece, to examine volcanic, seismic, landslide and tsunami hazards.

Modules

  • Principles and Concepts in Disasters - 20 credits
  • Multi-faceted causes and consequences of disasters, nature of disasters, disaster relief and international law.

  • Management of Coastal and Hydrological Hazards - 20 credits
  • Flooding and integrated flood risk management, coastal hazards and sea level rise, storms, heat wave, coastal pollution incidents, climate change and resilience.

  • Management of Geophysical and Technological Hazards - 20 credits
  • Landslides, chemical hazards and safety, industrial and pollution hazards, volcanic hazards, volcanic ash and aviation, seismic hazards, pandemics, terrorist incidents.

  • Personal Preparedness for Disasters - 20 credits
  • Personal preparedness, leadership, survival training, victim and refugee experiences, developed from the Disaster Summer School immersive simulation week.

  • Disaster Risk Management - 20 credits
  • Field survey training, vulnerability and risk analysis, disaster risk management strategies, emergency planning, resilience, information and communication, community engagement, disaster education, personal development in disaster management.
  • Planning for Disasters and Civil Contingencies - 20 credits
  • Emergency and civil contingency planning, multi-agency response coordination and training, crisis leadership strategies and styles.

  • Remote Sensing for Environmental Management - 20 credits
  • A practical introduction to the use of Remote Sensing and G.I.S. techniques and applications in environmental resource management; appropriate practical and analytical skills in data collection and manipulation of key environmental data.

  • Masters Research Project - 40 credits
  • Each student will prepare for a detailed research project, prepare a paper as if for submission for publication in a refereed academic journal and present their research to their peers.
  • Work Based Learning Project (optional)
  • Work placement opportunities are recommended as part of the course.

Teaching

The Disaster Management course is designed in a modular format and will be offered on a full and part time basis. Delivery will be mixed-mode, with a combination of traditional lectures, practicals and distance learning with supporting tutorials. For full time students, study will take place over 14 months, and for part time students, study may typically take two to three years.

The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management begins with a two week Summer School in August, where you will meet other students, academic tutors and visiting experts. You will:

  • Develop reflective learning skills
  • Enhance communication and team working skills in an international and multicultural setting.
  • Clarify the concepts of a disaster with experts and academic tutors.
  • Undertake a field course simulation training exercise, which focuses on survival skills
  • Reflect on experiences of victims of disaster

You will undertake a field course simulation training exercise, which will focus on survival skills. You will reflect on the experiences of victims of disasters, develop decision making through active participation and it will orientate you to the type of experiences that you may encounter in a disaster field situation.

After the summer school, lectures and self-directed learning will take place in the Autumn and Spring terms. Teaching and training will also include fieldwork within the region as well as the option for overseas residential fieldwork.

Study will utilise a range of diverse learning approaches and activities to acknowledge the rich and diverse character and content of the body of knowledge that forms this Master’s degree course. It will include:

  • Attending the Summer School
  • Lectures
  • Seminars and tutorials
  • Practical and laboratory work
  • Completing work packages by distance learning through the Virtual Learning Environment
  • Actively participating in computer workshops and laboratory work
  • Undertaking a range of field based studies and data collection
  • Participating in group based activities and simulations
  • One-to-one interactions with academic staff
  • Fieldwork including community-based learning
  • Self-directed study
  • Optional field or work-placement
  • Externally-linked activities and placements

Each week, lectures and practicals will take place. This normally involves seven to 10 hours of class contact timetabled within two days of the week. In addition, through the week you will be engaged in distance learning tutorials and activities, background reading, and working on a wide range of assessments. Some weeks will also have additional field or simulation time. For a full-time course, a minimum of 37 hours of study time per week is expected.

The course will also require attendance at a Summer School (two weeks), on another overseas residential field course (about ten days), and will also provide options for other extended field- or work-placements. UK and EU students complete the Summer School at the start of their course in August and International Students complete it at the end of their course. International students therefore begin their course in September and not August. This is to allow enough time for you to get your visa.



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Geotechnical engineering examines the engineering behaviour of earth materials and is relevant to all engineering and construction practices that are concerned with the ground on both a surface level and within it. Read more

Geotechnical engineering examines the engineering behaviour of earth materials and is relevant to all engineering and construction practices that are concerned with the ground on both a surface level and within it. Geotechnical engineers investigate the ground and measure the chemical properties, evaluate the stability of the area and design earthworks and structure foundations enabling projects to take place.

The programme is multi-disciplinary in nature, and provides students with the knowledge of rock engineering, site investigation, data capture and data analysis required to understand the issues facing engineers excavating increasingly ambitious and complex underground spaces. This course is relevant to students entering or working in a range of engineering careers within the construction, environmental and extractive industries.

Featured content draws upon the unique expertise of the Camborne School of Mines, with strengths in the areas of rock mechanics and underground excavation, as well as specialist knowledge of working in extreme conditions and with high-stress or difficult ground.

Delivered by staff with strong research interests directly related to the topics covered, modules involve a broad range of activities and teaching delivery methods. This includes workshops using the latest industry relevant computational tools, practical activities and group and individual exercises.

In support of this research-led teaching, key experts from the extractive and construction industry will provide topical insight to the state of the industry and clarify the context for the theory covered in the lectures.

Modules

Please note constituent modules and pathways may be updated, deleted or replaced in future years as a consequence of programme development. Details at any time may be obtained from the programme website.

  • Project and Dissertation;
  • Excavation and Geomechanics
  • Hydrogeology
  • GIS and Remote Sensing

Optional modules include;

  • Health and safety in the extractive industry
  • Project management
  • Surface extractive design
  • Mine planning design
  • Underground excavation design
  • Soil and water contamination
  • Underground construction
  • Site investigation including near surface geophysics

Learning and teaching

Teaching and assessment

The programme is delivered through a mix of lectures, workshops, tutorials, practical activities, case studies, industry visits, computer simulations, project work and a dissertation. The taught part of the programme is structured into two semesters. Field visits and practical field-based assignments are used, where appropriate, to emphasise key areas within each module.

A research- and practice-led culture

We believe every student benefits from being taught by experts active in research and practice. You will discuss the very latest ideas, research discoveries and new technologies in seminars and in the field and you will become actively involved in a research project yourself. All our academic staff are active in internationally-recognised scientific research across a wide range of topics.

Students are encouraged to undertake projects directly linked with industry, which may result in industrial placements for their project period.



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