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Petroleum Geoscience (Tectonics)


Course Description

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

Visit the Petroleum Geoscience (Tectonics) page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

2nd class honours degree (or equivalent) in geology, geophysics or a cognate subject

Course Fees

UK and EU Students £4,960 pa (2006 – 2007); all other Students £12,475 pa (2006 – 2007)


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Recipient: Royal Holloway, University of London
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