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MSc Geology - Exploration Field Geology

Course Description

If you are a geology graduate, this course will provide you with the essential knowledge, techniques and experience required by the exploration geology sector for employment in the metal, coal or hydrocarbon industries.

Our course recognises the exceptional demand for exploration geologists driven by the unprecedented rise in commodity prices for metals, coal and petroleum resources.

Bucking the global recessionary trend, significant employment opportunities exist for skilled geologists both within Europeand further afield, with Australiaand Canadarecognised as major markets.

Exploration companies require skilled field geologists. However, in many courses, geology graduates gain advanced knowledge in research-driven specialisms but lack industrially relevant skills and practical training in core areas. This course bridges that gap. We take note of employer feedback, and recognise and place emphasis on the field-based skills and competence required by industry.

Our course, therefore, provides an excellent foundation for a successful career in exploration geology.

Course Details

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

- demonstrate advanced competence in field methods as applied to the exploration industry in sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic and deformed terrains
- demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of coal exploration
- demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of basin analysis as relevant to the hydrocarbon exploration industry
- demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of offshore geological exploration
- apply Geographical Information Systems for geological mapping and exploration geology purposes
- test the geotechnical properties of rock and unconsolidated sediment with particular application to mining and quarrying
- demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of field exploration geology methodologies, e.g. regional sampling and core utilisation, to the level where you will be able to plan and direct an exploration course
- initiate independent research on a field geology topic.

Part I

You will take taught modules to the value of 60 credits involving field study, lectures, practicals, seminars, workshops, and self-directed learning.

- Core Modules -

You will take 90 credits as follows:

Part I (60 credits)
GL6002 Igneous and Metamorphic Terrain Mapping (10 credits)
GL6003 Coal Exploration (5 credits)
GL6005 Basin Analysis and Sedimentary Facies Analysis (10 credits)
GL6006 Geotechnical Investigations of Soils and Rocks (5 credits)
GL6007 Practical Offshore Geological Exploration (5 credits)
GL6008 Geological Application of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
GL6010 Field Exploration Methods and Professional Development (5 credits)
GL6011 Structural Geology for Hydrocarbon Exploration (5 credits)
GL6012 Structural Geology for Mineral Exploration (5 credits)
GL6013 Geology of Ore Deposits (5 credits)

Part II (30 credits)

GL6018 Field Geology Dissertation (30 credits)

You will undertake a substantial Research Project (GL6018) to the value of 30 credits in an area of geology field study. This project must be submitted by 1 September in the academic year of registration for the course.

Further Information can be found on our postgraduate calendar - http://www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters/science/page04.html#exploration


The MSc in Exploration Field Geology is a full-time 12-month course split into two parts.

Part I consists of taught modules running from September to April. The course includes ship time experience aboard the Irish State Research Vessel Celtic Voyager. It also includes residential field trips to Co. Donegal, Co. Clare and Co. Kerry in Ireland, and to South Wales in the UK.You must pass Part I in order to progress to Part II.

Part II consists of a five-month research project.


The taught modules in the course are assessed by a combination of written examinations and continuous assessment elements. These include essays, seminars, assessed presentations, practical reports, technical reports, offshore and field survey reports.

The five-month research project is assessed by a dissertation and a project seminar.


You will acquire practical skills in:

- field mapping for minerals and metals
- coal and basin analysis
- geotechnical site appraisals
- appraising structural reservoir traps and seals
- interpreting geophysical data
- designing and implementing surveys, both on- and off-shore
- evaluating a resource and implementing an extraction strategy
- manipulating geological data in GIS
- executing a research project.

Many transferable skills are also fostered through different learning approaches, including critical thinking, problem-solving, report writing, oral presentations, independent research and time management.

How to apply: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/how/

Funding and Scholarships

Information regarding funding and available scholarships can be found here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cblgradschool/current/fundingandfinance/fundingscholarships/

Visit the MSc Geology - Exploration Field Geology page on the University College Cork website for more details!

Entry Requirements

To be eligible, candidates for the MSc in Exploration Field Geology must either hold at least a Second Class Honours, Grade II degree or equivalent in a Geological/Earth Sciences area or a related relevant degree or have reached an equivalent standard through completion of a relevant postgraduate qualification. English language proficiency View Website

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Recipient: University College Cork

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