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Volcanology MSc

Course Description

This MSc examines the physical processes governing the behaviour of volcanoes. The programme is taught by leading scientists who are working at the cutting edge of research into volcanoes, and will provide you with a strong background for independent research to PhD level or for a career in industry, the public sector or an NGO.

The programme is designed to equip you with knowledge of the physical processes of volcanoes, including both sub-surface and surficial behaviour, insights into important historical eruptions, understanding of risk and risk mitigation, and instruction and experiential learning on data gathering, handling analysis and presentation to publishable standard.

You will develop a wide range of skills, such as quantitative and computational skills, including the use of statistical and data handling software; proficiency in critical analysis of scientific material from a variety of sources, including primary research documents and original data; and the ability to synthesise concise and informative material produced for a variety of audiences.

Programme structure

Core units
-Physics of Volcanoes and Hazardous Flows
-Scientific Communication
-Literature Review (Volcanology)
-Research Methods in Volcanology

Optional units
-Frontiers in Earth Science
-Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
-Natural Hazards in Central America
-Natural Hazards in Central America (without fieldwork)
-Volcanic Hazards: Observation, Modelling and GIS

Research project
The final part of the programme consists of a research project. For further information on research projects, please see the School of Earth Sciences website: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/research/projects.html


The MSc in Volcanology prepares students for research-based careers. Most students then continue on one of three paths, using the skills they have acquired at Bristol. About 40 per cent of graduating students continue on to study for a PhD at a range of institutions in the UK, Europe, North America, Australia and Singapore. Most overseas students return to their home country to work for government agencies in hazard management.

Other graduates choose to work in the commercial sector for either geotechnical companies (who manage assets for large multinationals) or risk management and reinsurance companies, typically in London where we have a burgeoning presence within that community.

The volcanology programme is rigorous and quantitative, and prepares students for settings where both domain-specific knowledge and the ability to conduct independent research are highly valued.

Visit the Volcanology MSc page on the University of Bristol website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An upper second-class honours BSc or MSci (or international equivalent) in earth sciences, geographical sciences, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, mathematics or another related subject. Previous professional experience or qualifications can also be put forward for consideration as equivalent to the academic entry requirements given above. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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