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Studying A Masters Degree In Geology

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A Masters Degree in Geology is designed to teach students how to understand, interpret and explain the world around us. They learn more about catastrophic events like volcanoes and earthquakes, along with complex ideas about the formation of the world’s oceans, mountains and continents.

Although geology has a reputation for being the study of rocks, as every graduate in the subject knows there is far more to it than that. Students will spend just as much time out of doors interacting with a range of different landscapes as they will in tutorials and seminars. They will learn how to identify natural features, observe them critically and describe their findings in a concise manner. They will collect data, present it for others effectively and then communicate the conclusions of their work.

Why study a Masters in Geology?

A Masters in Geology is often chosen by students who have pursued some kind of environmental or natural science degree at undergraduate level. There are a variety of topics with can be combined with it, like mining, engineering or geohydrology, enabling individuals to choose a course that specifically reflects their future career goals.

Once they have been accepted onto a Geology masters, students will benefit from receiving a thorough training in the field from qualified professionals. The fieldwork will always be linked to the topic in hand, so even the most arduous of learning outcomes are achieved in the classroom.

Geology Masters entry requirements

Successful candidates for this course will have a good bachelors degree in geology or a closely-related field; they should also have a strong background in one of the sciences, such as mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics. Although undergraduates who have majored in a subject other than geology may be considered, they should have taken at least 12 semester hours of a geology module. Furthermore, the admissions process may include an agreement between the faculty and the student that extra geology studies will be undertaken, if necessary.

Due to the competitive nature of many geology courses, some institutions may ask their applicants to take a GRE or General Test. These are designed to highlight the abilities of graduates in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and analytical writing. The admissions team could also request letters of recommendation from your past tutors and evidence of an excellent performance at undergraduate level. In addition to this students from overseas will have to prove their English language competence with a good GSCE pass in English, a high IELTS score or an excellent result on the university’s own language examination.

Due to the specialised nature of the course, many universities welcome inquiries from students who have identified a particular member of staff they would like to study under and have a list of research interests to suggest. This is a good time to be proactive in your approach, if you impress a professor with your ideas at an early stage, they are far more inclined to consider your application favourably.


Geology study modules

There are many branches of Geology, so the units that are available from program to program will differ significantly, however they are likely to cover the following topics:

  • Earth System Sciences
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Planetary Geology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Sedimentology
  • Evolution

  • Earth Materials

  • Earth and Ocean Systems

  • Geo Hazards

  • Palaeoclimate Change 

  • Geochemistry of Natural Waters

Geology student case study

Many geology students prefer to spend time outside of the classroom, learning about their subject in a hands-on way. This is encouraged by universities, which seek to provide a balance between taught skills and abilities acquired through practical experience.

Sian Bright is enrolled on a masters at the University of Leeds, she explains, ”My MSc in Structural Geology with Geophysics has given me knowledge and skills that I can apply directly to my work on a daily basis, from the interpretation of structural styles to learning about the application of geomechanics in structural geology. This is the industry to move into if you’re a hands-on structural geologist, enjoy spending time in the field and you’re keen to catch some rays!”

Geology career and research opportunities

With skills you will learn in data analysis, teamwork, lab techniques and observation, you will be in demand when you enter the jobs market. A Geology masters degree can prepare you for many different career options, including:

  • Environmental organisations
  • Oceanographers
  • Engineers
  • Metallurgists
  • Consultants.
  • Water Industry
  • Mining Sector
  • Petrochemical Industry
  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Civil Engineering Companies
  • Museums
  • Local Authorities

However, for people who’d like to remain in academia as a lecturer, or continue with a certain area of research, a PhD course is also a good option.

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