Integrated Petroleum Geoscience, MSc

Integrated Petroleum Geoscience, MSc


Running since 1973, the MSc Integrated Petroleum Geoscience programme is internationally regarded as one of the top vocational training pathways into the energy industry. Based in the heart of the UK energy sector, IPG provides world-renowned training in the practical and technical skills required by the global hydrocarbon exploration and production industry, with input and support from major oil and gas operators.

Shell U.K. Limited is offering 5 scholarships for Home/RUK students commencing a Master's programme aligned to the Centre for Energy Transition commencing in the 2023/24 academic year. Find out more.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month

The MSc Integrated Petroleum Geoscience equips you with the knowledge and skills to understand the subsurface and hydrocarbons stored there.

IPG receives detailed input and support from the energy industry, ensuring it remains current and relevant, particularly as we move forward toward net-zero. The curriculum focuses on all aspects of upstream geoscience, including exploration, field appraisal and development, maximising recovery from mature fields, as well as considerations for repurposing depleted fields for carbon storage.

Hands-on field-based study is a crucial part of our geology teaching, and this programme is no exception, with UK and international field trips where you will apply and develop your subsurface analysis and core logging skills.

The close ties between the University of Aberdeen and the energy industry mean our students can benefit from industry training and projects, as well as professional mentorship and career networking opportunities from companies such as Equinor, Harbour Energy, Neo Energy, Baker Hughes, Hess and Shell.

Our approach and teaching methods also aim to create a close parallel to the way the energy industry works, further enhancing teamwork and communication skills, to allow you to transition from education to employment upon graduation.

What You'll Study

The course content recognizes the increasingly diverse backgrounds of the students, as more first degree courses are modularised with significant non-geological components. The course content is designed as far as possible to fill in the gaps for such students, although we rely on the students to work at making up for their own weaknesses, under our guidance. Numeracy skills are important; we advise students to assess their own needs for additional training.

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

Geophysics and Petrophysics (GL5011)

30 Credit Points

By the end of this course, the student should:

  • Understand the Petrophysical rock properties that affect fluid storage and movement (Porosity, Permeability, Saturation, Mineralogy).
  • Understand the primary wireline and LWD logging tools: Measurement, Fundamental physical principles, and applications.
  • Understand the theory of seismic signal description.
  • Appreciate the main processes involved in a typical seismic data-processing suite.
  • Understand the basic concepts of seismic stratigraphy and the interpretation of seismic data.
Applied Sedimentology and Structural Geology (GL5044)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to develop practical geological skills applicable to the extraction and sequestration of fluids in the subsurface, embracing the subdisciplines of tectonics and structural geology together within clastic and carbonate sedimentology, stratigraphy, and diagenesis; The main basin-forming processes with be introduced to provide context for the sedimentary geology. The basics of structural geology for trap definition and characterisation are developed and applied, deducing structural styles on seismic images and examples of how deformation influences reservoir behavior and trapping mechanisms. The course will show how structural, sedimentological and stratigraphic knowledge is crucial in both exploration and development activities, and is fundamental in making predictive models. It will impart a practical knowledge of depositional environments which form hydrocarbon reservoirs and targets for CO2 sequestration, linking these together using the techniques of sequence stratigraphy as applied to siliciclastic and carbonate settings. The origin and effects of reservoir fluids and subsequent diagenesis will also be covered.

Professional Skills Incorporating International Field Trip (GL5013)

15 Credit Points

By the end of this course, students will be aware of issues in relation to team work, particularly communication, diversity, and organisation. They will be able to communicate technical interpretation effectively by oral, written and electronic methods. They will utilise knowledge gained in the field and classroom to complete a number of industry-facing tasks through assessments based on real life scenarios utilising field-based data and concepts derived from lectures and field observations. These skills will be developed on two fieldtrips, one of which will focus on the exceptional geology exposed in Utah.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5006)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

Production Geology (GL5511)

15 Credit Points

This course aims to deliver key skills and understanding in production geology, in the hydrocarbon industry;

• An appreciation of the role of the geologist during the development and production stages of a hydrocarbon field.

• Knowledge of the types of geological heterogeneity that might impact hydrocarbon production.

• The approaches employed in building qualitative and quantitative geological models of the subsurface, and the difficulties associated with doing this reliably.

• The basis from which to convey the expectations of the reservoir engineer, and procedures that will lead to improved reservoir performance evaluation.

Regional Exploration (GL5568)

15 Credit Points

This course aims to demonstrate the stages in a hydrocarbon exploration project from initial basin screening, through the identification of leads and prospects, to an economic assessment. The course includes components of structural geology, tectonics, organic geochemistry, and basin modelling. It is important to view these activities in an economic context; accordingly, the course aims to explain the role of the geologist in the business of exploration and appraisal of hydrocarbons. This aims to inform the student of important economic and logistical constraints which operate alongside geological details.

Subsurface Storage and Sequestration (GL5572)

15 Credit Points

Lectures and practical exercises will provide you with the knowledge and skills to de-risk the subsurface for storage of energy (in the form of compressed air and hydrogen), and for the safe and long-term storage and sequestration of CO2. Seminars will introduce case-study examples of storage within porous rocks, evaporites and volcanics. The course concludes with a group project that is designed to emulate how a subsurface storage site would be evaluated by a technical team in industry.

Stage 3

Compulsory Courses

Example projects from previous years:

  • Classical and modern approaches to examine reservoir connectivity in a mature field, West Siberia Basin
  • Hydrocarbon Migration and Fill History of the Rosebank Field, West of Shetland, UK
Projects in Energy Geoscience (GL5913)

60 Credit Points

In the final project you are expected to undertake and complete a study of a subsurface problem applicable to the energy industry. The project is an extended, independent, self-directed, piece of practical work integrating and reinforcing the material taught on the programme, and giving a detailed insight into the demands of, and ways of working in the energy industry. The project forms a major part of the MSc’s employability strategy.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £31,000
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,900
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

Shell U.K. Limited is offering up to 5 scholarships for students commencing a Master's programme aligned to the Centre for Energy Transition commencing in the 2023/24 academic year. Find out more.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research

Assessment Methods

Practical work, projects and reports will be assessed continuously throughout the programme. Examinations are held in December and April on the preceding term’s curriculum. An oral examination will be held. Candidates will be expected to present a final report on a relevant and approved major topic.

Why Study Integrated Petroleum Geoscience?

  • The programme is widely regarded as one of the best of its kind in the world and is the only degree in the world that sits at the very heart of the UK energy industry in Aberdeen.
  • IPG graduate can currently be found in leading positions across the international oil and gas industry. 
  • Components of the programme focus on all aspects of upstream geoscience, from initial exploration for new prospects, field appraisal and development, maximising recovery from mature fields, and ultimately considerations for subsurface storage.
  • Provides all-round preparation for a wide range of employment opportunities in a dynamic industry.
  • Develops the knowledge needed to communicate with and work alongside specialists in the other engineering and scientific disciplines involved in the subsurface.
  • Enhances the interpersonal and transferable skills relevant to the energy industry today: developing presentation and report-writing skills; encourage working in multidisciplinary teams; and stimulating creative thinking and problem-solving ability.
  • Hands-on field-based study is a crucial part of the teaching on all our Geology related degrees. This programme is no exception, offering a UK-based field trip in semester 1 and a two-week trip to Utah in semester 2.
  • Involvement of industry experts across the teaching activity during the year including major oil and gas operators.
  • Learn and communicate with specialists from other disciplines, in particular those involved in drilling, reservoir engineering, petrophysics,  and geophysics.
  • There is an opportunity for you to complete your MSc Project dissertation with an energy company, giving you the chance to experience current industry thinking and challenges.
  • Employability: Over the last decade, more than 90% of our MSc graduates have immediately been employed in the oil and gas, energy and applied industries or gone straight on to funded PhD research.
  • Mentorship: All our students are mentored by professionals through an organized mentoring scheme.
  • This programme is generously supported by leading energy industry partners including Equinor, Harbour Energy, NEO Energy and Shell who provide scholarships for Home/rUK students.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Our minimum entry requirement for this programme is a Geology or Geophysics degree at 2:1 (upper second class) UK Honours level (or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth).

Evidence of high marks in the following key subjects is important for admission: Oil & Gas/Petroleum Hydrocarbons (not Engineering-based), Sedimentology, Petroleum Geology, Geophysics, Basin Analysis, Geochemistry and independent project work.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme


Over the last decade, more than 90% of our MSc graduates have been employed in the oil and gas, energy and applied industries or gone straight on to funded PhD research. A large number of graduates from the programme now hold very senior roles in some of the world's major oil and gas companies.

It is clear Hydrocarbons will play an important role in ensuring our energy supply for decades to come and form a crucial role in Net Zero targets. Exploration and production roles will be required going forward and that this remains a vibrant industry to enter. By laying down the fundamentals in subsurface investigation, the course will also equip you with the knowledge to branch into other careers that involve examining the subsurface, including emerging geoenergies such as CCUS.

The dynamic nature of the programme provides all-round preparation for a wide-range of employment opportunities within a mobile, dynamic, wealth-creating industry. You will also benefit from graduating from a programme that truly is recognised as one of the strongest of its kind around the world.

Career Opportunities

  • Exploration Geologist
  • Exploration Geoscientist
  • Petrophysicist
  • Project Geoscientist
  • Regional Exploration Geoscientist
  • Senior Geologist

Industry Links

Organisations that we work with across a number of areas include – Apache, Statoil, Baker Hughes, BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Dana Petroleum,Halliburton, BP, Shell, Pemex and SaudiAramco, to name a few. These links,and more help us deliver world-class teaching and research.

Hear from Business

  • BP


    BP has supported this degree over several years and has identified it as a key course from which to recruit graduates. Aberdeen uses local petroleum industry knowledge to produce well rounded geoscientists that are keen to start their careers.

What our Alumni Say

Moritz Rosenkranz

Moritz Rosenkranz

Moritz Rosenkranz

Job Details
Africa New Ventures Geologist
Graduated 2011

I did my final MSc project with an oil company in Aberdeen that hired me as a Graduate Geologist on the basis of my performance during this time. Hence, the degree has been absolutely crucial in getting my career started.

Wiewwiwun Rojborwornwittaya

Wiewwiwun Rojborwornwittaya

Wiewwiwun Rojborwornwittaya

Job Details
Log Analyst (Cased- Hole Logging)
Graduated 2013

Aberdeen is the oil capital of Europe. Aberdeen broadened my knowledge, skills and experience, and was beneficial for my career path.

Becky Wain

Becky Wain

Becky Wain

Job Details
Graduate Geologist
Graduated 2013

The links with many different industries allows the university to be among the best for research and development so you will know that you are learning the most up to date and relevant information during your studies.

Matthew Warner

Matthew Warner

Matthew Warner

Job Details
Exploration Geologist
Graduated 2013

The school is a leader in Petroleum Geoscience, so its reputation for being the best was a major lure.

Paul Gannon

Paul Gannon

Paul Gannon

Job Details
Graduate Geoscientist
Graduated 2014

The fact that it is a Petroleum Masters degree, located in the heart of an Oil and Gas global hub provides a unique access and insight that no other Masters I researched could provide.

Kirsty Lewis

Kirsty Lewis

Kirsty Lewis

Job Details
Research Geologist , Equinor
Graduated 2020

Courses covered in the masters gave the base-level skills and knowledge required to enter the industry in a geoscience role. The industry mentors and various talks throughout the masters also gave great insight into the industry and allowed for good networking opportunities. The thesis project enabled me to fine-tune my researching skills and improve on my academic writing.

Alistair Swan

Alistair Swan

Alistair Swan

Job Details
Data Analytical Role, Oil and Gas Authority
Graduated 2020

When applying for the course I had high expectations for what was to be expected of the course, and of the standard of teaching. However, the course far exceeded my expectations. The standard of teaching is world-class, the organisation of teaching is seamless and the incorporation of new technology into the teaching means that this course is still at the forefront of the current academic teaching.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor John Howell
Professor Adrian Hartley
Dr Rachel Brackenridge
Programme Coordinator
Dr Nicholas Schofield

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


Image for Utah Field Trip
Utah Field Trip

Utah Field Trip

A truly once in a lifetime opportunity is on offer to all MSc IPG students with the annual Utah field trip.

Image for IPG Dedicated Room
IPG Dedicated Room

IPG Dedicated Room

A teaching class room and a computing room with high spec. blades are dedicated for the MSc IPG students. A range of analytical equipment, state-of-the-art industry software packages are available for the courses and projects.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX