Providing a knowledge of the way the Earth works and is vital to the understanding of the nature and origin of Earth's resources.
This programme is studied on campus.
Designed to bridge the gap between our BSc Geology and Petroleum Geography programme and higher degrees, be they a taught masters course or a PhD. This course also enhances employment prospects by providing hands-on access to technical data and software, much of it arising directly from industry.
You apply for this MGeol as any other UG course, through UCAS (for UK students). If you are already an Aberdeen student, you can transfer on to MGeol if you are following an appropriate BSc (e.g. Geology and Petroleum Geology). Throughout the UK the MGeol is now the most usual route taken by Earth Scientists into a PhD and satisfies European expectations of a pre-PhD university education (opening greater opportunities for higher study abroad). However, the generic training in problem-solving and teamwork are also especially valued by non-Earth Science employers, making the MGeol a good choice for students considering broader career paths. It is also widely used as a bridge into taught vocational masters courses.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 60 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
- UCAS Code
What You'll Study
The courses studied on the programme follow a similar pattern to those covered on the BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology programme. The MGeol is a 5th year and offers up the chance to specialise in different areas.
- Year 1
Two core courses: Earth Through Geological Time, which looks at the evolution of the Earth over the past 4,500 million years, and Earth's Materials, looks at the origin, physical and characteristics of the rocks and minerals that make up the Earth.
- The Earth Through Geological Time (GL1005) - 15 Credit Points
For 4,500 million years the Earth has been, and still is, a continually evolving Dynamic Planet. The record is held in the rocks and fossils of the present continental landmasses and ocean basins. To deduce the history of the planet geologists must apply a large range of scientific principles and disciplines. These disciplines encompass the biological, chemical and physical sciences. The course provides a basic understanding of how the structure and evolution of the planet are deduced and how this information can be used to discover and extract natural resources such as fossil fuels and ores.
- Earth's Materials (GL1505) - 15 Credit Points
Following on from GL1005 this course is an introduction to the petrogenesis of three major rock groups; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Practical classes will centre around the use of polarizing microscope in the identification of the common rock-forming minerals. The relationship between plate tectonics and the petrogenesis of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed.
- Select a further 90 credit points from courses of choice
- Year 2
Four courses all of which are taken for Single and Joint Honours programmes. These include Stratigraphical Principles, Petrology & Mineralogy, Geophysics and Introduction to Field Geology, which is a six-day residential course on the Isle of Arran.
Plus 60 credit points from courses of choice.
- Stratigraphical Principles (GL2014) - 15 Credit Points
This course is concerned with absolute and relative time-scales as used by geologists to date geological events and processes. Absolute dating using isotopic techniques, including the treatment of raw data, forms the cornerstone of the course. The use of the fossil record in relative and absolute dating is integrated with geological maps and absolute dating techniques to give a broad overview of the methods used by geologists to determine sequences of events in Earth’s history.
- Petrology & Mineralogy (GL2015) - 15 Credit Points
Petrology and mineralogy is a compulsory course for geology students. It covers igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology. The course has a strong practical component and involves the preparation of workbooks based on individual study and practical exercises that use hand specimens, microscope work and chemical data.
- Introduction to Field Geology (GL2510) - 15 Credit Points
Field-based observation is an essential skill for understanding the origin of rocks, and is a vital reality-check for understanding how Geological Science is practised and developed. This course gives students experience with techniques for investigating rocks in their natural habitat, studying the crucial relationships between different units, and developing good habits for observing and recording data in the field. Students learn how to perceive geology in 3D, and to develop working hypotheses from incomplete evidence. This is achieved through a five-day residential field trip (takes place in the Easter break) which is preceded by wide-ranging practical classes and explanatory lectures.
- Geophysics (GL2511) - 15 Credit Points
This course establishes the fundamental principles underlying the main methods of geophysical exploration data and their interpretation as applied to Earth Sciences. This includes some basic principles of continuum mechanics and stress and strain as used in structural geology as well some basic principles of geophysical fluid dynamics as relevant to sediment transport and deposition in sedimentology.
- Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice
- Year 3
Year 3 is the start of the Honours degree and all but one course option in each semester is geology focused. At year 3 there are two main residential field courses as well as day field trips.
- Principles of Petroleum Geology (GL3018) - 15 Credit Points
This course introduces students to the key issues surrounding being a geologist in the petroleum industry. With the changing nature of hydrocarbon exploration and production, both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons are considered. The key concepts of the origin and generation of hydrocarbons, reservoir rocks and subsurface reservoir structures (traps) are introduced, together with some of the key techniques used within the industry (e.g. reservoir geology, petrophysics and formation evaluation). Practical issues such as how hydrocarbon wells are drilled and how rocks are sampled in the subsurface are also considered.
- Field and Mapping Techniques (GL3026) - 15 Credit Points
This course is based on a residential field programme that enables students to directly study geological phenomena and relationships in the field. it provides hands-on experience and develops 3-D approaches to thinking and problem solving. The learning environment is remote from the university, and encourages students to learn individually and in small group settings. The course covers a range of techniques typically, geological field mapping, sedimentary logging, and examination of detailed field relationships to enable broader scale conclusions to be drawn. Assessments are undertaken during the actual fieldcourse. The field course is paid for directly by participants.
- Structural Geology & Tectonics (GL3027) - 15 Credit Points
This course covers all main aspects of structural geology and tectonics and entails 1 hour lectures and 3 hour practicals each week, together with a field excursion to relatively local geology. The significant practical component allows 'hands on' learning with worked examples being provided by staff. The field excursion allows students to directly apply skills and techniques that have been covered in preceding lectures and practicals. with worked examples then provided in follow-up sessions. The course covers a spectrum of brittle and ductile structures that are developed across a range of scales from microscopic to mountain belt.
- Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology (GL3520) - 15 Credit Points
This course is in 2 parts. In part 1, the students explore the links between tectonic setting and magmagenesis, with particular reference to geochemical signatures recorded in the rocks. In part 2, students look at how different bulk protolith compositions control the metamorphic mineral paragenesis, with an emphasis on observing and recording evidence from textures in thin sections. In a world of post-peak oil, exploration for new reserves is now moving to igneous and metamorphic rocks, and a thorough understanding of these rocks is essential for the practising geologist.
- Sedimentology (GL3521) - 15 Credit Points
Sedimentology is fundamental to interpreting past climate and geography from the evidence in the rock record of the environment in which sediment was deposited. This course develops the skills needed to make such interpretations by cultivating proficiency at description and process-based interpretation of sedimentary successions, and showing how study of modern environments is used to decipher sedimentary processes. We review the controls on the preservation of sediments to make the rock record, including an introduction to the concepts of genetic (sequence) stratigraphy, and see how this can improve discovery and recovery of water and hydrocarbon resources in the subsurface.
- Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (GL3525) - 30 Credit Points
This course teaches the advanced field skills necessary for all practising geologists, and serves as preparation for the summer mapping project (GL4023). The material builds on that covered in GL3026 (Field & Mapping Techniques 1). Preliminary laboratory classes in Semester 2 are used to prepare students for the field exercises on the 10-day field trip. The students will learn how to systematically collect, analyse and present their own field data as part of wider scientific studies.
- Select a further 15 credit points from from courses of choice
- Year 4
One of the main components of the BSc final year is the 5 week independent field project. You undertake your independent research over the summer between years 3 and 4, and much of the autumn term is focused on working up the report.
- Geological Mapping Project (GL4023) - 45 Credit Points
35 days of individual geological field mapping. During the exercise the student will devise and carry out a research project based on an aspect of the area mapped and submit a final map and report.
- Petroleum Geology: Geochemistry and Geofluids (GL4028) - 30 Credit Points
The course will train students in techniques that can be employed especially in petroleum geology, but also in other branches of geology. The techniques focus on the manipulation and interpretation of geochemical data. A 4-day field excursion is embedded within the course, to illustrate petroleum systems, including work in the evenings on organic biomarker data related to the trip, and collection of samples for subsequent laboratory work. Two portfolios of work will be prepared, on unconventional hydrocarbon sources and basin burial histories. This course is excellent preparation for further training in petroleum geology.
- Surface and Subsurface Digital Imaging (GL4529) - 15 Credit Points
The subsurface course module will cover the input, storage, management, mapping and image process of seismic dataset. The module will be taught through laboratory practicals supported by short introductory lectures to the seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation and that will cover general theories, methodologies and applications. The laboratory exercises will be based on using and implementing Petrel and Midland Valley’s Move software to solve a range of issues and to highlight their use for seismic interpretation and test.
- Geological Synthesis (GL4530) - 15 Credit Points
Students will take a number of approaches to synthesizing information, especially directed to petroleum geology. Six case studies in petroleum exploration topics will be presented, based on the special expertise of staff. Students will write up a synthesis of one study, using sources provided by staff. In groups, students will address topics to be researched, co-ordinated and written up in 7 hours, simulating rapid response to management in an oil company office. There will also be 2 one-day field excursions, each followed by data synthesis and submission of a report.
- Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice
- Year 5
The MGeol year is designed to bridge the gap between our Petroleum Geology BSc programme and higher degrees.
- Integrated Sedimentary Basin Systems (GL5040) - 15 Credit Points
The aim of this course is to develop skills in integrative earth science, pulling together modern research on sedimentary basin evolution and applying this to fieldwork in a sedimentary basin system. Fieldwork is a compulsory part of this course. Fieldwork may involve crossing rough terrain, including steep gradients, rocky areas and along cliffs, and may take place during inclement weather. Any student with concerns about this, who feels adjustments or additional support may be required, should contact the University's Disability Adviser or the Department Disability Co-ordinator as early as possible.
- Geoscience Research Skills and Data Analysis (GL5041) - 15 Credit Points
The aim of this course is to develop critical thinking, presentation and project design skills for research together with an enhancement of the necessary skills in numeracy, data manipulation and data interpretation. The course involves substantial workshop-based and student-led practical work designed to provide direct experience of these key components.
- The Basin Fill (GL5042) - 15 Credit Points
The aim of this course is to develop skills in analysing and interpreting the geological materials that fill sedimentary basins. This course involves a combination of theory and practical work, including lectures, and a 4-5 day field class to sedimentary systems. After completing the course students are expected to be able to:
Make and record primary sedimentological and allied stratigraphic observations;
Recognise and analyse the geological record of a range of depositional environments;
Apply methods of sequence stratigraphy to predict facies variations in space and time;
Relate depositional systems to underlying tectonic and climatic processes.
- Geological Models (GL5043) - 15 Credit Points
The aim of this course is to develop skills in applying geological models in scientific investigations, especially in the prediction of subsurface structure and properties, together with the validation of structural interpretations. The course involves substantial workshop-based and student-led practical work designed to provide direct experience of these key components.
- Research Project (GL5507) - 60 Credit Points
A substantial research project is a key element of the MGeol programme which gives students the opportunity to tackle a piece of original earth science that is supported by structured tutorial sessions. The project can be drawn from any area of geoscience relevant to the central theme of sedimentary basins subject to the availability of data and advisor expertise. At the end of the project you will prepare a technical report, a short public-facing account of your findings and give an illustrated oral presentation. Project work is highly valued by employers and recruiters as indicators of independence and endeavour.
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.
How You'll Study
- Field Trips
- Field Work
- Group Projects
- Individual Projects
- Lab Work
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
- coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
- practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
- written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
- View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme
How the programme is taught
The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
How the programme is assessed
The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
Learning Methodscheduled: 26%
Learning Methodscheduled: 28%
Learning Methodscheduled: 34%
Learning Methodscheduled: 19%
Learning Methodscheduled: 13%
Why Study Geology?
- Aberdeen is the oil and gas capital of Europe making it the most relevant place in the UK to study Geology and Petroleum Geology.
- Understanding Geology is fundamental to the exploration for hydrocarbon resources and this is why we offer a Petroleum Geology degree at Aberdeen. However, we also ensure you have a basic knowledge of the way the Earth works as this is vital to the understanding of the nature and origin of Earth Resources.
- Fieldwork is an important element of our Geology degree, we make the best use of our location in Scotland – close to many great areas for fieldwork.
- Fieldwork locations include - Arran, Skye, NW Highlands and other areas throughout the UK. The MGeol programme includes a trip to Italy.
- Aberdeen is geographically perfect for the study of Geology, having some world-class field sites close at hand which can be conveniently visited on day courses. Many of the UK's top 100 Geological sites are within easy reach from Aberdeen and are visited by our students and staff alike.
- Many past graduates continue to work in the city and links with industry are therefore very strong with employability second to none.
- You will have the chance to join the Geology and Petroleum Geology Student Chapter. This is an active and very social Student Chapter which will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge, skills and networks beyond the classroom.
- To expand skills, knowledge and networks even further, many of our students join the Aberdeen Geology Society.
- 2015 Complete University, Geology at Aberdeen was ranked 6th in the whole of the UK.
- Our BSc degrees are fully accredited by the Geological Society for London.
You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
Apply direct to the MGeol with:
- SQA Highers: AAAB*
- A Levels: ABB*
- IB Points: 34 including 6 at HL*
- Advanced Entry Advanced Highers ABB, A Levels ABB or IB 34 points (6 at HL), including Geology
You will need to achieve a 2:1 (CAS of 15 or higher) in your BSc to get a place on the MGeol programme.
Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.
English Language Requirements
To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
International non-EU Applicants
- 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.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
Each year, over 91% of our Geology graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after graduating.
Our degree(s) in Geology open up career opportunities within the global oil and gas industry, as well as other key sectors. Our degrees are highly respected by the oil and gas industry and our graduates are in high demand.
Geology is also a subject that opens up tremendous opportunities for further study, either at MSc or PhD level.
The Prospects 'Options' Series allows you to discover how best to use your degree. The 'Options' series gives an idea of the skills gained throughout your degree, job options, career areas, further study, case studies, contacts and resources. Those studying for a combined degree might find it useful to look at an 'Option' sheet for each subject.
- Associate Technical Professional
- Borehole Geologist
- Data Manager
- Field Engineer
- Logging Geologist
- Site Engineering Geologist
- Well Planning Engineer
This degree holds accreditation from
You will be taught by research active academic staff, each with vast knowledge and experience of working in and/or with industry. Some of our staff are truly leading and renowned Geology academics. Each one is passionate about the subject and fully supportive.
- Programme Manager
- Professor Robert Butler
More on Our Experts
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.
6th best Geology Department in the UK
6th best Geology Department in the UK - 2016 Complete University Guide
Geology Field Trips
Scotland can claim to be the birthplace of geology and many fundamental ideas and concepts have been inspired by its wonderful field locations. We make full use of this natural resource, running our field training in world-famous locations.Find out more
SPE Student Chapter
Society of Petroleum Engineers, Student Chapter is one of the 230 student chapters around the world. Currently, our chapter is managed by 6 elected committee members and is advised by Dr. Akisanya. We have more than 150 members.Find out more
Aberdeen University Geological Society
Student-led social and professional events and networking.Find out more
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