Study Geological Sciences

Geology attracts people who wish to study the dynamics of the Earth we live on, its resources, and the most economic and sustainable way to use these resources. They will also learn to use a wide range of skills, from fieldwork through to computer workstations. The best way to get started on a career as a Geologist is to embark on a one-year MSc course in the UK.


Study Geological Sciences

Why do I need a MSc or higher degree to get a job in Geology?" While a BSc provides the basics, it does not teach specialist skills for careers such as the petroleum and environmental industries. In addition, the competition for jobs is now so great that BSc candidates will find themselves at a disadvantage during selection compared to candidates with an MSc.

Survey

In a recent survey of UK and international employers, C.M. Heath found that one third of geoscience employers considered the MSc to be the minimum requirement for their companies. Nearly two thirds thought there was trend towards the MSc becoming the minimum degree requirement for employment as a geologist. In addition to specialist geological training, a good masters course will also provide you with training in 'soft skills', such as oral and written communication, teamwork, data handling and presentation that are sought by employers. This combination ensures that MSc candidates are well-placed on the global market for a career in Geology - and that most UK Geology MSc courses have a large proportion of overseas students.

Geology MSc courses are regarded as 'vocational' - they are designed to provide students with the skills needed for employment in different sectors of the Geological Sciences. There are about sixty MSc courses in Geological Sciences currently on offer in the UK, broadly grouped under the following headings: Petroleum Geology, Mining and Industrial Minerals, Environmental Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Computing and Geographic Information Systems, Micropalaeontology, Engineering Geology, Hydrogeology, and Soil Mechanics.

"Which university should I apply to?"

Important aspects include the academic standing of the course and university, its track record in finding employment for graduates, and the location. This information can be found through prospectuses from your local British Council office, writing to your final choices for course details and application forms. However, if you have Internet access, the quickest route is via the Geological Society's websites: www.geolsoc.org.uk and www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/ukinfo/uk.map.html.

Within each subject area, MSc courses will have their own emphases and structure. Most Geology courses are divided into a taught and a project-based component; different courses will have varying amounts of field studies and industrial visits or placements. A combination of excellence in both teaching and research should ensure a good quality MSc course. An MSc in the UK is normally completed in twelve months. Your local British Council offices are probably the best sources of information for overseas students on scholarships and living costs in the UK, but remember that British Council scholarships need to be applied for twelve months before the start of the course.

MSc courses are demanding both in terms of time and expense, but recent experience shows they are the best rung onto the geological employment ladder. They will help you to further your career if you are already employed, or provide retraining in modern techniques and skills.

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