You'll take nine months of taught classes, followed by approximately three months of independent research and dissertation writing in association with industry or research collaborators.
The course begins by reviewing the fundamentals of structural geology, maps, and mathematics, before moving on to the more advanced modules. You’ll receive advanced training in structural geology and tectonics, geological model construction and the practical application of structural geology. You'll also gain training in interpreting sub-surface data, the principles of underlying data acquisition and processing, plus the opportunity to specialise in either hydrocarbon, geothermal or ores within semester two.
Fundamental to the emerging Energy Transition is the need to understand structural controls in the sub-surface, for both renewable and traditional energy acquisition/storage. This course will focus on the practical application of structural geology, preparing you for employment in a breadth of energy and resource-facing industries, including geothermal, hydrothermal, CCS (carbon capture and storage), hydrocarbons, rare minerals and ores, energy and hydrogen storage, and shallow hazard risking.
Some of the modules you'll study are spread over a full semester, while most are short and intensive. They are devised to develop your advanced understanding of key topics,including large-scale tectonics, basin evolution and reservoir scale deformation, and your technical ability through the use of industry-leading software.
You’ll also undertake professional and research level training in structural geology and basin evolution from regional, to basin, to reservoir/deposit scale.
The following fieldwork forms an integral part of the course. It is directly linked to learning outcomes in the classroom. During your studies, you'll have the opportunity to take part in field courses such as:
An introductory field day to Ingleton, North Yorkshire.
A 6-day trip to the Southwest of England. You’ll consider both extensional and compressional tectonics, basin-scale to fault to reservoir scale deformation, fault seal analysis, kinematic and geometric fault evolution, restorations, and 3D fault analysis.
A 12-day trip to the Central Spanish Pyrenees. This trip serves as a summary trip where you'll pull together elements from the entire course. You’ll consider regional scale orogenic deformation, through to basin and fracture scale. You will also examine the influence of sediment-structure interaction in basin evolution, and tie outcrop scale observations with seismic examples.
Additional day trips will focus on Energy Transition topics.
Want to find out more about your modules?
Take a look at the Structural Geology and Geophysics module descriptions for more detail on what you'll study.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Structural Geology with Geophysics MSc in the course catalogue
Structural Geology Independent Project
Applied Geophysical Methods
Advanced Structural Modelling and Data Analytics
Structural Geology in Resources and Geo-Energy
Structural Models and Subsurface Interpretation
Geodynamics and Basin Evolution
3D Structure: Techniques and Visualisation
Learning and teaching
Teaching is varied with some of your modules being very practical based, e.g. fieldwork, presentations and learning new software, while other methods are tutorial or lecture based. You'll also have the opportunity to work individually or as a group. Regardless of method, you'll be supported by substantial online learning material.
You'll be assigned a personal tutor who will maintain contact with you throughout the year and offer pastoral guidance. They will help you to settle into the university and clarify any procedures, as well as helping you prepare for employment upon graduation. You'll also receive administrative support from SEE’s dedicated Student Education Support office.
The School of Earth and Environment’s building gives you access to world-class research, teaching and laboratory facilities. As a Masters student, you'll have access to a 3D visualisation suite and your own dedicated computer facilities, in which you may practice the following:
2D and 3D seismic interpretation and geocellular modelling via Petrel and other industry-standard software.
Structural modelling and restoration through a range of industry-standard software.
A range of structural modelling, restoration, GIS and 3D visualisation programmes using PCs.
Ore specialisation through a resource-sprecific software, such asLeapfrog 3D deposit modeller.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for the School, your programme and modules.
You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.
Active research environment
The School of Earth and Environment is home to five world-leading research institutes, which are at the heart of our active research environment and working to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Throughout your degree, you'll be taught by experts who are leaders in their fields, becoming directly engaged with their cutting-edge research.
We have very strong links within the industry, which you’ll benefit from throughout the year. This includes the provision of scholarships, data for dissertation projects, teaching of short courses and free licenses for industry-standard software.
We’re continually developing new industry relationships; below is a summary of some of the links that we have.
Industrial recruitment visits
We have weekly presentations from companies encompassing the industry spectrum, including the largest multinationals, specialised consultancies, and service companies.This gives you an opportunity to hear technical presentations and information about graduate recruitment schemes and employment opportunities. A number of companies also arrange first round interviews when they visit.
The Programme Leader, Dr Emma Bramham, is a specialist in surface behaviour and subsurface linkage to magnetically driven faulting, specifically in volcanic systems on Mars. She is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has a wealth of industry experience as an offshore geophysicist.
The wider programme team is made up of geoscientists from the School’s Institutes for Applied Geoscience and Geophysics and Tectonics, featuring specialists in data processing, computational geophysics, structural geology and resource exploration.
We have established close links with a number of companies to ensure that your dissertation is relevant and directly linked with industry through placements, projects, data and project supervision.
The culmination of the Masters year is the final presentation in September, where you'll be expected to present the outcomes of your dissertation to an invited audience of industrial and academic contacts.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
Given the variety of learning outcomes and teaching methods, you will be assessed differently between modules but generally assessed on a combination of presentations, practicals and/or formal examinations.
Short courses and software training courses
An increasing number of companies provide short courses to complement your degree, such as Shell, BP, Equipoise and Badleys. Although not a formal component of the degree, they provide an excellent opportunity to interact with industry experts and work on currently active exploration/production data.
Courses range from exploration and development team games, the application of fault seal analysis concepts to exploration data, through to specific software training provided by software companies.