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The award
MSc

How long you will study
12 months

Domestic course fees
GBP 12680

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
GBP 27600

All study options

About Applied Petroleum Geoscience at Heriot-Watt University

The Applied Petroleum Geoscience programme is a unique programme in subsurface geoscience and exploration at Heriot-Watt University. The programme mainly focuses on exploration petroleum geoscience, but it is closely linked with other MSc programmes and research groups in petroleum engineering and reservoir geology at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University. The programme is also applicable to non-petroleum subsurface geoscience subjects, such as CO2 storage and groundwater flow.

Programme content

The Applied Petroleum Geoscience degree provides participants with a thorough training in aspects of subsurface geology, geophysics and geo-engineering, relating to the exploration, appraisal and development of subsurface resources. Although the programme mainly concentrates on exploration for hydrocarbon resources, and delineation of hydrocarbon reservoirs in the subsurface, the skills gained in this subject are applicable to all subsurface geoscience areas, including groundwater exploration, waste disposal or CO2 sequestration.

The programme is deliberately intensive, typically consisting of working a full 5 days per week of lectures and practical work, including labs or tutorial exercises designed to teach practical skills in addition to learning theory. Project work, both as groups and individually, forms part of the assessment for the programme.

Two fieldtrips are a permanent part of the course, the second as part of the Wessex Basin Team Project which aims to integrate basin scale and reservoir scale exploration tasks, similar to those that students will encounter working in Oil and Gas employment. Other fieldtrips and visits to local core viewing facilities (hosted in the neighbouring British Geological Survey facilities) will be arranged on a more ad hoc basis.

Our Students

Students on the Applied Petroleum Geoscience programme come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including directly from undergraduate degrees and also from years to decades of experience in the Oil and Gas industry. Our students come to us from all parts of the world, in the last few years the students in all three MSc programmes within the Institute of Petroleum Engineering have come from over 30 different nations.

Our current students have formed a student chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), which offers talks and other events throughout the year.

Industry links

Students on the Applied Petroleum Geoscience MSc will benefit from the excellent links with industry and research activities by the staff at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering. The Institute has an industry based Strategic Advisory Board who monitors activities in the wider context of the needs of the industry, and in addition some classes and also extra tutorial sessions are conducted by both retired and active staff from a variety of petroleum companies.

Career opportunities

Past students on the Applied Petroleum Geoscience MSc have gone into further research (PhD programmes in the UK and overseas). Others have gone on to work in geoscience departments of major Oil and Gas companies as well as industry service organisations, contractors and small local companies. Companies who have employed our past students include Shell and Petroceltic here in the UK, and a number of other companies worldwide including Tullow, GNPC, and Total.

Programme duration

The Applied Petroleum Geoscience MSc is a full-time 12-month programme running from September to August each year.

Accreditation

The programme is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and the Energy Institute (EI).

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 12680International course feesGBP 27600

Notes about fees for this course

Status*Full-time
Scotland / Non-UK EU£12,680
England / Northern Ireland / Wales£12,680
Overseas£27,600

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

** Fee per course

Additional fees information

All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes full electronic versions of the course notes, full access to additional material available via our virtual learning environment, field trips and any day trips arranged as part of the course.

Students should budget additional funds sufficient to cover living expenses such as accommodation, travel to and from the university, food, clothing and leisure pursuits.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships.

Additional scholarship information

Industrial sponsorship

Many of our past students have gained funding from industry sources, both those companies involved in oil exploration and production in their home countries or larger international companies that offer scholarship programs. For example:

  • Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
  • Bolahak, Kazakhstan
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Chevening scholarships
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Shell
  • ExxonMobil

There are also a number of Industrial sponsorships available every year to UK and EU students. All eligible applicants (generally EU/UK students) automatically have their CVs or applications sent to participating petroleum companies, who offer a limited number of sponsorships each year to our students, across all three programmes. The number of sponsorships offered will vary depending on the companies' needs and situations, and the quality of the student applicants and are given our after an interview event that takes place during the summer before the course starts.

Entry requirements

For MSc level entry, students must hold: a good honours or BSc degree in a relevant Geoscience discipline such as Geology or Geophysics from a UK or Overseas University. We look specifically for proven ability in basic geology or petroleum geology courses, as well as credits in maths courses. Parts of the courses listed above require higher or university level mathematics backgrounds.

In addition to the academic qualifications, motivation, industrial experience and personality are taken into consideration.

How to apply

You can apply for this programme online. The programme director will sometimes wish to contact students by telephone to check details of your application. Please provide a valid contact telephone number in your online application. 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual courses within a programme based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the courses for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning & Teaching Support Team via egis-enquiries@hw.ac.uk, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.

The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their programme of study.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English for IELTS 5.5 (with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 12 weeks English for IELTS 5.5 (with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English for IELTS 5.5 (with minimum 5.5 in reading and writing, and minimum 5.0 in listening and speaking).
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