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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Applied Petroleum Geoscience MSc is a full-time 12-month programme running from September to August each year.
The programme is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and the Energy Institute (EI).