Exploration and Resource Geology (MESci)
The four year MESci course at Cardiff involves hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research.
The MESci builds upon the equivalent BSc programme by means of a fourth year which enables you to undertake a specialist research project in the area of your choice. It is designed for high-quality candidates who might aim to pursue a research career in academia, government or industry.
Cardiff is one of the few universities to run undergraduate courses specifically in Exploration and Resource Geology, which has evolved from the long mining tradition in South Wales.
Globally there is an ever-increasing need for oil, gas, metals and construction materials in a world where resources are finite. Our degree builds on a solid grounding in geology and focuses on the applied understanding of exploration of the Earth’s natural resources.
The course provides knowledge of processes that lead to the formation of a natural resource, be it a hydrocarbon or a metalliferous deposit. Between years two and three it also includes either an industrial placement or an applied geological mapping project.
Because they are trained in specialist fieldwork and the IT skills needed by a professional exploration geologist, our graduates are in great demand in the mineral exploration industry.
The fieldwork activities for this course are similar to those for our Geology programme but with an applied aspect. In year one the main location is Pembrokeshire. In year two students currently visit South West England to study sedimentary basins and the tin mining legacy and northern Spain, where rock exposure is completely different from the UK.
In year three you may visit Cyprus or another location, where all that you have learned previously about the formation and exploitation of ore deposits can be synthesised into a picture that truly shows the essential practical skills needed by exploration geologists
An exploration geologist needs a broad range of skills including an aptitude for fieldwork, good IT skills and the ability to make key decisions from limited information. This applied and vocationally-orientated course will prepare you for a potentially exciting professional career as a geologist working in the global hydrocarbon, metalliferous or bulk mineral industries.
For students interested in professional research careers in Exploration and Resources Geology, the four-year MESci provides a strong basis for investigation and research in this subject.
You will be studying in a School which has a strong research focus with sophisticated analytical equipment routinely used on site and the involvement of research-active staff in course design and delivery.
There are a variety of modules on offer in areas of academic research, applied studies including placement opportunities.
We have a common first term allowing you to experience aspects of Earth Sciences and Geography before finally deciding upon an honours degree course.
The generic nature of the course, provides professional skills appropriate for a range of career pathways or advanced training options and the School has links with local consultancy companies and exploration companies worldwide.
We have a thriving Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter that links us to this international society and allows us to attract specialist visiting lecturers and arrange field visits to working quarries and mines such as Navan in Ireland.
In year four you will complete a master’s research dissertation which can widen your career opportunities.
|Next intake||September 2017|
|Typical places available||The School typically has approx 150 places available.|
|Typical applications received||The School typically receives approx 740 applications.|
For detailed entry requirements see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.
|Typical A level offer||AAB. At least two A-levels should be a Science, Geography, Geology or Maths.|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||WBQ Core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level, excluding the required Science/Geology/Geography A-level(s). At least two A-levels should be a Science, Geography, Geology or Maths.|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||30-32 points, including at least two Sciences at Higher Level.|
|Other qualifications||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.|
This is a full-time four-year programme which follows the BSc route with the equivalent title for the first three years, but with additional small-group teaching on the methodology and philosophy of research. In year four you will undertake a major research project as well as taking specialised optional modules.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.
The programme structure is very flexible. All of our Earth and Ocean Science degree programmes share a common first semester. This is designed to give you a sound foundation in Earth sciences upon which to build. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.
You will study the following general topics: The Sedimentary System; Earth Science Fieldwork; Earth Science Skills; Life Through Time; Earth Materials; Earth and Planetary System Science; Formation of the British Isles; Natural Resources and Energy; Geological Maps, Sections and Structures and Dangerous Earth.
At the end of your first semester you will decide whether to continue with your original degree choice or choose another of the School’s Earth Science degrees.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Earth and Planetary System Science||EA1101||20 credits|
|The Sedimentary System||EA1102||10 credits|
|Dangerous Earth||EA1103||10 credits|
|Natural Resources and Energy||EA1106||10 credits|
|Formation of the British Isles||EA1107||10 credits|
|Life Through Time||EA1108||10 credits|
|Geological Maps, Sections and Structures||EA1110||10 credits|
|Earth Materials||EA1112||10 credits|
|Research Tutorial with Earth Science Skills||EA1124||10 credits|
|MESci Earth Science Fieldwork||EA1125||20 credits|
You take a suite of modules aimed at providing the basic tools for understanding exploration geology and for fieldwork. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.
You will study the following general topics: Data Acquisition and Analysis; Applied GIS (Geographic Information System); Structural Geology; Metamorphic Geology; Plate Tectonics; Geophysical Exploration; Geological Resources; Field Skills in Exploration and Resource; Igneous Geology; Sedimentary Processes, Petrology and Stratigraphy.
Extensive field training during this year currently includes residential trips to Dorset, Cornwall and Spain. During these trips you will learn a wide range of practical skills that are an essential training for exploration geologists.
In the summer between years two and three you are encouraged to undertake an industrial placement project with an exploration company in the UK or overseas. Alternatively, you can complete an exploration project or geological mapping topic under our academic supervision.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Data Acquisition and Analysis||EA2101||10 credits|
|Geophysical Exploration||EA2107||10 credits|
|Structural Geology||EA2108||10 credits|
|Plate Tectonics||EA2109||10 credits|
|Geological Resources||EA2111||10 credits|
|Exploration and Resource Geology Field skills and Research Tutorial||EA2119||20 credits|
|Metamorphic Geology||EA2124||10 credits|
|Igneous Geology||EA2125||10 credits|
|Applied GIS||EA2130||10 credits|
|Sedimentary Processes, Petrology and Stratigraphy||EA2135||20 credits|
- In your third year, you will write up a research report on your placement or mapping project, in addition to completing a specific MESci research activity.
- You will learn how research is formulated, funded and executed.
- You will meet visiting guest lecturers and learn to design a professional exploration project.
- You will also follow core modules in both mineral and hydrocarbon resources and go on an overseas field course.
Optional modules will vary from year to year and there are sometimes restrictions in availability due to lack of demand, oversubscription, timetable clashes or the need for you to have taken certain other modules first.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Volcanic and Magmatic Processes||EA3101||10 credits|
|Exploration and Resource Geology Project||EA3112||30 credits|
|Exploration Placement Project||EA3113||30 credits|
|Water Resources||EA3117||10 credits|
|Advanced Sedimentology and Stratigraphy||EA3118||10 credits|
|Engineering Geology||EA3123||10 credits|
|Structural Techniques||EA3131||10 credits|
|Environmental Law||EA3134||10 credits|
|Hazards and Risk||EA3139||10 credits|
|Applied Mineralogy||EA3144||10 credits|
You will complete a master’s research dissertation in any Exploration and Resource Geology related topic that can be supervised in the School. You will work one-to-one with a research supervisor and probably interact with a research group.
Since the School is very large and of international research standard, this means you have a wide choice of dissertation topic. Many students develop their own topics and contact a researcher to see if they can supervise it. Alternatively a list of projects is published each year for you to choose from.
In addition to a year four field course and the Research Project module you have a choice of optional modules.
In consultation with staff, you may seek to publish the principal results of your research project in the scientific literature.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Contaminated Land||EA4103||10 credits|
|Evolution of Antarctica||EA4107||10 credits|
|Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis||EA4108||10 credits|
|Process Geomorphology - from Source to Sink||EA4110||10 credits|
|Advanced Metallogenesis||EA4118||10 credits|
|IPCC: The Physical Science Basis||EA4123||10 credits|
How will I be taught?
The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching, delivered by lecturers who are experts in their field. In addition the School is able to maintain a friendly and informal approach brought about by staff-student interactions during fieldwork.
The modular course structure enables the School to offer an exciting and relevant spectrum of vocational degrees. These cover a wide range of modern geosciences from the traditional geology approach to the more industry-focused exploration and resource geology through to the equally applied environmental geoscience, environmental geography and water-borne marine geography.
The first semester is common to all degree schemes and you then confirm your chosen programme in January of your first year. This offers you a chance to sample university teaching styles before committing to a particular degree or pathway.
Core and advanced knowledge and understanding are acquired via a diverse range of teaching and learning styles including lectures, practicals, seminars, fieldwork, laboratory projects, guided study and small group tutorials with a research scientist.
For the first three years the taught content parallels the relevant BSc degree with, in addition, specialist research training including:
- in year one a literature review and analysis
- in year two a research poster
- in year three an understanding of how research questions are formulated, funded and executed.
- in year four an extended research project.
The fieldwork programme spans all four years and includes both residential and day trips in the UK and abroad.
Year two posters and year four oral presentations of research come together for the annual MESci Research Conference which is open to all staff and students.
How will I be supported?
All students are assigned a personal tutor who will hold timetabled tutorials. Your tutor will be a specialist in your degree programme and will advise you on both academic and pastoral matters.
You will have a nominated supervisor for your major final year project.
You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are available through the Learning Central ‘Personal Development Planning’ module.
The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.
You will receive written feedback for written coursework assignments, oral feedback for assessed presentations.
How will I be assessed?
Modules will be assessed to test knowledge and understanding through:
- essay assignments
- laboratory practicals
- geological reports, technical data representation, geological map interpretation
- oral presentations
- formal examinations.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.
- technical laboratory and fieldwork skills
- communication and presentation skills, both oral and written
- ability to collect, analyse and interpret data
- independent learning and research skills through your major project and other modules
- a commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
- problem solving, reliability, loyalty, social conduct, tact, attitude to learning and research, leadership, resilience, decision-making and reasoning.
Based on responses from the 2013-14 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 96% of our graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation, with others taking time out to travel.
Employers included local government and companies and organisations such as Gemcom Software, SRK Exploration, Kuwait Oil Company and Anglo American.
Typical career destinations for graduates in Exploration Geology include engineering geologist, geological consultant, exploration geologist, field geologist, mineralogist, mineral exploration, geological consultant, field mapping, oil geologist, mining software analyst, geophysical surveying and the water industry.
- Engineering Geologist
- Geological Consultant
- Exploration Geologist
- Field Mapping
- Mineral Exploration
- Field Geologist
- Mining Software Analyst
- Geophysical Surveying
UK and EU students (2017/18)
Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.
Students from outside the EU (2017/18)
Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.
Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?
Specialist equipment for working in the field and any other equipment appropriate for your degree will be provided by the School.
Fieldwork is an integral part of this degree, providing hands-on experience in real field situations. You will be out in the field with us during the first week of teaching, taking part in a variety of induction events which will help embed you in Cardiff, meet other students on your course in informal surroundings, meet some of your lecturers away from the constraints of the classroom and see some of our local field areas.
Throughout year one you will undertake various local day trips as well as a residential fieldtrip, learning field skills such as sedimentary logging, mapping and structural analysis.
In year two students currently go on residential trips to Dorset, Penzance and Spain as well as undertaking various local day field trips. We will train you how to accurately make and record field observations, take field measurements and produce professional reports.
Between year two and year three all students undertake a five-week individual project. As an Exploration and Resource Geologist you may do an independent placement that allows you to carry out a project in an exploration company to include some form of data collection including geological mapping, core logging, seismic interpretation, or evaluation modelling (which can take place anywhere in the world. We have recently had students in Australia, Peru, Senegal, Namibia, Alaska, Greenland, Finland, RSA and China as well as based locally).
Alternatively you may do a mapping project (working in a pair in various national and international locations – current areas include Spain, France, Scotland, North Wales and the Pennines). You will be supervised by a member of staff and currently all students are visited in the field.
In your third year the fieldwork programme is more research-led, focusing on interpretative skills, field techniques, teamwork projects and independent study. Again you will undertake field day trips to local areas and also a residential trip to examine mineralisation, usually in North Wales and Cyprus.
In your fourth year your residential field trip takes place in an area in the UK or abroad selected by the student cohort. In recent years the MESci field trip has taken place in the northern Pennines, Malta, Ibiza, Sicily, Naples and Southern Spain. Students design and carry out field-based projects to explore their individual research interests with academic staff on hand to direct and help out.
Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.