Exploration and Resource Geology (MESci)

Entry year

2018/19 2019/20

The four year MESci course at Cardiff involves hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research.

Globally there is an ever-increasing need for oil, gas, metals and construction materials in a world where resources are finite. Our Exploration and Resource Geology degree builds on a solid grounding in geology and focuses on the applied understanding of exploration of the Earth’s natural resources.

The programme 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.

The MESci builds upon the equivalent BSc course by means of a fourth year that provides specialist training in hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving, whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research. You will undertake a specialist research project in a subject area of your choice, working with a member of staff in their area of expertise, and undertake research in the field during the MESci field course. It is designed for highly qualified candidates who might aim to pursue a research career in academia, government or industry.

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 and hydrocarbon 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 currently 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 mineral deposits in North Wales and Cyprus or another location, where much that you have learned previously about the formation and exploitation of ore and hydrocarbon 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 Resource Geology, the four-year MESci provides a strong basis for investigation and research in this subject.

Distinctive features

This MESci degree will provide you with the opportunity to learn in a School which has a strong research focus with sophisticated analytical equipment routinely used on site.

This programme involves a common first term allowing you to experience aspects of Earth Sciences and geography before finally deciding upon which honours degree course you wish to pursue.

We currently offer two overseas fieldtrips on each programme with travel and accommodation costs covered by your tuition fees

The School has links with local consultancy companies and exploration companies worldwide and we have a thriving Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter that links us to this international society and lets us attract specialist visiting lecturers and arrange field visits to working quarries and mines such as in Ireland and Scandanavia

In year four you will complete a master's research dissertation, working on a topic of your choice, which provides a range of skills beyond that provided by the BSc, and can widen your career opportunities.

I wanted to study geology and travel. The MESci Geology (International) course at Cardiff incorporated these two criteria, with the added bonus of being taught key research skills. I spent my 3rd year in America at the University of Wyoming. Every University department is different so by studying abroad I was taught different aspects of geology by a wide variety of experts, an experience that allowed me to make friends from all over the world, network in a professional field, expand my knowledge and experience different cultures.

Eva Marquis, MESci International Geology 2011

Key facts

UCAS CodeF623
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
AccreditationsGeological Society
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.
Contact

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB, including two sciences (from Chemistry, Physics, Biology,Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Physical Education (PE), Psychology, or Sports Science) and, where applicable, a pass in the practical element of the science A level. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points, including two sciences at HL from Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Psychology, Physical Education (PE), or Sports Science
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsYou will require GCSE Maths at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. 

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2018 and this page will be updated by end of October 2018 to reflect the changes.

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 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018. You are advised to check the final module descriptions when they are available to ensure that the programme meets your needs.

Year one

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.

At the end of your first semester you will decide whether to continue with your original degree choice or choose another of our Earth science degrees.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planet EarthEA120110 credits
Earth Surface ProcessesEA120220 credits
Dangerous EarthEA120310 credits
Geographical Information SystemsEA120410 credits
Earth Science Field SkillsEA120520 credits
Georesources and EnergyEA120810 credits
Earth MaterialsEA120920 credits
Geological Maps and StructuresEA121010 credits
History of LifeEA121110 credits

Year two

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.

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 your 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 titleModule codeCredits
Exploration Case StudiesEA220120 credits
Solid EarthEA220420 credits
Geological ResourcesEA220510 credits
GeophysicsEA220610 credits
Structural GeologyEA220710 credits
Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA220820 credits
Geoscience Data AnalysisEA220910 credits
Field Mapping and Research TutorialEA222320 credits

Year three

In your third year, you will write up a research report on your placement or mapping project. You will also follow core modules in both mineral and hydrocarbon resources, visit ore deposits (currently in North Wales) and take part in an overseas field course - currently to Cyprus.

You will meet visiting guest lecturers and learn to design a professional exploration project.

The core MESci research skills module demonstrates how research is initiated, funded and executed.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Exploration and Resource Geology FieldcourseEA311110 credits
Petroleum Geology and Basin AnalysisEA311920 credits
Ores and Ore GenesisEA312420 credits
Research SkillsEA323710 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Volcanic and Magmatic ProcessesEA310110 credits
Exploration and Resource Geology ProjectEA311230 credits
Exploration Placement ProjectEA311330 credits
Water ResourcesEA311710 credits
Advanced Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA311810 credits
Engineering GeologyEA312310 credits
Structural TechniquesEA313110 credits
Environmental LawEA313410 credits
Hazards and RiskEA313910 credits
Applied MineralogyEA314410 credits
Isotope GeoscienceEA321410 credits

Year four

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 may interact with a research group.

Since the School is 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 consultation with staff, you may seek to publish the principal results of your research project in the scientific literature.

In addition the Research Project module, you will take the year four field course, where you design and carry out a field study, learn how computer modelling can be used in Earth sciences, and participate in a student-led module on the evolution of planet Earth.

Module titleModule codeCredits
MESci Research ProjectEA420170 credits
MESci FieldcourseEA420220 credits
Numerical Modelling in Earth and Ocean SciencesEA420310 credits
Building Planet EarthEA420420 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching, delivered by lecturers who are at the cutting edge of international research. 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 degree courses. These cover a wide range of modern geosciences from traditional geology to the more industry-focused exploration and resource geology, through to the equally applied environmental geoscience and water-borne marine geography.

The first semester is common to all degree programmes and you then confirm your chosen course in January of your first year. This offers you a chance to sample university teaching styles before committing to a particular degree or pathway.

Teaching in the School is conducted by a variety of methods:

  • formal lectures
  • laboratory practicals
  • IT practicals
  • fieldwork.

Formal lectures and practical classes have an emphasis on students taking ownership of their own learning programme and ‘learning how to learn’.

Fieldwork is a vital format for understanding the Earth sciences and all students go on one residential field trip during year 1 and two residential trips during each of years 2 and 3 as well as numerous specialist day trips.

How will I spend my time? (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

37%

Guided independent study

63%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

43%

Guided independent study

57%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

12%

Guided independent study

88%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

All students are assigned a personal tutor who will hold timetabled tutorials: fortnightly in year one and monthly during other years. 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.

Where facilities exist your lectures will be videoed for you to further study in your own time.

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.

Modern exploration geology has a heavy focus on GIS prospectivity evaluation, so there is space for professionals that are essentially desk bound. For disabled students we can offer a 3D modelling project instead of field mapping.

FEEDBACK

You will receive written feedback for written coursework assignments and oral feedback for assessed presentations.

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed to test knowledge and understanding through:

  • practical assignments
  • essay assignments
  • Fieldwork
  • Geological reports, technical data representation, geological map interpretation
  • oral presentations
  • dissertation
  • formal examinations.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

59%

Practical exams

19%

Coursework

22%

Year 2

Written exams

44%

Practical exams

20%

Coursework

36%

Year 3

Written exams

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

Year 4

Written exams

23%

Practical exams

2%

Coursework

75%

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • A rigorous understanding of the scientific process, including the design and testing of hypotheses, and the formulation of new concepts
  • A comprehensive understanding of the laboratory, field, and/or computational methodologies relevant to exploration and resource geology
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the field of geology and an appreciation of its wider context within Earth system science
  • Systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of geology and the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to critically analyse the scientific literature, and synthesise current knowledge and understanding of geological topics
  • The ability to design appropriate methodology to tackle a research question
  • The ability to critically analyse and interpret data, and to use the data to support the development of new concepts
  • The ability to solve complex scientific problems both creatively and independently
  • The ability to use knowledge and scientific, evidence-based methods in data assessment and problem solving

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to independently plan complex projects
  • The ability to rigorously and effectively communicate scientific results in both oral and written formats
  • Practical geological skills, such as constructing a geological map and rock recognition, both in hand specimen and thin sections, and recognition of ore deposits
  • Practical skills in information technology, geographical information systems, digital geology applications, fieldwork, data and project management
  • The ability to go out into the field and explore for natural resources using all the techniques listed above, including geological mapping

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Collection, evaluation, synthesis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data
  • The ability to work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • Effective time management and organisational skills
  • Independent learning and research skills through your major research project and other modules
  • A commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
  • Personal and professional attributes consistent with a research career in academia, industry or government.

Based on responses from the 2016-17 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 90% of Earth science 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.

Jobs

  • Engineering Geologist
  • Geological Consultant
  • Exploration Geologist
  • Field Mapping
  • Mineralogist
  • Mineral Exploration
  • Field Geologist
  • Mining Software Analyst
  • Geophysical Surveying

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£19,950None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Additional costs

Although fieldwork is free you may be asked to make a small contribution if food is provided.

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.

Accomodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

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