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Exploration and Resource Geology (MESci)

Entry year


This four year degree programme will enable you to specialise in the exploration and management of our natural resources as well as learning valuable research skills.

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Course overview

Globally there is an ever-increasing need for oil, gas, metals and construction materials in a world where resources are finite. Even renewable technologies depend on minerals, metals and other resources.

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. These are the traits we aim to develop in our students through this applied degree programme.

This four-year MESci programme provides a strong basis for investigation and research in Exploration and Resource Geology. It is designed for highly qualified candidates who might aim to pursue a professional research career in academia, government or industry.

The MESci provides a similar applied education to our BSc programme in understanding the Earth’s natural resources and how to discover and manage them. Additionally, you will receive specialist training in hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving, and learn about the process and outcomes of research. You will also be able to undertake a specialist research project in a subject area of your choice and undertake research in the field.

Distinctive features

Study with only UK University to offer undergraduate courses specifically in Exploration and Resource Geology.

Ranked 3rd in the UK for mineral and mining engineering according to the QS World Rankings 2019.

Experience all aspects of Earth Sciences and Geography in the first term before deciding which degree you wish to pursue.

Two overseas fieldtrips with travel and accommodation paid for by the School, as well as plenty of fieldwork in South Wales and the UK.

Spend approximately 63 days on fieldwork during this programme.

Benefit from our established links with local consultancy companies and exploration companies worldwide and our thriving Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter.

Widen your career opportunities with a research dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Accreditations

UCAS codeF623
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.

Delve deeper into specialist topics such as volcanic and magmatic processes or engineering geology with your fourth year research dissertation.

Entry requirements

ABB - BBB including one of the following STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science OR BBB - BBC including two of the following STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science. Please note that General Studies are not accepted for entry.  

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM - DMM in BTEC Applied Science, Sports and Exercise Science, Health Science, Animal Science or ICT.

34-32 points or 665 in Higher Level subjects to include one STEM Science subject (Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science) OR 32-30 points or 655 in Higher Level subjects to include two STEM Science subjects (Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science).

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE Maths Grade B/5 and GCSE English Language Grade C/4. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

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

Course specific equipment

On our fieldtrips we go out in all weathers and sometimes access rough terrain. You will need to bring warm clothing, all-over waterproofs and proper walking boots (with ankle supports and strong, grippy soles). We will provide you with specialist equipment for working in the field, such as high-visibility jackets, hard hats and compasses.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

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 2020 and this page will be updated by end of October 2020 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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

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

Modules in year two will provide you with the tools to understand exploration geology and the specialist skills required for fieldwork in this area. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

You will go on extensive field training during this year and learn a wide range of practical skills that are 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 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 complete core modules in both mineral and hydrocarbon resources, visit ore deposits, and take part in an overseas field course. You will meet visiting guest lecturers and learn to design a professional exploration project, as well as learning about how research is initiated, funded and executed.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Isotope GeoscienceEA321410 credits
Dynamic EarthEA321510 credits
Volcanological processesEA321610 credits
Applied MineralogyEA321710 credits
Applied Structural GeologyEA321810 credits
Advanced Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA321910 credits
Engineering GeologyEA322010 credits
GeohazardsEA322110 credits
Environmental LawEA322210 credits
Principles of HydrogeologyEA324110 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.

You can choose from a list of projects or develop your own and contact a researcher to see if they can supervise it. In consultation with staff, you may seek to publish the principal results of your research project in the scientific literature.

You will also 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.
Pembrokeshire coast fieldwork
Our Exploration and Resource Geology programme is highly practical and incorporates specialist fieldwork and IT skills necessary to become a professional exploration geologist.

Learning and assessment

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.

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.
Exploration Geology fieldwork in Dolaucothi Gold Mine
On this programme you will learn about the mining legacy in the UK and how to manage existing natural resources.

Careers

Career prospects

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. Our graduates are in great demand in the mineral and hydrocarbon exploration industry, because they are trained in specialist fieldwork and the IT skills needed by a professional exploration geologist. 92% of our graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduation according to the latest data, with others taking time out to travel (DLHE 2016/17).

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. Employers included local government and companies and organisations such as Gemcom Software, SRK Exploration, Kuwait Oil Company and Anglo American.

Jobs

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

Fieldwork

Within the UK, we currently visit north Wales to investigate mineral deposits, southwest England to study sedimentary basins and the tin mining legacy, and Pembrokeshire, where you will learn to draw detailed geological maps using geological and geophysical techniques.

Further afield we usually visit Spain where rock exposure is completely different from the UK, and Cyprus, where you will be able to gain a broader view of the formation and exploitation of ore and hydrocarbon deposits and apply all the essential practical skills needed to become a professional exploration geologist.

All of the travel and accommodation on our fieldtrips is currently already included in your tuition fees. We will only ask you for a small contribution towards food and drink for each trip.

Cyprus exploration geology fieldwork
Cyrpus is a favourite location for exploration and resource geology fieldwork.
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