Geography, Geology and the Environment
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- / Faculty of Natural Sciences /
- School of Geography, Geology and the Environment /
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- Postgraduate taught courses /
- MSc Geoscience Research
MSc Geoscience Research
- Course Aims
- Entry Requirements
- Course Content
- Teaching and Assessment
- Additional Costs
- Funding and Bursaries
- Employment Case Studies
- Note to Applicants
The course consists of five modules spread over three semesters, including an extensive research project in geoscience, environmental science or physical geography (see "Projects" tab above).
Project areas range from applied and environmental geophysics to igneous petrology, volcanology, Quaternary environments, palaeoclimates, palaeoceanography, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology, sedimentology, structural geology, palaeontology, renewable and alternative energy, and petroleum geoscience.
A distinct feature of our programme is the opportunity for UK students to complete a placement with a UK-based industrial partner or at one of several European and North American partner institutions, all of which have established research links with Keele staff. International students undertake their research and placement at Keele University under the supervision of international experts in their chosen research area.
The emphasis on the substantial ‘hands on’ research training with the provision of an international placement option makes this programme unique within the Higher Education Sector in the UK and will thus increase your employability. We believe that this will help to develop future employees with an international outlook.
The MSc Geoscience Research programme at Keele offers the added value of My Keele Journey, which develops students' intellectual, personal and professional capabilities (Keele Graduate Attributes) through both subject-specific and generic workshops and activities.
Download our MSc Geoscience Research course poster.
Take a look at our video (opens in new tab).
Aims of the Course
The principal aim of this Masters course is to develop your generic and specific research skills in an area of the Geosciences or related scientific disciplines, which will enhance your employment prospects. On completion of the programme you will:
- Have a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the chosen research area in Geosciences;
- Gain a conceptual understanding to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline area;
- Be able to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses;
- Possess developed scientific skills and knowledge, and transferable skills, in a UK-based or international workplace setting;
- Have a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research;
- Attain organisational and commercial awareness.
Students taking research projects in Europe currently are eligible for European Funding under the ERASMUS+ Scheme and students are encouraged to complete a Europass to record their European mobility activity. All students are required to pursue the University’s ‘Realise’ scheme which enables them to identify their personal and professional skills and development needs.
Applicants should have an honours degree in a Geoscience related scientific discipline, or equivalent qualification. The minimum degree category for entry is 2:2 (or international equivalent). Students who can evidence alternative professional qualifications and/or relevant experience/training will also be considered.
In addition, acceptance on the course is subject to having an agreed research project and project supervisor. Places with industrial partners and at individual host institutions overseas are limited and subject to availability. A placement at a specific host institution (or industrial partner) is not guaranteed and allocated on a competitive basis after discussion with the potential host supervisor (or industry contact). A decision on a particular student placement is made at the time of application to the course. In the case that an agreement to host a student cannot be reached with the host institution (or industrial partner), students may be accepted on the MSc Geoscience Research to carry out a research project in the chosen field at Keele University.
Anyone applying from a country where English is not the first language is required to show evidence of English language competence, obtaining at least an IELTS score of 6.5 (with no subtest lower than 5.5) or hold a previous degree which has been taught and examined in English, unless the specific entry for the course indicates otherwise.
A comparative IELTS score to other English Language qualifications is available on the Keele International website.
The MSc programme is full-time for 12 months, starting in September.
The programme comprises five modules including a research project/placement which is undertaken either at Keele University or on placement with a host institution overseas:
- Research Skills (30 credits)
- Literature Review (15 credits)
- Modern Language Module* or Academic English for Postgraduate Students** or Geoscience Option Module*** (15 credits)
- Research Project Design and Management (30 credits)
- Dissertation (90 credits)
*Students undertaking their research project at a host institution overseas will normally take an appropriate modern language module or, if available, a language and culture module for their international placement, or are encouraged to sign up for an Online Linguistic Support (OLS) module via Keele University’s Global Education Team.
**International students for whom English is not their first language will take Academic English for Postgraduate Students to further improve their English language skills, either as their 15 credit option module or as an additional module.
*** UK/Native English speaking international students undertaking their research project at Keele University or with an industrial partner in the UK can take a selected Geoscience option module relevant to their research area. These may include: Natural Hazards; Glaciers & Glacial Geomorphology; Global Environmental Change; Water Resources; Hydrological & Engineering Geology; Structure and Geodynamics; Economic Geology; Advanced Topics in Sedimentology; Exploration Geophysics for the Hydrocarbon Industry; Petroleum Geology; Volcanic and Magmatic Processes.
Teaching and Assessment
You will be taught by experienced, well qualified and enthusiastic staff. All of the staff are research active within the discipline, accomplished at working on research funded work both nationally and internationally. The programme team are enthusiastic to share their teaching, research and professional experience to help you achieve success in your studies.
You will complete formal assessment on all modules. Assessments will include oral and poster presentations, reports, reviews, a research project portfolio and a dissertation.
The research project/dissertation is based on the submission of a 20,000-25,000 word report that is undertaken in conjunction with an academic supervisor at Keele or at one of our international partner institutions, or, where appropriate, an industrial collaborator.
There will be additional costs in terms of living expenses, travel and insurance related with the placement if you choose to undertake your research project with an overseas host institution. The amount required will be dependent on the cost of living associated with certain countries.
UK Students choosing a placement research project in an EU member state are currently eligible for ERASMUS+ support.
European placements are currently eligible for ERASMUS funding.
All UK/EU and international students who have graduated from a first degree programme at Keele are entitled to a bursary of £1,000 towards their course and fees.
There are a range of bursaries and scholarships on offer to both home and overseas postgraduate students. Please follow this link for further details.
DirectGov Professional and Career Development Loan : for information about Professional and Career Development Loans for postgraduate students.
General information about funding can be found here.
Available Projects and Research Opportunities at Keele
Available Projects at International Partner Institutions abroad
Our research-focused course with industry and international placement opportunities leads our graduates into a diverse range of careers.
Our students have chosen careers in research, academia or a discipline related work setting, including geotechnical and environmental consultancies, and local, regional, national or multi-national corporations.
Follow this link to take a look at what a few of our MSc Geoscience Research graduates are doing now.
Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact and discuss research options with the Keele University staff member listed for a particular research area/topic, industrial partner or partner institution overseas, as applicable, before making an official application.
In your application documents, state clearly your preferred subject area or specific project, as advertised on the MSc Geoscience Research website (incl. potential supervisor), and your motivation and background for carrying out a project in a particular area. Without this information, your application cannot proceed. Unlike other PGT courses, you need an agreed project supervisor to be accepted onto this course.
Please note that places at individual host institutions overseas and with industrial partners are limited and subject to availability. A placement at a specific host institution (or industrial partner) is not guaranteed and allocated on a competitive basis after discussion with the potential host supervisor (or industry contact). A decision on a particular student placement is made at the time of application to the course. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to state clearly in their application their placement choice as well as their background and motivation for the placement chosen. In the case that an agreement to host a student cannot be reached with the host institution (or industrial partner), students may be accepted on the MSc Geoscience Research to carry out a research project in the chosen field at Keele University.