Welcome to the MSc Geoscience Research!

Introduction

Alix Cage I hope you are looking forward to starting your MSc degree in Geoscience Research at Keele University. We have worked hard to put this course together and I am convinced that it will provide a stimulating environment for your research, whether you carry out your project at Keele, at an industrial partner in the UK or at one of our partner institutions overseas. During the course you will be integrated into the research group of your project supervisor at Keele and, where applicable, of our collaborators abroad, allowing you to gain valuable experience and establish lasting professional relationships. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunities to widen your knowledge and to network with experts. I hope you will make most of these opportunities.

The MSc Geoscience Research is based in the William Smith Building, home to the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, where desk space and access to a range of essential resources and facilities are provided. For those of you who are new to Keele, the William Smith Building is easy to find in the heart of campus just up the hill from the shops and the University library.

These web pages will help you prepare for your arrival and give you information about your first few days at Keele. If you have any queries about the course in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me directly (01782 733181) or get in touch with the course administrator, Mrs Stef Everill (01782 734307).

I look forward to welcoming you to Keele and to the MSc Geoscience Research at the end of September.

Dr Alix Cage

Programme Director MSc Geoscience Research

Preparing to come

It is not necessary that you carry out any specific preparation for your MSc degree studies in Geoscience Research before the start of the course, unless you have already been in contact with your project supervisor at Keele over the summer and discussed any preliminary work for your specialist research project. However, you may already want to start thinking about your 15-credit option module, which you will have to take as part of the course. Depending on whether you are a UK or an international student, and whether you will carry out your research project at Keele, at one of our UK-based industrial partners or at a partner institution overseas, this will either be a modern language module, academic English for postgraduate students or a Geoscience option module. Details are provided in the MSc Geoscience Research course handbook, which is available online (see under ‘Additional information’). Please contact the programme director (Dr Alix Cage) or your project supervisor (if known), if you have any questions about your options.

If you are keen to get started with some general reading then I would recommend checking out one or more of the following books:

  • Bassot, B. The reflective journal. ISBN-10: 1137324716
  • Biggam, J. (2015). Succeeding with your master's dissertation; a step-by-step handbook [electronic resource]. Open University Press.
  • Bolton, G. (2014). Reflective practice: writing and professional development. 4th Ed. Sage. ISBN: 9781848602120
  • Bond, A.J. (2006). Your master's thesis: how to plan, draft, write and revise. Studymates.
  • Cort, L., van Eynden, V., Bishop, I. & Woolard, M. (2014). Managing and sharing research data: a guide to good practice. SAGE.
  • Cottrell, S. (2011) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument (Palgrave Study Skills). ISBN-10: 0230285295.
  • Kumar, R. (2014). Research Methodology. Sage. ISBN: 9781446269978.
  • Ridley, D. (2012). The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students (SAGE Study Skills Series) (2nd edition). SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Swetnam, D. (2000). Writing your dissertation; how to plan, prepare and present successful work (3rd edition) [electronic resource]. How To Books.
  • Wheater, C. P. & Cook, P. (2000). Using statistics to understand the environment. Routledge.

You do not have to buy these books as they (along with a number of other relevant texts) will be available in the university library. You will be directed to further reading throughout the course when you arrive at Keele.

Starting arrangements

Week 1 of the autumn semester is ‘Welcome Week’  during which you will complete your official enrolment with the university alongside attending an introductory session for the MSc Geoscience Research. Please make sure that you attend the course introductory session, as important information will be provided on all aspects of the MSc course. Shortly after your arrival at Keele, we will send you (by e-mail) and ask you to complete an ‘Option module form’, so we can register you as soon as possible for the module you are intending to take (see under ‘Preparing to come’). As part of the course introductory session, we will complete the arrangements for your option module. A tutor from the Language Centre will be present to help you find the most appropriate language module for you (if applicable).

Please note that apart from the introductory session in week 1, there will be a compulsory fieldtrip on Saturday, 7 October 2017 to the Peak District to help you to get to know us and each other and to see some of the local geology. It is important that you keep this date free and make sure you bring suitable walking shoes (or boots) and clothing to work outside and underground!

Dates and times of sessions:

(The following dates are from 2017, we'll update for 2018 as soon as we can confirm full details. The 2017 dates are left here so you can see what to expect)

Week 1:
  • Tuesday, 26 September 2017, 10-12 am: Session ‘Introduction to the MSc Geoscience Research’ (William Smith Building (WSB); room 0.07), followed by a buffet lunch.
  • Friday, 29th September 2017, 1-3pm: Scheduled Session in module ESC-40049: Research Skills. (WSB room 0.11).
  • During this week you will also have the opportunity to meet with your personal tutor and your project supervisor at Keele.
Week 2:
  • Scheduled sessions in module ESC-40049: Research Skills. Dates, times and venue To Be Confirmed.
  • Saturday, 7 October 2017 (weekend, end of week 2), 9 am (departure): Peak District fieldtrip (fieldtrip leader: Dr Jamie Pringle).

Additional information

MSc Geoscience Research course information for current students (currently being updated for 2018-19)

Feel free to contact the MSc Geoscience Research programme director, Dr Alix Cage, if you have any specific questions.