Taught course

Integrated Petroleum Geoscience

University of Aberdeen · Geology and Petroleum Geology

Entry requirements

Upper 2nd-class honours or better in Geology, Geophysics or a joint degree incorporating Geology as a major component.

Months of entry


Course content

The programme is regarded as perhaps the best of its kind in the world. It has been running since 1973, and has achieved an excellent reputation as one of the top vocational training pathways. Graduates from this course are highly sought after by industry. The course has been rated by the Natural Environment Research Council as the best of its type in the UK and the only course of its type in Europe. The training offered in this course is also an ideal springboard into a career based on further research at PhD level and above.

The MSc in Integrated Petroleum Geoscience aims to:

teach the geoscience skills needed for hydrocarbon exploration and production, so that course graduates are ready to embark upon a petroleum industry career. In particular, to provide an all-round preparation for a wide-range of employment in a mobile, dynamic, wealth creating industry, and to show how integration of information across discipline boundaries can provide solutions to industrial problems.
develop the knowledge needed to communicate with and work alongside specialists in the other engineering and scientific disciplines involved in hydrocarbon exploration and production, in small, multi-disciplinary teams.
enhance the inter-personal and transferable skills relevant to the hydrocarbon industry today; to develop presentation and report-writing skills; to encourage team work; to stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving ability; and to foster initiative and self-discipline.

Components of the course focus on all aspects of upstream geoscience, from initial exploration for new prospects, through field appraisal and development, to maximising recovery from mature and declining fields. Topics covered include: seismic interpretation, petrophysical analysis, geochemical evaluation, sedimentology, structural analysis, and reservoir modelling. Skills in the analysis of the subsurface are further developed by field work on outcrops and by hands-on experience with core logging.

A key strength of this course is that we make considerable use of our location in Aberdeen at the heart of the industry in western Europe. Guest speakers contribute their experience to the taught units. Visits are made to local companies to demonstrate technology and hardware. Use is made of the core stores in the city.

In the second half session, all of the major group exercises are done with the help of staff from local companies. Companies also provide data and practical help for the 4-month summer project, and students usually do the project with a company at their offices. Many of our staff have been employed in the industry, and all are currently involved on research with the industry. All our staff have regular interaction with industry staff, which ensures the course is kept up-to-date and focused.

MSc students have close interaction with the professional societies who meet regularly in Aberdeen:

Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB);
Aberdeen Formation Evaluation (AFES);
Energy Institute;
Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

We host a Student Chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists .

Fees and funding

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations30
Written coursework / continuous assessment30
Dissertation40 (7500 words)

Course contact details

Graduate School Admissions Unit
+44 (0)1224 272515
+44 (0)1224 272818