MSc Petroleum Geoscience

The course is open to applications for 2017


The course is taught over one year, full time, by a mix of Basins Group staff and industry professionals. A range of geological and geophysical subjects are taught covering the hydrocarbon industry value chain from acquisition, exploration and appraisal to development and production. A multidisciplinary approach takes students through investigation of outcrop analogues as well as geophysical investigation of subsurface hydrocarbon systems.

The course is aimed at recent graduates as well as individuals with some industrial experience. Content is advised on by industrial partners with the aim of maintaining relevance to company needs. As part of the course training is provided in technical areas such as core logging and industry standard software. The course provides an thorough grounding for work in the hydrocarbon industry, or further PhD research.



The Basins Group Newsletter 2016 summarises research interests and recent achievements.

Why study at Manchester?

  • 2016 QS World University Ranking places Manchester as the 29th best university in the world, and the seventh best in the UK.
  • Teaching is integrated with the Basin Studies Research Group, one of the largest and most experienced teams in UK, with added strength and depth derived from dedicated external teachers.
  • No additional costs. Fieldwork, field equipment and final project are included in fee.
  • Unrivalled teaching and research facilities. Dedicated MSc Petroleum Geoscience computing lab with a workstation for each student.   
  • Field classes tailored to industry demand.
  • Huge range in final projects from field studies to subsurface datasets. Many projects linked to company datasets. Students showcase projects at an end of course conference.
  • Good employment record. Recent students employed with Statoil, Shell, ERCL, etc.
  • Many students continue on to PhD study.
  • Manchester is a vibrant, centrally located city.

Programme structure

To reflect the demands of a growing industry we have developed two petroleum geoscience postgraduate courses: Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration [MSc] and Petroleum Geoscience for Reservoirs Development and Production [MSc].

These courses are designed to give you a broad training in petroleum geology, geophysics and an introduction to reservoir engineering. They will prepare you for employment as geologists, geophysicists, or a more specialist career as a petrophysicist, basin analyst or operations geologist.

The courses benefit from the teaching of leading researchers in the field. Our content is inspired by their work; it is continually refreshed and updated to reflect current thinking and geoscience techniques. We also have close links with industry, including most major oil companies, who provide additional input into our courses and also deliver some of the content alongside careers presentations.

Both courses cover the fundamentals of petroleum geology in the first semester, taking in topics such as reservoir geology and petrophysics, amongst others. You will also take a course in communication skills and undertake three field classes.

Semester 1

This semester is taught jointly between both MSc courses and builds a foundation of knowledge in petroleum geoscience. Along with other relevant units you will look at the industrial value chain and the roles of exploration, appraisal, development and production.

Semester 2

Both courses share some units, but each each will include specifically tailored units.

Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration

This course focuses on exploration geoscience and develops key skills for understanding petroleum systems. You will learn how to evaluate sedimentary basins and leads along with prospect generation.

You will be given the skills to explore for oil and gas (and unconventional hydrocarbons). We provide a global overview of major hydrocarbon provinces, as well as current exploration trends. 

This masters course is ideal if you wish to pursue a career in the oil industry working in exploration for oil and gas. It is also suitable for anyone who wishes to focus on field appraisal and development.

For full details of couse modules see here.

Semester 2 comprises four specialist units:

  • 3D Seismic Interpretation and Basin Analysis develops interpretation skills using Petrel. We teach you the theory and techniques for basin analysis and modelling, structural and stratigraphic trapping mechanisms, and petroleum system analysis.
  • The Group Exploration Project is run as part of the AAPG Barrel award. Working in groups of four or five and mentored by research students and staff, you will analyse a typical exploration dataset.
  • Field Appraisal and Development introduces you to the tools and techniques used by petroleum engineers to develop oil and gas fields. You will discover the roles of the geoscientist in oil and gas field development.
  • Prospect Evaluation and Petroleum Economics shows you how to develop leads and prospects, assess reserves and risk, and evaluate value using petroleum economics.


Petroleum Geoscience for Reservoir Development and Production

This course combines the teaching and research strengths of our School. We train you in methods that will support the oil industry's efforts to maximise recovery from oil and gas fields and extend the life of existing fields.

This Petroleum Geoscience course pathway meets industry's demand for skilled personnel by training graduates with specialist, research-based knowledge in appraisal, development and production as well as the fundamentals of reservoir engineering. 

The course concentrates on how to characterise and model a reservoir and fluid flows. We also explore the impact of recovery mechanisms and dynamic displacement. You will also take units in seismic interpretation. 

For full details of couse modules see here.

Semester 2 comprises four specialist units:

  • Integrated Subsurface Description, covering 3D seismic interpretation and visualisation; trapping framework; reservoir framework; reservoir and fluid properties; uncertainty and risk.
  • Oil and Gas Reservoir Dynamics, covering reservoir compartments; reservoir energy and recovery mechanisms; geological reservoir modelling; reservoir simulation; well testing.
  • The Group Development Project requires you to work in groups of four or five. You will be mentored by research students and staff to undertake a field evaluation using a typical dataset.
  • Field Depletion Planning covers resource assessment; rate production profile prediction; depletion planning; how to operate in an oil and gas field; health and safety; petroleum economics and risk analysis; reservoir management; and base management.
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