Course structure

The MSc courses combine core and specialist subject options throughout the two semesters. The core subjects cover the fundamentals of petroleum geoscience, such as reservoir geology, geophysics fundamentals, petrophysics, operations geology, fundamentals of exploration and production geoscience and geochemistry.  In semester two specialist subjects are taken, specific to each MSc, focussing either on exploration or production geoscience.

The 50 week course is divided into three stages, Semester 1 and 2, from October to May, comprises lectures, assessed practical/research projects, and field work. From June to August students carry out an independent research project.

The emphasis is on teaching practical aspects of petroleum geoscience which can be readily applied in an industrial environment. Aspects of the practical applications are taught by practising professional geologists from the petroleum industry. Fieldwork studies are an important component of the course. Attendance at appropriate conferences and workshops is encouraged.

All MSc students at Manchester also complete a course in communication skills and undertake three field classes. The communication skills course is designed to improve writing skills, oral presentation skills, computing skills and develop your powers of critical analysis. Overseas students whose first language is not English will receive additional help to improve their use of English. Between June and August you will undertake an independent research project, which will be examined by a report-style dissertation, a poster and a presentation.

We offer two MSc programmes:  Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration (PGE) and Petroleum Geoscience for Reservoir Development and Production (RDP). 

Semester 1 is jointly taught and builds the foundation in petroleum geoscience. Students study petrophysics, geophysics, reservoir sedimentology, and geochemistry and learn the fundamentals of the value chain and the roles of exploration, appraisal, development and production.

In Semester 2, some part modules are shared, but each MSc has specifically tailored courses.

Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration

This course focuses on exploration geoscience, and develops key skills for understanding petroleum systems, evaluation of sedimentary basins, and leads and prospect generation. It aims to train geoscientist with the skills to explore for oil and gas (and unconventional hydrocarbons), and provides a global overview of major hydrocarbon provinces, and current exploration trends. This degree provides training for geoscientists who wish to pursue a career in the petroleum industry working in exploration for oil and gas, but also has elements that introduce field appraisal and development.

Petroleum Geoscience for Reservoir Development and Production

The oil industry has clear objectives to maximise recovery from oil and gas fields, and to extend the life of existing fields. This course aims to meet the need for skilled personnel by training graduates that specialise in appraisal/development/production geoscience and the fundamentals of reservoir engineering. The course concentrates on characterization and modelling of the reservoir, fluid flow, and the impact of recovery mechanisms and dynamic displacement. There are also courses in seismic interpretation.

From June until August students undertake an Independent Research Project. Students can specialise during this period. Many students will take the opportunity for industrial placement to complete a project using data provided by a sponsor oil company. The results are presented as a poster, a written dissertation and orally to a group of invited guests from the petroleum industry at the end of the year.

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