MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

Program Description

MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

This programme is the only applied structural geology Masters in the UK. It provides advanced training in the practical application of structural geology, preparing you either for employment in the hydrocarbon or mining industries or for postgraduate study (PhD).

You’ll gain a skillset combining advanced structural techniques and interpreting seismic data, an understanding of structural systems in time and space, and an appreciation of both the geological and geophysical constraints of seismic interpretation and model building. This will allow you to use a combination of structural and geophysical techniques to solve geological problems. As a capable seismic interpreter you’ll be able to contribute in an industry role from day one.

Our teaching is research led, with direct links to active applied research. You’ll be taught by a range of research and industry experts, as well as through industry-led workshops. Strong industry links are a feature of this programme.

Course highlights:

  • The only applied structural geology masters in the UK, offering you a route to both industry or a PhD.
  • Unlike other petroleum/ ore geoscience courses in the UK, which only provide you with broad training in all aspects of petroleum and ore geology. At Leeds, apply your skills, tools, and knowledge in structural geology and tectonics to exploration settings, datasets, and problems.
  • A key focus of this masters is on understanding structural evolution in various settings and the use of 3D and 4D thinking in geological contexts. Skills that are essential for your employment in industry.
  • Gain an international standard of Masters qualification in 12 months rather than 24. We deliver focused, advanced teaching linked to a research project (in contrast to the more research-oriented US Masters).
  • Undertake FREE fieldwork in the UK and EU that is directly linked to your classroom learning.
  • Depending on your interests, choose from hydrocarbon andmining module options.
  • Access industry-standard computing facilities and software.
  • In your final year produce an industry or research focused dissertation.


Fieldwork to the UK and overseas is FREE, and forms an integral part of the course. It is directly linked to learning outcomes in the classroom:

  • Take part in an introductory field day to Ingleton, North Yorkshire.
  • Undertake a 6-day trip to the South West of England. Consider both extensional and compressional tectonics, basin-scale to fault to reservoir scale deformation, fault seal analysis, kinematic and geometric fault evolution, restorations, and 3D fault analysis.
  • Undertake a 12-day trip to the Central Spanish Pyrenees. This trip serves as a summary trip where you will pull together elements from the entire course. Consider regional scale orogenic deformation through to basin scale to fracture scale. And the influence of sediment-structure interaction in basin evolution, and tie outcrop scale observations with seismic examples.

Course content

It’s as important that you develop personal skills and a professionalism that will make you employable, as well as increasing your knowledge and technical ability.

The programme consists of nine months of taught classes. Followed by approximately three months of independent research and dissertation writing in association with industry or research collaborators. Fieldwork is FREE and forms an integral part of the course. It is directly linked to learning outcomes in the classroom. Besides local visits, there is a 6-day trip to South West England and a 12-day visit to the Spanish Pyrenees.

Some modules are spread over two semesters, while most are short and intensive. They are devised to develop your advanced understanding of key topics (including large scale tectonics, basin evolution and reservoir scale deformation) and your technical ability through the use of industry-leading software.

Begin, by reviewing the fundamentals of structural geology, maps, and mathematics before moving onto the more advanced modules. You’ll receive advanced training in structural geology and tectonics, in geological model construction, and the practical application of structural geology. And gain training in interpreting seismic data and the principals underlying data acquisition and processing.

You’ll also undertake professional and research level training in structural geology and basin evolution from regional, to basin, to reservoir/deposit scale.

In semester two, you can choose from Hydrocarbon or mining modules.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

You’ll study modules totalling 180 credits, including 60 credits from your dissertation. The optional modules are studied mainly in Semester 2.

  • Compulsory modules
    • 3D Structure: Techniques and Visualisation
    • Applied Structural Models
    • Geomechanics and Fault modelling
    • Applied Geodynamics and Basin Evolution
    • Integrated Subsurface Analysis
    • Structural Geology Project and Dissertation
  • Optional modules
  • Hydrocarbon Option:
    • Reservoir Structural Geology and Hydrocarbon Prospectivity of Basins
    Mining Option:
    • Ore Deposits and their structural controls

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods vary, with some modules being very practical based for example fieldwork, presentations, learning new software. While other methods are tutorial or lecture based. There is also the opportunity to work individually or as a group. Regardless of method, all teaching material is supported by substantial online learning material.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23 million building provides world class research, teaching and laboratory facilities. As a Masters student, you will have access to a 3D visualisation suite. And access to your own dedicated computer facilities, which runs industry standard software.

Industry standard software:

  • 2D and 3D seismic interpretation is done via Kingdom Suite software.
  • Geocellular modelling is delivered on the Petrel platform.
  • Structural modelling and restoration is learnt using Midland Valley's 2DMove software.
  • PCs run a range of structural modelling, GIS and 3D visualisation programmes.
  • If you choose the optional Ore Deposits module, train in Leapfrog 3D deposit modeller.


Given the variety of learning outcomes and teaching methods, assessments differ between modules but generally consist of a combination of presentations, assessed practicals and/or formal examinations.

Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in a geological, geophysical, environmental geology, mining or related subject. Mathematics to A-level is also preferred, although GSCE level is accepted.

Lower qualifications and non-standard geology degrees may be considered on an ad-hoc basis, supported by relevant experience. Applicants may have to take an entrance exam.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

Application deadline

Apply by 12 midday on 31st March 2016.

This programme is very competitive. We advise you to submit your application for 2016 entry as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.


UK/EU: £9,250

International: £22,500

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

Industry scholarships

We appreciate that funding to undertake a postgraduate degree is a significant issue for individual students. Based on the programme's long history of turning out well qualified graduates, we have strong company links which typically offer a number of studentships available for UK/EU students (full and partial awards). Applications must be received by Thursday 11th February 2016, find out more about our Industry scholarships. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview day, usually held on Thursday 3rd March 2016.

Petroleum Leeds scholarships

You cannot apply directly for this scholarship but you will be automatically considered if you have applied for an Industry scholarship, and are not in receipt of any other source of funding. Scholarships are worth £5,000.

Other funding sources:

Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB)

For information about full and partial scholarship awards, visit PESGB. Applications should be made directly to PESGB.

Society of Exploration Geophysicist (SEG)

For information about full and partial scholarship awards, visit SEG. Applications should be made directly to SEG.

Career Development Loan

Past students have secured funding through a career development loan, for details visit UK Government website.

If you are thinking of funding the course yourself you should consider that graduates have a high success rate in gaining (generally well remunerated) employment.

Career opportunities

Despite the current industry downturn, more than 80% of 2014-15 graduates secured relevant employment or a PhD project within 6 months of finishing the programme. In previous years, nearly 100% of students have successfully secured employment in the petroleum or mining industries or have chosen to undertake a postgraduate research degree (PhD). Starting salaries are usually around £30-35,000 per year.

We have excellent links with industry and professional bodies. Throughout the year, we hold weekly recruitment visits where you will meet a range of geoscience employers including BG Group, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Fugro Robertson, Maersk Oil, Nexen, Shell, and many others. We also run company-led training workshops to develop your industry software skills in Petrel, Leapfrog, and MOVE. The workshops also provide you with further opportunities for training, conference attendance and involvement with Student Chapters such as The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), The European Association of Geoscientist and Engineers (EAGE), The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), The Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB)

Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals. In particular, you will have further opportunities for training, conference attendance and involvement with Student Chapters (AAPG, EAGE, SPE, SEG, PESGB). You will develop transferable skills, ranging from personal abilities such as 4D thinking, time management, and critical and analytical thinking. To more generic work-related skills such as teamwork, presentation skills and report writing, and CV writing skills.

The School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 29, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
12 months
Full time
9,250 GBP
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
UK/EU £9,250 ; International £22,500