MSc in Mineral Resources


Program Description

The Mineral Resources MSc delivers knowledge and skills training essential to pursue a career in the mineral industry sector and to prepare students for PhD research. The course provides extensive training at the forefront of mineral resources, including industry-led workshops and field excursions.

The MSc in Mineral Resources is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Mineral resources are a part of almost everything surrounding our everyday life. Finding those resources is the job of economic geologists, multidisciplinary scientists who use geochemistry, mineralogy, geophysics, petrology and structural geology to understand, describe, and explore for mineral resources.

The MSc in Mineral Resources will prepare you to enter a career in the mineral industry or to pursue PhD research. The degree has been designed by recommendations from industry and provides practical training involving methodologies and technologies at the forefront of mineral exploration.

Key experiences include field excursions to the world-class Rio Tinto mine in southern Spain to study the genesis of volcanic massive sulphide deposits and innovative acid mine drainage remediation methods.


  • Produces students who understand the genesis and geological setting of ore deposits around the world.
  • Trains students to a professional level in field and laboratory skills, including the use of some of the latest exploration technologies and methodologies.
  • Integrates industry-standard software, and training in the analysis of large and diverse datasets.
  • Develops students’ awareness of best practice in environmental protection and sustainable resource exploration.

Teaching format

The MSc in Mineral Resources is a comprehensive course that combines core knowledge, fieldwork, short courses and a research dissertation and integrates that with the first-hand experience through a diverse and challenging set of industry-relevant mapping, logging and 3D geological modelling skills.

The MSc degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, equivalent to a total of eight taught modules. The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework and written examinations.

The final three months of your course will be focused on independent research which concludes with a 15,000-word field- and laboratory-based dissertation.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.

Semester 1

Students must take the following three compulsory modules in their first semester of study:

  • Advanced Petrogenesis: explores the genesis and evolution of magmatism that creates Earth's crust and the petrography and geochemistry of the associated minerals and rocks.
  • Applied Digital Field Methods: a field-based module that focuses on creating and interpreting surface and underground maps, and drill core logs.
  • Magmatic-related Ore Deposits: focuses on the geodynamic setting, geometry and mineralogy of the principal metallic mineral deposits related to magmatic processes.

Semester 2

Students must take the following four compulsory modules in their second semester of study:

  • 3D Geological Modelling: introduces three-dimensional geological modelling using industry-standard software and emphasises the creation, validation and interpretation of geological and structural models, as well as their use in mineral exploration and mineral resource estimation.
  • Geodynamics: studies the geodynamic evolution of Earth's crust through geological time, the evolution of convergent and divergent margins, and the relationships between tectonics, erosion and climate. The module develops skills of geodynamic interpretation, field observation and use of numerical models.
  • Hydrothermal Ore Deposits: focuses on the geodynamic setting, geometry, and mineralogy of the principal metallic mineral deposits related to hydrothermal processes.
  • Mineral Exploration: explores the fundamental geochemical, hyperspectral and geophysical concepts used by the mineral exploration industry.


In the final three months of your course, you will focus on independent research which concludes with a 15,000-word field- and laboratory-based dissertation. The topic is defined by the student in conjunction with an academic advisor and would normally be based around one of the research foci within the School and include industry involvement.

In order to maximise the time for independent research to be conducted, formulation of the research dissertation project, a background literature review, proposal writing and development of the analytical design is all completed by the end of Semester 2.

The third semester then concentrates on data collection, data integration and interpretation, and presentation of the research within a poster conference, before final submission of the 15,000-word dissertation towards the end of August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Because of the importance of the extractive industries to society, the economy and the environment, economic geologists are employed in the mineral, oil, gas and petroleum industries, engineering, environmental and financial sectors, as well as by geological surveys, consultancy companies, and academia.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in a subject-related area. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • Personal statement.
  • Two original signed academic references.
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates. Please only upload certified copies with official English translations if applicable. Do not send original documents as they cannot be returned.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount on postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. St Andrews is a unique place to study and live. Nestled on the east coas ... Read More

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. St Andrews is a unique place to study and live. Nestled on the east coast of Scotland, students may find themselves crossing golf-courses on their way to class, or jogging along the beach after dinner. Not only does the University have a world-class reputation, but it also offers a diverse range of social activities, including over 140 student societies and 50 sports clubs. Historic buildings are juxtaposed against the modern facilities, and the many student traditions truly make studying at St Andrews an unforgettable experience. Read less
Saint Andrews