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Petroleum Geoscience (By Distance Learning) MSc

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
2 years full time
4 years part time
Available by distance learning
Department Earth Sciences »

The hydrocarbon industry is crucial to provide us with domestic energy, transportation, plastics and other everyday needs. Petroleum Geoscience by Distance Learning with the University of London lets you earn a Masters degree in this booming sector which fits around your work or family commitments. 

Choose from a range of course modules to tailor your learning, studying online over a period of years to earn your MSc. This flexible programme lets you choose between the standard course structure, a postgraduate diploma or a series of individual taught courses, letting you fit your studies around your daily life.

You’ll graduate with a Masters degree from the University of London by studying with the University of London International Programmes featuring academic direction from the renowned Royal Holloway Department of Earth Sciences, which is consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10. The programme finishes with a one-week field trip and research project, letting you contribute to our leading research culture while you develop your skills and knowledge.

Royal Holloway is recognised as one of the world’s premier training centres for the hydrocarbon industry, and has run a Petroleum Geoscience MSc programme since 1985. We’ve established invaluable links within the industry while helping over 600 graduates from 32 countries progress into rewarding careers in the Earth Sciences. Study Petroleum Geoscience (by Distance Learning) to enhance your career development without the need for full-time study. 

  • Benefit from a pioneering research culture, with 94% of Department of Earth Sciences research ranked world-leading or internationally excellent – no.2 in the UK (REF 2014).
  • Graduate with a Masters degree developed and taught by a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016).
  • Study a programme recognised internationally as one of the industry’s best.
  • Benefit from adaptable part-time learning fitted around your daily life.

PLEASE NOTE: All applications must be made through the University of London International Programmes website University of London application.

Core modules

Tectonics and Lithosphere Dynamics

Geophysical Analysis

Structural Analysis

Petroleum Systems

Independent Project

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Reservoir Geoscience

Full details of the assessment process can be found on the University of London International Programmes website.

his course may be studied up to 5 years part-time.

Entry criteria:

An undergraduate degree (e.g. bachelor) which is considered at least comparable to a UK second class honours degree, in a physical science subject related to geoscience. The degree must be awarded from an institution acceptable to the University. An upper second class degree equivalent is beneficial but not essential if you have work experience in the oil and gas industry.

Work experience in the oil and gas industry, preferably carrying out evaluation of conventional and/or unconventional petroleum systems, but any technical oil and gas related work will be considered. Sufficient relevant work experience may be considered to replace the requirement for a second class honours degree qualification in geoscience; cases are considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for the MSc must demonstrate that they have access to interpretation software, data and local expert supervision before they can register for and complete the research project module PGM051 necessary to complete the MSc. Usually this means applicants should be currently in employment with an oil and gas company, but exceptions can be made for students who can arrange data, software and supervision by other means.

You do not need to be currently in employment within the oil and gas industry to complete the six taught modules. Successful completion of these modules is sufficient to qualify for a PG Diploma.


English language requirements:

You will meet the English language requirement if, within the past three years, you have passed either:

  • (IELTS) International English Language Testing System when an overall score of at least 6.5 is achieved with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-test, or
  • (TOEFL) iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language overall score of 92 or above with at least 22 in both Reading and Writing Skills sub-tests and at least 20 in both Speaking and Listening sub-tests.


International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Petroleum Geoscience (by Distance Learning) lets you earn a desirable Masters degree while studying part-time alongside employment. You’ll graduate with excellent employment prospects in a sector with many well-paid career opportunities in the UK and abroad, as well as the option to progress into further postgraduate study. 

Royal Holloway, University of London has taught a Petroleum Geoscience programme since 1985, and it’s now recognised as one of the premier training facilities in the hydrocarbon industry. You’ll benefit from strong industry links, and a track record of helping 600 graduates from 32 countries progress to rewarding careers in the Earth Sciences.

  • The MSc is ideal for hydrocarbon industry professionals who wish to develop their knowledge and skills alongside their work;
  • Graduates will be trained in the skills needed to address a range of exploration and production challenges;
  • You'll join a worldwide network of alumni who are successful industry professionals in oil companies, geoscience IT, consultancy, and academia.

PLEASE NOTE: All applications must be made through the University of London International Programmes website University of London application.

Please visit the University of London website for information about Distance Learning fees and funding.

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